We’re excited to announce our recent achievement on Clutch.co, a B2B ratings and reviews site. In 2018, Clutch has recognized Walker Sands as a leading company in not one, but four different categories in their Top Chicago Advertising and Marketing press release! These include: Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing, SEO and PPC.
There doesn’t seem to be an end point to the growth of digital marketing. It continues to evolve in unpredictable ways. As such, our team is always thinking about how to reinvent our strategies to keep up with customer trends and technologies. Our team of strategists and original thinkers at Walker Sands thrive on rising to these challenges, and we’re grateful to have client reviews on Clutch to prove it.
Since joining the ratings and reviews platform, we’ve had a number of our clients take the time to provide their feedback, which we are so thankful for. The reviews not only help with our online reputation management, but show prospective buyers that we can be trusted with their business challenges and deliver important returns on their investment.
To say the least, we’re thrilled to have 5-star ratings on Clutch!
We’re honored that our clients have provided feedback that allows us to be amongst the best of the best in Chicago digital marketing. We will constantly strive to create work that is impactful and leads to results that matter for our B2B brands.
In addition to summer hours and the legendary annual Cubs game, Walker Sands offers employees who have been with the company for three years a great opportunity: To visit an agency within the Public Relations Organization International (PROI) network. The goal of the program is to strengthen our ties with agencies around the world, while learning from our PR and digital marketing peers.
I was awarded the opportunity to visit Lansons, a full-service agency specializing in corporate, political and financial communications. At the end of February I packed my bags, exchanged my dollars for pounds and brushed up on the British monarchy by binge-watching “The Crown” for a full week of learning in London.
In July 2017, we were joined by Becky Annable, account direct and partner at Lansons. Not only did Becky share their incredible work and client portfolio, but she also emphasized Lansons’ interest in building a strong content program. As a content strategist and part of a 14-person team, I saw an opening to talk more about content’s role in public relations and digital marketing – and maybe show off some of the great work we’ve put together for our clients.
Learnings & Takeaways
After nearly 30 years in business, Lansons has cemented its place as one of London’s premier public relations agencies. And after meeting with their teams, it’s clear why. Everyone from new business development to financial services is so deeply immersed in what they do, and are constantly looking for ways to improve their processes. Here are a few of my biggest takeaways:
- Cross-Practice Area Opportunities. While Lansons serves several practice areas (public affairs, fintech, consumer communications, etc.), employees aren’t limited to one specific team. For example, you might have a client in the financial services space, one in consumer communications and one in public affairs. The reasoning behind crossing practice areas is it gives employees a chance to broaden the scope of their work, and helps maintain fresh perspectives for new ideas and media opportunities.
- Dynamic brainstorming. We love a good brainstorm at Walker Sands, and Lansons is no different. But instead of everyone sitting around a table, their brainstorms require a ton of movement and interaction. It was loud, fast-paced and I loved every second of it. In the end, the account team working on the client pitch had four white boards full of potential story ideas.
- Data-Backed Sales Processes. Lansons’ new business development team (our equivalent of sales) walked me through a typical presentation process. While most of their steps aligned with how our sales teams handled potential clients, one of the biggest things that stood out to me was how they incorporate data into presentations. They don’t believe in just showing prospects what they can do – they show them why that strategy will work
This trip would be misrepresented if I didn’t talk about the incredible staff at Lansons. I quickly learned there are few differences between Walker Sands and Lansons employees. Everyone is hard working and supportive, and truly enjoys being around their teammates. Plus, they know how to have a good time.
With the few extra days I had to myself, I explored around London (admittedly getting lost more than once). I wandered over to Oxford and Piccadilly Circus, strolled through Westminster and enjoyed seeing Tottenham Hotspur take on Huddersfield Town A.F.C. at legendary Wembley Stadium.
It’s hard to believe one week with another agency can have such an incredible impact on your professional growth. But it was unexpectedly refreshing and eye-opening to completely immerse myself in Lansons’ processes and cultures. Now if I can just make the case to go every year…
When the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) launched Women Influence Chicago last fall, we immediately recognized an opportunity to be a part of an initiative that we’re passionate about: empowering women in tech.
In addition to being associate members of the ITA, we’re so excited to announce that we are now proud sponsors and founding partners of their Women Influence Chicago Initiative. Through this incredible organization, we have the opportunity to help women in the Chicago tech scene through training, education and events, with the goal of empowering women throughout a variety of leadership roles.
The Women Influence Chicago Initiative will focus on three key areas:
- Pre-Workforce: encouraging interest in technology through mentorship, education and STEM programs
- In-Workforce: providing resources and training for Chicago tech companies, as well as their male and female employees, to help them create inclusive work environments for women
- Positions of Influence: increasing the number of women in the C-Suite, on boards and in other prominent leadership roles at tech companies in Chicago
Powered by the ITA, Women Influence Chicago is co-chaired by Kelly Stickel, CEO of Remodista, and Aimee Schuster, CMO of Miller Heiman. Walker Sands will attend Women Influence Chicago board meetings as their public relations and marketing advisor.
Allison Ward, Senior Account Director
Walker Sands senior account director Allison Ward is excited to bring her experience and insight to this initiative. As a senior member of our FinTech public relations team and a working mother, Allison is personally passionate about Women Influence Chicago’s mission to empower female leaders and hopes that their work in the city has a wide, long-lasting effect. “We want to make Chicago an ecosystem where women in tech are not only prevalent, but thriving and supported. If we can empower women in tech in Chicago, hopefully there’s a ripple effect in other large tech markets.”
Toward that goal, Women Influence Chicago will be working on action-oriented projects throughout the year. They are determined to not just highlight the problems — but to actually solve them. Events like the “Women Influence Chicago Series: Negotiating Your Equity Package” are designed to do just that. The group is also working on an actionable blueprint to promote diversity and equality in the workplace, with tips for tech companies on how to empower their women into the C-Suite and leadership positions.
We are thrilled to be a part of this important initiative and can’t wait to share more with you on their fantastic projects throughout the year. Keep an eye out for future Women Influence Chicago blog posts, and in the meantime, connect with them on their website or on Twitter.
When the business community and the not-for-profit community find opportunities to work together, humanity wins. However, even as we understand this reality, we are still challenged with finding the right opportunities to make an impact.
For nearly the past two years, Walker Sands Communications has been working with G2 Crowd as their primary public relations agency. In that time, the relationship has created terrific work – Walker Sands has been a pivotal force in telling the story of G2 Crowd. However, we’ve recently joined forces, beyond just work, through a G2 Gives initiative that will make a wonderful investment in the future. G2 Crowd and Walker Sands will be working together to raise funds for a local cause, Chicago Tech Academy.
Chicago Tech Academy is a public, charter school that teaches students with an emphasis on STEM education. Unfortunately, ChiTech faces many financial challenges to provide an advanced education to their students. Annually this public school is tasked with raising an estimated half-million dollars to fill their budget shortfall.
Tim Handorf, co-founder and CEO of G2 Crowd, recognized this shortfall as an opportunity for the Chicago business and not-for-profit communities to work together. With this realization, G2 Crowd launched a new G2 Gives initiative to raise funds to help ChiTech fully fund their education plans. For each review received through this initiative, G2 Crowd will donate $10 to ChiTech.
The team at Walker Sands quickly volunteered to join in this unique opportunity. Together we initiated an internal review campaign. The team at Walker Sands has been reviewing the software and services that they use on G2 Crowd, which rapidly collected reviews and will soon eclipse their initial goal of 100 reviews.
The initiative will also result in some valuable data for Walker Sands. The G2 Crowd research team is collating the data from these reviews and creating an IT Health Assessment for the company. This research will help Walker Sands to better understand which of their solutions are best meeting their needs and which might need to be re-evaluated.
The goal of G2 Gives is to leverage professional knowledge, bring transparency to the B2B market place and help the not-for-profit community through just one, 10-minute review. This initiative is accomplishing those goals and so much more for future generations in Chicago.
This blog post was written by Adam Beeson, director of communications, at G2 Crowd. Learn more about Adam Beeson here.
We are honored to announce that Walker Sands has been included on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies! This is the fifth year we’ve earned this honor, ranking #3043 in 2017. We’re one of 320 companies nationally that have made the list for five consecutive years and part of a small group of only six companies and one of two marketing agencies that can tote this accolade in Chicago.
When we first received this honor back in 2013 we felt like we were really humming along. Since then we’ve continued that impressive growth by expanding into new geographies and new service areas. We’ve added new faces to the team and a new office space to accommodate that growth. And we’ve done tremendous work for our clients – helping to bring awareness, credibility, and new leads to a number of growing B2B companies.
Our integrated approach to public relations has afforded us the privilege of making the Inc. 5000 list for five years in a row. By combining digital marketing and traditional PR strategies, teams come together to tackle business challenges and execute comprehensive campaigns that gain top tier placements, create digital narratives and move a wide range of audiences, all of which is illustrated in our #MakeTechHerStory campaign.
In addition to our integrated approach, our people are what power the award winning work and growth that enables us to stand out among others and make industry strides. We consistently aim to create an environment where our employees are able to do the best work of their careers at Walker Sands. Through company bonding at anticipated annual events, friendly office competitions and special interest groups, we believe we’ve been best able to cultivate an agency that works together to achieve growth and one that strives to approach each road bump and milestone with our three pillars, learn, support and do.
Another year on the list is a true testament to the vision we created for our company over 16 years ago. From day one, we’ve been a team, and we’ve all worked together to make this running recognition and continuous growth possible.
Congratulations to all of our friends and clients, CallRail, Strike Social, PointSource and Billtrust, who made the list this year. To learn more about our listing and those before check out our agency profile on Inc. here and the press release here.