Mopdog Featured in The Marietta Daily Journal

Bark for your buck: Mopdog Creative + Strategy finds inspiration in man’s best friend
by Katy Ruth Camp

KENNESAW — Ten years ago, Bill and Cheryl Musial’s two yapping Shih Tzus went from being an annoyance during the husband and wife team’s business calls to creating a marketing strategy that helped them become a global creative group.“In the mid-90s, when websites were just starting to pop out — which it’s hard to believe there was a time without them — we were going by William Musial Advertising. That’s not sexy or fun,” said Cheryl Musial, co-owner and director of marketing strategy. “We were working out of the basement of our home in Acworth and had two Shih Tzus who were always barking, and they looked like you could put a handle on them and they’d be mops, so they started being called the mop dogs. So for kicks, Bill thought about changing the name and saw that no one had the domain, so we grabbed it and went from there. Our story is all about how re-branding can totally change a company.”Once the name Mopdog Creative + Strategy stuck for the Kennesaw-based company, the duo came up with ways to play on the new branding and saw business begin to bloom.

“We had to come up with a marketing spin, and my background is in marketing and sales, so I did some research on Shih Tzu’s and found out they were the guard dogs for the Chinese emperors’ palaces, and would bark if they saw something on the horizon,” Cheryl Musial said. “We keep a low profile, keep our overhead low and are able to give a lot of bark to our customers’ budgets. Now we decorate everything with the Mopdog theme and it’s become memorable — people have heard of it. You want people to remember your name, and it has to be memorable so they automatically know you and come to you.”

The company was first formed in 1990, when Bill Musial graduated from the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit with degrees focused on art direction and graphic design. In the two years immediately following his graduation, Bill Musial created a creative business with a friend and quickly gained clients and traction, Cheryl Musial said. But when Bill Musial’s business partner left the business, the Musials moved their business to the East Coast then moved to Atlanta in December 1994. They purchased their current space off Cobb Parkway, about eight miles north of the Big Chicken, six years ago.

Some of their largest clients include Healthcare Solutions out of Duluth, the Corridor Group of San Francisco and Kansas City, and the international natural byproducts company CP Kelco. Before the housing market crash, the agency served several large builders, such as Beazer, the former KB Homes and Forest Homes. But when the company began to be considered a real estate-only firm, they decided to stop taking on development clients to avoid the label and diversify, Cheryl Musial said, attributing that decision to helping them survive the crash.

The company has also been named to the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Top 25 Small Businesses for six years in a row.

The couple are raising their two boys, age 11 and 13, in Acworth. Cheryl Musial said the company of nine staff members and a handful of freelancers stays in Cobb because the county has been good to them. The company therefore gives back to the community and has a vested interest in the success of Kennesaw and the county, Cheryl Musial said.

“Cobb County is a wonderful place to run a business because people really, truly believe in working together and it is such a diverse group of population to pull from,” Cheryl Musial said. “We’re involved in a number of boards and nonprofits. We may not always have a lot of cash to give, so we try to give our time when we can. I don’t see us moving outside of Cobb County, because it’s been a wonderful place to raise our children and is accessible to the airport for our global clients. About 70 percent of our business is outside of Cobb County, so that’s been an important factor.”

But the key to longevity, Cheryl Musial said, is having a strong team of employees and staying smart about which clients they decide to serve.

“We try to make sure we have the right people on the bus and clients that we like dealing with. But personally, it’s been a challenge over the last two years, as I was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma in 2009 and was hospitalized this past summer with a severe infection, and Bill has challenges with his back, so it’s been hard knowing we have a team we’re responsible for and want to serve them. But having a strong team has been really important and they’ve helped to keep us going,” Cheryl Musial said.

As for the future, the company would like to continue growing and giving back to the community, Cheryl Musial said.

“We would like to continue to be strong, do creative work and give back to the community. … we just want to know that we are making an impact on our community and continuing with that steady cash flow — because as any business owner would tell you, cash is king and the past two years have not been easy on anyone. But we are working on all of those areas and hope to continue to make an impact,” Cheryl Musial said.

Read the article at here.
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