The Ciceron Journey

As I write this on the edge of the Cairngorms National Forest in the middle of Scotland, an old Scottish phrase comes to mind: “Me rock is solid against the winds of thee rolling seas.”

So, while gazing over thousand-year-old stone buildings, wind-swept fishing villages and deep family heritages, I can’t help but be a little reflective. You were warned in advance.

I suppose in Internet time, Ciceron has its own thousand-year history. Kraig and I started this firm during what some might consider the dawn of the popular Web. (To level set, Mark Zuckerberg was 11-years-old at the time.) But I’m still amazed when I ask a new Ciceron employee if they’ve heard of us, only to be met with “Truthfully, I haven’t.”

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised by this. Neither Kraig nor I are Scottish, so I’m assuming it’s our Scandinavian roots that force us to work hard, yet “nair say a whistle” about ourselves.

So, it’s with great trepidation and Lutheran guilt that I share with you the results of the sweeping journey we’ve taken so far in 2018.

As of July 1st, we’ll have nearly doubled our entire staff, mostly in our Creative Group and Account Team. Over our 23-year history, we’ve been a solid, dependable digital sidekick to internal marketing groups and, frankly, other agencies. As far as creative work, we’ve been focused keenly on consumer UX.

By formalizing the Ciceron Digital Media group in 2015 where we unified all media channels into a single team (search, social and programmatic), we found an entirely new and emerging palette of creative options. We needed a very different creative department. And fast.

Our philosophy towards modern creative is very Marshall McLuhan: the medium is the message. Without understanding and mapping how a particular medium works as a storytelling vehicle, the consumer journey is left wanting.

The days of creating an overly expensive broadcast spot and rolling it out as-is through a bunch of channels (YouTube, pre-roll, Facebook, Instagram, brand website, etc.) are over. Value is created when you understand how media is orchestrated to delight consumer using a variety of creative, messaging, interactions and relationships. End of story.

“But how are you going to do that?” you’re probably asking. Well, by hiring the best and the brightest creatives out there.

Our Creative Group welcomes Ann Bauer (freelance copywriter/brand strategist), Heidi Brink (Production Artist), Nichole Carey (Copywriter), Randall Herrera (Creative Director), Sam Landman (Senior Copywriter) and Coley Lind (Digital Designer). I told our Ciceron management team that I wanted us to be intimidated by the level of talent we’ve attracted.  Let’s just say I’m in awe.

Along with Kraig (Technology & Innovation) and Ciceron veteran Kristen Findley (Consumer Insights), our Creative Group will be intermingled with the Media Group who’s just been killing it over and over again.

As our clients have become bigger and more complicated, we felt the need to up the ante with our Account Team. And like our Creative Group, we aimed for the best brains we could find.

Lead by our VP of Strategy Julie Verhulst with “special sauce” guidance from our Senior Director of Agency Experience Kari Helling, our new Account Team includes Samantha Juhn and Bridget Bailey in account leadership roles, joined at the hip by an incredible group of project managers: Anita Mazurek, Mary McDaniel and Jessica Anderson. Oh, plus Chris Howard who officially joins us at the end of the month!

Okay, I’m exhausted from all of this bragging.

None of this comes easy. We’re trailblazing in ways we never have before. But I’ve never had more confidence in our team than I do at this very moment. Everyone benefits from this forward momentum, whether they’re our clients and their customers or our company as a whole.

You’d think that one would lose steam after two decades, but truthfully, I’ve never been more energized, happy and excited about the future of Ciceron.

Oh, and that Scottish phrase I spewed out earlier? I made it up. But I think it still applies.