When Gabriel Puente was working as an advertising director for a publication, his job was simply to sell the ads that helped fund the business. However, he found himself spending more and more time listening to the stories of potential clients on those kinds of calls.
“Every time I would go to a lead, I was just fascinated with that entrepreneur, the business owner, the medical professional,” he said. “I was just like, ‘oh my God, that’s such an amazing story.’ So I would go back to the publisher and say, ‘yeah, I sold the ad, but also we need to tell their story.”
In 2009, Puente created his own opportunity to tell stories through RGVision Magazine.
“I found out when I eventually moved back to the Rio Grande Valley that there are a lot of stories to be told and there was really no medium to tell those stories,” he said, citing the limitations of space in newspapers and time on broadcast news. “We really weren’t touching on solid profile stories of individuals who have helped the Rio Grande Valley move in the direction it’s going in today.”
Over the past 10 years, some of Puente’s most memorable stories that RGVision has told include ones that have both celebrated and impacted the Rio Grande Valley. That includes examining the concept of an RGV united as a region to boost the area’s growth as a whole, highlighting the innovative work of Harlingen’s Dr. Rick Bassett, an orthopedic surgeon who designed a joint for knee replacements, and working on website and smartphone app Explore RGV, a tourism tool that compiles nearly 1,000 features of the Valley.
“We really want to let people know of the rockstars, the gems, the assets that we have right here in our backyard that are making a huge impact in our region, across the state, across the nation — also, across the world,” Puente said.
The magazine’s storytelling lent itself organically to expanding RGVision’s marketing services.
“There’s a lot of buzzwords going out for conversational marketing, drip campaign, storytelling, content creation,” Puente said. “We’ve been content creators and storytellers since 2009. And at heart, that’s ultimately what I’m passionate about — sharing the stories of the people because it’s inspiring.”
Puente recognized that some of the advertisers featured in RGVision Magazine needed help with digital marketing services after being left high and dry by inexperience.
“We kind of felt like, hey, we have a duty to help our clients and help our advertisers — to give them those services that a lot of people say they are providing,” Puente said. “They’re overpromising and underdelivering, and so we were able to help out. It just made sense for us to make it a service line after that because we just felt there was more of a need.”
Today, RGVision helps tell clients’ stories with full-service digital marketing lines, including social media management, video production, website development, graphic design, content creation, and much more.
“We like to work with small-, medium-sized businesses because we are one,” Puente said. “We try to come up with solutions for them. It’s real easy for companies to just create a product that has a set plan and to try to fit clients into that plan. We know that every client is different. They have different needs and they also have different budgets.”
This includes helping clients adapt to today’s complicated and sophisticated market — and customers who are tired of sales pitches.
“Whenever we’re sharing their story, it’s all about education and educating the market, educating the client, because that builds trust. It builds loyalty,” Puente said. “We’re getting smarter and smarter and so it’s really easy to identify whether I’m being sold something or not.”
As more digital platforms emerge and marketing evolves, Puente predicts that storytelling will still play a central —albeit different — role.
“I see more people wanting to slow down as the market is moving forward,” he said. “It’s always good to just sit down, stop, and really engage, and that’s why I feel print — similar to RGVision print — is coming back and it’s coming back in a big way. People are wanting to stop, take a break, and get engaged and digest more content — and also get more educated.”
Join the conversation at RGVisionMedia.com.