Every day we show up to our office and get to it. So much of what we do, our processes and systems, are so ingrained in us that we often overlook their importance. So we decided to spell it out.
This is our Playbook—a totally transparent look at the day-to-day operations of our shop and how we work. Originally designed as an internal reminder and organizational tool, this is a living document that we are happy to share with our clients, future project partners and potential co-workers. It lives because the nature of our industry is constant change, and that is reflected in how we do business. These processes and details will evolve as our agency grows, team members join and project partners expand.
If you’re looking to explore a new project or join the crew, you’re in the right place to learn all there is about rustmedia in one page. So jump in, wade through and then get in touch when you’re ready to chat.
We are a group of designers, developers, makers and doers dedicated to our craft. We buy into the idea that the golden rule still applies, and truth always wins.
We are a people-centric company. We believe in the simplicity of goodness and the daily pursuit of something better. Food, cheer and song above hoarded gold.
We stand for something—and we expect the same from those we partner with. We believe that if you care, you inspire the same empathy and compassion in those around you.
We go all in. We believe in the power of the story and the influence of the storyteller. Stories are ultimately about people. Not a product. Not a concept. Not a paycheck.
We are a small crew, with big plans to make the world a more beautiful, connected place, and we know we can’t do it alone.
You work hard. We work hard. And just like you, we’ve drawn a roadmap, a set of guiding principles that drive us and guide our processes. Really, it’s pretty simple:
We work out of a beautiful, open space in downtown Cape Girardeau, Missouri—an historic 1924 building renovated in 2005. Our office is as eclectic as each team member calling it home. We’re surrounded by dry erase boards and bobbleheads, letterpress posters and Greg’s seemingly endless supply of snacks. Operating out of the heart of the Heartland, on the banks of the Mississippi, we are constantly reminded of the honesty, craftsmanship and trust that built the Midwest and how we build experiences for our partners.
Day-to-day, the environment and activity of our office can change. We may be all hands on deck planning the next Semoball Awards show, or you may experience a silent eight hours of head down, plugged-in industry research. No two days are the same, and that’s the way we like it. There are a few constants:
We are real, genuine people. We live and work in a small town that continues to grow, and we believe we can’t thrive without being a part of it. That’s why we encourage our crew to engage in the community, write blogs, sit on nonprofit boards, volunteer and actively be a part of the world around us. You can find members of our team reading with elementary students, volunteering in local churches, leading community groups and organizing fundraisers. We know we can’t do it all alone, so we always welcome a helping hand. Below are a few of the causes and organizations we encourage our clients and community to join us in:
Gary Rust II
We’re here to tell the compelling stories of brands we believe in. Partnering with us is easy, a straightforward process. The steps below will give you a detailed roadmap of how we approach each journey and what you can expect along the ride.
Let’s start at the top. Every project begins when you say ‘hello.’ Give us a call or complete our simple project kickoff form. Our team will review and follow up with brief questions to learn more about your goals and discuss next steps.
One of the most important steps in our partnership is the initial meeting. Typically, you’ll meet with Gary Rust (our Director) and Jeff Rawson (our Creative Director). We’ll make plans to meet at your place or ours, or a mutual coffee shop. The biggest point of this discussion is to get to know each other. To see if we jive. Are you our ideal client? Are we your ideal solution? We want to know more about you and want to share more about our team.
As we get better acquainted, we hope to learn as much as we can about the timelines, audience, budget and most importantly, purpose of your project. We’ll ask more ‘why?’ questions than a four year old. The goal is to discover the underlying needs and pinpoint any other potential opportunities. The better grasp we have of your vision and overall goals, the better the solutions we can tailor for you.
No worries, this is all pretty casual. Here are a few questions that could pop up during the initial meetup:
We’ve met and it’s a good fit. Our team reviews the overall scope of the project and, within a week, you can expect to receive a proposal. This will be accompanied by a phone call or another meeting (we try to minimize the number of meetings needed to complete a project) to discuss the details and answer any questions you may have. We put it all out there on paper to clearly communicate who we are, how we work and what we can provide to meet and exceed your needs. Our proposals include:
Once we have come to agreement on the project, deliverables, budget and turnaround time, we will send over a contract and initial invoice. The contract will contain the agreed-to scope, including number of concepts, number of revisions, fees, terms and non-disclosure agreements (if applicable). At this point we’ll discuss payment structure and timing. Typical projects require 50% payment at kickoff and 50% payment upon completion and delivery of the final product. In some instances, payments can occur at predetermined benchmarks. Each project and situation is unique and we do our best to meet our partners where they are. Once the contract is signed, it’s time to dive in.
Now it’s time for the fun to begin. Before our team dives into individual industry research, best practices evaluation and design, we want to get the whole team together: all members of your organization that will be involved in the project and key stakeholders from our end. The goal of the Kickoff is to gain a complete understanding of your organization, your brand, industry, target audience/s, opportunities, challenges, big picture goals and overall vision.
Typically, Kickoff meetings become very organic and are unique to each partner and project. but we’ll show up with hearty list of questions and tools to get the conversation started. You can expect questions like: What is your mission, vision, elevator pitch? How do you perceive your current brand image? How do your customers or potential customers? Why does your organization exist and why should anyone care?
We’ll send most of these questions to you days before the meeting to help make our time together as productive as possible. You’ll also receive a link to Boards, our visual collaboration process. It’s fairly simple: you’ll see a collection of images, videos, icons, words and colors. Select those that most closely represent your organization’s personality, vision and mission. You’ll also be able to upload any other images/sketches/swatches that you would like to share with us. Basically, this is a way for us to begin working together from the start, visually communicating things that can be tough to represent with words alone.
This happens within our team after the Kickoff meeting. Our representatives that have met with you brief our entire team on your culture, project details and expectations to develop a unified strategy and plan of execution. We set internal deadlines, review results from the Kickoff meeting and conduct intensive research on your brand and industry. We’re nerds about this stuff and it helps us connect to your story and environment at the most granular level.
The Kickoff Meeting is wrapped, our teams are in sync and work begins. We don’t want to lose momentum, so (depending on the project) you can expect to see some immediate results in the first week. We’ve developed a variety of plays to run after onboarding a new project partner. Depending on the stated goals and deliverables, these plays could include:
Industry research, persona development and best practices really are ongoing tasks throughout our relationship. We constantly strive to gain insight on what’s happening in your environment and the environments of your customers.
During this time, our team puts together everything we’ve collected from partner meetings and industry research to create the final products and put a strategy into action. The concepting and design phase of any project depends on the scope of deliverables, partner feedback, and current workload. Clear timelines are established up front to keep us all on track to meet milestones and launch on or ahead of schedule.
We work together through this process. We know if we aren’t satisfied with the work, you won’t be either. Our team continues to refine our Quality Assurance Checklists that guide us on pre-launch delivery. We test every link, proofread every sentence and follow-up on any questions you may have.
We believe in direct collaboration and that the best work is born out of working together with our project partners. Quality Assurance and revision do not happen without the input from both teams.
This is the fun part. Our team lives for the process and challenges that each project presents. Nothing is like seeing our work and yours combined in a living product.
Throughout the process we develop, organize and account for all assets of your brand: logos, colors, brand guidelines, templates and images. Upon final payment, this folder is turned over to you, along with all final deliverables. We also keep these on hand if you should lose track of them in the future. To protect intellectual property and overall consistency in your brand, we do not supply original working files unless this has been discussed and agreed upon in advance.
Throughout this workflow, we become increasingly invested in your brand, your team and your overall progress. We know brands and the marketing landscape constantly change, so we’re here to help maintain and present opportunities to build our relationship and your success in the future. We believe in long-lasting partnerships and are never farther than a phone call or email away.
Not every project that comes our way is a perfect fit. We care too much about your success and ours to give half an effort or underdeliver on a project that doesn’t benefit both parties. Our project partners operate all around the world: from manufacturing to healthcare, entertainment to financial services. Through casual initial meetings and communication, we determine if our team can fully deliver on your expectations. Ideal project partners typically meet all of these guidelines:
Day in and day out, we rely on a core group of systems and applications to make us more efficient. From time management software to reporting tools, communication internally and with our project partners is key. Here’s what’s in the toolbelt:
We always look for talented people. Those who want to make a difference. If you’ve read through this playbook and think you could be a good fit, keep reading
We are a lean crew, on purpose. We believe a small group of the most talented people are more flexible and more invested in each project we take on. We hire people, not positions or titles.
That said, we look for:
Bringing on a new member to the team isn't too much different than onboarding a new client. First, check out the careers page and see what's available. Don't see your position but think you're a good fit with our team? Then send your resume and portfolio to Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our hiring process starts with a casual meeting, usually with Gary or Jeff. We want to get to know the 3D you, not just the flat, resume version.
If it feels like a good fit, you'll meet more of the team and collectively, we'll make the call. Once you're in, you will be introduced to all the tools, hooked up with a computer and hit the ground running.
Now you know all about us, we want to know about you.
If you think it could be a good fit, get in touch and let's discuss your next project.