Social Apex Media is designed to feed the creativity of hungry millennial entrepreneurs who don’t fit into the corporate culture of many other marketing agencies, said Brandon Priest.
“We’re building Social Apex on the backs of entrepreneurs. That means instead of employees who feel like, ‘OK, I just got to work 9 to 5 every single day and just try to get by,’ their focus is, ‘What is the most that I can do to build my company and build Social Apex?’” said Priest, the firm’s 22-year-old marketing director. “We ended up being a team of like 15 or 20 who could outperform a team of 100 just because we’re all motivated and driven and we all have that same mindset.”
The newly rebranded marketing firm combines the forces behind the original Social Apex, founded by Priest in January 2018, Wakefield Strategics, formerly operated by Sam Kulikov, and TRNDSTTRS Media, founded in 2017 by Jake Bjorseth.
With Priest and Kulikov both 22, and Bjorseth 19, the marketing firm offers full-scale services including programming and web development, video, and social media growth and ads, they said.
As part of its disruptive style, the firm has no formal command structure between Bjorseth, Kulikov and Priest, they said. Each person takes initiative because they’ve all experienced someone not believing in them, they said.
“The moment that I just declined to listen to that anymore and just started doing it was the moment that the money started coming, resources started coming, people started coming to help, people started coming to work,” said Kulikov. “You just attract that energy when you turn that switch and care about yourself more than you care about the opinions of other people around you.”
Team members at the new Social Apex work on a project basis with no set hours, said Priest. They disprove the stereotype that millennials have a poor work ethic, added Kulikov.
“The ‘millennial’ word has been used as a curse word for so long and I’m over it. It’s just annoying at this point because it’s like we all have the potential to do it, we just don’t know how to leverage what we care about and how to make it applicable in the real world,” he said.
Members of Social Apex’s current team of 16 collaborators often give personal phone numbers to clients to address problems or questions at any hour of the day, said Priest.
“You don’t see that a lot with other marketing agencies and the fact that charge you thousands and thousands of dollars every single month and they never communicate with you properly,” he said. “Then these business owners are like, ‘I don’t know if I’m wasting my money or where my money’s going or if I’m even seeing growth,’ but what we try to do instead is really communicate with the business owner, and make sure that he knows that we’re there to fulfill all those needs.”
Social Apex Media should have 25 to 30 clients by the end of the September, Bjorseth estimated.
“Our competition is, No. 1: that companies that don’t see the value in the services we provide; and, No. 2: the bigger agencies in Kansas City that have been doing things frankly, wrong for the past five years,” he added. “Now we’re kind of teaming up to tackle that and really take things to the next level.”
As millennials, each member of the team is connected by the culture created through social media: an arena critical to any successful marketing effort, said Kulikov.
“No matter if you’re a milk company or a skating company or whatever, you can use internet as a means to make income for your business,” he said. “It just comes down to being personable, understanding how to interact with your consumers — especially millennial and Gen Z — and really just understanding the cultural trends.”
While Social Apex Media services a lot of one-off work, the target market is companies that want to grow, said Bjorseth, noting the team just came back from the 2018 TechCrunch convention in San Francisco.
“There are some times that we’ll have to say no to a client simply because we understand that they’re looking for a one-off project and not looking to grow at that scale,” he said. “So what we’re trying to bring is the same attitude that you see in LA and San Francisco and those places were all those companies are trying to grow at such a massive scale and bring that attitude to Kansas City, and explain, ‘Look, if you use the digital age and the marketing mediums correctly, you can reach that same growth.’ And so we’re trying to bring that drive and fire to the city and sort of organically grow that out.”