The branding industry is often considered one of the most diverse in the world. The opportunities are limitless and most startups would kick off as “full-service marketing agencies”, dipping their hands into several jars at the same time – from content creation to social media marketing and technical SEO to all categories of graphic design. Essentially, everything marketing-related must be within their scope of expertise.
However, with over 14 years in the field and having worked with some of the highest-flying companies in the world, New York-born entrepreneur and founder, Brian Wallace, believes that in practice, no branding agency can effectively offer “full services” as often claimed. The first step to running a successful business is to always be honest about the services you can efficiently provide. Wallace is the CEO and Founder of NowSourcing.com, an internationally reputed branding agency that creates custom infographics for all types of businesses at different levels.
An infographic is an assemblage of textual facts, images, and charts that offers a simple overview of a topic, idea, or product.
NowSourcing is not the regular template-providing website where relevant data is keyed in and an infographic will be generated by some type of software. They perform on a more in-depth, up-close, and personal level, and for each brand, the process is the same but the results are tailored to be specific. With past clients as highly placed as Microsoft, Lexus, Adobe, FedEx, Skype, Twitter, and recognition as one of the top five content marketing agencies in the world, Wallace has built a remarkable career focusing on a single niche in the marketing industry.
Blazing early trails
NowSourcing was founded in 2006 by Wallace and his wife. He was formerly working as the Chief Technology Officer for a small tech company, but after observing a colleague work his 9-5 and still run a full-fledged business, Wallace began to desire entrepreneurial autonomy. When they first started, NowSourcing offered web, media, and marketing services in the US – the typical full-service marketing agency. Eventually, Wallace discovered his company’s actual strengths and banked heavily on it – infographics.
“I realized that my company was specifically good at three things,” he said. “We knew how to tell a story, we understood data and stats, and we understood what makes a visual image attractive to the mass consumer.”
NowSourcing has grown so remarkably in the past 14 years that some of its clients are the world’s major industry movers. Countless infographics have been produced over the years and are found visibly on several major league publications and outlets on the internet.
Wallace’s company is carved out of a very unique and specific niche with quite the dynamic competition.
“I feel that the industry has evolved in three distinct periods,” he said. “The first wave – 2007-2009 – this was the Wild West and there were only a few players in the industry and we all knew each other. Many of us came from the virality of crowdsourced news sites such as Digg.com. Yes, there is definitely a handful of us that have helped evolve infographics into a proper content marketing strategy.”
“The second phase was triggered around 2012 when everyone suddenly wanted to delve into the market at the same time. Innovators even began to come up with software templates to quickly complete projects.”
As of 2021, Wallace believes the industry is now in a third phase where demand is almost completely matching supply and there’s enough room in the ocean for every producer with real substance.
Bringing ideas to an interesting reality
Over the years, Wallace has built a solid reputation as the Founder with unique working principles. From responding directly to the live chat support on his company’s website to giving clients the option of choosing suitable communication platforms, Wallace believes the clients’ comfort must come first at every stage.
“Who better to answer queries on our website than me? When someone wants to chat on our website, I get an alert and I answer it. We once got FedEx as a client through the chatbox. People like it when you show interest in them,” Wallace explained.
For a company invested in such detail-oriented work, communication is the foundational strength upon which everything else is built. The departments must relate effectively with one another and efficiently with clients before each quality infographic can be produced.
NowSourcing is divided into four major departments that contribute actively to the production and circulation of infographics. There’s the research institute – puts together a clear, cohesive, fact-based, and compelling narrative; design firm – experienced graphic designers that bring these ideas to life; public relations – funneling the production out to about 30-75+ publications; and SEO – linking productions back to the client for long-term value. NowSourcing’s current work includes everything from Amazon’s supplements dominance to autonomous vehicles and healthcare trends.
Wallace’s company of 15 employees went fully remote during the heat of the COVID-19 lockdowns. While most other firms suffered from communication difficulties, Wallace and his staff thrived and coordinated smoothly and as he said, “Stronger than ever”.
“We use Slack for internal communication, and we use Zoom and Google Hangouts for meetings,” he explained. “Emails are used for new clients or specific requests that are best suited through short email messages.”
On communicating with clients, Brian recommends asking directly for the preferred communication platform where they’ll always be available. “When you want to communicate with someone on a personal level, you need to use your intuition or outright ask them how they prefer to communicate. I personally like structured and scheduled meetings.”
NowSourcing broke into the market as a pioneer in the infographics niche, and Wallace’s ten-year plan features a simple goal – to keep moving forward.
“I like to say that we aren’t in the infographics business but rather we are in the future of web business. We got in early as social media practitioners in 2006 and infographics in 2008, so I’m always looking at what’s next,” he said.