Company: Label 428
Founders: Jason Ko, Brian Lee
“Honestly if you have the courage and the passion, and you combine them together, you can literally
build your empire” – Jason Ko
With the surplus of food trucks, craft breweries, tapas bars, and fusion restaurants taking over, Toronto food industry has become increasingly more noteworthy. While foodies rejoice, restaurant owners and CPG (consumer packaged goods) brands alike hasten to create brand awareness amidst the growing competition. Although social media marketing is new territory for businesses to conquer, a Toronto-based food creative agency is leading the way with their cleverly crafted and engaging content. Label 428, co–founded by Jason Ko and Brian Lee, specializes in creating branded content and providing social media solutions for restaurant franchises and CPG brands.
Founded 2.5 years ago, Label 428 is rapidly growing, having recently expanded their team to 6 members. “We started our business straight out of university with no resources”, says Jason, COO of Label 428. “Contacting big brands, without any sort of history in marketing or industry contacts was a challenge. We are growing each month, and we’ve been managing to do pretty well” stated Brian Lee, Label 428 CEO. To say they were being humble is an understatement. In fact, they have many well known Canadian brands as clients, such as Mary Brown’s, Yogen Fruz, and South St. Burger to name a few.
Considering the harmonious pair’s combined skills, talent, and expertise, their accelerated growth is far from surprising. Brian grew up in his parent’s bakery and had worked in restaurants throughout university. Jason developed his passion and skill in photography from a young age. However, it was more than hard work and skill that brought Label 428 their achievements. Jason accredited passion to their success. “Passion is key. Honestly if you have the courage and the passion, and you combine them together, you can literally build your empire.” Brian added in agreement “Everyone on our team has a passion for food. That’s the first thing we look for when we are hiring. We’re doing what we love.”
Social media marketing is constantly evolving with new algorithms, trends, and influencers. It’s imperative for social media professionals to evolve with it, as Brian pointed out, “We know that we need to move fast. The higher up the mountain we go the steeper it’s going to get”. It’s clear to see from Label 428‘s extensive portfolio that they are expertly and steadily climbing that summit – social media management, lifestyle photography, advertising photography, and short form video.
The newest addition to their portfolio, a cookbook for Highlander Brewing Co., is a prime example of Label 428’s profound ability to seductively tell stories through custom branded content. Flipping through the pages of the Highlander Brewing Co’s cookbook triggers the warm nostalgia of sharing dinner with an old friend. Each page not only details a recipe with a Highlander brew, but includes a story about the person who made it. From Highlander seafood ceviche with highlander buck shot lager to a beer barrel chutney with highlander blacksmith smoked porter, Label 428 has genuinely captured the essence of the people behind Highlander Brewing Co.
Currently Label 428 is focused on content creation and social media management, but Brian expressed their interest in venturing out into branding and consulting for restaurants in the future. “We started out with a passion to help out the small guys, but understandably, they don’t really have the budgets. Consulting could be an option to continue to help small business owners like my parents and their bakery, and increase our footprint in the city.”
There is no doubt about the success of any new endeavors of Label 428 in the future. With their innate adaptability and born creativity they have become the food creative agency to watch.
To find out more about Label 428 check out their website.
Tori Morency is a writer and Community Manager for Workhaus.
Workhaus is a coworking space and entrepreneurial hub with 4 locations, 80+ companies, and 300+