Advertising firms changing with the times

With the influx of new companies calling the Truckee Meadows and surrounding areas home, as well as the evolution of the advertising sector, local public/marketing and design firms are adapting with the times.

The Abbi Agency in Reno, for instance, has practically doubled its staff. It also began focusing on the creative arm to the business, offering graphic design services to its clients. It’s a part of the changing landscape of advertising that now focuses on grabbing consumers through avenues such as social media.

“The new type of consumer is not responding to commercials anymore,” says Abbi Whitaker, owner of the Abbi Agency.

Whitaker notes the firm works with companies to send messages such as email blasts to customers, smartphones, tablets or computers on products or special offers.

“Companies have to keep up with what people want, she says, “They want content.”

The firm represents companies large and small and both locally and nationally. For that, Whitaker says the firm tries to attract experienced staff from, say, the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe, who are used to working with high-tech companies that populate those areas. But the company also keeps an eye out for talent that is trickling out of the schools such as Truckee Meadows Community College and the University of Nevada, Reno.

As the northern Nevada economy improves and companies come in to call the area home, smaller firms, even one-person businesses, have popped up as well.

Courtney Meredith, owner of design on the edge, a public relations and creative design firm based in downtown Reno, has also carved a niche since its start in 2007. The firm represents a number of companies including several along the Riverwalk District, despite a relatively small staff of three people.

She notes her company is well positioned for growth. The company’s office at Reno City Hall offers plenty of room to add staff if necessary. She said the company is looking to gradually add team members.

She says companies like hers should focus on a workforce that is adept at graphic design or photography in order for firms to be successful. She feels this is imperative as social media forums such as Instagram and Facebook become more and more prevalent.

“You practically have to have a Web person on staff,” Meredith says. “A creative department is almost a necessity anymore.”

To attract upcoming talent, Meredith says the company has also looked to area schools, getting involved in internship programs trying to keep local graduates in the area rather than going out of state to places such as California, Oregon or Washington.

While it is sometimes difficult for small firms such as Meredith’s to attract the larger companies that are infiltrating the community. She says the company has been diligent in convincing them that they are capable of providing what they need at a reasonable budget.

Meredith agrees more new competitors will sprout out as more opportunities arise from companies moving into the area.

“We see a lot of growth in the industry,” she says. “We’ll see a smaller, natural healthy challenge to each other.

But firms indicate there has often been a friendly collaboration between companies on issues or services, especially when a they can complement each other.


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