Charles and Kathleen Minacapelli are modest about the business they’ve built and the client rapport they’ve cultivated. According to Charles, when the husband and wife team opened SEQUEL Design Associates, Inc. in 1994, their goals were to build strong, satisfying relationships with their clients.
Building lasting relationships
“We saw the value in lasting relationships, rather than the cookie-cutter programming, cranking out project after project, but never really having long-term clients,” Charles notes. “We wanted to be part of our clients’ business — know as much about their business asthey do.
Kathleen’s graphic design background and Charles’ technology savvy became a winning combination for solutions to branding and marketing challenges. SEQUEL’S first client, the Baltimore County Employees Credit Union, is still a client 23 years later. SEQUEL has guided the credit union through several logo and branding changes, responsive website design, e-marketing programs and print collateral. Today, SEQUEL is a full-service marketing company with a client roster consisting of local and national healthcare companies, financial institutions, builders, designers and specialty clients. Expertise in graphic design, website development, custom application programming, interactive media, SEO, copywriting, print and digital marketing are among the services the company offers.
“All of our work is done in-house,” Charles notes. “We collaborate with professionals whose work ethic and dedication mirror our own. We recommend the right strategies to meet our clients’ individual goals, whether that’s a completely digital marketing plan, or one with both traditional and contemporary media solutions.”
Beyond web design
While SEQUEL specializes in custom website design, programming and technology, Charles is quick to explain that he and his team can handle all manner of digital communication. “Our goal is to provide the entire structure for a website that can both grow with your company and help your company to grow,” he says. “You can basically turn your electronic communication over to us and we will manage it, maintain your daily e-mail and network connections at the highest level possible, and provide the support necessary to keep your information secure and accurate.”
Communication is key to success
Kathleen says it’s all a matter of strategic communication. “When we’re tasked with creating a complete marketing program for a brand, we make sure everything works together — from the logo to the website,” she says. “We’ll evaluate and recommend the most appropriate and cost-effective way to reach your target market, given your budget parameters. With so many media choices, getting to know our clients and their goals is imperative before we ever make the first recommendation. For most clients, it’s probably a combination of tactics, and it’s a matter of having the flexibility to try it.”
Charles concurs that one of the biggest challenges SEQUEL faces is getting clients to provide a real program budget and to try non-traditional media. “I don’t want to present you with a Mercedes Benz program if your budget is more in the range of a Hyundai. That’s a waste of everyone’s time. Marketers always think big, and there are ways to appear big for less money — we can work within budgets; we can’t work without them.”
The Minacapellis have kept the business in the family, with son, Nicolas Minacapelli, opening a branch office in the White Mountain and Lakes region of New Hampshire. SEQUEL’S primary office is in Forest Hill, Md. near Bel Air, and the company also has a location in the family’s favorite vacation spot, Ocean City, Md. “It’s good for both the family and our clients,” Charles jokes. “Business owners typically end up working on vacation anyway, so why not have a comfortable, convenient, well-appointed place to do it?”