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06/30/2009 - Ascentium Progress Wins Plaudits

Ascentium, a "digital agency", was recently honored by "The Forrester Wave" report for being a "strong performer", and for the "highest client satisfaction scores in this year's review." Forrester is an independent technology and market research firm that publishes the Forrester Wave of Interactive Marketing Agencies 'Web Design Capabilities. Ascentium is a Bellevue based international company that located in downtown Spokane via the acquisition of Aurora Consulting and Miller WhiteRunkle.

As a digital agency, Ascentium integrates traditional brand strategy, marketing, advertising, and public relations functions with all of the latest technologies. Ascentium has integrated its creative aspects with both traditional agency operations and technology delivery since its inception in 2001. There are many benefits to this approach, according to Bill Northrop, Partner, Director of Marketing and Brand Strategy. Foremost among the benefits is the ability to extensively track metrics and statistics to determine that the campaign is working and how well. "If changes need to be made, both the agency and the client can respond quickly," according to Northrop.

In working with their clients, according to Northrop, Ascentium first determines the business problem. They will find out about the businesses plan 'the client's roadmap for the future. They will determine what is working well; whether there is a business or a marketing problem. They will find out who the current customers are, and determine how to move the client forward more quickly. Then they will create an integrated campaign using all tools available to further the client.

An integrated campaign includes traditional branding with logos, collateral material, print media, and graphic design. The digital portion includes a fully optimized Web site with search engine optimization, search engine ads, and often social networking usage including Twitter. "We can measure even the social networks to see if the approach is working," says Northrop. "But it has to be done right. If you don't build it well and keep it up, it could even be a disaster."

Another Internet concern is the "blogosphere." Every company needs to watch what is being said in blogs, according to Northrop. "If the company is showing up in blogs and the information is inaccurate, it could be quite damaging. So a company needs to track and assist with accurate information. This is a form of PR, and if nothing else, it is a form of free market research. If technology is embraced properly, the client can get much value that wasn't available before the Internet."

Ascentium, which expanded into its Spokane office in 2004, now has offices in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and London, UK. Ascentium employs about 600 people with about 45 in Spokane. All offices have a combination of creative and technology personnel. Although the Spokane office specializes in creative print media, about 25% of its staff is technology people. "We collaborate among the various facilities to produce the best result for the client," says Northrop.

Ascentium is moving into the realm of mobile, handheld devices. Such devices, including the iPhone, represent both an opportunity and a challenge. The challenge is due to the various hardware platforms coupled with different carriers. All the same, software applications are proliferating, making the medium good for further digital integration.

Ascentium is an independent agency that is media neutral. It can and will work with any company in need. Its clients are diverse and include Microsoft, Nike, Nintendo, Henry Weinhard's, Starbucks, Frontier Bank, and the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Spokane office is at 518 W Riverside. To learn more about Ascentium, visit www.ascentium.com.

Billie Moreland
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