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Oklahoma, February 4, 2023— Lemonade stands have been the gold standard for young, budding entrepreneurs for decades. The majority do not continue to passionately feed that spirit and drive. The excitement and vision subside and the realistic fear of pleasing clients and managing others, as well as financial realities, gives way to the false security of a J.O.B.
But not for Braedon Kruse, who today is the lead marketer and C.E.O. of Sooner Marketing Solutions. With neighbor friends allied as employees, he left lemonade stands behind by age four and launched a car wash and detail service at age six. By age eight, seeing his mother juggling his two younger siblings and a full-time job, distressed at just the idea of adding a trip to the grocery store, he created logos, business cards and flyers and launched a grocery delivery service long before drive through, curbside, and door dash. Like others entering adolescence, he had money on his mind, only for Braedon that meant nurturing his business acumen, consuming books and information about gross profit and net profit and more importantly customer satisfaction.
He launched a wholesale coffee business with “merch” before Starbucks could be found on every corner and then hired those two younger siblings to launch a landscaping business.
He will tell you that his greatest mentor in business was his grandfather, who upon his passing left Braedon 20% ownership of a company, the Dead Bolt Anchor Company. His grandfather helped to patent the primary product sold by this company, the “dead bolt anchor”, a product designed to fit inside the jam of exterior doors and withstand substantial force, preventing “break-ins”, ensuring that every home can keep what’s most important and valuable safe. “But the greatest thing he left me was knowledge and expectations. He taught me what is to be a businessman … and not only what to do, but what not to do,” recalls Braedon. “He taught me to form friendships, not just gain clients; to build trust, and have integrity and confidence.”
While Braedon has continued the marketing of this product for fifteen years, it was his willingness to step out of his comfort zone right out of high school and purchase a one-way ticket from Tulsa to New York City to discover his “fit” in the business world. He started as a brand ambassador and learned the ins and outs of creative marketing in the corporate world, developing as a marketer in the truest sense, marketing brands through multiple agencies and gaining experience as part of a team. Ultimately, knowing that he had the heart of a business owner, he returned to Tulsa to launch his own marketing agency in Oklahoma, and to deliver what other business owners need.
Those experiences still tailor his approach. At Sooner Marketing Solutions, Braedon and his talented marketing team members are mindful to form a unique relationship and experience with every business owner(s). The team members at Sooner Marketing are passionate about the success of their work for their clients. They strive to create an inviting ecosystem for the team, the vendors and subcontractors thereby working cohesively to accomplish goals and objectives. They are as committed to the mission as they are the metrics. This keeps the team with big picture vision and detail-oriented action. Avoiding the “one size fits all” mindset, instead, Sooner Marketing Solutions ensures that their marketing campaigns are tailored to the specific goals of their customers and then they follow through, monitoring and modifying regularly according to their clients’ developing business growth. The team at Sooner Marketing are remarkably transparent with one another and clients and share ideas openly. They demonstrate their belief in the power of amazing people and above all, they have freedom in their work to be autonomous, to take ownership and dare to be different. They are encouraged to question the benefit to their client of applying an industry status quo or the newest fad.
When asked if there are any specific habits Braedon would recommend to other business owners, the marketing expert quickly names one … notes. He shares that since fourth grade (we said he developed business habits young!) he has consistently kept up the habit of immediately recording a thought, to do, or goal on a slip of paper. The goals are classified as short or long-term and kept on his desk where he can view and work on them daily. Braedon shared that while some goals are business related, he recognizes that to face inevitable challenges with successful outcomes he must first care for himself. Setting up his day by rising early, making nutritional health and physical fitness a priority, and increasing his knowledge by listening to audiobooks during his commute to the office are ways that he sets the foundation for proper time management both in and out of the office. “It’s so important to foster good communication and build relationships outside of business. I’m intentional about spending time with those who inspire me. That time is always energizing and is another fuel type for ensuring I accomplish all the tasks of the day. I make a commitment to never leave overdue tasks and ensure that I am making progress toward the larger goals, both personal and professional, that I have set. Goals ranging from 3 to 5 and even 10 years.”
Achieving business goals brings new challenges such as knowing the right time to hire and onboard a new member to the team and how their contribution will bring continued success to Sooner Marketing Solutions and their client friends. And all business owners know that while growth is exciting, scaling new mountains cannot overshadow the importance of the “on the daily” such as managing budgets and cash flow.
That balance is best achieved by teamwork. At Sooner Marketing Solutions, his team comes together for “Pow Wow” days. The fast-paced, rapidly changing world of marketing demands that he keeps abreast of the changes in technology. The marketing and advertising industry is changing in a number of ways. “Our industry is no longer the days of my grandfather when visual attraction that produced a call to action for a business owner encompassed moving the location of an ad or article in a newspaper or increasing the size of their ad in the yellow pages. And while the industry today is unequivocally more exciting it is also much more complex. To design tailored marketing solutions to our clients, our team takes inspiration from a number of areas such as competitor and industry research. Our client’s success is our satisfaction, so we continue to meticulously monitor outcomes with unsurpassed analytics” says Braedon. Between technology, social platforms, and many other factors, the marketing and advertising industry is continually changing in a myriad of ways. User Generated Content (UGC) is the latest, big change in consumer behavior. UGC adapts to the type of content that is being consumed. “This is just one of the many things that have changed over the years but has had the greatest impact. People are loving the behind-the-scenes raw and natural style of consuming content”, says Braedon. “I guide my team so that we make the most of these changes and offer tailored marketing solutions based on these significant changes.”
“Because of our own desire to offer the best services, our client’s success is our satisfaction, so we continue to monitor the outcomes here at Sooner Marketing Solutions. We believe transparency is the most important component of any relationship to earn trust, therefore we continue to do our very best to give our customers the marketing experience they deserve.”
Braedon reminds, “as the saying goes … tell me who you are with and I will tell you who you are.” He advises you to choose “your people” wisely and keep your personal circle of people to under ten.
He advises business owners to build relationships with their team members. “Understand who your team members are and what is going on in their life. Recognize that there are times when performance is affected by outside influences”, advises Braedon. “I do my very best as the C.E.O. to lead by setting clear expectations, providing visually viewable and clearly expressed obtainable deadlines, and empathy for all of our need for work-life balance.” He further advises making sure that you have the ABILITY to perform what you are capable as a visionary of doing, the MOTIVATION that determines what you will do, and the ATTITUDE that will show how well you will do it. Do what you say you are going to do. Build those ten relationships and keep those people closest to you and keep learning and working on effective communication,” concludes Braedon Kruse / Best Marketer, CEO of Sooner Marketing Solutions.
Sooner Marketing Solutions