SapientNitro: Toronto's Best Kept Digital Advertising Secret
Digital is the new frontier for the advertising industry, and SapientNitro’s Toronto office is taking its clients to new heights. A part of an independently owned agency that’s based out of the US, SapientNitro’s Toronto office has seen success in how the agency runs its operations, specifically in the way the company doesn’t adhere to typical agency rules. Taking care of globally known companies, such as Jeep.com’s entire digital presence, SapientNitro’s Toronto office has become one of Toronto’s best kept advertising secrets.
A digital agency that has learned to evolve within the industry, SapientNtiro thinks differently than most traditional agencies. Instead of creating a campaign that’s based on tradition with digital on the side, SapientNitro’s Toronto office collaborates with all of its employees at the beginning of the creative process.
“I think the Sapient model is a good example of a convergence model. As opposed to having the idea upfront and then tacking on all the different ways to apply it, we get all the right people into the room before coming up with the idea. This leads to the convergence of the various disciplines and the various channels before we come to the idea. That’s where I think the model has been really, really successful for us. There isn’t that kind of division of labour or this sort of assembly line methodology of old school traditional advertising,” says Elliott Smith, Creative Director, SapientNitro’s Toronto office.
This model is backed by SapientNitro’s overall operations. The company does not see its Canadian office as a satellite office, but in reality SapientNitro has created fluidity within its company that prevents the separation of offices into different entities.
“Typically with ad agencies there’s a lead office, the New York office, and sister satellite offices. Normally, there’s friction between those offices because the big one gets to call the shots. There’s more friction that way. But because SapientNitro is so equal and we have our own assignments to run, there’s a lot more collaboration then you’d expect,” said Steven Koch, Associate Creative Director, SapientNitro’s Toronto office.
Whether from a US influence, or just created as an overall part of SapientNitro’s identity, the company employs a work culture that equals bold ambition paired with kindness. This attribute has led to company success despite a slow economy.
“There are lots of ambitious companies where everyone’s mean and they have the rock star culture while there are the companies that are very nice, but they usually go out of business because they’re just not hungry enough. Sapient is this lovely combination where we’re super ambitious, we just want to grow and we want to win everything. We’re hyper-competitive, but we know it has to be done with kindness,” said Smith.
SapientNitro’s Toronto office reflects that ambitious/kindness culture in the way they’ve handled their Jeep.com account. A truly global program, SapientNitro took a different approach from the norm and created a program for Jeep to follow toward digital success.
“Typically, SapientNitro has been building microsites for Jeep, but they came to us explaining ‘We don’t need that, we can do our own. Give us a program that we can follow.’ This meant building something that will continue despite participation—if one region wants to opt out, the whole thing doesn’t collapse. I think we’ve done that. It’ll be socially interactive, there will be contests, it’ll be tactile and we tried to design it for mobile pieces,” said Koch.
Another example of success with Jeep was their Name My Ride program. Advertising a limited edition vehicle that was so far unnamed, SapientNitro created a “Name My Ride” contest that allowed fans to submit vehicle name suggestions. Near completion, the contest narrowed down suggestions to the top three in which fans could vote upon. The winning entry would not only become the name of the vehicle but also, the person who submitted the winning entry would win the Jeep.
“The client was delighted. They were thrilled because I think this was new to them, to have such direct involvement. Jeep is such a great brand, because when you talk about social—people talk about their vehicles anyway. What we have to do is not screw it up. People love their vehicles. We evolve the conversation, listen to people talk about their vehicles and just try and get it right while not being the awkward marketer in the room. We listen to how they talk about their vehicles and their experiences and learn from our customers so we can propose ideas to the client with that in mind,” said Koch.
SapientNitro’s Toronto office offers a truly credible advertising solution to its clients. Understanding the need to evolve within the industry to survive, it’s clear SapientNitro will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Giving efficiency the full throttle at NASCAR
The NASCAR organization has long been synonymous with speed, agility and innovation. And so by extension, partnerships at NASCAR hold a similar reputation. One such partner for the organization has been CDW – a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to businesses, government, education and healthcare customers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. CDW provides a broad array of products and services ranging from hardware and software to integrated IT solutions such as security cloud hybrid infrastructure and digital experience. Customer need is the driving force at CDW, and the company helps clients by delivering integrated services solutions that maximize their technology investment. So how does CDW help their customers achieve their business goals? Troy Okerberg, Field Sales Manager - North Florida at CDW adds “We strive to provide our customers with full stack expertise, helping them design, orchestrate and manage technologies that drive their business outcomes.”
NASCAR acquired International Speedway Corporation (ISC) in 2019, merging its operations into one, new company moving forward. The merger represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences while developing strategic growth initiatives that will drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans. CDW has been instrumental in bringing the two technology environments together to enable collaboration and efficiency as one organization. Starting with a comprehensive analysis of all of NASCAR’s vendors, CDW created a uniform data platform for the data center environment across the NASCAR-ISC organization. The IT partner has also successfully merged the two native infrastructure systems together, while analyzing, consulting and providing an opportunity to merge Microsoft software licenses as well.
2020 turned into a tactical year for both organizations with the onset of the pandemic and CDW has had to react quickly to the changing scenario. Most of the initial change included building efficiencies around logistics, like equipment needing to be delivered into the hands of end users who switched to a virtual working environment almost overnight. CDW’s distribution team worked tirelessly to ensure that all customers could still access the products that they were purchasing and needed for their organizations throughout the COVID timeframe. Okerberg adds that today, CDW continues to optimize their offering by hyper-localizing resources as well as providing need-based support based on the size and complexity of their accounts. Although CDW still operates remotely, the company commits to adapting to the changing needs of their clients, NASCAR in particular. Apart from the challenges that COVID-19 brought to the organization, another task that CDW had been handed was to identify gaps and duplicates in vendor agreements that the two former single-entity organizations had in place and align them based on services offered. CDW further helps identify and provide the best solution from a consolidation standpoint of both hardware and software clients so that the new merged organization is equipped with the best of what the industry has to offer.