Abbi Whitaker and Constance Aguilar, founders of The Abbi Agency, have stewarded the company since its inception.
The Reno-based company that started out with a primarily focus on public relations, weathered the trials of starting the company on the onset of the Great Recession and appears ready to take on the ever changing landscape of the industry.
The firm has shifted its focus and services to the creative and the digital media realm to appease its growing client base across the country that figured out they need to grab tech-savvy consumers.
To do so, The Abbi Agency had to gradually assemble a creative-drivenstaff of about two-dozen people.
With the added staff, the company needed to move out of its original 1,000-square foot office and purchased a 7,500-square-foot office off of Haskell Street. It also has a second office located in Las Vegas.
For Whitaker, moving into the new office was a necessity, especially with the expectations of large clients and luring other companies into the fold.
“It makes sense for us,” Whitaker said. “The building was a big purchase for us. By buying a building, you can walk the walk in relation to our clients.”
The new office also allows the company to develop an in-house creative department, including a full-time Web developer, to focus on various media channels for clients. That’s becoming more important as social and digital mediums are essential nowadays in grabbing consumer’s attention. The agency has worked with clients to advertise on social channels such as YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram or on devices such as tablets or smartphones.
Aguilar, as the company’s director of integration, has help spearhead these initiatives and helps clients understand all the various mediums and what’s coming down the pike.
“Social media has really taken off,” Aguilar said. “Social and digital platforms, search engines and search engine optimization all play into each other. You have to do things to educate your customers.”
She added that developing a creative department has been imperative in the company’s growth.
“We love to be able to offer those services in-house,” she said.
Whitaker added however, the company has become very selective in what social media channels they use to cater to their clients needs.
“We are defining the strategies upfront to not let the clients get out of their comfort zones,” Whitaker said. “Agencies are challenged to think differently all the time.
For The Abbi Agency it is also important for them to stay ahead of the game in social media integration process.
“There’s a lot of ad agencies, but there’s not a lot of integrated ad agencies,” Whitaker said, noting that the agency wants to attract the attention of large companies, particularly tech firms.
And the push has already landed some of those large clients even on the East Coast. The Abbi Agency is opening a satellite office in the West Soho neighborhood of New York City to support those on other side of the country.
Evynn McFalls, a University of Nevada, Reno journalism graduate, will manage the one-person office. McFalls has experience developing campaigns for industries such as food-and-beverage and apparel companies, crowdfunding and nonprofits.
The Abbi Agency is open to establishing other satellite offices around the country, if those opportunities arise in the future. Aguilar mentioned a city like Denver might be a worthwhile possibility.
For both Whitaker and Aguilar, building the agency from humble beginnings to an integrated ad agency, has provided them a great deal of satisfaction, especially going through the ups and downs of running the business personally and professionally.
Whitaker is a seasoned public relations personality who has shepherded the business through tough times. A few years back her husband Ty came on board as an owner and chief operations officer.
She met Aguilar more than a decade ago when the latter was still a teenager and mentored her in the industry. Aguilar is grateful and believes the partnership is built to last.
While the company is excited for the company’s growth and expansion, they arecautious not to forget their roots.
“We’ve weathered a lot of storms,” Aguilar said. “But we never want to get too big for our britches.”
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