Serif Creative loves a story, and loves helping other businesses tell theirs. With a strong focus on videos that make you feel something, Doug Joseph started the creative agency in 2009.
Serif is focused on being hands-on with their clients, keeping everything in-house. Their approach is garnering attention as the firm has won and been nominated for various awards.
Joseph recently answered The Metropreneur’s questions that highlight his early love for video and the importance of a good story.
[M] Tell us about your background as it relates to Serif Creative and how the business got started.
Serif’s history naturally unfolded over time. When I was a young kid I would play with my dad’s old-school VHS camcorder because it was something I was always fascinated with. Fast forward to when I was in middle school, I distinctly remember sitting in a movie theater after a film with the credits rolling, thinking to myself, “I could do that.” I bought a video camera and started shooting everything.
I had an artistic and eclectic group of friends, and none of them were afraid to jump in front of the camera. All through high school, my friends and I produced short films for our own entertainment. After graduation, I continued to produce films as a hobby, and one day the director of a college in Minnesota reached out to me after viewing some of my personal work on YouTube. He told me that my film made him “feel something,” and that he wanted me to fly up to his college to shoot a promotional film. This was the first time I fully realized that I could be paid to do what I love. After I shot the film, I picked up more commissioned jobs and started the company in 2009. Since then, Serif has become a full-service creative agency. Our niche is still video, and our goal is still to make people feel something.
[M] What services does Serif Creative offer?
We offer video production, graphic design, brand development, photography, web development, and full-scale marketing campaigns, and magic.
[M] What kinds of businesses do you typically work with?
We work with any business or organization that needs its story told. We want to help businesses and organizations make an emotional connection with their customers, clients or members, and we have found that the best way to create that connection is through storytelling. We have worked for businesses in quite a few industries including retail, construction, education, healthcare, nonprofits and many more. We have also worked for several political campaigns and national brand campaigns.
We are fearless to take on any project. If you have a business or organization, we can help. We’re open to meet with anyone big or small and learn more about them.
[M] What makes your agency unique among others?
I think our dedication to storytelling is what sets us apart, and listening to our clients. We really believe that storytelling is an art, and that it is the best way to connect with customers or clients.
The best medium for broadcasting a story is through film. When the audience sees a film we produce for a business, they become emotionally connected to the business. The audience is more motivated to purchase a service or product after watching the film because the relationship has changed, instead of seeing you as just a cash register or a receipt, they see you for the people you are, they hear your story. Let’s be frank, businesses exist to turn a profit, right? But is that it? Oftentimes, business owners desire to provide a quality product or service to the community while doing what they love.
If you walk into a brewery and ask the proprietor, “Hey, why did you start this brewery?” the brewer won’t say, “Because it’s making me rich!” He or she is going to say, “Because brewing is my passion, and I want to share it with anyone who’s thirsty.” At Serif, we deliver this sentiment directly to customers and potential customers alike. All of the sudden, they are interacting with a business on an emotional level before they even set foot in the door.
In addition to this, we have a quick turn around. We have shot, edited and delivered broadcast commercials in a single day. Because we have a small, nimble team, our usual turn around time for mock-ups and rough edits is around a week.
[M] What has the reception been like?
Columbus has been amazing. We moved up here about a year ago from Zanesville. At first, we were down on Gay Street above Due Amici, but have now moved into Franklinton over at 400 W. Rich. Every day is a blast down there – so many amazing artists all packed into one building.
Since the move, we have been reaching out to a lot of businesses just to network and get to know each other. We joined the Franklinton Board of Trade a couple weeks ago and are excited to help the community grow. We chose Franklinton because it’s the underdog on the way up, and that always makes for a great story (we really like stories).
All in all, the Columbus community at large has been very welcoming and accessible. The diversity in Columbus is amazing, and everyone is willing to chat. We never second guessed the move to Columbus, and we are now realizing the benefits of moving that we had never even thought of.
[M] What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in operating Serif Creative?
Our biggest challenge was moving from a video production company to a full-service creative agency. We experienced some growing pains but now feel our quality of work across the board matches our video production quality.
Another challenge we face is educating our clients on the difference (and relationship) between advertising and storytelling. We also strive to constantly educate ourselves on new strategies for storytelling. Our goal is to stay on top of our industry so that we can continue to offer the best products to our clients.
[M] Whats is it like owning a small business in Columbus?
Columbus is a cool city. I think it is a great fit for any small business, really. A lot of companies we run into are home grown right here in Columbus.
People pay attention to small business here. I don’t feel like I have to compete with national-sized creative agencies. I find that the people here want something made here. From their beer to their baked goods, people buy local when they can – it’s Columbus’ culture. In that sense, we offer organizations a way to stay local with their creative work as well.
[M] Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We have recently been nominated for an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy. A promotional film we made was selected among the hundreds of entries. We will find out whether we won on August 2, so keep your fingers crossed. In all seriousness though, it’s an honor just to be nominated. We also have won a Gold Marcom Award for another promotional film, but it looks rather lonely sitting on the shelf. We would love to add an Emmy so it can have some company.
Check out the nominated video.
For more information, visit serifcreative.com.