When Matt and I started little guy design 11+ years ago, there was no promise of success.
No guarantee that the 14 hour days and unplanned urgent requests at all hours would culminate in a successful business that would feed our lives, and the lives of our co-workers and clients. Not only from a financial perspective but from a learning perspective.
Marketing is an environment of constant movement; nothing stays the same. And the success of any marketing company or agency comes down to experience, creativity, and a willingness to continue learning.
As LGD has grown, so have we.
The constant learning and unique situations that have presented themselves over the years have continually forced us to get better, and learn more. EVERY DAY.
One of our oldest jokes is, going into a day with your list of known tasks, only to be confronted by a new, unique scenario that we have to strategize immediately when we hadn’t planned on it. “I wasn’t planning on learning anything today – aggggghhhh!”
But that’s what makes our industry, and our business, so much fun. Looking at it all like a big adventure.
Any marketing agency is only as good as what they know and how much they enjoy the work. And chemistry between the artist and person commissioning the art.
Some vendors get to a place and stop, maybe only specialize in one discipline (video, SEO, graphic design). But we decided a long time ago to specialize in ALL disciplines. And partner with great vendors, co-workers, and subject matter experts to create any deliverable, any time.
And even before we formed LGD, Matt and I were each, individually in our own lives, fighting for the right to generate our incomes through our creativity.
The business side of this world crushes a lot of artists. They don’t have the rigid exoskeleton to handle the barbs of difficulty and depth of thought required. Or the confidence to push though. But WE DO.
Even before starting LGD, Matt and I had each been grinding on our own, in private, refining our respective arts since the late 90s.
Matt had acquired multiple design-related degrees and was producing websites, logos, and successful graphic design projects.
Across town, I was grinding away under the radar, too.
I always liked to work, typically having at least 2-3 jobs at any given time. I didn’t have the degrees or formal training. I won a freelance copywriting contest with the Omaha Reader when I was 19-years old and realized I loved writing. And was really good at it. I dropped out of my junior year of college at UNO and started freelancing. In the span of 2 months after winning the contest, I was a staff writer for the Omaha Weekly, the Reader, the UNO student newspaper The Gateway, and a couple of other local publications.
“I can make money doing this? Let’s write some more!”
Over the next couple years, all while being a single parent and working full-time jobs in the corporate world, I expanded my skill of copywriting and love of analytics into social media management, photography, and sales. Then, I fell in love with SEO and got really good at it.
It was around this time Matt and I reconnected. We were both self-employed, working for a friend setting up temporary fences to garner extra income.
We soon realized everything either of us didn’t know, the other person was an expert! Even down to my love of Windows/Android/Google, to Matt’s love of Apple/iPhone/Safari. We had all the bases covered.
Around this time I was doing a TON of sports content creation for huge nationwide brands, and going on a lot of media trips with huge nationwide agencies. And I had built a lot of relationships that I still maintain today.
One of those relationships was with New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn. Joe was the best WR in the NFL at the time. He texted me one day:
“Paul, I just launched a BBQ sauce brand and don’t know shit about e-commerce. I want to sell sauce via my website – can you help me?”
This was back in pre-Amazon e-commerce era internet. The landscape was changing. I called Matt. Here is the transcript:
Me – “Hey, what are you doing?
Me – “Want to build a website for Joe Horn, the Saints all-time leading receiver?”
Matt – “Yes.”
Once the site was complete, Joe’s needs grew.
He needed graphic design, social media management, marketing strategy, and copywriting. He needed help with shipping options and payment processing. He needed to build a brand. So we did. Matt and I both love sports (like our time on Super Bowl Radio Row or at the ESPYs). And it was a ton of fun.
That was the unofficial start of little guy design.
Our mission and value was to help the small business owner, completely ignored by the Omaha marketing landscape, market themselves. People that didn’t have six-figure budgets. People that were already doing 10 things at once in the process of running a business.
Another inside joke is, “Wow, if you are nice to everyone you meet all the time and do great work and are awesome to work with, it all works out.” LOL.
Today we are announcing our rebrand from little guy design/LGD, to little guy branding/lgx.
Why are we doing this? Because, “design” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Too vague. Too siloed.
Design is one of many services we became experts at over the years. “Oh, you guys do video/SEO/e-blasts/headshots/etc., too?”
YES WE DO!
Which is one of the things the ‘x” represents – the variable of any of the number of services we offer. We have evolved into a true branding company over those 11+ years.
When we founded this company in 2010, we were committed to being the “anti-agency” and being there for the “little guys” of the world. We focused a lot on design.
But now, the same way Peter Parker evolved into Spider Man, or Bruce Banner into The Incredible Hulk, we are little guy branding – lgx for short.
X has a lot of meanings:
- X marks the spot
- Our eXpertise
- Your eXperience
- A variable
- The X-factor
We like to think we have “it”, that special something you might not quite be able to put your finger on.
We see things from the 30,000 foot perspective so our clients don’t have to, from the first phone call or email, a skill evolved out of being placed in every conceivable challenging situation and industry you can imagine.
So, we’ve evolved and rebranded. In the process, paying homage to the artists that have inspired us throughout the years.
In those times when no one else seemed to understand what we were doing other than each other, the artists we drew inspiration from who we knew were doing the same things as us – sitting by themselves, creating, mastering their tools when no one was watching.
I think Grandmaster Caz said it best in Wild Style when he said:
“I’m a warrior, my art is my sword/A place in society is my reward.
Let your mind be pure and free to create/Use the beat in your heart and aim to be great!”
That’s why each one of our service pages features a header image by an artist we love, with a link to check out more of their work.
Pop Art is one of our favorite styles, so you will see a lot of that. We also love comic books. And, we love to have fun.
“When you lose your sense of humor, it just isn’t funny anymore.” – Wavy Gravy
It isn’t just me and Matt banging away on Slack anymore – we have added others to send annoying notifications to!
We’ve added the Mad Scientist and MIT genius Kevin Bullis as a partner.
For day to day operations, we’ve added the most organized and efficient person in the world, Sarah Antonello (think Storm + Jean Grey) who is high on intellect and low on BS.
How about SEO-weirdo Jason Lazarus, silently, secretly controlling the Google SERPS from a basement on Long Island, NY? Sounds like Doctor Octopus to me!
Did someone say “Power Couple?” Sarah and Joe Miragliotta are the lgx social media dynamic duo Catwoman/Batman combo that make social “purrrrrr” so much you’ll never “bat” an eye!
Chris Thomas is our Brainiac, the super villain that is largely responsible for killing off Superman’s home planet of Krypton. But he has assured us he is only using his powers (design/development/strategy) for GOOD now.
Jenna Martucci is so wonderful, you may refer to her as our “Wonder Woman” for her timeliness, knowledge, and experience aiding clients.
In closing, this rebrand was a great exercise for us – to remind us what it is like for our customers.
Can you ever truly objectively analyze yourself or your brand?
Possibly. But it is a lot easier, more fun, and more effective to work with a creative team like ours.