Quonset_hut_emplacement_in_JapanUnlike the clichéd founding myths of other business startups, Hammock Inc. didn’t start in a garage. We started in a 50-year-old car wash created in the shell of a World War II military surplus Quonset hut. By 1991, the car wash had been remodeled into a small office building that served as our temporary home for nine months.

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The company was started by Rex Hammock whose vision was to provide marketers with a specialized service that aren’t available from traditional marketing services sources like advertising agencies and public relations firms. (No, the services did not include washing cars.) Its mission then, as now, is producing  a wide array of media and content that serves as the foundation on which companies, brands, organizations, etc. can add value to their products and build long-lasting relationships with customers, members, clients, supporters, et. al.

Still the vision

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By 1996, Hammock Inc. and its founder, Rex Hammock were already viewed as trailblazers in online media development. The company was featured on the cover of Folio magazine for pioneering work on the Web. “Is this the future of custom publishing?” the magazine cover blurb asked.

Hammock quickly gained national recognition for its print magazines and print projects published for such clients as First Data Corporation, NFIB, Travel Centers of America, Service Merchandise, Electronic Arts and several financial, transportation and healthcare companies.

During the 1990s, Hammock Inc. helped grow awareness of the role customer media and marketing content can play in defining an organization’s brand and helping companies and associations develop deeper, longer relationships with customers and members. Hammock became one of the founding members of what was then called the Custom Publishing Council (today, the Content Council).

While Hammock gained national recognition and awards for its print magazine work, the company began incorporating digital marketing approaches to the creation and distribution of branded media and what today might be called social media.

Hammock was early to use such technology to distribute print media, as well as to see it as having the potential to be media. Services related to managing online networks like Compuserve were provided by Hammock before the era of ubiquitous websites started. In recognition of Hammock’s early entry into providing what today would be called “content marketing,” in 1996, Folio: magazine, the trade publication of the magazine industry, featured Hammock Inc. on its cover for a story about magazine custom publishers who were pioneering in their use of the Web.

Consistency in process and service

One of the hallmarks of the Hammock approach to service is assigning each client a content team that can collaborate on long-term projects. The ability to provide such consistent service hinges on the ability of Hammock to attract and retain highly motivated and dedicated professionals.

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Currently, the average tenure of a member of the Hammock staff is 13 years. In addition to founder Rex Hammock, there are five employees who have worked at Hammock for 15 or more years: Bill Hudgins, editor emeritus (21 years), Lynn Boyer, art director (22 years), Kerri Davis, creative director (22 years), John Lavey, president and COO (20 years), and Julia Boklage, director of administration (18 years).

While we are fortunate to have a core of leaders who have worked together for so long, we also are fortunate to benefit from a steady stream of talented young people from universities in Nashville, including our neighbor across the street, Vanderbilt. As we’ve worked with clients throughout the country for over two decades, we’ve also benefited from creative talent from across the country and around the globe. Since the year 2000, more than 500 writers, photographers, developers and other creatives have contributed to the work we produce on behalf of our clients.

 

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