Where did the time…“go!”? — 2018 in Review
2018 in Review at goBRANDgo!
Now that we’re no longer so sleepy from being full of cheese during the holiday season, we found the mental energy to look back over the past year and reflect on how we as an organization have lived our core value of “grow personally and professionally every day.” Sometimes Derek likes to tell the story of when he took a drive on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, which runs along the Canadian coast between Vancouver and Whistler, to illustrate how growth feels when you’re in the thick of it. For those of you who haven’t heard the story, it goes a little something like this:
The Sea-to-Sky Highway is one of the most beautiful, scenic drives in the northern hemisphere. Years ago, Derek was driving along the Sea-to-Sky with his wife and a friend, traveling north as the road begins its ascent into the mountains. However, it didn’t feel like a drive into the mountains. The road felt flat, flat, flat…until every so often, the highway took a massive drop.
Derek describes the realization as a “real head trip” that after what felt like so many dramatic downhill slopes, they had actually climbed several thousand feet in elevation along the drive. Personal and professional growth often feels exactly the same way. It’s tough to realize how far you’ve come until you look back along the Sea-to-Sky Highway of your own journey.
So let’s do that. Here goes…
...oh, before we forget. We’re really pumped about the cool stuff that happened in 2018, so this article is a little long. If you’re a TL;DR type, you can use these handy anchor links to skip straight to:
New go!-Mates | Website Projects | Brand Campaigns | Internal Improvements | Conclusion
We rearranged the office three times.
New go!-mates added: 6
Y’all. We added SIX new peeps to the team in 2018. Every single department grew in size. We had to “creatively develop smart solutions” to make all the desks fit the space—togetherness is really important to us because we love creative collisions.
Our strategy department got majorly beefed up with the addition of Jake Gingerich (Jr. Strategist), Jess Parmeter (Sr. Strategist), and Alli Henke (Account Manager), all amazing humans without whom we would be lost.
The creatives were fortified by the addition of Zachary Selby (Designer), Syd Hajicek (Developer), and Steph Cummings, who after years of supporting the office operations and bossing around Derek and Brandon, put her education in creative writing to work in becoming our Content Writer. (Wait a second…that’s me!)
Finally, Brandon finally got a partner in crime as the sales team grew beyond a one-man band with the addition of Relationship Manager, Ryan Hall!
We did WORK on the web.
Major Website Projects Completed: 8
We practically broke our brains this year with all the stuff we learned and created for websites. We built and launched a request a quote feature for Laclede Chain Manufacturing, making them the first in their industry with the capability to offer quoting online. This new feature went live near the end of 2018 and has already brought in over $30k in revenue. Pretty freakin’ cool if you ask us.
We also built a new website for a leading Florida dermatology company with over 40 locations across their state. This project included updated branding, new content, and a location/provider/service finder feature that allowed users to filter and search to return exactly the results they are looking for. We enhanced their brand’s social media presence through updated premium content, look, and feel, none of which would have been possible without Olivia and Alli’s dedication and commitment to learning and executing the Sprout Social platform, not to mention regular conference calls! We also wrapped up 2018 by celebrating a key provider reaching 1,000 Instagram followers.
Our relationship with our beloved strategy client National Shunt Service Limited continued to deepen and evolve as we launched a new website in November. NSSL’s business is total yard management solutions (think moving all the trailers around in a distribution center) for large retailers (think about the big, big box stores). See, it’s kind of hard to describe what they do in just a few words. So when we were building their new site, we needed a way to better visually communicate each aspect of what they do. Sam, the reigning Icon King and website design master, created a set of video animations that interplayed with the copy around each aspect of NSSL’s service components, pushing our design and development capabilities in ways we hadn’t before.
Let’s not forget those silent ninjas, Matt and Syd, on the hosting side, keeping ALL our sites (give or take 80 of them) up to date and running smoothly while simultaneously completing builds of our most complex sites ever. 2018 was particularly challenging for the development team thanks to GDPR compliance updates, the new WordPress 5.0, and PHP 7.2 updates. Guys. They’re not the heroes we deserve, but they’re the ones we need right now.
We did work off the web, too! Stuff like “brand campaigns.”
Brand campaigns: 10
Our brand campaigns bring together all the elements we need to create effective marketing pieces for our clients. They include refreshed voice and tone, thematic elements, and compelling new visuals—which can mean updated imagery, new illustration and/or type, new brand colors, or even logo work. Our goal for these campaigns is to land on an idea that has a lot of “legs” across many different applications and executions.
We’ve had a long relationship with Materialogic, a St. Louis-based third party logistics and fulfillment company who underwent a leadership transition in late 2017–early 2018. We not only launched a new website for Materialogic in 2018 (NBD), but we also created a brand campaign that led to a brand new website, new signage, employee swag, and an overall cultural shot in the arm that revitalized their organization from top to bottom and caused employee engagement to soar.
Can you believe it? Even more cool stuff happened at Materialogic this year. We concepted and completed a targeted marketing campaign for Materialogic that allowed us to leverage our branding skill sets in new ways. Our strategy team helped Materialogic’s leadership identify ten “dream clients”—brands whose business they were willing to make a significant investment in acquiring. We engaged the team in our brainstorming framework and got inspired by the band posters that promote concerts and hang on dorm walls everywhere…
So, our amazing designer Shannon Levin (who also did work for Buzzfeed this year—she’s a super talented illustrator) created a stunning “b(r)and poster” for each company, which we had printed and framed. Why? To demonstrate the lengths Materialogic will go to serve their clients. The response was overwhelming—Materialogic received emails from one company CEO who was traveling through Asia and was so impressed he had to respond right away when he saw the artwork.
Another one of our favorite projects was naming and launching a new brand for Gravitas Impact (formerly Gazelles International Coaches), a global organization of coaches who work with the CEO’s of some of the world’s leading companies. The new company name, brand, and messaging were crafted to propel Gravitas Impact forward in their strategic direction of becoming the world’s premier coaching organization for CEOs of mid-market and larger companies. The visual branding elements were created to inspire the energy and boldness that Gravitas Impact coaches and CEOs embody in all they do.
We wish we could tell you about all the awesome campaigns we did, but hey, you’re a person who has places to be. But we understand if you want to read more about our work! If so, check out the results section of our site or the case studies in our blog.
Revelations, “Eureka!” Moments, and Internal Improvements
Earth-shaking, company-changing revelations: 1
Our leadership team worked really hard this year. They put their heads together at a retreat in fall 2018 to try and identify the one thing that makes clients great fits for goBRANDgo!. We’re not quite sure of everything that happened on this retreat (we do know there was some killer morning yoga), but it’s clear that some major brain power came together to uncover the insight that amounted to the center of a Tootsie Roll—that goBRANDgo!’s destiny is to serve transformationally minded leaders and companies and foster empowergized leadership. Makes you want to get out there and…I don’t know…go for a run, start a podcast, or do whatever great thing you’ve been wanting to do forever…right? It does for us!
Sure, the leadership team initiated the goBRANDgo! butterfly effect at Chaumette winery this year. But our entire team spent a day each quarter visioning, strategically planning, brainstorming, and problem solving on our retreats at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis Zoo, Dierbergs School of Cooking, and the Bluffs on Broadway. At MOBOT it became clear that humans are the same as plants in one crucial way—they both have to “go through shit” to grow. (We’re talking about those dramatic downhill portions of the Sea-to-Sky Highway, you know.) We worked on our storytelling and presentation skills at the Zoo with some improv presentations inspired by things we heard and saw as we walked around. The Bluffs on Broadway helped us gain perspective as we embraced our new focus on transformational change.
Learning conferences attended: 12
We got our learn on in 2018, with team members attending conferences that included TEDx Women, St. Louis Digital Symposium, Midwest Digital Marketing Conference, and Typographics NYC, just to name a few. Matt also spoke at WordCamp STL, educating developers from across the region on creating workflows with multiple developers.
Company potlucks: 7
We put our personal & professional wins on the board every Monday morning, but when big milestones happen, we can put on one mean potluck. We feasted to celebrate new babies (the anticipation of Olivia’s daughter Eleanora and Nicole’s return from leave after having her son Garrett), Syd’s wedding, the start of fall, and our biggest ever website launch. Jake earned his nickname “No Bake” Jake with a no-bake Oreo dessert, Shannon made some mean caprese salads, Jess fought valiantly for an all-dessert potluck, Steph went all Barefoot Contessa on everybody’s ass and made a whole roast chicken with compound butter, Derek created killer pizzas, Nicole crushed the salad game, and Brandon mindfully cooked up bacon of all levels of crispiness. We ate ALL the things.
Project management systems used: 2
Our team soldiered through a complete system overhaul this year as we transitioned to our full scale agency management system, Accelo. Our team underwent six training sessions to begin to master the system’s broad capabilities, and our trainer Drew started to feel like another member of the family.
We now have all-grown-up ability to track expenses, track time, measure profitability, and evaluate capacity without creating a million spreadsheets. Accelo’s Google sync has been invaluable in streamlining communications, pulling in email communication and attachments and automatically organizing them according to client.
A few other notable “2018 by the Numbers” facts:
Ice cream trucks sent to client offices: 16
Airline miles flown for clients: 23,252
Giphys sent via Slack: 1,344,512 (give or take)
Books read by Derek: 54
Books read by Jake: 52
Pretzels sent to clients: 22
Major relationship/major project kickoffs: 12
Agencies like us: 0
Thanks for reading our musings on 2018. Now, let’s all get back to work. We’ve got a lot to do if we’re going to make 2019 anywhere near as awesome.