October 24, 2023

The 2023 Adweek List of Fastest Growing Agencies: A Q&A with our Founder

In honor of being named to the 2023 Adweek List of Fastest Growing Agencies (read more here), we sat down with Emerson Ward Founder and Creative Director Brian Ward to discuss the agency, design trends in asset management, and more.

Q.   Has your vision for Emerson Ward changed since you founded the agency 7+ years ago?

A.   We’ve always been focused on steady, measured growth. Now, witnessing that growth firsthand is amazing. We’ve built a great team that delivers high-quality work and exceptional service. We’ve also expanded our service offerings to include video production, web and PDF accessibility services, and more. One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the opportunity to work with some incredible clients. They’ve made the past 7+ years amazing and have pushed us to do more than I ever could have imagined. It’s because of them that we’re in the position we’re in now.  

Q.   How has your perspective on design in the asset management industry changed over the years?

A.   There’s always been a real, often overlooked need in our world for day-to-day graphic and marketing support. Firms will always need help updating pitch books, building websites, and creating high-quality content. That hasn’t changed in the 20 years I’ve been in this industry. What has changed is clients’ attitudes towards design and creative support. They understand now more than ever that their brand and how they present their firm to the world matters. They know how difficult it can be to update fund collateral and maintaining a website, and more and more, they’re understanding the value of a good, knowledgeable partner that can provide these services.  

Q.   You called out the outstanding work of the Emerson Ward team in the award announcement. What do you look for when building the Emerson Ward team?

A.  We’re a very tight-nit team, and supporting our clients is a team effort, so finding the right person always takes priority over hiring for a specific skill set. We’re fortunate to live and work in an area that’s loaded with great creative talent, so when we’re adding headcount, we look for individuals that work hard, communicate well, and are passionate about taking on new challenges.

Q.   What’s one thing you wish people knew about Emerson Ward?

A.   How much of an asset we can be to a firm. We’re so much more than a typical design agency. We’re a day-to-day resource for all their marketing operations, graphic, and creative needs. We can update your pitch books, manage your website, help with communications, and so much more.

Q. You were among the smallest agencies on the Adweek List. What’s the biggest benefit to working with a smaller creative agency?

A.   Smaller (and mighty) agencies like Emerson Ward aren’t nameless, faceless factories that churn out generic design work. Our clients get to know their designers, and our team approach means we can be incredibly responsive to their needs. When working with Emerson Ward, you don’t submit a ticket and wait for a response, you speak directly with the people that will be doing the work for you.  

Q.  Looking ahead, where do you see the agency this time next year?

A.  Hopefully on the 2024 list! Growth always brings new and exciting challenges. We’re currently adding headcount to help expand our services and capabilities. We are also refining our approach to client service and project management, and exploring new services, partnerships, and resources to better serve our clients.

Click here to read the press release.

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