Scroll Studio was born out of founder Brian Augsburger’s realization that the advertising landscape is seriously changing.
With a background in design and development, he launched his first company—Urbity—a decade ago, and has since been evolving with the times. At first, Urbity focused on web development, eventually expanding to helping clients get traffic to those websites through SEO, social media, and content marketing, and ultimately becoming a full-service shop.
But in the past few years, Brian started noticing a worrying trend. Clients were seeing a decline in their metrics because of changes at Google, Facebook, and the online landscape at large. “You know, people just aren’t paying attention to ads anymore—myself included, and I own a marketing and advertising agency,” he explains.
Around the same time, he happened upon a piece of longform branded content on The New York Times and was blown away. Not only was it the type of deeply-researched, beautifully-designed, narrative-forward content he wanted to be creating—he saw it as the future of brands communicating with customers. “If you do it right and you tell engaging stories, people do want to hear from companies,” he says. “They just don’t want to hear from those businesses in salesy 140 character tweets, don’t want to hear from them with another ad selling the product. They want to hear the emotion and struggles behind the product.”
“Good stories, crafted by experts—featuring continuous throughlines, context, and strategic use of narrative—have been proven to engage readers so they retain more information. They connect with your story. They become part of your story,” he explains on his website. “It’s what Hollywood does, and it’s time marketers took a hint from Hollywood.”
So, he gathered a team of experts—including his knowledge of development and brand storytelling, a writer with a journalism background, and a screenwriter from Hollywood as a story consultant—and launched Scroll Studio, a subset of Urbity that focuses on helping businesses create longform, multimedia stories about their brand, which could be used for everything from a more engaging “About” page to a blog that potential customers actually want to read.
“Setka really has allowed us to focus on what’s important and not sacrifice anything.”
— Brian Augsburger, founder of Scroll Studio
Doing More With Less
When Brian first discovered Setka, he was a little worried it was going to put him out of business as a developer and designer. “I felt intimidated a little bit because now, what I thought I was good at, other people can accomplish using a tool.”
But he quickly realized he could actually use Setka within his company to cut down on expensive development time and make more stories for less money—without sacrificing quality. “I’m fine if Setka allows us to make the design just as good as I would have done with custom development. I think it took the development time from 100% to 10%, which is really cool.”
Not only does this mean they can work in line with the budgets of smaller companies, it also allows them to put more money towards other aspects of the content. “We can make stories better because we can allocate more budget towards the actual story and less on development costs. And we can invest more in better illustrations because we don’t have to spend the money on development of small animations like parallax scrolling and stuff like that.”
Ultimately, this makes them more competitive than agencies who are building everything from the ground up. “Setka allows us to better position ourselves in the marketplace, and to get done faster, because I don’t need my developer involved as much. It really has allowed us to focus on what’s important and not sacrifice anything.”
Adding the ‘Wow’ Factor
Brian says Setka’s easy-to-use animation features—which allow you to add small interactions like moving images or parallax scrolling—especially caught his eye. “When you first land on the page, there’s this wow factor.”
It’s not just something that he notices—those little details make the client feel like their piece is extra special. For instance, when developing the Platforms Media piece, they didn’t use animations in the first draft. Then, someone on the Setka team showed him how to use the tool and they added it in. “The client was like, wow, this is amazing! As a storyteller, you kind of wish you didn’t need those little tricks—like the story should be good enough on its own—but the clients love it, it’s the first thing they see.”
These ‘little tricks’ are also likely to keep readers more engaged with the brand story. “That eye candy really helps us communicate that, hey, this is something different. This isn’t a sales pitch, this is a story that you can kind of lower your guard that we all have when we’re approaching a business.”
He’s excited to see how these animations can continue to help elevate their work in the future. “That’ll be something that we definitely use more and more of. And, again, I don’t have to use my developer for it.”
Brian’s Favorite Features
“When you first land on the page, there’s this wow factor. That eye candy really helps us communicate that, hey, this is something different.”
2. Style Manager
“I love that you can create these style guides in Setka and apply them to future stories. It helps us potentially sell more stories to the client, because we already have a lot of that predefined. So then that next story becomes even easier.”
3. Setka’s Support
“The hand holding even before I signed up told me that, even though this is a new tool, if you need help, it’s going to be there.”
Easing the Editing Process
Brian has also found that using Setka’s tools has made the collaboration process easier every step of the way.
First of all, it’s streamlined in-house editing and revisions. “In the storytelling process, the part that I love but the part that can also be frustrating is the editing process. Some of these stories, if you compare the first traft to the final, it would look like two different things. It’s crazy how much these stores change just based on new ideas and client feedback. We used to use Google Docs for that, but as we’re using Setka, my writer—somebody who doesn’t have any development experience— can go in and just make them in the story.”
It’s also made things easier for the client. Brian worked with the Setka team to get a special license that he can then pass off to the client when he’s done creating their story, meaning they can continue to make adjustments or easily edit if their story changes in the future.
And, he sees the potential for Setka to make future projects with his existing clients even simpler, too. “Of course, we want to do more and more stories because there’s such a big learning curve when you first start working with a client but then, as you do one story, you start to see these other stories pop up. I love that you can create these style guides in Setka and apply them to future stories. It helps us potentially sell more stories to the client, because we already have a lot of that predefined. So then that next story becomes even easier.”
A No-Brainer Moving Forward
While Brian discovered Setka in the middle of the past two projects he’s used the tool for, he’s excited to continue using it, and to see how it changes his team’s process when they use it from start to finish. “I think when my writer opens up Setka to start his draft, it will be a really beautiful thing and you’ll start to see it really kind of take shape.” Not only does he anticipate it will aid in the creative process, he foresees it helping his team move a lot faster in the future, especially now that they’ve taken a little bit of time to really learn all the functionalities of the tool. “I’ll be able to tell if we’re getting it done faster because of the tool. And I would be shocked if we can’t because we’re removing a critical step in development and just building it right in the page.”
Brian also says that Setka’s support at every step of the way has made him more confident that this will continue to be a good fit for his small business. “From the kickoff calls to their help in the editing process of the actual design, them being super available was important because these projects have deadlines and they were able to shorten the learning curve of using the tool. The hand holding even before I signed up told me that, even though this is a new tool, if you need help, it’s going to be there.”
But the biggest reason that using Setka feels like a no-brainer to him is the cost savings. “I know how much a story costs me to develop—like literally code—and I know that’s a lot more than the licensing fee of Steka. So those savings alone are nice.”