The unusual name of his company reflects Cordes Owen’s positive growth mentality—if you’re having trouble slicing the pie, just bake more.
As founder and CEO of Bake More Pies, Owen’s “one-stop-shop” for all things advertising and digital marketing, he constantly strives to put more on the table, creating more value and options, not only for his clients but for the wider community. His company has kept busy during the pandemic by offering up a steady stream of more digital capabilities for businesses, and nonprofits, to succeed.
One way Owen expands opportunity is by offering full-scale, video production from the Bake More Pies studio, opened in 2017 in the Westshore business district of Tampa.
“I’m always looking for emerging technologies, and fundamentally, we realized several years ago that video was a better tactic to engage people within an advertising creative,” Owen says. “Better creative makes better ads, and the research was showing that a static banner ad engaged only 25% as well as one with motion or a video component to it. So we knew that we had to throw everything into creating the best capability for video within the agency. We bootstrap grew the business, starting off with just one videographer.”
They rented studio space, in the Tampa Bay area, for one of their first video assignments but everything that could go wrong, did.
“The laptop broke, we had to rent extra gear, both the changing room and the green room were bathrooms. It was hot, the air conditioning malfunctioned,” Owen remembers. He quickly realized creating their own space would be “a game-changer.”
Owen’s been a game-changer, himself, in the digital world since an undergraduate at Georgia Tech. He created his first website at 18 when the internet was only a year old, and soon began building sites for his professors on the side. His natural aptitude for digital creation found early success, with recognition in the first edition of Forbes magazine’s prestigious Best of the Web.
“I’ve been involved with the internet, and digital marketing, from day one. I’ve seen every single trend come and go. I’ve seen best practices change and how new database technology changes the way that the front end of websites look or the way that applications work, so I’m lucky to have such a broad base of experience with the internet.”
No matter how you slice it, Owen believes streaming and advanced video capabilities are here to stay.
“Businesses are going to keep pushing the limits of what’s possible. It’s no longer enough to have video, or use live streaming, because everyone now is doing it,” he says. “You’re going to have to invest in quality, and step up your game, to separate yourself by engaging in a higher level of production and interaction.”
The unique challenges of the pandemic have made Bake More Pies’ latest successes especially sweet. Enjoying an ongoing relationship with the Boys & Girls Club, when Owen heard it was considering canceling its annual gala, he convinced the organization to take the event virtual. It drew more than 80,000 online participants reaching scores more donors than at a face-to-face event.
As Owen explains, “With fundraisers going forward, I think most will continue to offer a hybrid component because it opens up possibilities so wide. They’re able to reach so many more people.”
Another recent example is when Bake More Pies helped Lemongrass, a popular cosmetic company based in Tarpon Springs, host its annual convention online.
“With the convenience of a virtual platform, they were able to make a profit on the two-day event after only the first hour,” he says. “It was a phenomenal experience.”
Owen enjoys the challenge of creating more for his clients and when Skansa, the fifth-largest construction company in the world, recently came to Bake More Pies looking for creative solutions, it answered.
“Skansa needed to pitch their most important projects of the year, which they would normally do in person. They didn’t want just a webcam and clever slide presentation, so we created full productions for them, with visuals and overlays and lower thirds, using our creativity and production capabilities to expand what’s possible with live streaming and video,” Owen says.
Despite the hardship of the pandemic, Owen points out that the timing was perfect for taking business remote.
“If you think about it, video conferencing has been around for a while, since it’s been over 10 years since GoTo Meeting, and other early options, but it never really became super useful, because technology hadn’t caught up yet,” he says. “Yet with the crisis, finally our internet connection was fast enough, the cameras were good enough, audio reliable enough. And now is the perfect time for this situation, because technologies like Zoom are able to offer high-quality video with audio clear enough, with technology that checked all the boxes.”
The sky’s the limit with education, entertainment, community connections and nonprofit sectors all being positively impacted by video. It’s one more way that Owen offers more, with a practical realism that manages to keep an engaging, “pie in the sky” idealism afloat. ♦