Toasting 25 Years of Cutting-Edge Web Design & Digital Marketing

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Updated on: June 9th, 202312 min read
1 loungelizard digital marketing 25 years

Instead of just lounging around, our Brandtenders and Marketing Mixologists have revolutionized the digital space for the past 25 years. 

Yes, we’ve been making website design and digital marketing look effortlessly cool for over a quarter of a century.

That says a lot. Within that time, we had the dot-com burst, the Y2K bug, the 2007-08 financial crash, and 9/11. All of our business stopped for six months after the events of 9/11.

But hope and hustle conquer incredible feats.

Lounge lizard history
Lounge Lizard Worldwide was founded in 1998.

Ken and Sharon Braun started Lounge Lizard in 1998 with a $50/month marketing budget. Within one year, Lounge Lizard was a million-dollar company, and to date, the company has generated over $60 million.

Read what Lounge Lizard Worldwide co-founders Braun and Sharon Sexton Braun have to say in this barstool interview. (This was originally published on LinkedIn. Are you subscribed to The Lounge, our LinkedIn newsletter?)

25thSocial_IG (1)
Lounge Lizard Worldwide Co-Founders Ken Braun and Sharon Sexton Braun


Question: Can you tell us about your background and how you got into advertising?

Answer: My first job in advertising was in 1988 at a small advertising agency in Long island, NY, where I created automobile advertising while I was attending night college at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. My second job was at Wells, Rich and Green in NYC creating advertising campaigns for Hertz Rent A Car. I eventually left the agency to get experience creating television commercials.

An opportunity came up at a promotional agency and I took a job as an art director designing on and off premise promotional materials for Jose Cuervo. A few years later a great opportunity  came at an agency to write and produce Ford commercials.

The Internet started to heat up and my next stop was at an digital marketing agency on Wall Street in Manhattan I learned about animation, and as marketing budgets for Internet ads kept increasing, I found myself trying to develop creative ways to drive clicks. At the time of online banner ads, traditional agencies didn’t know how to do it, and interactive agencies didn’t understand branding. I found a website called and created a website to get some freelance work.

I placed a $50 text link a month and, within a week, started getting inquiries. One of my first clients had casinos in Cape Town, South Africa. They needed banner ads with high click rates and kept ordering more unheard-of volumes. I lived in Eastern Long Island and took the train for 1.5 hours into the city. I even bought one of the first-ever Mac laptops that probably weigh 20 pounds. I would take it in a bag on wheels with dozens of clipart CDs to knock out dozens of banner ads on the train.

Ken old media lounge lizard
Lounge Lizard Co-Founder Ken Braun as featured in newspapers in the early days of his company.

Q: How did you develop the name Lounge Lizard for your company?

A:  I named it Lounge Lizard because one of my favorite jobs was as an art director in Connecticut doing ad campaigns for Jose Cuervo. I came up with their tagline, “The Republic of Cuervo Gold: A Nation of Untamed Spirits,” during a trip to Mexico, and that energy and creativity still drive me today. I thought I would get all these liquor accounts, but even after 25 years, I still have none.

Q: Can you tell us about some of the breakthroughs you had in your career and how you dealt with setbacks along the way?

A: One of my biggest breakthroughs was in 2000 when a VP of marketing from Nikon found me through a 16-cent pay-per-click ad. They needed banner ads with high click rates, and eventually, I got the job for their Coolpix website, which led to a $1 million account. However, diversification is critical, and I had to deal with the setback of a decrease in revenue when Internet spending went down. To counteract this, I had to hustle and pitch traditional design. Another significant shift in my business was caused by COVID-19, which made in-person meetings impossible.

Loungelizard 25 years
Lounge Lizard Worldwide is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Q: Can you talk about some of the unique projects you’ve worked on at Lounge Lizard?

A: One of the unique projects we worked on was the Honeywell My Total Connect app, a home security app that allows for enterprise-level control based on web services and controlling apps. We also created an Apple Watch for Honeywell. Another thing that we’re looking into is NFTs, which is an example of how we need to evolve constantly.

Lounge Lizard Co-Founder Ken Braun shown in a ’70s AI-themed avatar for the 25th anniversary of the company.

Q: How do you approach running a successful business, and what advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

A: One of the biggest things we’ve learned is the importance of diversification of services and not having one client over 5% of annual revenue. It’s also important to constantly evolve with technology and the web to be on the cutting edge and keep our clients up-to-date with what’s next. I advise aspiring entrepreneurs to believe in advertising and to reinvest if the ROI is high. It’s also essential to have a higher volume of clients and avoid getting too comfortable with one specific business area.

Q: What is your mindset as a business owner?

A: There is no ceiling. I’ll never reach my goal. When I reach a goal, I put 10 more goals ahead of them. There’s no top of the mountain. When you get to the peak, you get complacent. When you get slow, you start rolling down the hill. You have to keep climbing. My business is an evolution, and my goal is to keep evolving.

MEET OUR LIZARD QUEEN: Sharon Sexton Braun

Q: What has been your role at Lounge Lizard? 

A: When we started the business, I mostly concentrated on the financial, risk management, and human resources side of things. As we grew, I became more involved in the business’s daily operations and development. Currently, I’m involved in every aspect of the business and am on the pulse of the business from a holistic and top-level standpoint.  

Sharon sexton watercolor (4)
“Ginkgo Leaves” by Sharon Sexton Braun

Q: What is your background, and what should we know about you?

A: I have a very diverse background. My parents owned a couple of Baskin Robbins, and I worked at them and helped manage them as a young person. I originally thought I was going to study music in college. Last minute, I decided to pursue a more traditional education. I studied psychology at Stony Brook University and obtained a BA. My first job was working at an investment banking company, where I learned HR and accounting and worked in the industry for about 7 years before starting Lounge Lizard. I am a person that needs to feel challenged and tends to get bored easily. I recently started painting after being introduced to watercolor painting on a cruise ship. I’ve become very passionate about this new hobby.

Braun newspaper (1)
Lounge Lizard Co-Founder Sharon Sexton Braun was featured in the Long Island Business News about autism in 2006.

Q: What is a cause you are passionate about?

A: I became passionate about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) when my firstborn was diagnosed with ASD at 3 years of age. It had become my mission in life to learn everything I could to help my son. I had obtained a Master’s degree in special education and studied applied behavior analysis in an effort to help educate my son. I provided early intervention services to children with ASD as well. It was very fulfilling work for me, and I felt I could help these children since I understood on many levels how they learn and process the world. During this time, I developed a learning tool (CD) called “Operation Communication” to help caregivers encourage and stimulate language development in children with ASD. 

Q: What have you learned from founding and owning a company?

A: I have learned that owning and running my own business can be stressful and rewarding. It’s always a challenge, and it’s never boring. I am very proud that the company has helped so many other businesses/people in digital marketing, and that we have been able to provide employment and benefits to so many individuals. My hope is that I have been a good role model for women especially and hope to continue to grow every day.

Q: What challenges have you overcome, and what are some milestones?

A: The digital world has taken us on a whirlwind. I think the biggest challenge in owning and operating a business like Lounge Lizard is keeping abreast of the changes in our industry since the digital climate has evolved so rapidly. What has helped us counteract this very real problem is employing knowledgeable and passionate people who help maintain the company’s cutting-edge stature in digital marketing. They collectively contribute to the success of Lounge Lizard. 

Lounge Lizard Co-Founder Sharon Sexton Braun shown in a ’70s AI-themed avatar for the 25th anniversary of the company.

Q: You came up with the idea of starting the marketing division at Lounge Lizard. Can you walk us through your vision?

A: I wanted to introduce new services and thought we could upsell our clients on marketing services. It was important to me to focus on a retainer-based business instead of a project-based one since it is easier to scale a business when you can anticipate monthly income. 

Q: Where will Lounge Lizard be, in your opinion, 25 years from now?

A: Oh, that’s difficult to say with how quickly our industry changes. I think the company will continue to evolve from a technology standpoint, and AI and automation will continue to drive many processes.

If your company is looking for an experienced web development and digital marketing agency, contact Lounge Lizard Worldwide today.

Published on: June 7th, 2023

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Toasting 25 Years of Cutting-Edge Web Design & Digital Marketing
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