After a period of significant traction that included a merger, TRNDSTTRS Media has returned to Kansas City with a redefined vision and laser focus to better elevate Gen Z in the entrepreneurial and advertising landscape, explained Jake Bjorseth.
“We really wanted to take that next step in growth and rather than compete at these lower levels … compete at a higher level,” Bjorseth, founder and chief trendsetter, said of the idea behind the budding, momentum-heavy company’s merger with Social Apex Media and Wakefield Strategics last fall.
Click here to read more about the tech-firm’s 2017 launch.
Bringing the companies together was always designed to be temporary, said Bjorseth, who made the decision to leave his post as chief growth officer at Social Apex in April.
“We grew significantly in terms of revenue. … The plan all along, that was transparently spoken, was that [we said,] ‘Hey, let’s work together, then let’s venture off and do our own things,’” he said. “We all kind of had different visions. … I felt like it was time for me to do that.”
A collaborative mindset, three companies playing in the same space held more value than if they’d remained siloed, Bjorseth added, detailing lessons he’d learned from the experience — such as trying to be something you aren’t, before your time. It’s the reason Bjorseth doesn’t use the title of CEO, he noted.
TRNDSTTRS gained significant media attention in summer 2018, as the company — bold in its stance that Gen Z could overhaul the marketing experience for small to mid-sized companies — took on clients such as Universal Music Studios and found a way to package its social marketing prowess.
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Much of the same tenacity is present in the rebooted TRNDSTTRS, which strips away the startup’s emphasis on doing it all and replaces its mission with doing it right, Bjorseth said.
“We really only want to focus on creative and social and some aspects of digital,” he said of the company’s trajectory. “What we see on the horizon is continuing to work with larger and larger firms, launching more notable campaigns versus just kind of services behind the scenes … and moving to essentially a traditional, larger ad agency approach to things.”
Taking a more traditional route, coupled with the flair and perspective of an all-Gen Z-aged team — comprised of six people and growing — should help TRNDSTTRS stand out in the media agency-heavy Kansas City landscape, Bjorseth said.
“We set ourselves apart as being practitioners of our value proposition. So no other agency in Kansas City can say that they’re Gen Z-owned and operated — in terms of full ownership and who’s within the company. And so that’s really helpful for us in terms of differentiation,” he explained.
“We want to only stick into our flywheel and never chase profits or revenue or anything of that nature,” Bjorseth said. “If you’re a brand or business looking to or wondering what your brand is gonna look like in five years, if you’re wondering how you’re gonna integrate with this new wave of consumers, then we’re the right agency to work with.”
Outside the TRNDSTTRS, Gen Z curated flywheel: companies looking for help running such channels as Instagram, Bjorseth explained.
“There might be other solutions out there,” he laughed. “We’re in a very competitive ad market, but we really don’t see other agencies as direct competitors. Because they’re great at a lot of different things that we aren’t great at. We just think when it comes to understanding Gen Z and marketing to them … we’re going to be the best in the city at that.”
Such confidence has been key in getting TRNDSTTRS back to the place it was a year ago — an experience which could serve as its own lesson for young, eager entrepreneurs, teased Bjorseth.
“We’re actually documenting our entire journey and we started filming actually April 16, the day after I left Social Apex … when obviously no clients, no revenue, no team, anything like that,” he said. “This is going to be something one-of-a-kind that I don’t think has been done before where we’re going to be able to look back on all of that and either learn from our mistakes or we’ll get to see exactly how a company was built from zero to x and whatever x becomes is unknown, but we’re hoping something good.”