Fruitful Design & Strategy is helping clients tell their unique story. The design and strategy company specializes in branding, website development, and messaging for customers in Nebraska and beyond.
Founded by Ben Lueders, the company first opened its doors in early 2013 in downtown Benson. It started as a graphic design agency, but the team quickly grew to specialize in messaging, video, and marketing services for its clients. In 2017, Lueders joined forces with Raj Lulla, a friend and client of Lueders.
Today, they have grown the company from a five-figure business to a seven-figure business that has eight full-time employees.
“Fruitful is a unique combination of design and strategy,” Lueders said. “Our clients choose us because we help them communicate complicated ideas in a simple way. Whether it’s revolutionizing agriculture using blockchain technology or rebooting a 75-year-old data company, we help them connect with the people they’re trying to reach.”
The Next Level
Fruitful Design & Strategy is one of 30 StoryBrand Certified Agencies in the world. StoryBrand uses a patented seven-part framework that helps clients connect with their audience in a meaningful way. Lulla became a certified StoryBrand guide in 2019 and after seeing significant success with it, they decided to certify the entire agency in 2020. This required Fruitful to make a sizable financial investment and included a two-day training session with the entire team. Now that it is certified, the company can hold StoryBrand workshops of its own, helping clients come up with a ‘BrandScript’ that is tailored to their businesses. This gives each client the tools and roadmap that they need to best communicate their brand to their designated audience.
“We help our clients understand how to position their audience as the hero, and their organization as the guide helping them along their journey,” Lueders said. “The results that our clients get from shifting their website and marketing messaging in this way is unbelievable.”
Will Linger, CEO at Fruitful, said as the company has grown, the team has had to learn how to adapt to the various changes that continue to happen in the digital marketing industry.
“I’ve seen the design and marketing industry landscape change quite a bit,” he said. “Since the early 2000s until now, the internet has gone from being considered a ‘fad’ to a marketing powerhouse that markets everything from tires to lipstick.
“That’s where the attention is these days, and as we help our customers reach their audience, we need to be especially savvy when it comes to web, mobile and growth marketing optimization. It’s more than creating beautiful pictures and clear words – it’s strategically deploying those words and pictures in a way that’s contextually relevant to the platform, to drive real organizational results for our customers.”
But, no matter what, Fruitful Design & Strategy is dedicated to setting goals and reaching them. The company uses a goal system developed by Danny Groves called ‘Objectives and Key Results.’ In that process, the leadership team works towards company-wide strategic objectives. Employees pick four or five main objectives that they want to help with, then they focus on those for six-month intervals. This aims to give the team greater clarity on what is most important and allows for celebration when they know they have improved the business. This process helps the team forge a stronger bond, which in turn, helps them to better transform each client’s business that they work with.
In November 2021, Fruitful Design & Strategy moved into a bigger downtown office, which was the former office of Omaha startup Flywheel. The move has allowed it to host more clients and gatherings. It is currently completing some minor renovations to optimize the space for the team’s needs. They are also looking forward to continuing to hire and retain local people to work in the new space, and aim to keep talented people in the local area.
“This is an easy way to make a positive impact here in Nebraska,” Lueders said. “Investing in a larger, physical office space also sends a signal to the community that we’re here to stay, and we want to fill our space with amazing local talent.”
Looking ahead, Lueders noted that the company’s focus will continue to be on the design and strategy portion of their service offerings. However, they are working on growing two other areas: product management and expanded digital marketing.
“Our tagline is ‘Grow Something Good,’ and that’s what we’re about in a nutshell: growth,” Linger said. “We’re constantly expanding our offerings to better serve our growing clientele, and constantly growing our team to better serve our community.”