We feel lucky to have been able to meet, collaborate and support some of the best firms, thinkers, innovators, and creators in the industry.We have also been lucky to meet and work with people outside of our industry focus that have pushed us to work on exciting new topics. Seven is also an important number for us. Our seventh year is starting with our biggest team ever, a new office space, new services, and dreams for even bigger things to come.
To kick off the celebration (there are rumors of cake at the office), we caught up with Founder and Creative Director Brian Ward to hear his thoughts on turning lucky number 7.
Q. Copper and wool are the traditional seventh anniversary gifts. What is the most important gift (literal or figurative) Emerson Ward has received over the years?
A. Good question – and an easy one. Without a doubt it’s the team here at Emerson Ward. We couldn’t do what we do without the incredible efforts of our amazing employees, who tackle everything we throw at them with grace and tenacity. They never shy away from a challenge, have helped build lasting relationships with our clients, and work hard every day to ensure we continue to deliver a high-level of service.
Q. You’ve successfully navigated growth of a small business during some very uncertain times. What was the biggest factor in your success?
A. It’s been challenging to say the least. Everyone has their COVID story - ours starts with the official opening of our first office on March 17th, 2020. Two days later, stay-at-home orders were issued by the state and like everyone else, we were sent home to figure how to manage kids, work, our growing client roster (all while our shiny new office sat empty), and the new reality that we’ve found ourselves in ever since.
I think our success over that time really boils down to the fact that we truly understand the pain points our clients face every day – updating your pitch books is challenging, maintaining a slide library is challenging, managing a website, when managing a portfolio is your #1 priority, is very challenging. Hiring us or another agency to design your brand or build a website is one thing, but having a good, knowledgeable creative partner that doesn’t shy away from the small jobs (and in fact, embraces them) and can support you with your day-to-day needs, is incredibly important in this industry. We have an amazingly talented team of designers and developers here, but one of the biggest contributing factors to our success throughout the pandemic came down to the simple fact that we were able to make our clients’ lives easier during an incredibly stressful time.
Q. How has the Emerson Ward team grown or changed over the past 7 years?
A. We’ve certainly matured quite a bit.When I launched Emerson Ward, it was just me and the network of communications, PR, web, and consulting professionals I had built over my time working in-house at a few larger asset management firms. I was confident in my design abilities and understood the needs of our clients, but I had to learn how to sell and effectively deliver those services on the fly.
As our client roster grew and the workload increased, I knew from experience that working with freelancers on one-off projects or farming out design or web development services to cheaper, overseas options just doesn’t work in our world. I needed good, full-time, in-person designers that were willing to learn and focus their skills on the unique needs of our clients. We hired our first full-time employee in early 2020 and have quickly grown to the eight-person team we are now, with a five-person design group, full-time web development support, and a dedicated client relationship manager.
Q. What are your biggest hopes for the next 7 years?
A. First and foremost, to continue to grow Emerson Ward into an exciting, challenging, welcoming workplace for our employees. They’ll always come first and I’m proud to say we’ve had zero turnover since we started hiring. I’d like to keep it that way.
More broadly, I want to continue to build our skillset and service offerings (we’re already making good strides here with our new video service.) Making sure we’re viewed as the creative partner of choice for everyone operating in or around the asset management industry is an ongoing goal. I truly believe we have a better understanding of our clients’ day-to-day needs than anyone else operating in this space and have the creative talent and technical skills to execute on any project. Whether you’re just launching a new fund and need a website or logo, or managing marketing operations for a large asset manager and just need some extra design muscle at quarter-end, we can help.