Every so often I bump into a company that’s stayed well out of the spotlight, kept its collective heads down, and built up a thriving business – while most of the industry was unaware the company even existed.
Consider Revel Media Group, which is based in the greater Salt Lake City area. Revel is a digital signage solutions provider that leads with content, and since starting up about six years ago, has seen triple digit growth, year after year.
The company was started by Brian Fitzpatrick and a business partner, with Brian having cashed out of a business he built installing and managing very high-end home theatre and home automation systems for stinking rich people with retreats at Utah ski resorts.
Revel does what I’d call creative and content management as a service. Customers pay a set fee, and get as much creative as they need, turned around as fast as 24-hours. It’s not for major brands. But for retailers who have a lot to say and sell, it’s a cost and timing model that resonates for them. Doing all the creative for grouos like c-store chains led them to broaden the business into the full meal deal – from idea through execution and management.
We spoke at Seneca’s partner conference outside Syracuse, NY, earlier in August. Here’s a sampler of what’s in the podcast:
Dave: There are lots of companies that do the whole solutions provider thing in their markets. What struck me as different, what intrigued me, is the way that you’ve bundled the creative into the overall offer. How does that work and what’s unique about it?
Brian: Correct. We’re in an industry where everybody says content is king, but very few people actually build content. What we do is, content is one of the things you have to have, it’s not the only thing but it is one of those things, and it’s one of the things that is missing a lot. In order to have a successful deployment the more content you have, the more relevant content you have, the more your viewer is going to be engaged, the more people are going to continue to watch the screens, and the more people are going to take their deployments larger and larger and larger.
Content is king. What we’ve realized is the way that you have to do it is you have to supply them content, be able to build them content, and you need to do it in a way that is almost a quantity over quality model. People don’t always need everything to win an award that’s on a screen, they just need to get a message out. What we really focus on is creating content very quickly. We have a 24-hour or less turnaround time on all of our content and that’s so that people can have content be done very quickly and on their screens.
We also, with all of our models, we offer unlimited content creation. I know there’s a lot of models out there where, for five ads a month, it’s X amount of dollars or whatever, and you’re really limiting people’s creativity and you’re really limiting how much engagement you can have on the screens if you’re limiting the scope of the content.
What we try to do is get a lot of people involved, we look at it more of a social platform, where we try to get as many users involved as possible actually trying to contribute to the content strategy, contributing ideas to the content strategy, and then our team of college educated, US-based graphic designers are building all of this content — not with templates, but from the ground up, on brand, their style guides, their fonts, everything, and delivering it very, very quickly, and good quality content that people love to see on their screens.
At a premium price?
We are very, very affordable. We can typically offer an entire month of unlimited content for less than what most freelancers will charge you for one to two pieces of content.
How do you do that? Is is because of process or volume, or you’re paying slave wages?
Process is a big part of it. We definitely have a lot of proprietary workflow management tools, a lot of business intelligence that we’ve collected over the last six and a half years that we’ve been doing this. We understand the needs of our customer. When we onboard a customer in a specific vertical, we know roughly about what their content needs are going to be, so we know how to staff up very quickly. We do hire great talent and then we have some rapid content creation tools, as well as some content creation methodology that we use to deploy content very quickly.
Really, where we’re seeing the savings is definitely volume. The other thing is we have negotiated rates with 37 million stock photography images that have unlimited impression licensing for digital mediums. Typically if you hire a freelancer or an agency or somebody like that, stock photography’s going to cost you $10 to $50 per image. All of those images are included in everything we do and we have an unlimited impression license on any digital medium for that. All of these different types of things that we’ve really strived to become experts on, is why we can deliver the product we do at the price we do. Most people can’t believe it.
You can hear the rest by clicking on play up top, below the pic, or grab it from the RSS feed or the links below, to listen in your car, on the bus, in jail, whatever …
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.