Thriving in ‘Modern Mayberry’

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

Z2 Marketing & Design was founded just two years ago, when Deb Zindler and Cory Zimmermann decided to start their own agency in Delafield.

While most local advertising and public relations firms are headquartered in downtown Milwaukee, Zimmermann said Z2’s clients enjoy coming to their offices, even though they’re 20 minutes from downtown.

"I had worked in the Third Ward for my whole career (before starting Z2)," Zimmermann said. "The trend was to be in the city. But you don’t need that any more. Distance is no longer an obstacle to doing business."

Many of the chief executive officers and top decision-makers of companies that Z2 does business with live in Waukesha County.

"Delafield is like a modern Mayberry. And Z2’s brand is Delafield. Our office is our brand image," he said.

Earlier this year, Z2 moved to new offices space in Delafield. The firm now leases about 4,100 square feet of space at 524 Milwaukee St., and has its own in-house recording studio and photo/video suite.

The firm has also made plans for future expansion at its current facility, signing an agreement with its landlord to lease an additional 4,000 square feet of space on the building’s third floor. Z2’s current offices are on the second floor. The company plans to install a spiral staircase to connect the two floors when it expands, Zimmermann said.

Z2 recently landed some significant clients, including the Milwaukee Wave, the Erin Hills Golf Course and the Delafield Hotel. Meanwhile, Z2 continues to work on the troubled Powerade Iceport project, a proposed private hockey facility in Cudahy.

Z2’s new marketing campaign for the Wave was launched several weeks ago, as the indoor soccer team was making preparations to start its season.

For a company such as Z2, with just four full-time employees, several intern positions and about seven contract and freelance employees, landing a high-profile contract such as the Wave is a big deal, because it enables the firm to showcase its abilities, therefore attracting more clients in the future, Zimmermann said.

"Landing that one was huge," he said. "It was kind of unique. We wanted it to look, to an outsider, like the Wave is spending a lot of money. They’re not."

The Wave hired Z2 to completely overhaul its team identity. The project involved recording new theme music to introduce the team, taking individual photos of its players, coaches and management, shooting video to be used during player and team introductions and helping coordinate the opening segments of games. The firm has also produced team calendars, pocket schedules and other promotional materials.

"We were given a clean slate," Zimmermann said. "We wrote a new song for them, re-choreographed the whole introduction of the team. There’s a whole new ambiance and excitement to the team."

Zimmermann and another contract photographer from Z2 will also be shooting photos at every Wave home game this season.

"We’re creating an optical illusion with this campaign, making it seem like the Wave is spending a lot of money," he said. "We’re big Wave fans, and that’s one of the reasons we wanted to go after them. We love the sport and the energy it has, and it was one of the opportunities we saw (in the market)."

Z2 was hired recently to develop a new brand image, marketing and public relations plan for Erin Hills Golf Course, which is under development near Holy Hill in Washington County. The 560-acre links style course is scheduled to open next summer. Erin Hills is being developed by Robert Lang, who has developed much of downtown Delafield.

"This will be one of the best courses in the nation once it matures," Zimmermann said. "The idea of our campaign will be, ‘That was the best golf I ever had,’ very sexual. We’re trying to give it a little bit of an attitude."

The added space with Z2’s move has given the firm room to have its own recording booth, where Zimmermann writes and records custom songs for clients. While almost closet-sized, the studio can still accommodate singers, guitar players and even an entire drum kit.

Zimmermann’s office also includes a mixing board and recording equipment, which enables him to record drum tracks, instrumentals and vocals separately. The recorded tracks have been used for radio ads, TV commercials, voice-overs and "anything from an audio perspective," he said.

Z2’s new space includes a separate room, a 1,400-square-foot photo and video studio, where contract photographers perform photo and video shoots. The firm used the studio for its Milwaukee Wave project, shooting photos of all of the players, coaches and managers.

The company also has the equipment to edit and burn DVDs and CD-ROMs and to create video recordings.

Z2’s small size, mixed with its capability to meet almost all of its clients’ needs in-house, has given the agency an edge over its competition, Zimmermann said.

"If you look at the quality vs. capabilities, there’s no one like us," he said.

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