The Story Behind Our Rebrand: How Did Marketing Zen Become Zen Media?



Rebrands are tricky things. They require introspection. Soul-searching. A commitment to facing the best and the worst in ourselves – and then, taking action.

That’s what we at Zen Media did this past year, as we went through the transformation that took us from Marketing Zen to Zen Media.

There were a lot of reasons we decided it was time for a new name and a new look, but the biggest one was that our company, itself, was changing. For the past two years or so, we’d been observing that consumer behavior – and no less importantly, consumer expectations – were transforming dramatically. If we wanted to continue to give our clients the best service possible, we had to transform too.

That’s the short version of the story. But, of course, there’s more to it than that. So, for those who are interested, here’s the long version of how Marketing Zen became Zen Media.

The beginnings of Marketing Zen

Our founder and CEO, Shama Hyder, founded Marketing Zen back in 2009 after graduating from the University of Texas-Austin.

Initially, she thought the company would be a general consulting firm – however, once she started working with clients, it became clear that what companies wanted was someone to handle their digital needs.

That was the first time we shifted our game plan in response to the market. It turned out to be a very smart move, as Marketing Zen grew 400% during its first year alone.

Over time, Zen added services as we saw a need for them – SEO, PR, video marketing, etc. From the very beginning, two of our core values were continuous learning and humility. Without ongoing learning, we couldn’t serve our clients; without humility, we wouldn’t continue learning.

Observing the market

After years of working with clients both big and small, we noticed a real change in the way that consumers were behaving, and what they were expecting.

When social media began, consumers started wanting more transparency from the brands they followed. This made sense, of course – for the first time, it was possible for brands to talk directly to consumers without going through a formalized medium, like a television commercial or highly produced print ad.

As consumers became used to the transparency, they began to want more than that. They wanted engagement. They wanted the brands to talk back to them, to converse with them, to answer their questions.

As this change was occurring, the technology available to brands was also rapidly developing.

Geo-tagging and location-based technology allowed companies to target consumers based on where they physically were.

Push notifications meant that a brand could put a little piece of themselves in a consumer’s hand at any time.

The evolution of social advertising allowed brands to contact exactly the customers they wanted, without oversaturating them.

On the consumer’s side, review sites and apps allowed customers to research almost any product exhaustively before purchasing – even if he or she were actually in the store, standing in front of the product.

They can search for anything related to your brand on Google and find all kinds of opinions about you – often before your brand even has a chance to interact with them.

These developments are what gave rise to the connected consumer – the highly discerning, totally inundated customer who expects brands to know what they want, when they want it, and how to offer it to them.

We watched these changes happening, and we knew that the way brands interacted with these customers would have to change. We’d have to change, too.

The rebirth

After many months of internal discussions, research, adjustments, and more research, we came up with a strategy that we believe will allow us to make the best use of our team’s talents and expertise, while giving our clients the highest-quality service. We

We became Zen Media, one brand with three different “mini-brands” beneath it:

  • Zen Digital – our digital marketing arm, which continues and expands the services we’ve been providing clients for a decade.
  • Zen Made – our design + digital arm, which helps brands create physical spaces that seamlessly integrate the best in digital marketing with IRL brand activations.
  • Zen Mind – our thought leadership and visionary arm, which works with individuals and teams to create influence and trust with their audiences.

While we’d been providing our Made and Mind services on a one-off, as-needed basis for some time, our rebrand has given us the opportunity to really formalize and focus on these capabilities.

This, we believe, is what’s needed today. That’s because in today’s marketplace, brands face a tremendous amount of pressure to keep up with the latest technologies and consumer trends. There’s no room for missing out on an opportunity to connect with your customers – wherever they may be.

At Zen, we work to simplify this equation through our thought leadership around the connected consumer, our decade of experience, and our ability to shepherd a company towards its maximum ROI and impact.

We are so excited about this new chapter called Zen Media, and we know it will be one filled with learning, growing, and evolution. We hope you’ll join us for this amazing ride.


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