29 February 2020

The Becoming of Forge Relations

As a marketing & consulting agency, it is our mission "To build organic and adaptive marketing strategies that strengthen the relationship between customer and brand." The origin of Forge Relations was a rather unconventional one. Originally the founders, Will and Ben partnered up to establish a procurement company building firearms and gear load-outs for military and law enforcement officers. Through personal networking, Will and Ben were able to build deep industry relationships, and from these developed relationships, were able to obtain products at a lower cost than others.

The concept of "Forge Relations" emerged around the same time, having been named and established based on the strong relationships maintained within the firearms community. When asked how they go about deciding on what marketing approach to implement for each client, Ben stated "in everything we do we try to think outside the box and take a unique angle on marketing. We focus a lot on cross-promotions between different industries." Both partners were driven by a mutual passion for firearms, so naturally establishing their company from within this niche market made the most sense. Working in the firearms industry forced them to construct creative campaigns among platforms that have strongly enforced restrictions on promoting controversial things, such as firearms. Since Will and Ben have been in the industry for about 7 years, they know the ins and outs of promoting such products, and what is most appealing to the loyal consumers of the industry.

Creating content, and working with big named influencers, would be the tip of the iceberg for Forge Relations. These relationships led to the creation and production of the Gundies Award Ceremony. The Gundies Awards began as an idea to fill a gap in the industry when it came to the recognition of hard work and time, many influencers put into creating entertaining content for their thousands of followers. Putting a unique spin on a concept inspired by the hit show, The Office, the Gundies Awards aimed to highlight the top firearms influencers in the nation. Their team and chosen sponsors finally made it a reality in 2019, introducing the first ever Gundies Awards Ceremony making it a huge success that they intend to grow on as an annual celebration. While driving towards their goals of becoming more involved in event managing, Will and Ben were able to create an experience for influencers and their audiences, like no other.

The team at Forge Relations, is always coming up with new, unique approaches to event and content management for their clients along with their own brand. Fortunately, when it came to expanding their services among different industries, the transition from market to market was a fluid one. Already accustomed with having to think outside the box creatively, creating content for their other clientele became more natural. For instance, many of those who were the targeted audience in the firearms industry also were a part of an audience in other markets that Forge has now included in their portfolio. Focusing on a cross-promotional marketing strategy allows a campaign's reach to expand to a wider audience, while still targeting specific consumers. Along with this strategy, Forge has taken advantage of experimental marketing, which provides an audience with the ability to live vicariously through influencers that share his/her experiences online or through other mediums. Currently Forge Relations has begun to focus on more of their local businesses within the Myrtle Beach area. Moving into a localized target audience from such a specific niche audience was not as difficult as many would believe. Before the becoming of Forge Relations, Will founded and owned Sky Fitness, the first 24/7 Gym in Myrtle Beach, since then the gym has expanded to add a second location. Having a background in local entrepreneurship of brick-and-mortar businesses, allowed for a better understanding on what content distribution strategies best fit their local portfolio. Compared to working in the firearms industry, focusing on the local market was more of a walk in the park, especially since the audience was familiar and more targeted. When it comes to anything new, extensive research of new industries is essential in order to better serve such clients. As different businesses seek consulting by Forge Relations, the team ensures that they have a good understanding of the audiences and the common trends that shape consumer buying behavior.

Going into 2020 was a roller coaster ride for the market, but just like anyone familiar with the basic concepts of marketing knows, one must adjust accordingly to change. The future holds so many unknown things for all different industries, but the Forge Relations team never waivers in difficult times and hopes to achieve the many goals they've set forth. Going into the second half of the year, the Forge Relations team aims to refocus on event management and experiential marketing. They aspire to break the divide between industries within the marketing world, through means that incorporate elements you would not expect. Understanding that people have a wide range of interests that can be incorporated within one campaign is a strategy they believe will reach, and appeal, to their diverse audiences. They have put so much dedication into the goals of their clients since the founding of the company, but as we enter a new decade Forge is ever changing as well. Continuing to improve day after day, but never trying to get too comfortable in an ever-changing market, the revamping of the Forge Relations brand has been underway with emphasis on the importance of "being their own best client."