Small Agency of the Year, Southwest, Gold: StruckAxiom

What Happens When You Mix a Design Firm With a Digital-Production House? Progress

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Not all agency mergers work well. But the 2009 coupling of Struck and Axiom came together seamlessly.

Struck, which started out in 2003 primarily in production, eventually moved more into digital production. Struck later would frequently become a strategic partner with other agencies, not necessarily as just a digital production house. Axiom, founded in 1995, on its own focused on design, mostly for Hollywood projects.

The work: Bringing TCBY back from the brink.
The work: Bringing TCBY back from the brink.

When StruckAxiom formed, among its pillars was solidarity. "It's sort of communistic, but it's about how we're working together to move the agency forward," said CEO Dan Conner.

Since the 2009 deal the agency has added about 18 people, with a head count of about 70 now, and last year revenue for the agency was more than $12 million.

StruckAxiom, headquartered in Salt Lake City, with offices in Los Angeles Portland, Ore., and New York, brings what Mr. Conner calls a "yin and yang," a blending of disciplines to clients such as TCBY and PepsiCo's Gatorade. It also develops multi-year brand strategies for movie franchises like "Shrek."

TCBY, despite being one of the largest frozen-yogurt franchises in the world, was "almost a dead brand." StruckAxiom was tasked with helping bring the brand back to life and updating people's perceptions of it. "People thought of it in terms of the "80s," said Mr. Conner. The agency developed a brand strategy and took those elements to help redesign company's retail spaces and incorporating the digital presence into the stores.

One of StruckAxiom's most impressive pieces of work was the creation of Gatorade's "Mission Control" platform, an interactive installation the sports-drink maker uses to visualize, track and measure social conversations around the Gatorade brand. Mission Control is a room that sits in the middle of the company's marketing department, a sort of social-media bunker. "Now we are getting bombarded with data-visualization requests. Without a doubt we're picking up more business in that realm," said Mr. Conner.

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