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New Fargo marketing firm offers clients space to better connect with consumers

Andrew Young shows how his marketing company's meeting table can be converted to a serving buffet complete with ice trough Friday, May 12, 2017, at Abovo, in downtown Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor1 / 3
Jonathan Calix, a graphic designer at Abovo, works at his standing desk Friday, May 12, 2017, at Abovo, a marketing/design company with a downtown office that also can used as an event space. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor2 / 3
Andrew Young stands in the Abovo event space Friday, May 12, 2017, in downtown Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor3 / 3

FARGO—Andrew Young knows millennials can be brand-loyal—they just need to connect in their own way.

The 27-year-old entrepreneur now serves as creative director of Abovo, a marketing and design company that he said stands out because of its focus on providing engaging experiences that can help clients reach customers.

Think of a bank, for example. Young said many younger people deposit their checks online and rely on ATMs to get cash, meaning they don't go to a bank branch.

That can make it hard for younger customers to become loyal to their financial institution, but by throwing a fun event while also focusing on a comprehensive online marketing strategy, he said banks can get people on board.

"They're not going to sell their next checking account or savings account," he said. "They're just going to enjoy time with them. For me, that's the future of marketing."

Starting up

Abovo started about a year ago when Young returned to Fargo and began building up a marketing staff he trained at Hatch Realty, 4215 31st Ave. S.

Young got up to three employees last fall and said he was ready to focus on his other freelance clients. But rather than leave Hatch's work to the newly trained staff, Erik Hatch told him to take the entire team and open an independent marketing firm that could continue working with Hatch Realty externally.

He rebranded as Abovo on Jan. 1 and moved the operations to 218 Broadway N. on April 1, taking over the north side of Ecce Gallery. He said the space offered a unique spot to throw private events for clients.

As he prepared for the change, Young reached out to the firm's 11 clients to see what they'd think about paying an additional fee each month in exchange for Abovo planning four events in its downtown space each year. All 11 said yes.

Even if clients can't do four events a year, he said many want to do quarterly training or special meetings at the downtown venue.

While planning for the rebranding, he talked with a good friend who shares his love of the "Harry Potter" series and asked what a store that sold all things creative would be called in the Diagon Alley shopping area.

His friend said "ab ovo," the beginning of Latin phrase "ab ovo usque ad mala" that means from the egg to the apples. Romans said that phrase as a toast at the dinner table because they had eggs as appetizers and apples for dessert.

It eventually came to mean "from beginning to end," and Young said he liked the idea of a marketing firm that could be there for the client's entire journey.

Graphic Designer Jonathan Calix started with Abovo in November and said he's enjoyed working for a receptive team.

"We are more like a family and we'll work together," he said. "When we create something for a customer, it's not just an idea that comes from the top."

Graphic Designer Marta Fitzer, too, said the team is more like a family. Marketing Manager Jennifer Hicks also appreciates the collaborative working environment.

"We just really play well to each other's strengths," she said.

Young said his goal isn't to work with a bank, law firm or other client for one video, but to be there for all of their marketing and events needs.

"We view ourselves as an extension of their team, so we're able to work with them from beginning to end," he said. "In order to do true marketing, you really have to know somebody really, really well."

Business profile

What: Abovo

Where: 218 Broadway N., Fargo

Hours: By appointment

Online: www.teamabovo.com

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson has been a Forum reporter since 2012 and previously wrote for the Grand Forks Herald.

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