Story courtesy of BizCon
For most young adults in smaller cities like Sturgis, if you are looking to make your mark in a field like marketing, video or graphic design, you see your future in big cities like Chicago or Los Angles.
But Brett Scheske and Sam Adams, co-owners of Hype Brand Management, are making their mark in their hometown and doing some big things.
Both Brett and Sam are locals — Brett from Sturgis and Sam from Centreville. Brett graduated in 2003 and majored in writing and minored in film at Grand Valley State University. Sam graduated in 2005 and went through Western Michigan’s graphic design program. After college they followed a traditional path, working in bigger cities across the state and country, before gravitating back toward home.
They connected as part of a freelance collaboration. Sam was working as a graphic designer and brought Brett in as a videographer on a project.
"We collaborated on the whole project, the client was really happy with everything, and that’s when we decided we wanted to start our own branding company" Brett said.
The two formed Hype Brand Management, a branding and social media marketing company that "builds identities" for companies through video, logos, marketing campaigns and more. A big focus for the company is on social media and internet marketing, a huge and growing sector of the branding and advertising market.
"A lot of the companies that hire us, hire us to spark their social media content" Brett said. For Hype, being successful in this area is all about content.
"Good content equals good traffic," Sam said. "Our content is compelling...we have been able to get all kinds of new clients and our work really stands for itself."
When Hype was founded in 2015, Brett and Sam saw a need, but like many small start-ups, didn’t know where the business would go.
"We knew there was a need for something like this in this community” Brett said. “We didn’t realize how many people would be knocking on our door."
A big part of their success in starting and growing the business was their connection to the community.
"We came back wanting to start a business, see this community grow, wanting to be part of it. We utilized our contacts in this area – we grew up with a lot of these people ...we know a lot of people in this town, and once we rolled out this business, we let everyone know what we were doing."
In just a short time, Hype has seen its client list grow significantly. They serve a wide range of businesses and organizations in the Sturgis area, including banks, insurance companies, restaurants, event centers, a number of area schools and many more, even developing a brand for professional bass fisherman Chad Grigsby.
The company is more than a local business however. While about 50 percent of the business comes from within St. Joseph County, the other half is spread to businesses around the state and country. Indeed, one of their big opportunities involved taking a local job and turning it into more.
"Local Wings Etc. in Sturgis, decided to give us a chance and produce a video for them just on the local level" Brett said. "There are 50 locations, but this was just for the Sturgis location. Wings Etc. corporate got ahold of the video, loved it, and they are now one of our clients. Gene Harrison and Wings Etc. here in Sturgis gave us an opportunity, we took advantage of it, and now we are doing commercials for all 50 locations that are on TV."
Like any new and successful business, all the growth has made keeping up hard. While they are always willing to sit down with potential clients, they are “at maximum capacity” for projects and looking to continue to expand.
The business currently employs Brett, Sam, and two full time employees — Liam Adams and Sean Clark, plus an intern. Hype is “trying to find talent,” according to Sam, and in keeping with their own experience, the partners are looking locally for new hires. The group has used local high school interns that are looking to pursue careers in the field, something that not only helps the students in their goals, but is valuable for Hype as well.
In the end, Hype Brand Management is excited to be back home and part of the growth of Sturgis.
According to Sam, "(We) love to be a part of this new evolution of things. My girlfriend owns the Craftsman’s Daughter, to Jackie’s new salon shop (Jaclyn Nicole Salon), it's just kind of a younger vibe of people that are young adults that are growing downtown – it's fun to be a part of it."
"We want to do big things, and we want to do big things in a small town" Brett said. "You don't necessarily have to leave Sturgis to do big things."