Location: San Francisco
Key executive: Adam Kleinberg, CEO
2010 revenue: $5.1 million
2010 b2b revenue: $2.8 million
Key clients: Adobe Systems, Intuit, Robert Half International, Salesforce.com, SAP
Major 2010 campaigns: Adobe, Flex Spotlight, social media; Intuit, Board of Advisors mobile, social media; Salesforce.com, “Chatter,” online video, social media
Comments: Grew b2b revenue 12%; added new clients including Meebo, Robert Half International and Salesforce.com; tied for first place in Intuit's Innovation competition; b2b makes up 55% of total revenue
Traction, a San Francisco interactive agency, has shifted its focus over the past year from being an online ad agency to an “innovative consultancy,” CEO Adam Kleinberg said.
The agency picked up new clients in 2010 including social networking company Meebo, executive recruiting firm Robert Half International and Salesforce.com. It grew its overall agency revenue 2.0% and its b2b revenue 12.0%.
“Our perspective is, everything is digital,” Kleinberg said. “We are looking at everything in terms of the entire interaction between a brand and a customer. It's not b2b; it's b-to-p [business-to-people].”
Traction is using this approach to help its clients develop innovative, engaging campaigns that leverage user-generated content and social media.
Last year, Traction tied for first place with IBM Corp. in client Intuit's Innovation competition, which sought innovative solutions to business problems from more than 50 of its suppliers and agency partners. For the competition, Traction developed a mobile app called Board of Advisors, which allows small and midsize businesses to tap into social networks to get answers to their business problems.
“The idea we submitted was based on the insight that SMBs don't have the same resources as their counterparts at larger companies but have needs just as dire,” Kleinberg said.
Using the Board of Advisors app, Intuit's SMB customers can push out questions to their social networks and subject-matter experts within Intel's user community, and the content is fed through multiple channels to other users.
“That information becomes valuable content that provides user-driven content,” Kleinberg said. “We are looking at different ways to create value and utility.”
Traction was hired by Sales-force.com to help develop online strategy and creative for Chat-ter.com, an internal social media product that connects people and information within organizations.
“The centerpiece of our efforts was a video that brought the features of Chatter to life,” Kleinberg said. The video was distributed across multiple channels, including the Salesforce.com website and YouTube.
For Adobe Systems, Traction developed a Facebook application called Flex Spotlight, which showcases applications being created by developers around the world using Adobe's Flex platform.
The agency has also been working on automating its own processes to help clients achieve greater efficiency with ad campaigns and other marketing efforts. For example, it created an “email builder” that automates production of email programs in multiple languages.
“The industry has changed dramatically,” Kleinberg said. “What has been one of the best things to come out of the last year is rethinking our approach to those parts of the business that have become commoditized and those parts that are creating value. We are trying to create a full-service agency that concentrates on value and also create an ecosystem that provides services that have become commoditized.” —K.M.
RUNNER-UP: Ogilvy & Mather
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