BtoB

Small Agencies—Winner: Mobium Group

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Location: Chicago
URL: www.mobium.com
Key executive: Gordon Hochhalter, managing partner|
Employees: 60
2006 revenue: N/A
2006 b-to-b revenue: N/A
Key clients: Accenture, CNH Global/Case New Holland, Moog International, Time Warner Cable Business Class, University of Illinois Foundation
Major 2006 campaigns: Time Warner Cable Business Class, "Sharing Your Passion With You," TV, radio, print, online, outdoor, direct; MapInfo Corp., "Be Location Intelligent," print, online, direct; Munich Re America HealthCare, global branding campaign, print, online, events
Comments: 100% b-to-b; revenue grew by 85%; added eight new agency-of-record accounts; opened Minneapolis office; won 13 ACE Awards (Business Marketing Association, New York); won three best of division and five awards of excellence at the BMA International Pro-Comm awards.

If two heads are better than one, then two thriving agencies must be better than one as well. That's what Mobium Creative Group found out when it "cloned" its Chicago office with another one in Minneapolis. Gordon Hochhalter, managing partner, prefers cloning to simply opening an office or branch because the Minneapolis Mobium is a standalone agency, not just an outpost of the original.

Mobium's successful clone along with its other accomplishments, including a whopping 85% growth in business revenue and 20% increase in international clients, propelled the now dual-office agency to the top spot among BtoB's small agencies.

"If I had to look at 2006 philosophically, with the kind of clients we've gotten, there is a lot of consulting work and branding, which allows us to really get into a client and make a difference," Hochhalter said. "We've gotten more clients like that—just people with cool problems."

One of those "cool problems" came from the global health care reinsurance company Munich Re America HealthCare. Mobium helped reposition the brand by creating a new category it called "risk performance." The strategy is to turn the notion of risk aversion on its head by embracing it and analyzing it to the advantage of Munich's customers. The first phase of the campaign debuted in 2006 and included research, brand and category definition, as well as the creation of a new literature system, Web site, print ads, conference management and special promotions. The next step will be a push using "major thought leadership" to establish the risk performance category.

Time Warner Cable Business Class also came to Mobium for insight in 2006. It hired the agency to create a national rebranding campaign with a logistical twist. Although Time Warner Cable Business Class is a national service company, it has 31 divisions and areas of service around the country. Mobium met the challenge of different developments in service offerings and needs among those divisions by creating specific processes and communications programs so those divisions can tap what they need at any time.

One of Mobium's strengths is its interactive prowess.

"We've always been an integrated agency, but the interactive part of that has become more important in the last few years. Now we're often using the Web site as the integration hub and driving traffic to it," Hochhalter said.

A long-recognized creative stronghold, Mobium last year won more ACE awards than any other agency for the fourth year in a row, with 13. It also took top honors at the Business Marketing Association's Pro-Comm awards with three best of division wins and five awards of excellence. —B.S.B.

  Large Agencies Midsize Agencies Small Agencies Interactive Agencies
Winner McCann Erickson HSR Business to Business Mobium Group Modem Media
Runner-up Ogilvy North America Doremus PJA Advertising+Marketing OTOi
Honorable Mention BBDO New York Slack Barshinger Stein Rogan+Partners Digitas
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