Small Agency Conference and Awards

Small Agency of the Year, Culture, Gold: Chapter & Verse

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Chapter & Verse staff
Chapter & Verse staff Credit: Chapter & Verse

At Chapter & Verse, employees own the agency, work a four-day week -- and wow clients.

Founded in 2000 with traditional trappings as Magner Sanborn -- the 2012 West Coast winner of Small Agency of the Year -- the agency rebranded last year as Chapter & Verse, and restructured under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, giving each of about 32 employees a significant stake. In 2015, the agency moved to an eight-hour, four-day workweek, based on the idea that the payoff of getting either Monday or Friday off would keep staffers more focused and allow them to "find a better balance," said Jeff Sanborn, founder and executive creative director. It worked, and the four-day week became permanent in both the Spokane and Seattle offices.

"Every employee became more efficient, billable time went up and that first year was one of our most profitable," said Sanborn. "Our employees really appreciate it. And that happiness is infectious." The best compliment, he said, was when one satisfied client was dumbfounded to discover that staffers didn't work a full week; their work was so seamless that she had no idea.

Chapter & Verse's mantra is "Truth will out," from Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice." It was chosen to describe the way the shop starts each project with a simple question: "What's the truth about your brand?" After that comes storytelling. "Sometimes [clients'] stories are short little stories and sometimes big, long chapters," Sanborn said. VoilĂ , the new name.

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