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David Hernandez, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of lotus823

David Hernandez, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of lotus823

What's your industry?

Integrated Marketing Communications

How did you end up sitting where you are today?

Starting at a very young age, I was taught to follow my passions and work hard as I followed them. I wasn’t afraid to do what I loved and be proud of who I was. For a long time, my biggest passion was music. I knew I wanted to work within the music industry to some capacity and created an environment for myself where I could thrive and find out what I truly wanted to do. I networked with other musicians, toured internationally, and eventually gained the titles “Co-writer”, “Co-producer”, Music Director, Sales Manager, Vice President, and more. But the more I learned about the music space, the more I was drawn to strategy and community-building. So many of the musicians I worked with had fanbases that they engaged with differently, creating a sense of community that made others truly interested in their work. I think that spending so much time behind-the-scenes brought this out of me.

Over the course of 20 years, I developed a new passion for connecting brands to different communities. I wanted others to feel like they were a part of a community the way that I always did in working with musicians and businesses in the music industry. I then decided to create a space where marketing and public relations professionals could take brands and businesses that they’re passionate about and strategize ways to increase their brand visibility, generate their own “fan bases” and foster a community in a way that drives results. lotus823 was established back in 2010 with my wife, Allison, to fill the void for a results-driven integrated boutique firm for both consumer and B2B brands.

What kind of work does your daily role involve?

I am responsible for setting strategic goals and objectives, supervising daily activities, monitoring performance, and driving business growth for the agency.

What gets you excited about your industry?

Having the opportunity to produce award-winning results in the consumer electronics space. Most of us hope we’ll “get back what we give,” and we’re happy to say that that’s been true for our work with technology brands. We’re grateful to have been honored by Bulldog, PR Daily, PR News, PRSA, and more with some of the PR and digital marketing industry’s most prestigious accolades, for our technology partners, our people, and our agency. Working in this industry has allowed me to attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for 20 years. Known as the place to be for consumer technology-focused businesses and individuals, CES provides innovators with an opportunity to introduce new ideas and products to the market on a global level. Getting to look forward to this annual trade show and work to maximize our clients’ presence is an experience like no other.

What's the best advice anyone ever gave you on your journey in business?

Hire the best people and if you find you’ve made a mistake, fix it. Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great,” has had a big influence on our company’s growth and philosophy. In the book his quote, “Get the right people in the right seats on the bus and get the wrong people off the bus.” Having this as our foundation and belief, lotus823 has had a 100% employee retention rate since August 2021 and 25% team growth year-over-year.

What's been the hardest part about the path you've taken and how would you advise someone facing a similar situation to overcome it?

From idea to inception, launching a company requires, determination, smart and hard work, and a strong stomach! No matter how much you plan and prepare, there are ALWAYS unexpected challenges, reversals, mistakes will be made. All of that is normal and should be expected but the key is paying attention and learning from these mistakes and/or challenging times. The number 1 reason most start-up agencies don’t make it is the lack of persistence. That is what I mean about having a strong stomach and having the determination to prevail, pivot, learn and grow.

In the current climate especially, many CEOs are looking for ways to cut costs, with marketing budgets usually one of the budgets to be cut. Is that wise?

When a company cuts its marketing budget, this can hurt the business long-term, even when it might help slightly in the immediate future. By reducing advertising efforts, you also reduce the chance of getting new customers and run the risk of creating opportunities for other companies and competitors to gain mind and market share

For people thinking of starting businesses in 2023, would you say it's still possible to build a big business with little or no marketing budget?

I do think it is possible but not probable. Without a strategy to communicate your brand and build community and customers, it is very difficult to cut through the noise of the multiple social platforms, gain credibility through media, and ensure that prospective customers are finding your product or services at the right time in their journey to purchase. Leveraging your network along with building a constant flow of relevant, engaging, and valuable content, can help greatly in finding your audience and engaging them but it requires discipline and patience.

Can you share one or two of your favorite free marketing strategies that a business owner in your industry can use.

Post (and engage) on social media. With LinkedIn being the most popular professional online platform, every business owner should be engaging their network with insightful comments. The best way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry is to add value to your network and focus more on helping others by sharing your expertise. This is a free way to grow your business while expressing your personality and building trust with your audience.

Where should people follow you to find out more about your work?


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