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The Story Behind From Idea to Impact in the Advertising World
By SmartBranding Team access_time 7 min read

In this interview, we talk with Fernando Beltran, CEO of Identika, a full-service advertising agency. We discuss the original source of inspiration for starting the company, their choice of domain name, and what’s coming up next for Identika.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What did you do before you started Identika?

Before founding Identika, I served as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for a prominent government consulting firm. I started working in the IT field soon after graduating with a degree in Computer Science from a college in Mexico many years ago. Hands-on roles marked my early days as a software programmer, but I climbed to managerial positions with dedication and passion. I always wanted to start my own business, but it took me more than 15 years to make that leap of faith. I wish I had started earlier.

How was the idea for Identika born?

The inception of Identika can be traced back to two distinct phases. In the mid-2000s, during my tenure as a CTO, I was captivated by the then-emerging technology, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Recognizing a niche in the market, I wanted to provide RFID consulting services, which almost no one was providing at that time. This endeavor went nowhere, and I closed the business after a mere two years. But I loved the brand name “Identika,” and I decided to keep the domain.

Fast-forward a few years, and the entrepreneurial spark reignited. With a renewed vision, I embarked on offering more traditional IT consulting services, particularly web development. However, a significant pivot occurred when I ventured into the realm of film direction and production, a passion of mine. The complexities of marketing these films forced me to learn about marketing and advertising, from marketing funnels to social media strategies and everything in between. This realization prompted me and Identika to venture into the realm of creative advertising. My passion for filmmaking further enriched our portfolio, introducing video production as a core service offering. It became evident that video content was intrinsically linked to marketing campaigns, solidifying our evolution into a holistic advertising agency. And as they say, the rest is history.

What does Identika do? Who can benefit from it?

Identika is a full-service advertising agency. We specialize in crafting bespoke marketing and advertising campaigns for our clients. Our expertise lies in assisting our clients in effectively reaching their target audience and reaching their business objectives. We achieve this by ensuring their brand and message are aligned, and by enhancing awareness of policies for government clients. We have been successful in running health campaigns for government agencies. We have also assisted clients in the commercial sector, specifically with Instagram marketing, which is one of our strongest capabilities. 

How did you name your brand?

I was in my bedroom, jotting down potential names on a piece of paper. Among the 30 or so ideas, “Identika” just clicked. It felt unique and reflective of what I wanted the brand to represent. I think I’ve still got that paper tucked away somewhere, a little memento of the brand’s starting point.

What was the reasoning behind choosing the current name?

The name “Identika” was inspired by the initial focus of our business: RFID technology, which centers around the identification and tagging of items.

The name is a creative fusion of “Identity”, hinting at the core of RFID, combined with nuances of “replica” and “quality”. Even as our services evolved towards consulting, the name remained relevant, especially when considering the importance of brand identity in our offerings. It felt serendipitous how the name seamlessly aligned with our journey and transformations.

Fernando Beltran, CEO of Identika

What domain name did you choose for Identika? What is your experience with it? was available at that time, so that’s what we have used ever since. @identika is also our username on practically every social network.

What is your biggest challenge with this business? Have you overcome it, and how?

Currently, our most pressing challenge with Identika is achieving scalability without compromising the integrity of our operations. As our reputation has grown, we’ve been entrusted with larger and more complex projects. While this is a testament to our capabilities, it also underscores the risks and challenges of growth. It’s a delicate balance, ensuring that our expansion doesn’t disrupt the quality and efficiency we’re known for. Growth, as rewarding as it is, often comes with its own set of growing pains.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business when it comes to naming their brand?

When starting a business, many people focus too much on coming up with a great brand name, creating a fancy logo, or building a beautiful website and business cards. However, my advice is to shift the focus towards what truly drives a business: customers. Without a customer base, even the most meticulously named or designed brand won’t thrive. Prioritize selling and establishing a consistent cash flow. What really matters to earn a customer’s trust and investment is the value and results you provide, not just a catchy name or an impressive website. Remember, the finer details of branding can always be polished as you grow and evolve. 

What are some trends, interesting news, and dos and don’ts in your space?

Trends: Artificial intelligence, particularly Generative AI, greatly disrupts the creative industry. However, we are enthusiastic about its potential and fully committed to finding effective ways to leverage it for our clients.

For those aspiring to make a mark in the advertising industry, I’d highly recommend Peter Levitan’s book, “How To Build A Kick-Ass Advertising Agency.” It offers invaluable insights and a roadmap to navigate and thrive in the industry.

A crucial piece of advice: Carve out a niche for yourself. It’s tempting to cast a wide net and cater to every need, but in an industry as saturated as advertising, specialization can be your differentiator. Spreading yourself too thin can dilute your brand’s essence and expertise. Focus, refine, and excel in a specific area, and you’ll stand out in the crowd.

What is next for Identika?

Identika has a bright future ahead. Our overarching vision is to cement our reputation as a leading agency across the United States, synonymous with iconic and impactful campaigns. The fruits of our dedication are already emerging. This year, we proudly secured the #508 spot on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing small businesses in the US (and our second consecutive year on the list). Notably, we also clinched the title of the #1 advertising agency in the DC Metro and Virginia and #38 among all advertising agencies nationwide on the same list. Our journey has been exhilarating, and we’re only just getting started.

Our overarching vision is to cement our reputation as a leading agency across the United States, synonymous with iconic and impactful campaigns. 

Fernando Beltran, CEO of Identika

Last thing, if some of our readers have more questions. Where can they reach you online? 

I am no longer on Twitter, but you can find me on Instagram and Threads as @fbeltran or via LinkedIn.

Fernando Beltran, CEO of Identika, a full-service advertising agency.

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