Why Small Businesses Matter
Shop small, do big things for your community
Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!
You're IT Map Agency!
Four questions with John Rudolph, founder of Map Agency.
Why did you start your business?
Like many bands that just want to rock out, we started Map Agency in our garage in 2020. Instead of creating great music though, we wanted to craft compelling visual solutions. Our creative outlet is graphic design. We saw a need in the market for local people and businesses that could use agency-level marketing. The trick was to reach those people, let them know we exist and show how branding and design can add long-term Return on Investment to their product or service that far outweighs short-term advertising tactics. We went rather an old school at first, sending out mailers with a simple letter that spoke to our experience in branding and design.
We'd follow up with a phone call or email, and ask for an opportunity to present our work. (This was still during the pandemic, so most of these initial meetings happened on Zoom.) We still do some of that today but, more often than not, we're provided a reference from one of our happy partners. Our clients have become our best source for new projects. Whenever we get positive feedback on a recent collaboration, it's music to our ears!
What is your best-selling service?
We're all about building great brands — that's our passion, what we understand the best, and also where we add the most value for our clients. When it comes down to it, branding is all about creating a reputation that aligns with your values. Once we understand those values, we can start building a brand in several ways. We'll often partner with start-ups that need an entire Brand Identity System. This includes identifying white space in the marketplace and crafting a unique brand purpose, mission statement, and visual and verbal standards.
We also offer several design services that help bring a brand to life — logo design, website design, editorial design, and advertising campaigns including print, digital, and social media marketing. Every design solution we create is built with the brand in mind.
How many local businesses do you use to support your business and can you name them?
Have you "reimagined" your small business?
We've had to reimagine how Map Agency is positioned a few times. While our initial instinct was to work with start-ups and local entrepreneurs, we quickly realized that we could also add real value by collaborating with much larger businesses. Because of our experience in marketing and advertising, we had a great deal of exposure and understanding of national retailers. Developing creative campaigns for large organizations is certainly a different scope of work, but our creative process is very similar. We still tackle each project with curiosity, asking many questions, and trying to get to the heart of the communications challenge before developing any creative solutions.
We've also started to partner with several non-profit organizations. Everything we design is with purpose, but the definition of purpose takes on additional meaning when the objective, and our solution, have the potential to benefit society. The reason we love to design for nonprofits is that our collaboration contributes to positive change in our local communities. And that means we not only get to design with purpose — we also get to design for progress.
HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!