Adams & Knight generates ideas that spark results

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As published in Forbes April 7, 2011

Jill Adams has built her business by helping others build theirs. So ask this CEO of her own integrated marketing communications firm what she’s most proud of, and she rattles off the results Adams & Knight has helped others generate. Like a 31 percent increase in checking accounts. Or a rise in patient volumes seven times the national average. Or a 340 percent boost in Web traffic.

Making things work has always been Adams’s passion…even back when she and her partner Bill Knight were running Adams & Knight out of a cramped attic studio. Both were industry veterans, with experience in successful ad agencies and corporate marketing departments. That was after Adams’s initial stint in one of the most high-stress, high-stakes environments, a congressman’s office on Capitol Hill.

When the team went out on their own in 1988, their dream was to create a silo-free culture where savvy strategies inspired creative solutions. In 2007, they even built their own “hothouse” for these ideas — an environment that’s been featured in, the Saturday Evening Post and Fast Company.

Adams & Knight now attracts talented staffers as well as national clients, many of whom are leaders in financial services and health care. Adams & Knight has also gained the attention of numerous industry associations, including the American Marketing Association, whose Connecticut chapter has named the agency Marketer of the Year for five of the last six years.

Key Principles Drive Marketing Success

At Adams & Knight, the strategies are as creative as the work. “Creativity is so much more than clever slogans, eye-popping graphics or cool technology,” says Adams, whose “no fluff” philosophy sets her apart in an industry that often sacrifices results for style.

“We believe there are key principles that are absolutely essential to marketing success,” she says. The firm runs SparkStorm workshops to help C-suite execs agree on a shared vision of success and how it will be measured. That leads to a clear prioritization of audiences and strategic insights into how to turn their emotion into motion. From there, the firm develops a 360-degree engagement plan, which can encompass everything from advertising and public relations to all kinds of Internet and social media connections. Then it produces relevant yet unexpected creative that stands out by standing for something that truly matters to the target audiences.

“What we really specialize in are big ideas that are reinforced at every touchpoint,” explains Adams. “Our specialists get together as a team to develop and implement a cohesive plan for our clients. As a result, their audiences get a consistent message — and they get measurable results.”