Tamon George finished a graduate business degree last year. Just a few months later, he launched Creative Theory, a District-based content marketing firm built in part on the Instagram expertise of George and his co-founder Gary Williams.
Creative Theory is making a name for itself and has partnered with brands like Nike and H&M. Read on for more about George’s experience as a co-founder and what helped grow and distinguish his business—from his own perspective.
- Strong ideas. “Creative Theory first came about at a time when my Instagram page was first starting to pop off. People were coming to me and to Gary to partner on campaigns because we had strong ideas. People came to us and basically said, ‘Do what you do.’ When people come to you like that, you’re the lowest person on the totem pole and so you get the smallest piece of the pie. We decided to make a business to go after work instead of waiting for the doorbell to ring.”
- Know the right people at the right time. “Something that is and isn’t surprising is how much of our business is networking. It helped that we built our own personal brands and Instagram pages in a way that suggests that we have an expertise in the area in which we work. Creative Theory didn’t have to do a lot of client education in terms of the District in particular because people had come across us already. I made calls when we first started and we had paying customers within about three weeks. And now we’re starting to get referrals by reputation.”
- Make mistakes early. “We’ve made some mistakes but we were able to make them at the right time. They cost us money, but it’s better to make mistakes early and learn from them. For example, in the very beginning we let one customer say, ‘Do what you do’ instead of asking the right questions—what are the goals, what should the project look like, what is the outcome going to be? As a result, the project did not turn out well and we definitely had to regroup at the end of it, but we grew from that experience.”
- Treat your clients like family. “We like to be like family with our clients because it makes it easy to express ideas and understand exactly what they need. When you immerse yourself in a client’s brand, you can better understand what they need and better represent it. Consumers choose brands that they feel have invested in them, so for all the campaigns that we do, we try to highlight a local perspective. If I lived in this neighborhood, what would I want to say? We try to look at it from the sky and work at it from the ground.”