By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
On a bookshelf in Josh Mabus’ corner office is a smorgasbord of titles including the “1950 Journal of Marketing” and the more contemporary “Guerilla Marketing.”
It’s how he rolls, as the popular saying goes. A mix of the old with the new.
Asked to describe himself, Mabus, said “paradoxical. It’s my mission to be an old-school innovator and mixing practical knowledge with new applications.”
“We’re very young at heart, but we’re also old-schooled,” he added. “We want to be outstanding in theory but beyond cutting-edge in execution.”
Mabus, owner of the Mabus Agency in downtown Tupelo, isn’t new to the marketing and advertising scene, having started a web design company, Aptus Graphics in 1998. He founded another company, NewTech Graphics, in 2001. In 2005, Weatherall Printing hired him as its creative director. About two years ago, he helped form the Mabus-Birch Agency with Duane Birch.
Now on his own – with the help of his wife, Mary Meghan, and creative director Casey Zumwalt – Mabus is stepping into uncharted territory.
“It’s been a tremendous change from being a partner to adopting a different set of skills to run your own business,” he said.
But those added skills haven’t slowed down the Mabus Agency, which in recent months has redesigned the logo at The Mall at Barnes Crossing, designed the Elvis Presley Festival poster, been selected to redesign the city of Tupelo’s website, and put together Renasant Bank’s annual report, among other projects.
The agency also has worked with Blue Mountain College, Northeast Mississippi Community College and the McCarty Company and host of other clients from across the region.
In a short time, the Mabus Agency has grown quickly. After starting as an idea at a coffee house, the agency moved to the Renasant Center for IDEAs business incubator. Although it was to stay in the center for two years, it had outgrown its space within 18 months. Last fall, the business moved to its more spacious office on Spring Street.
“We started with a single goal in mind, and that’s to help people,” Mabus said. “I know that sounds mushy and it’s cliché, but we saw a need for a business like ours to create services that nobody else could do.”
And their efforts have been well received.
“They’re very professional, easy to work with and they gave a lot of value to our presentation,” said John Oxford, Renasant’s vice president of external affairs. “We look forward to working with them on future projects.”
The Mall at Barnes Crossing, which opened in 1990, was due for a freshening of its logo. Last fall, the Mabus Agency came up with a new contemporary logo.
“Josh is a great graphic artist and we very much like it; we love it,” said mall Marketing Director Cindy Childs.
Mabus may be the founder and creative genius behind the agency, but he’s first to admit he doesn’t do the work alone.
Mary Meghan could be called the office manager, but she also has a big role in the agency, adding her photographic, writing and design talents.
“We get the work done, and we have a good time doing it,” she said.
Zumwalt, who moved from Nashville, said the atmosphere is casual, but they take their work seriously.
“Josh and I work together, bouncing ideas off each other,” he said. “We all work together well.”
Graphic design, photography, copy writing, website design, direct mail campaigns, brochures, television commercials and promotional videos are all handled in-house.
With five national design awards, the agency quickly has made a name for itself.
“My passion is to help people and help their business – and to make money, of course,” Josh Mabus said with a smile. “We take a common-sense approach to what we do, but we deliver outstanding results.”
Mabus says he could charge more for his services, but doesn’t. In building a business, one of the keys is creating goodwill, and Mabus said that billing clients fairly is his modus operandi.
“We’re results-oriented; we want to make sure whatever we do for our client, no matter how big or small, works,” Mabus said. “We want there to be a benefit for everybody.”
And so far, the agency’s success has been built upon its clients’ success.
“We’re at the point now where I thought we would be in five years,” Mabus said. “Am I surprised? Looking back, it’s been a pleasant surprise.”
As to how big an agency his firm may become, Mabus didn’t hazard a guess.
“I’m faithful that wherever we go is where we’re supposed to be,” he said.
The Mabus Agency
Location: 320 S. Spring St. Suite B Tupelo
Phone: (662) 823-2100