Santa Rosa-based marketing agency The Engine Is Red has been both rocked by the withdrawal of clients in industries still reeling from the pandemic and propelled by companies looking to quickly change their communications in this environment. economic.
Despite a large turnover achieved in March-April 2020 during the first weeks of the pandemic, the company has seen a steady increase in its activities as companies reorient their branding efforts and more and more large companies are looking for nimble boutique agencies, according to founder Christopher Denny.
“There have been opportunities for new thinking, and that’s when we get the call,” he said. “There is a demand to help new and existing customers reach consumers in a rapidly changing world. “
The hospitality industry agency’s accounts budgets have largely not returned to pre-March 2020 levels as hotels and other sites struggle to find staff, he said.
But wine and other alcoholic beverage companies have sought to connect with consumers after long-standing closures of on-site consumption places were closed or had limited access for much of the pandemic until now. And healthcare and life science customers have altered their communications to reach audiences hungry for health information.
Revenue ended 2020 up 81% from the previous year, and 2017-2020 growth of 113% returned the agency for the second time in five years to the National Inc. 5,000 list of growth companies. fast, ranking at No. 3,230.
The agency now has 19 employees, but the trajectory leans more toward the Minneapolis-area studio that opened four years ago. The company had transferred recruits from that area to Sonoma County a decade ago because of the pool of talent there.
“By the end of this year, we’ll probably have more out there than here,” Denny said. “But we’re not going anywhere. We will always have a studio in Santa Rosa.
The company bought a 5,900 square foot building in Santa Rosa a year ago and a year before it acquired Vertical, a packaging design company focused on the wine business.
Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Prior to Business Journal, he wrote for Bay City News Service in San Francisco. He graduated from Walla Walla University. Contact him at [email protected] or 707-521-4256.