Rebranding: When, Why, and How

Defining Your Business From the Inside, Out


A rebrand is more than just a new look, it’s an opportunity to make fundamental improvements to your business. Nothing great remains the same. If the times are changing, your brand should be, too.


Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve


How you look should be about who you are. If you don’t know who you are, it will show in your brand. If you look at your brand and something feels off, take that as a sign that you need to revisit who you are. 


Your business is not the same as it was 10 years ago. By redefining your mission, vision, and values, you can reconnect with yourself and the people you serve. As a result, a rebrand will just make sense—elements like a new logo, website, and mission statement will simply fall into place.


At Fortress, our new look was motivated by our new mission. When our mission changed, so did we. Our daily operations have improved, the way we interact with clients has changed, and how we view ourselves has evolved. A new logo and website is only an outward expression of that.


Nice to Meet You, Again


Your brand not only represents you, but it represents your audience. If you fall out of touch with what your audience wants, you’ll lose them. Once again, this is about more than just visual appeal. Your ability to connect with your audience ultimately comes down to your ability to serve them.


That means that a rebrand is also a great time to take a look at the services you provide with a magnifying glass.


  • Ask yourself what services are still relevant to your audience and which are not.
  • Determine how the services you provide can change and improve to better serve your clients.
  • Identify any new services that you are capable of providing and that your customers will benefit from.


The services you provide your audience will help to shape how your brand looks, feels, and sounds. As a result, you will be placing your customers at the foundation of your brand and will connect with them on a deeper level.


Don’t Wait for Your Brand to Come Back Into Style


Your brand is not like fashion, it won’t come back into style no matter how long you wait. If it’s been more than 5 years since you’ve revisited your brand, you might want to change that. If it’s been more than 10 years, you must change that. 


Not every brand will need to make drastic changes, but frequently checking in with your mission and audience gives magnetic confidence to your brand. Even if it’s changing something small like a line of copy on your website or the images that you use in your monthly newsletter, when your voice comes through in every detail, people will gravitate toward your brand.


Take a client of ours, Walner Law, for example. Jon Walner has been representing Chicago people for nearly 60 years. Over that time he became well-known as one of the city’s best personal injury lawyers. The problem was that his brand did not represent that rich history. Walner Law had used the same logo since 1988, and it was no longer resonating with the firm’s audience—the people of Chicago.



With the help of Fortress, Jon Walner was able to rebrand himself as “Chicago’s Personal Injury Lawyer” with a brand new logo, one that symbolized the firm’s commitment to Chicago, and a powerful ad campaign that communicated Jon’s passion and experience.


Regardless of the amount of success your business has had in the past, it can still benefit from a rebrand. You may discover a new audience, new services, or a more powerful voice—everything it takes to keep growing your business.


How to Rebrand, Step-by-Step


1. Revisit and redefine your mission.

2. Get in touch with your audience and seek out new audiences.

3. Reevaluate your services and add new services to better serve that audience.

4. Let the “new you” speak for itself through web design, logos, content, and social media.


In reality, the redesign aspect of your rebrand is the simple part. That is if you put in the work to truly know yourself and define your goals. Still, we know how important amazing design is to communicating that story you have worked so hard to develop. That’s where Fortress comes in. 


You are the hero in your story, let us help you tell it. Start a project with us today, or explore more of the brand transformations we have helped our clients achieve.

When Facebook Falls, Don’t Let Your Business Go With It

October 4th’s Facebook Outage Shows Businesses the Importance of a More Diverse Digital Marketing Strategy


Love it or hate it, Facebook is one of the best places to advertise and grow your business. 3 million businesses advertise on Facebook to an audience of over 2.14 billion people, and a lot of these users are customers who use Facebook to find information, ask questions, and stay connected to businesses. Nearly 67% of Facebook users will visit a local business page at least once a day looking for information. With numbers like that, Facebook has become essential to most businesses, especially small and local brands. 


It may be tempting to put all of your eggs into Facebook’s basket, but what happens when Facebook is no longer accessible?


On October 4th, 2021, Facebook (and Facebook-owned Instagram) shut down for almost 7 hours. It might not have been a big deal for you personally, but for the millions of businesses that rely on those social media sites to conduct business, 7 hours can cause a lot of damage. 


If it happened once, it can happen again. Is your business able to stay operational without platforms like Facebook and Instagram? If your answer is “no”, or even “maybe”, it may be time to focus some of your marketing efforts elsewhere.


A Facebook Page is NOT a Website

Somebody had to say it: a Facebook page is not a website. 


If the most important information about your business is only found on social media, you are missing out on potential customers. 


While Facebook—or any major social media platform—has remained a tremendous tool for growing your brand and reaching new customers, you would be shooting your business in the foot by relying on it as your sole internet presence.


Social Media Drives Business, Websites Do Business

Billions of people have a Facebook account, but that doesn’t mean they are using it to make buying decisions. Most people will Google your business looking for a website to back you up. If the only thing they find is a Facebook page, your brand loses both credibility and professionalism. 


During an outage like Facebook’s, you’re abandoning the audience you already have and giving them no way to find information about your business. This is why websites for your business are essential. With a website, as long as your customer has internet access, they have access to your business. 


This is not to say you should ditch Facebook altogether—you certainly should not. However, any social media should only be a supplement to your digital presence. Facebook will help you to grow an audience, but a website is where you build brand recognition, credibility, and conversions. 


Diversify Your Marketing Strategy

A smart investor would never place all their money into a single stock. So why would you conduct business on a single, volatile platform?


Facebook offers a large audience, but it is not a fully comprehensive one. To reach a more diverse and complete audience, it is important to diversify your marketing strategy.


Allocate some of your marketing budget to other platforms such as Google and YouTube. You should also consider email marketing which can help you stay connected to the audience you already have, and gives you a means of communication during Facebook blackouts.


Get Noticed

When you finally get your business’s website up and running—or if you’re looking for ways to improve your existing website—make sure it breaks through the noise. Fortress provides a free marketing audit, which will identify areas of improvement within your website’s SEO, social strategy, Google rankings, and overall marketing performance.


Don’t have a website yet? We can help with that, too. Start a project with us, and let’s work together to set your brand up for success in an ever-changing world.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Brand

There are many mistakes people make that eventually ruin their business. Knowing what these mistakes are is a great way to keep your businesses running. This is a list of the 10 most common mistakes when building your brand:

1. Not Having a Clear Vision

If you don’t have a clear vision for your company, that can negatively affect your ability to make your business successful. Your vision is our goal for your business. You need to know where you want to take your business in the years to come.

2. Lack of Websites

Your website is the first place clients, and potential clients go to learn about your company. Having a confusing, or unfinished website will scare away any visitor. Their first impression of your business is from your website, and when your business doesn’t match your website, that will affect your ability to be successful. Don’t leave your website for last. There are people than can help with that. Take a look at our portfolio page to see some of our clients that came to us to build their website.

3. Not Conveying a Clear Message

People need to figure out what your company is about from your content. If they don’t know what they are looking at, they wont be able to understand what your business truly does. It’s important that you don’t have any typos, or grammatical errors as this could lead to potential clients thinking that your intern work is as sloppy as your site. You may only get one impression with that customer. You want to present yourself, and your company as professional as possible. Proofread before publishing!

4. Not Googling Yourself

75% of people don’t go beyond the first page. If your name or company is not coming up on the top of the list, that’s business your losing. Know what people see when they google you. Make sure your organization is shown in the best light. You can use SEO and PPC to help you with ranking higher on the search chain. Not sure what SEO and PPC is? That’s okay, check out our SEO and PPC site to learn more.

5. Can’t Explain What You Do

Remember the elevator pitch. Can you convey what you do and who you are in 30 seconds or less? People don’t have time to waste. Get to the point, be engaging, and have a listening ear. It’s not just about the business, it’s also about building relationships.

6. Not Thinking Outside the Box

Be open minded. Think of new ways to get more traffic. Your competition might also be thinking of how to get ahead, beat them to the punch. A little bit of creativity goes a long way.

7. Not Paying Attention to Marketing

You don’t have to have a massive budget. Having an online presence that represents you is the key to success. Explore different marketing options. If you need help, hire people who know how to minimize the risk. A good tip is engaging your social media followers when they like or comment any of your posts. This helps give your business a sense that you care about your followers and will make them more likely to share and recommend your site.

8. Failing to Analyze Data

Everything is based on data. Numbers never lie. Pay attention to objective data. Website traffic is what is used to make impactful decisions. Don’t ignore it. There are people that can help with that.

9. Never Learning

Keeping up with everything is important. Stay up to date with the newest technology and newest trends is important to keep your business up to date. Realizing that the world is changing around you can help your business stay ahead of the curve.

10. Not Having a Sense of Urgency

Never wait until later. Delaying some of these issues can impede your business from growing. Handle tasks when they first arise. Leaving it for later can negatively impact your business, and your profits. If you leave clients waiting around they might go and find another person who will get their needs met in a timely manner.

Customers Talk. So Jump On Referral Marketing


Word of mouth is what helped Airbnb and Dropbox grow quickly into the well-known brands they are today and you should be doing it too.

As a potential client, you may ask your friends about their opinions on a specific product or place, and as an actual customer, you’ll probably give out a recommendation yourself. In the business world this is known as referral marketing, and it’s one of the best forms of marketing when it comes to making sales.What makes it especially successful is its accuracy in targeting specific audiences since people tend to know what their friends like.

Customers will always talk between themselves so it’s important to ask yourself one question when providing different services and products and that is “What do customers want?”. When clients receive a great product or consistently great customer service from your business, they are likely to spread the word about it and that increases your chances to grow your business. Thus, the foundation of building up a company is based on referrals. There are many benefits to referral marketing and they include:

Transferred trust and implied endorsement

The first thing needed is for a buyer to trust a seller. People don’t like risks so when someone refers you to a buyer there is immediate credibility since the person who referred you is someone the buyer already trusts. Your most loyal supporters are more likely to give positive recommendations to their friends so the potential risk for loss is lowered. An added bonus is spreading a good word about your company has a huge potential reach today since people are hyper-connected to others through social media, apps and blogs.

Cost-effective client acquisition

When customers refer you to their friends and family, you’re essentially getting a tailored message to a specific audience. Because people recognize what their friends like or are willing to spend money on, referral marketing has high success rates for target audiences. A HUGE plus is you’re not putting time or a dime into referral marketing like you would have to with cold calling when you’re starting out or SEO when you’re more established so it’s free advertising—cha-ching!

Reduced sale cycle and closing

With referrals, you don’t have to spend as much time selling yourself because the trust between you and your prospective client has already been established. As a result, you can focus your time on creating a customized solution for the potential client.

Incentive to spread the word through benefits

If you can come up with a valuable two-sided referral program that benefits current clients and prospective customers, it will encourage existing clients to share your business with others because there’s an incentive. Benefits make current customers happy while alleviating the risk for new clients, and that has a major impact on your conversion rate.

Referral marketing, especially in the beginning, is the foundation for many companies, and it’s what helps grow businesses into distinguished brands overtime. So whether you’re starting out or better established, jump on the referral marketing bandwagon. Customers who are naturally inclined to recommend your business to their friends are big opportunities for you to increase your sales rate.

Email Marketing: Pros and Cons



Email marketing, if done correctly, is a great way to reach new audiences and potential customers online. But like any marketing campaign, understanding the pros and cons of email marketing can mean the difference between successful and failed campaigns. Below are the good and bad sides of email marketing.


Brand awareness – Consistent email marketing helps consumers remember who your brand is. This can result in consumers sharing your material if they think it’s good, which further promotes your brand, and it helps people to recall your brand when they are ready to make a buying decision.

Easily share information and advertise – Email marketing allows you to share content that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise in your specific industry or field, but it also gives you the opportunity to promote a new product, service or limited time special offer.

Open, targeted dialogue – Email marketing creates the opportunity to build conversations around topics consumers are interested in. Because opt in/out services are available in email campaigns, people who are genuinely interested in your products will receive your emails and you’re able to build targeted campaigns around this group.

Fast to produce – Email marketing campaigns don’t require the hours of design and printing time direct mail campaigns can take with the variety of free or low cost email design service sites out there.


Difficult getting attention – It’s very much possible that your marketing email may never be opened by consumers. Bulk emailing programs are unpredictable because your marketing email could be seen as unimportant and be deleted or caught in the spam folder and never be seen by consumers.

Bad reputation – Unsolicited emails can leave a bad taste in a consumer’s mouth and make a person consider your company less than reputable. If everyone on your list hasn’t opted in or if unsubscriber requests aren’t taken care of immediately, your company’s image can be tarnished.

Relevance – Sending relevant information to a large group of people is difficult to accomplish. Consumers want quality information that is pertinent to them. If there isn’t a clear and appropriate call to action based on your targeted group, they’ll move on to the next email.

Content planning requires time and thought – From the body content and call to action to even the email’s subject line that gets people to click on the email, creating quality content that consumers are interested in is very time consuming.

So there you have it. Like any marketing campaign, there are pros and cons to email marketing that should be considered before planning an advertising strategy. But if you do it right, email marketing can be very effective.

Web Builder vs Web Designer/Developer



If you’re looking to create a website for your personal or professional life, you know there are several options out there to build your site. But building websites usually comes down to two categories: working with web builders or working with web designers and developers. But what’s the difference between two?

Web builders, or online content management systems, are inexpensive tools that build websites without having to edit any coding manually. Users don’t need to have any special programming skills and can use these tools to build their sites themselves. Web builders have several different types of templates, drag and drop features to load content and editing capabilities to change colors, images and text. The advantages of web builders include not having to purchase, install or update any type of software on your computer, having both web building and hosting services offered by the same provider, and being able to work on your site from anywhere without knowing how to code. Sound too good to be true? It is. Although the advantages can cover the basics (and at a cheap price), there is truth to the saying, “You get what you pay for.”

For starters, lots of other businesses and competitors could be using the same template you’re using which means your site won’t stand out as much. On the same note, you’re very limited in how much you can customize your site with cookie cutter templates so your brand might not be reflected as well as it could be. Other issues more on the technical side include some templates not being search engine friendly or not working on all browsers, which can be bad for business. Although it may be a cheaper option than working with web designers and developers, what you see with web builders is what you get. No more, no less.

On the other hand, web designers and developers create the visual layout and functions of a website on a customized level. Designers focus on the artistic side of the site (visual) and developers focus on the way the site works (functionality). It’s essentially two jobs that are usually performed by two different people, but there are some individuals who have both skillsets. Although working with web designers and developers can be time consuming and pricey, you get what you pay for (but this time in a good way).

Designers and developers are able to create unique designs and features that accurately represent your company’s brand and are hard to come by in web builder templates. When working with web designers and developers, the sky is the limit with whatever specifications or requirements customers have about the look and operation of their site. Web developers build customized sites to achieve the best user experience possible, to be search engine friendly and work across all browser types. In essence, you get a functional website that looks like no other. You aren’t limited in flexibility, structure and changes to your site. If you ever need web support for any issues you may come across, the designers and developers you worked with are real people who will be there for you.

Although web builders may sound like a good option because they serve basic website needs at a cheap price, a custom designed website is the better option in the long run because they create established brands. Customized sites guarantee user friendliness, search engine optimization and most importantly align online and offline branding needs, which makes for a good overall website and branding experience.

Apple Watch: Necessary or Needless

Laptops. Smartphones. Tablets. Now watches.

With the release of the Apple Watch six and a half weeks back, our office decided to do an experiment: Buy the smart watch, have employees test it out and report back their impressions of it. As Apple users, Aubin (design), Joel (management), Sam (business development) and I (project management) were excited to test out the new product, especially since we all have iPhones. And since we have different roles here, we thought it would be interesting to see each other’s opinions on it. It was a fun trial run, but surprisingly we all came to the same conclusion: The watch was a great gadget with some very cool features, but it wasn’t an essential purchase.

There were some awesome aspects with the Apple Watch. For starters, the packaging was beautiful. It had the classic Apple packing: a sleek, white box with soft suede on the top to protect the device and other contents (including a second watch band for Apple Watch wearers with smaller wrists—good one, Apple). A nice touch after pairing your phone with the watch was not having to initially download a bunch of apps. The watch takes the apps that are currently on your phone and automatically adds them to its interface if there is a watch version available. (FYI Facebook is currently not available on the Apple Watch.)




But we each had a variety of experiences when pairing the device to our phones. It went from downright easy for some to downright impossible for others. “How can that be?” you might ask. For Sam and myself, it was an extremely easy set up. The watch instructions were clear and the Apple Watch app on the iPhone helped navigate the process efficiently. Joel’s experience was more difficult since he kept having to reenter his Apple ID, and the first calls he made and messages he sent all failed on top of other problems. He eventually found out the email address he used to order the watch wasn’t his iTunes account so the device wasn’t functioning properly because it was trying to verify the non-iTunes email address. Once he got on the iCloud site and fixed it, everything worked nicely.




Aubin had the worst experience. His phone wouldn’t pair with the watch. He found out that the watch only paired with the latest software on the iPhone so he updated his phone to get the Apple Watch app, except it still didn’t show up after the update. After 10 minutes of frustration, it was discovered that the watch could only pair with an iPhone 5 or higher…. And he had a 4. In short, Aubin couldn’t test it. It was a bummer and an annoyance since it was clear the phone’s software had to be updated but was vague on which phone you could use with the watch. Strike one, Apple.

Back to the pluses though. Joel, Sam and I agreed controlling music on our phones remotely was great. It was nice not having to pull your phone out to change songs while doing other things like working out or taking the bus. Siri worked well in place of a keyboard for texting, finding locations, etc. Battery life was great on the watch. It only had to be charged every other day and didn’t drain the iPhone’s battery as much as we thought it would. The fitness functions were equally impressive. The watch was able to monitor and track your heart rate since it fits on your wrist, and it had an activity component that told you to get up and moving, counted how many steps you took and tracked how many calories you burned. Talking to someone on the watch was similar to speakerphone on the iPhone. You could keep it at arm’s length, not speaking directly into the watch, and still be heard clearly. Some other nice features included the simplicity of ordering an Uber and the ability to customize the watch face to your preferences.




Two big cons we saw however were size and email. Having a smart watch with touchscreen capabilities can be difficult to use since a watch’s face is small. We opted for the 42 millimeter face (the bigger size) and would still say that items were hard to click. We couldn’t imagine using the smaller version. It was hard to click the right app at times since they were so tiny on the watch. You could use the watch dial to zoom in and make the apps bigger which was nice, but I have little hands and it was still difficult. If they were bigger, that could be an irritating problem and that was the case for Joel and Sam. Checking email was also annoying. For starters, it didn’t alert you when you got new mail and, although some messages came through like threads between friends for example, scheduled bills, weekly updates and other messages weren’t available to view on the Apple Watch which was frustrating. Strikes two and three.

The Apple Watch, in our opinion, is essentially about two things: notifications and activity tracking. The main advantages of the Apple Watch are getting notified about important messages/not having to pull out your phone to check updates and monitoring how active you are. It’s essentially an extension of your iPhone so you could potentially be less distracted if you’re looking at alerts on your watch instead of looking at your phone. BUT if you wanted to do more than just be notified, the apps on the watch are very limited in their capability. They mostly serve to check updates and operate your phone’s functions (music, text, camera, etc.) remotely.

Although the Apple Watch was really fun to test out, none of us felt the way we did when we first got our iPhones. Our iPhones went from cool smartphones to essential devices. If any of our phones broke or we forgot them at home when going to work, we all agreed that it felt like we were disconnected from the world or that a part of us was missing. In other words, we had (and still have) the I-can’t-live-without-it feeling when it comes to our iPhones. With the watch, it’s an amazing product but the essential need  wasn’t there for any us. Good effort, Apple. But we can live without the Apple Watch.


Apple Watch PROS and CONS


♦ Easy pairing with iPhone (IF you have the 5 or higher with the lastest update to get the Apple Watch app)

♦ Activity tracking

♦ Siri for texting

♦ Talking through watch is clear (similar to speakerphone on iPhone)

♦ Controlling music

♦ Extra watch band (for small wrist users)

♦ Customized face options

♦ Some apps are very intuitive and make life easier, like ordering an Uber


♦ Must have iPhone 5 or higher with the iOS 8 update to use Apple Watch

♦ Face too small as a touchscreen

♦ Email functions are limited

♦ Apps are very restricted in their capabilities

♦ No Facebook

What Colors Should I Use For My Website



Web design is a crucial part of the website creation process. With the rise of mobile and tablet devices accessing the internet more than laptops and desktops, having a responsive web design that is resizable and optimal is a must these days. But as business owners focus on having mobile-friendly websites, advanced web-browsing capabilities and touchscreen navigation, some web design basics can fall in the cracks. Color is a prime example. In order to create an ideal company website, color must be taken into consideration because it influences the tone, environment and overall brand identity of a company.

Color is tricky. It has a huge impact on our emotions and attitudes. Studies have shown that color influences product assessments and purchases, so keep in mind the colors you choose to represent your website affect your potential customers. Your type of business, target audience and the overall tone you want to portray will determine your website’s color palette.

Colors generally have a certain connotation associated with them. For example, red is a very intense color and can imply a variety of emotions from warning to passion. Black is another intense color with a wide range of meanings from elegance to mystery to death. Orange and yellow generally suggest energy and fun, while green suggests more natural and earthy tones. White is generally associated with light and purity, and blue implies several feelings including trust, sincerity and health. Blue tends to be a favorite among both men and women, and several websites serving all types of industries tend to use blue in their color palette because people generally respond well to it.

Picking the best color palette for your company’s website is ultimately up to you, but there are a few general rules to consider when choosing:

Use natural colors

Using primary and natural colors will be more pleasing to the eye. Synthetic and unnatural shades like lime green, hot pink or bright blue, for example, will fatigue the eye.

Choose colors that make your content readable against the background

You want the content on your website to be clear and easy to read. If you have white text, for example, black, dark blue or gray are effective background colors that will make the content legible.

Use your color palette regularly throughout the site

Color consistency reinforces your brand’s identity, makes your product more memorable and generally produces an enjoyable experience to the consumer (assuming a moderate number of eye pleasing colors are chosen).

Choosing a color palette for your website is important in order to effectively communicate your brand’s message. Be sure to think about what you want your brand to say to consumers and have the colors on your website reflect that message.

Interview With Joel Mathew



Fortress Consulting Group President Joel Mathew always knew he wanted to start a business from a very early age. With a degree in operations management and information systems and years of advertising experience in radio and television with Comcast and CBS, Joel saw the need in the market for an agency that bridged the gap between digital and traditional media. He knew starting a firm with the technical expertise of a web services company and the creativity of an advertising agency would have a great impact on his clients.


What is your background?

“I went to school as a computer science major at Northern, and when I took my first programming class, I realized I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk coding all day. As much as I didn’t want to be a career programmer, I always valued it and this experience proved to be very useful in the early days of FCG when I had to develop some of the first projects myself. Where my passion truly lies is in creating new ideas and strategies for our clients and interacting with them on a daily basis. When I started the company, it was really the advertising and marketing side that carried us the first year. The second year was search engine optimization and other digital services. The third year it was web design and development. In our fourth year of business, it was app design. Every year we’ve gotten stronger in a new area and adapted really well to the needs of the market.”


Who is the Fortress team?

“We’ve had some good growth over the past few years and that’s all due to the team that we have in place. I’m really proud of the people I work with, and I’m inspired daily by their creativity and perseverance through any problem. I really wanted to create a team atmosphere where each person is accountable and valued, and I feel like we’ve done a good job establishing that. I love the competitive nature of sports, and I take that same approach with work where we’re all on a team together striving for a common goal that’s achieved by hard work and passion.”


What are Fortress’ specialties?

“We love the clients that come to us with an idea but aren’t sure how to execute it. One example that I love to showcase that really tells a good story of what we do is one of our real estate clients. This client came to us with an idea for creating an upscale real estate brand in Chicago that would help generate more leads, put him on the map, and help sell more property. We started off creating the company name and doing all of the branding work. From there we built a really beautiful, engaging website where we then did SEO on. Within 4 months, we had him on page 1 in Google and, within the first year and a half, he sold more than 4 million dollars in property through leads coming from his site. This started off as just an idea, evolved into more and more responsibility for us, and ultimately new ways to help grow a business. We love the partnerships that start off as one seemingly simple task and then grow into larger projects that include services on both the advertising / marketing end and also the digital side of our company. Ultimately, our specialty is in building brands for our clients through our diverse areas of expertise.”


How is Fortress funded?

“When I started the business, I challenged myself to not put a dollar of my own money into it and not accept any outside funding. I wanted it to grow on it’s own organically from the very first project. I wanted everything to be generated by the company and stay in the company. That’s why we try to keep our overhead as low as possible—we don’t have too much expense other than office, payroll and marketing, and everything we do goes back into the business.”


What are Fortress’ goals?

“I want Fortress to be known for doing amazing work with amazing people all over the world.”


Where does the name “Fortress” come from? 

“The Fortress name came from a verse in the Bible that I like a lot. It’s from Psalms 62:6 and it says ‘God is our rock and our fortress. I will never be shaken.’ This verse means a lot to me in that I’m not doing this alone or for myself. I feel that the Fortress name really represents strength and stability and the values that our company stands on.”


What lessons have you learned from starting your own company?

“It’s hard to just say one, but there is something that stands out. Every day is a learning process and that is an exciting thing about being an entrepreneur and running a company. Even when you feel like you’ve figured something out or you’ve had a good week or month or quarter or year, there’s always some curve ball you’re trying to work through. But the biggest lesson I learned from very early on is to respect and appreciate money. Working for someone else or working for a big corporation and getting paid every two weeks, you just take it for granted. You think it’s this never ending fountain of funds, and you can go out and do whatever you want because you know you’ll get more money in two weeks. Starting a business showed me just how hard it is to make money and not take it for granted. At the same time though, I don’t put making money as the number one goal. The goal is to do great work for our clients and money is just a byproduct of doing great work that you love.”


Any advice for future entrepreneurs? 

“I still consider myself new after four years in business, but my advice would be to just do it. Jump into it. Put your all into it and don’t half ass it. Because you will surprise yourself—how resilient you are and what you are capable of. Don’t worry about five years from now or 10 years from now. You don’t have to have it all figured out right now, but you do have to get started.”

Instagram = Instabrand

Participating in social media is a must for building brands these days, and while Facebook and Twitter are the common platforms to partake in, Instagram is on the rise as a major tool for where social media users spend a significant portion of their time.

People don’t access the internet the same way they used to 10 years ago. With mobile media surpassing online media consumption for the first time, most mobile media activity comes through an application. And the data specifically surrounding the Instagram app is staggering.

According to an article in Fast Company, there are over 100 million active users, 1.6 billion likes, 40 million uploaded photos and 20 billion shared photos per day on Instagram. If your business is targeting millennials, the numbers are even better since Generation Y smartphone users spend an astonishing 439 minutes per month on the photo app.

So the question is why is Instagram so popular? The answer is simple: Instagram is an easy and convenient way to share stories, reactions and experiences through photos. For businesses, it’s a way for consumers to window shop—to get a taste of your brand—and easily share your products and services with others. In other words, Instagram is unique to other types of content because it visually highlights storytelling. Not to mention, Instagram has a newsfeed similar to Facebook’s, but the photo app’s is even better since 100% of Instagram posts appear on a consumer’s newsfeed whereas Facebook’s feed doesn’t necessarily show all the posts on a page a fan follows. Instagram also has the benefits of Twitter with the use of hashtags to target brands to people who are interested in your specific market instead of wasting efforts on those who are indifferent.

As Instagram continues to rapidly grow—there were 50 million new members in the app’s first six months, 200 million users in 2013 and 300 million users in 2014—the key lesson to take away is if you’re not on Instagram, you’re missing out on a valuable marketing opportunity.



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