“We are on a mission to disrupt the agency and content worlds.”
That’s the bold declaration of Nick Powills, chief brand strategist at No Limit Agency in Chicago. But such big change and big ideas in the world of PR/marketing/branding can create upheaval and consternation. He hopes to mitigate that.
“When you are on a mission to disrupt, it is vital to limit disruption as much as possible internally to keep your team focused on the bigger picture. When you are the owner, that light at the end of the tunnel shines brightly. Non-owners can sometimes feel as if that light is a unicorn.”
Powills says he has been emphasizing to his staff the value of looking at the past.
“Look at that small closet-sized office we shared compared with the office next to the strip club, and the office with the paper-thin floors to where we are now — being in the soaring Prudential Building, owning a piece of the Chicago skyline. In order to believe in the light, you have to tell the story of the past.”
In addition to reflecting on where the agency has been, Powills is busy laying the bricks that make the path to the future. A big part of the change is the 1851 Franchise site, which launched in March and has been gaining steam ever since.
“The third quarter is alive and well,” he says. “Reflecting on July, we got settled into our new office, hired a VP of digital, hired an editor for 1851, signed our 20th client on 1851, crossed over 75,000 readers on 1851 and booked the most interviews for a single month in No Limit Agency history. The good news is that this was all in the first month of the quarter. The bad news is that time flies. In my experience as CEO, I have always used the third quarter as our spring training. We are preparing for the big leagues. Our big league is really Q4. I feel as if Q4 sets the tone for the next year and Q3 ends the year. This has helped us create our moments of momentum, and clearly this has been a part of the last 12 months.”
Ryan Paul, the agency’s new vice president for digital, grew up in Iowa and attended Iowa State University, where he studied marketing and international business. Paul, who played semi-professional basketball while studying for a year in Europe, has his sights set on boosting the agency’s growth and improving the digital and social experience for clients.
1851’s new managing editor is Emily Rosenbaum, a veteran national, international, features and business journalist whose last post was at the Chicago Tribune. Rosenbaum, a native of Nebraska, has a journalism degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been in Chicago for 15 years. Rosenbaum, who also has lived in North Carolina, Dallas and Tanzania, hopes to bring strong journalism practices and interesting content to the site.
These exciting changes and growth have brought on some introspection for Powills as he considers those who have helped to position the agency for the growth that lies ahead.
“I have been reflecting on our staff, current and past. In the last year or so, we have brought on a client services VP, a chief development strategist, a VP of digital, an editor, a head of creative and several other key account managers. Our agency has changed so much in the last 12 months and all of that time and effort, I feel, has set us up for the momentum and velocity we will experience in 2016.
“My thoughts are on 2016 right now and ensuring that it, too, is the greatest year in the history of the agency.”