When we last spoke with Film grad Korey Erb in 2005, his Minneapolis-based Axcept Media was well on its way to becoming one of the top multimedia marketing and advertising businesses in the industry. Even so, the assortment of achievements attained by the company over the past few years has been nothing short of staggering – Axcept is on the verge of becoming a multi-million dollar enterprise in 2009, with a client list made up of Fortune 500 companies such as Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Verizon Wireless, and United Health Group.
“We more than doubled our full-time staff and revenue size in 2007 largely because I bought out my business partner and now own 100 percent of Axcept Media,” Korey notes. “That really freed us up to move a lot faster and become a lot more sales-centric in trying to reach out to larger clients with our creative interactive media services.”
Driven by 15 full-time employees and an array of contract positions ranging from designers and animators to writers and post-production professionals, Axcept has found success by catering to industries that aren’t always necessarily associated with media-rich content and collateral: health care, financial services, and employee benefits. But for Korey, there was never any doubt about the viability of bringing media to these oft-neglected markets.
“Those industries represent two-thirds of the gross domestic product in the US. I really just looked at where the opportunities were. Where could I go and apply my skill sets with my team in an area that’s a bit undermined, an area where I can be successful and get a large piece of the pie?” he asks rhetorically. “Historically, these industries have been slow to adapt with the times because let’s face it – we all need health care and financial services, so how much marketing and communications do they really need? But because our society is inundated constantly with media on television and the Web, these companies are recognizing that they need media to hold the attention of their audience.”
Axcept fulfills that need by producing a variety of materials that are as engaging as they are educational. From online presentations to interactive CD-ROM magazines, Korey works to translate concepts like company benefits and health reimbursement arrangements using animation, flash, games, video, and other forms of media.
“We don’t do sort of the ‘sexy’ type of commercials or any The Matrix: Part 5 movie stuff,” he laughs. “We’re doing interactive design and media in the corporate world, making good money, and showing some of these corporate folks that interactivity and media should be a viable solution to some of their communication and marketing needs. And we’ve been going toe to toe with some of the larger firms across the country.” In 2008 alone, Axcept won five Omni awards, three Horizon interactive awards, and two Davey awards for work done for companies like SunTrust, Kroger, and Verizon Business.
Those accolades have led to even more work, which has had an effect on Korey’s role at Axcept; while he was once much more hands-on when it came to production shoots and other aspects of the company, he’s recently delegated more responsibility to his team members and staff.
“Growing this company and creating jobs is pretty special. It comes with an awesome responsibility to feed all these people and their families, and it makes me feel pretty proud to know that opportunities are being created and that we’re stimulating the local, state, and national economy by engaging in these projects,” he says. “I might be the leader, but this is a total team effort; I could not be successful without my crew.”
“It’s a lot of work – you’ve got to want it. The coolest thing about what I do is that I’m putting in all of this time, and owning it. I have equity in this, so it’s worth something,” he adds. “This company – the whole process in getting to where Axcept Media is at – is all worth something.”