What a time to be alive. The entrepreneurial spirit is thriving across the state of Michigan, especially in cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids. At Grand Circus, we’re proud to be a part of the excitement. With hundreds of rising startups and small businesses right in our backyard, it’s not hard to find new growth. Detroit’s recent startup boom and Grand Rapids’ thriving entrepreneurial community are further proof that we’re a state full of makers, doers and innovators.
But at Grand Circus, this growth isn’t just a talking point; it’s something we live every day. As a tech startup operating in downtown Detroit, we have a vested interest in the city’s growing startup community. It is important, if not essential, for us to share a connection with our communities and be a source of support for entrepreneurs and startups. From our coding bootcamps that help connect developers with tech jobs in the city to our coworking space that hosts about 30 small businesses, we’re fully committed to helping small businesses and startups thrive in this great city and state.
In order get to know our startup neighbors we decided to take a look at some of our favorite companies and the amazing things they are doing in Detroit and Grand Rapids. Over the next few weeks we’ll feature a handful of startups, showcase their stories and the role their respective homes have played in their operations. While some are well known in the startup space, others are up-and-comers who have the potential to make a special impact in their respective industries.
Every brand needs a story, but for Saga Marketing, that story should be more than a tagline, it should be epic. Since starting the company in 2015, Saga’s founders Eric Thomas and Marcus Burrell have been crafting epic stories for well-respected brands while simultaneously adding chapters to their own epic tale. Through the use of traditional media and outreach, Saga’s storytellers help companies connect with the market and create meaningful and genuine relationships between brands and people.
In order to learn more about the great things Saga is doing in the city, we spoke with Eric and Marcus to hear these storytellers tell their company’s tale firsthand.
What is your company’s big pitch?
Eric: Our main focus is to help companies figure out why they matter to other people. We help develop stories so that companies can connect in a meaningful way. Our overall vision is to become a predominate storytelling group and tell stories that matter and move people. We believe that connections that matter. Don’t make things up, tell the truth.
What role does the city of Detroit play in your company’s identity and culture? Do you think things would have been the same if you’d chosen to start somewhere else?
Marcus: Detroit puts you through one of the hardest businesses classes ever. If you can make it through Detroit, you can make it anywhere. But the experience is worth it. You gotta make it through, though.
Eric: Saga Identity is broader than [just the city]. It plays into the way we hire and the people on our team. It is important that it has value to the residents. I think we would have grown a little faster in another city. Being a part of Detroit’s growth is fun but challenging.
How would you describe your company’s “core value(s)?”
Marcus: Tell epic stories. We want to tell an extraordinary story about our client.
Eric: Build genuine relationships between customers and brand.
What has been your company’s largest challenge so far? How have you/are you able to overcome this?
Marcus: Every day you wake up and encounter a new set of challenges. It’s all about how you overcome these challenges. Sometimes clients are not able to cover expenses. Rent is definitely not cheap. Managing growth isn’t easy. A lot of times it’s not just getting to the table, but also being able to deliver and making sure that your message and brand are aligned.
Eric: Arts and creativity is sometimes devalued, especially in Detroit. It’s a hard sell because a lot of companies are not necessarily open to spending money on innovative marketing techniques. But things are changing. A lot of new business, especially in and around downtown, are realizing that they need to value marketing and innovation in order to compete.
How has your company evolved since it was first founded?
Marcus: There’s been a natural evolution to our businesses. [We’ve] been working together for six years and everything has come full circle. We always start with what will connect to people and making sure that everything we do adds value.
What is your company’s vision for the next 3 years?
Eric: We want to understand how people make decisions and expand our services to developing content on how companies can develop and influence culture.
Thank you Saga Marketing for taking the time to chat with us! If your growing business is looking for a partner to help tell your story, check out their website.
Don’t miss the latest edition of our Startup Spotlight Series. Do you have a favorite Michigan startup that we should know about? Tell us in the comments!
Interested in how Grand Circus can help the growth of your startup? Check out our calendar and coworking space information!