With social media so deeply ingrained in our lives, it’s hard to believe a time before it existed.
It’s a constant lifeline into the world around us. For businesses, it’s a must-have in terms of marketing presence.
In 2009, Dallasite Shama Hyder started the Marketing Zen Group as one of the first social media digital agencies in the world. Plenty of people doubted her and dismissed social media as a passing trend.
These days, she’s feeling a bit of déjà vu.
AT THE INTERSECTION OF MARKETING, TECH, & DESIGN
Her latest venture, MADE (Marketing, Architecture, Development & Education) works at the intersection of marketing, technology, and the physical environment. The architecture design studio has been in “stealth mode” since its founding in January, but Hyder said it’s ready for its public debut.
As she describes it, what Marketing Zen is doing for clients in digital, MADE will tackle in the physical realm. Hyder said her clients were increasingly requesting her team’s creative minds for their physical spaces, which was the preface for MADE.
“I think it’s interesting to be able to take that innovative, what’s next in the digital space and now put that lens to the physical space.”
“In some ways, this feels a lot like Zen did when we first started in that we are having to educate people — some people get it, some people are really trying to figure out this world,” Hyder said. “I think it’s interesting to be able to take that innovative, what’s next in the digital space and now put that lens to the physical space.”
Hyder handles all things marketing while MADE co-founder Jared Skinner, who’s worked stints at Corgan and Good Fulton & Farrell, serves as principal designer.
As with Marketing Zen, which Hyder transformed from a $1,500 personal investment into a company averaging 400 percent annual growth, MADE has accepted no venture capital. Hyder and Skinner have self-funded the architecture design studio and retain 50-50 ownership.
Being a sister company of Marketing Zen, Hyder said MADE has leveraged resources from her social media agency. It brings on contractors from various fields depending on what the project warrants. By the end of 2018, MADE plans to add six to 10 employees to its team.
PAIRING EXPERIENTIAL & DESIGN
MADE’s approach can be holistic, if that’s what the client needs. Not only offering marketing and design expertise, but overseeing the build as well.
After all, good marketing is not something you can just add on after the fact, Hyder said.
“It’s not the frosting, it’s baked into the cake,” she said. “It’s true for design, too.”
Whether it’s a corporate headquarters, retail-driven space, or trade fair booths, visitors should be able to experience the brand by walking through it.
“The scent, the touch, the smell — everything that their senses are engaged in that space reinforces their brand,” Skinner said.
These integrative environments are what customers have come to expect, especially in the retail world, and millennials want in the workspace.
“The scent, the touch, the smell — everything that their senses are engaged in that space reinforces their brand.”
An example that comes to mind for Skinner is Nordstrom’s new store in California without merchandise to purchase on site. Instead, customers let personal shoppers pilot the shopping and can have a beer or get a pedicure while they wait for their clothes to be delivered.
“The customers want these experiences. They want these Instagrammable spaces, these Snapchat spaces. The things that they want to tell their friends about,” Skinner said.
MADE CLIENTS RANGE FROM FORTUNE 500 TO BUDDING SMALL BUSINESSES
So far, Hyder and Skinner have done work for a variety of businesses from Fortune 500 companies to independent small business owners. And projects have stretched from local residential developers to a collaboration with McKinsey & Co. in the Middle East.
Much of their work is confidential because of their focus on clients who want to break from the conventional.
“They’re working with us because they aren’t the average bear.”
“They’re working with us because they aren’t the average bear,” Hyder said. “They’ve got some pretty cool ideas and they want that outside-the-box thinking.
But, stay tuned, Skinner said. Soon, he expects MADE’s website and social channels to light up with information about forthcoming projects.
“I think we’re just in such exciting times,” Hyder said. “For me to be part of this movement freeing design, allowing creativity to take reign, and be able to offer clients more holistic turnkey service based on what the market is demanding.”
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