By M. Lapham
Most mornings Trevor George wakes up at 4:15 a.m., heads to Starbucks, and is in the office by 5:00 a.m.
This “go-get-’em” attitude is part of what has made his marketing company, Birmingham-based Blue Wheel Media, a success. It is also what allows him to give equal attention to the family business, Trevco, a wholesale licensed apparel manufacturer located in Madison Heights.
Launched in 2011, it took George a great deal of time and effort, but he carved out a nice niche for Blue Wheel. The media company offers its clients progressive branding and digital marketing ideas that it says will impact the bottom line.
Businesses that have come to the media company have enjoyed an increase in revenue and found a corporate culture that works for their needs.
“Our business exploded like never before when we started working with Blue Wheel Media,” said Christopher Vos, director of marketing for all Marygrove companies. “The success of a company starts at the top. Trevor runs an amazing company. His passion for digital marketing is felt through everyone we work with at Blue Wheel. The best decision the Marygrove Marketing Department made was to sign on with Blue Wheel. It is nothing but the best!”
The path to mastering marketing arts that earned praise from his clients began when George was in high school. As a teenager he would go to parties and, in the grand tradition of many high school parties, they sometimes ended in a less-than-desirable fashion ... like the police showing up.
George took the initiative to seek out a venue to rent and find some entertainment to cut down on the less-fun endings. It was more successful than he imagined.
At the end of that first party, George had $30,000. “I counted money until my hands went black,” he says.
After graduating high school, he went to the University of Michigan and joined a fraternity. There he continued to plan parties and brought in performers like Skrillex, Kid Cudi, Deadmau5 and Steve Aoki.
George spotted an opportunity in what was then a very new world of social media and used sites like Facebook to drive ticket sales. That potential sparked his interest and he began to look into ways to increase the internet flow.
When he read the book, “SEO for the Marketer, Not the Coder,” he found his path in life – getting a product in front of people using their internet searches. He started attending seminars on the subject, oftentimes out in Silicon Valley. That’s where he noticed a problem with the system.
Most online marketers were either using SEO (search engine optimization) or social media. George decided they needed to be combined along with creative branding, strategies, analyzing trends and more. That’s why he named his company Blue Wheel. The ‘blue wheel’ is all of the elements coming full circle.
Putting all those elements together attracts clients without their own marketing divisions.
The maiden voyage of George’s new business philosophy was with his cousin’s company, Frankenmuth Brewery. Now Blue Wheel has clients all over the world and a second office in New York. That office has only one employee, a friend of George’s from college.
The New York office has been so successful it has doubled the number of clients since 2015.
Being co-owner of Trevco also helped. You might say it is George’s secret weapon. He often uses the company as a prototype for his ideas.
One such idea was Amazon marketing, where you buy search words and make connections among related products. Working with Trevco, George used social media and SEO to connect Superman shirts to Superman toys.
Blue Wheel launched the idea two years ago, which was one year before Amazon founder Jeff Bezos decided to make selling these search words a bigger part of the company’s business.
The willingness to put his own company on the line for his ideas often instills confidence in George’s clients.
Not only has the strategy paid off for Blue Wheel’s clients, it has been recognized by the American Business Awards. Blue Wheel won its Stevie Award for the Most Honored Interactive Agency in 2017 and three Gold Stevie Awards for Marketing Campaign of the Year in 2018 from that organization. The wins were for campaigns done for Grande Cosmetics, Monark Premium Home Appliances, and Marygrove Awnings.
The Stevie Awards are the world’s leading business awards. Formed in 2002, they acknowledge and generate public recognition of the achievements and contributions of organizations and working professionals across the world. The award judges are executives, entrepreneurs, innovators, and business educators.
Blue Wheel Media significantly grew Grande Cosmetics’ brand awareness, which separated the company from niche cosmetics brands and made it a fan-favorite product featured and sold at Sephora.
Monark Premium Home Appliances, which sells luxury kitchen appliances and high-end accessories from notable brands, had done no digital advertising before working with Blue Wheel. The media company enhanced Monark’s visibility for desktop organically more than 370 percent and mobile more than 346 percent and obtained a 13 percent lift in leads year-over-year as well as a 105 percent increase in showroom web traffic.
Marygrove Awnings has provided high-quality retractable awnings in Michigan for more than 80 years. With Blue Wheel’s marketing efforts, online sales increased by 80 percent in 2017, contributing to the highest sales figures in its history that year.
While a struggle at times, recently, Blue Wheel has started to see major growth, which allowed it to increase its staff from 19 to 27.
George and his team know that their ongoing success is keeping up with a constantly changing digital landscape and working to stay on top of it.
A quote from Charles Darwin on the Trevco website tracking its evolution pretty much sums up George’s philosophy. “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who will best manage change.”