Successful in the shark pool of the creative industries

When I set up my own business in 2011, it was clear to me that the media industry – especially in a big city like Cologne – is a shark tank: Competition in the service sector is enormous, and many lone fighters or platforms like Fivver or 99designer don’t make life any easier for a founder. Although the requests from customers were varied, the start was not without difficulties. The whole administrative side of self-employment should not be underestimated at all: Accounting, acquisition, consulting, IT and much more.

My offer at the beginning was: I offer “everything” in the field of graphic design, from corporate design to websites and life communication (trade fairs). The customer acquisition was therefore zero. The key, which gradually became more and more obvious, can be overwritten with “authenticity”. We work in a people’s business, we always sell ourselves, “our” image, “our” lifestyle. If the image of others and the image of oneself do not match here, or if the former does not appeal to the target group, it cannot work. And those who constantly subject themselves to external (sometimes only assumed) constraints sooner or later have a problem with their work-life balance or simply “burn”.

My offer at the beginning was: I offer “everything” in the field of graphic design, from corporate design to websites and life communication (trade fairs). The customer acquisition was therefore zero.

With „Lauter, Leute.“ we live an authentic identity. We all have a background in the music and lifestyle scene. For us it is the closeness to our target group, we speak the language of “Opinion Leaders” and “Influencers”. We understand the digital and classic media, and we know which ones to use, when and how to use them to reach the right people – in other words, to achieve a good reach with as little wastage as possible. We understand the music & lifestyle scene, and for most brands it is very interesting to attract this target group for their products.

What sets us apart is that we communicate in the right tonality and that we use the right media. We can do this because we ourselves are basically part of the target group at the same time. We also select our employees and freelancers according to these criteria: Only those who live this “culture” can communicate it credibly and authentically.

„Be Yourself & Love what you do.“

Meanwhile, in my function as managing director of “Lauter, Leute.” and lecturer, I am often asked: “How do you approach it? My answer to this is: “Be Yourself & Love what you do.” This may sound banal, but the question of “How do I know who I am and what I really love?” goes much deeper. I can also ask myself the question: “Which customers would I like to work with? If the answer is: “With all of them, or at least as many as possible”, then the target group is also “all of them”. In order to do this, you would have to be able to meet the needs of every potential customer. As a start-up? No chance. There are countless specialists who are clearly preferred by their respective customers. Ask yourself: “What do you spend your time with? For which customers can you solve problems? What should your company look like?”

Do not give discounts. You will attract customers who are not prepared to pay adequately for good work.

Many start-ups try to strengthen their market position by offering the lowest possible price and to gain orders in the price war. But if price is your primary or even only added value, your customer is guaranteed to find someone who offers an even lower price – every time. Do not give discounts. You will attract customers who are not prepared to pay adequately for good work. This type will always generate pressure, renegotiate and squeeze out the last bit. You won’t be happy with this, because you will also get the feedback that you are always too expensive, no matter how cheap you offer your time and skills. You may want to go down with the scope of services, never with the price. You are a quality provider, your prices reflect your experience. You are a salesman, it’s okay that you sell.

Uns macht einfach Spaß, was wir tun – und nur so kann man auch im Ernstfall ungefragt die sprichwörtliche „Extrameile“ gehen.

We have had to overcome many hurdles, but today we serve customers such as Gaffel Kölsch, one of the biggest beer brands in Cologne and the surrounding area. We are proud of our customers, we can say that with conviction. We are happy to answer the phone if our customers have questions or give feedback. We deal with people we like, not people who make us suffer. On both the customer and the employee side. We simply enjoy what we do – and this is the only way to go the proverbial “extra mile” without being asked.

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Ulli Kilberth | Lauter, Leute
Ulli Kilberth | Lauter, Leute
Ulli Kilberth ist Gründer der Kommunikationsagentur „Lauter, Leute.“ in Köln. Seit 15 Jahren in der Welt der Medien unterwegs, ist er noch viel länger zu Hause in Musik und Lifestyle. Arbeitsschwerpunkte bei „Lauter, Leute.“ sind u.a.: Unternehmenskommunikation, Digitale Medien, Social Media, Corporate Design, Content-Strategie und Partnerschaften zwischen Marken und Musik. Der Kommunikationsspezialist für Musik & Kultur unterrichtet neben seiner Agenturtätigkeit in den Bereichen Kreation und Konzeption. | „Lauter, Leute.“ ist die Kommunikationsagentur für Musik, Kultur und Lifestyle. Wir sind strategische Begleiter und setzen Kommunikationsmaßnahmen in den Bereichen Grafikdesign, Digitale Medien und Social Media im Musik- und Lifestyle-Bereich um. Zu den Kunden gehören u.a Gaffel Kölsch, HUK24 oder RIDGEBAKE.