About Highkey Agency
HighKey Agency is an online personal branding company. Over the years they have expanded their services to encompass all aspects of online personal branding, which include full-service social media management and a lot of press articles. The founders of the company, Jordan and Luke Lintz started their first business in 2016, which was an E-commerce company that sold consumer electronics with the only marketing efforts being on social media. After they established a sizable following it seemed inevitable that other small businesses and even established companies started reaching out and asking for services from these two social media wiz kids.
The transition to us starting a personal branding agency was because people were wanting what we had created for our own brand.
After only a few months into operations, they brought on their two business partners Stefan Aarnio and Trent Huss, which were critical aspects to the team’s growth and management.
The Current Business Model For Highkey Agency
A major problem with business owners in this modern age is the inadequacy of their online brand presence not even matching their level of success in the physical world. We live in a digital world and business owners have to start taking this very seriously because you are either going to live as a brand or die a commodity” Luke Lintz, CEO of HighKey Agency Inc.
Luke was sad to inform us that on May 6th, 2020 the agency business partner, Stefan Aarnio passed away after an extensive 3+ year battle with cancer. Luke said “Stefan’s passing is one of the hardest things I have gone through. Stefan was much more than a business partner to me; He was also a good friend and my greatest mentor. I plan on doing everything in my power to make Stefan’s legacy prosper.”
The early days
The first year in business was a year that the partners took very seriously in strategizing the exact services that they wanted to offer.
Luke exclaimed “We are definitely not direct advertisers. We don’t do direct advertising. I have great connections if someone needs a direct advertiser, but we 100% don’t do direct advertising. Our team plays to our strengths and our accomplishments, which is creating high-level brands.”
This was intriguing, so Luke continued to explain what all the aspects that are included in branding are, “in order to create an elite personal or company brand you need to have an elite social media presence and an elite Google presence.
A social media presence of this caliber is created with
- Consistency of your branding, graphics, content, etc. across the social media channels.
- Professional photography, videography, and video editing.
- A content plan for consistent content that is 100% on brand.
- And lastly social media growth. To create an elite Google presence it’s all an amazing website and high-level article publications on platforms like Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC, etc.”
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Interview With Luke Lintz & Team Highkey Agency
When did you know you found the right idea and how did you capitalize on it?
Luke explained “there isn’t a single service that we offer to our clients that we don’t use for our own brands. To have an amazing business you have to be the #1 client of your services.” It seems that there wasn’t one particular idea or service that magically came into the hands of the HighKey Agency partners, but it was through the old school process of trial and error. Since the team had a lot of established brands of their own they were able to be the #1 client of their services and invests a heavy amount of capital into R&D. This continual investment ensured that any service that they offered to their clients was one that the owners themselves used on a continual basis.
Luke’s number one motto for highkey agency is
“give the absolute most value to your customer and they will stay with you for life.”
After asking Luke more about this we actually found that there have been many clients that he has gone so above and beyond that their profit for that particular client went into the negative. One thing that a lot of business owners can take from Luke is “I believe that business owners should never be looking at short term profits from companies. I look at every business deal as a relationship and knowing that I’m going to be in business for 40+ years, the short term really doesn’t matter.
What is unique about your business?
HighKey Agency focuses their services on social media and press. Luke informed us
we have been consistently delivering the best results for our clients on Instagram and publications. Our team provides other services to develop an elite personal brand but our strongest services have always been Instagram and press.
A very honest answer with hundreds of clients that back up Luke’s claims.
Other than their own brands (@lukelintz, @jordanlintz, @highkeyagency, @highkeyco) they have a long list of elite clients that they have brought up from very little. Some examples include @rickycarruth, @chriscavallini, @claytonmorris and so many more.
What services does it provide?
The company’s Instagram services include content strategy, posting management, Instagram growth, content creation with video editing, and graphic design. The company also has a wide range of press services and packages. Some of these packages include dedicated articles on platforms like Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and so many more.
What types of companies do you serve, and in what industries or markets?
The majority of the agency’s clients are personal brands. The reason for this is because they have an unbelievable amount of testimonials and case studies from personal brands that have received a lot of attention and value from the agency’s personal brands services in particular. Furthermore, the owners of the business have invested a large portion of their capital in growing and testing the services on their own personal brands. Luke explains “A personal brand if not already, will become the most valuable asset of any business owner. It’s the best way to grow a sizable audience and brand, which you can then refer over to your business. Never in history has it been easier to refer to yourself business.”
What would you say are the biggest challenges when starting this business as an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge of starting up a social media agency is that the barrier to entry is very low. This is contrary to other industries where the biggest challenge is that the barrier to entry is very high. The reason for this is any single person is able to put up a quick site that explains how they are “Social Media Guru” or put in their Instagram bio “Social media Expert.” This is the exact reason why over the past year Luke and the Agency team have so heavily invested in their own services, to showcase what they are capable of. Luke says “It was definitely hard in the beginning, but now our services can speak for themselves. We have extremely happy clients because we always over-deliver.”
Team Building, Assembling & Hiring
Other Than the services and the happy clients that the Agency has accomplished, they have also been able to build up a powerful team culture. After learning more about the business you will actually find that the oldest person within the company currently is the business partner Jordan, who is 23 years old. Jordan tells us
“age doesn’t matter, results do. It’s social media, and business owners today should be looking for 20-year-olds to run their social accounts.”
The business partners have been very diligent with their recruiting, going for young and hungry people of a similar age. When hiring Luke figures out what drives each potential employee and sees if they can align with the company vision.
Luke says “I’ve never been more proud of anything then the team members that are a part of HighKey. My team is able to take criticism, work on personal development, and share similar core values.”
What keeps you running when times get tough?
All throughout 2019, the Agency was scaling very rapidly until the recent pandemic of Covid-19 broke out in February. There were major changes in every industry, with millions of people losing their jobs and hundreds of thousands of businesses shutting down.
The Agency definitely took a hit during the start of the pandemic but Luke says that they were lucky to be working in the online space, where services are actually thriving. The business partners quickly transitioned all of their video editors, content managers, and article managers to work from home. Luke said, “we are lucky that we had the processes in place with our task management and accountability with each of our workers to make the transition of working from home seamless.”
How do you measure results? What KPI’s do you look for?
The Agency measures result with their clients based on the long term goals of the individual or company. The Agency made it clear that they are a branding company and not a direct advertising firm which makes it harder to figure out an exact ROI (Return on Investment).
“The services that we offer brings in many different streams of income. For example, after we brought one client up from zero to 100,000 followers, with consistent content on Instagram, he got booked for several paid speaking gigs, which wasn’t even the main objective of the branding. When you build a brand you are able to tap into many different streams of income, unlike direct advertising where you are going for a one to one conversion on a sale. Building a brand is about building a story and relatability points, to create life long customers.”
How do you differentiate yourself from your competition?
Competition doesn’t seem to exist for the Agency team. They all explained to us that there are a lot of social media companies, but they have yet to come across a company that is working as heavily as them in the personal branding space. Their mission is to become the number one personal branding company in the world, and their actions show that they are definitely on a path to get there.
Have you ever turned down a client? If so, why did you do it?
What makes the Agency interesting is that they had to turn down clients in the past. Their reasoning is that they are only trying to be involved in business with individuals and companies that are committed for the long term and are doing legitimate business, just like themselves.
Luke said “I remember rejecting a few clients in 2020 because after two phone calls with them and giving a lot of value, they were only interested in committing to one month of services. My team pretty much breaks even during the start-up phase of a client, so if a client isn’t able to commit to at least six months with our team then our team won’t be able to deliver the results that they are looking for and is unfair to everyone.”
What was your biggest, most painful failure with this business? What did you learn from this mistake/failure?
The Agency like every other business has failures on a weekly basis. “Failures are all apart of growth and success won’t come without failures. The important parts are how quickly are able to fix the failures and that you don’t have the same failure happen twice.”
On the flip-side, what was your biggest success? Was it important, and if so why?
The Agency’s biggest successes over the years are the team and talent that they have been able to find. Luke says “I have always been able to figure out the strengths in people quickly. Over the years have had to do very little firing because the people that make up our agency have an unbelievable work ethic.”
The partners of the Agency all have a very strong vision for the company. They have revenue goals, management goals, individual staff goals, and weekly goals. The team believes that it is critical that every person within a company is on the same page and is going for the accomplishment of a similar mission.
“The people who have believed in the Agency from the beginning will be forever rewarded down the road. I want to make sure that each of my employees reaches their goals personally and financially because I truly care about each and every one of them.” Luke tells us.