Our Story


You could say we know a little about turning around stalled, stuck, and stale brands. At least, enough to write a book about it (or three). Our knowledge comes from more than a decade of proprietary research, two national studies and years of personal experience, resulting in a trio of books on the art of navigating the rugged brand wilderness.

In short, we’re turnaround artists. Brand survival experts. And masters of sailing through the tumultuous waters of change. We have a deep grasp of human nature and its impact on business and marketing. Our intimate understanding of the dynamics that affect growth, combined with extensive experience in marketing and branding, enables us to address and conquer any business problem.

Twenty years ago, we hacked our way through the high desert brush, hunkered down in the heart of the stunning Southwest, and carved out a unique niche for ourselves by always beating the odds. Our pioneering spirit led to securing three of our industry’s top awards in a span of 12 months, including being named Advertising Age’s Southwest Small Agency of the Year, winning their B2B Campaign of Year award, and being named one of Advertising Age’s Best Places to Work in the country.

But we didn’t stop there. We’ve stolen the show on behalf of clients at two of the toughest trade shows in the world (CES and HOW). We launched our own shared-services content marketing newsroom, the first of its kind in this part of the country. We developed a novel software platform that helps our client put their content marketing programs on steroids. We even found a way to reinvent the death care industry, collaborating with a client to raise several million dollars and launch a SaaS enterprise software company.

We’re cunning. We’re fearless. And if we must, we’ll melt our trophies down to make the next cutting-edge tool. (But only if we have absolutely no other choice.)

The Trek


Our journey to become the world’s leading experts in turning around stalled brands began back in 2002, when we made it onto the Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Companies list. But what we thought was the start of world domination turned into two years of bitter stagnation.

Over the next 20+ months, we wandered about in our own brand wilderness as our incredible growth sputtered out and we suffered 94% turnover. Ouch.

But that painful stretch inspired our greatest breakthrough. Not knowing what else to do, we conducted a national study to discover why some brands face adversity and come out stronger on the other side, while others drift into oblivion. Our groundbreaking research revealed seven statistically significant factors that affect business growth, and led to our first book on the topic, When Growth Stalls: How it Happens, Why You’re Stuck and What to Do About It.

Over the next decade we would conduct a second national study, publish two more books, guide some of the nation’s most powerful brands through the wilderness, and learn to navigate, and in some cases, create, business disruption.

The Wilderness Academy®

Turning around stalled, stuck, and stale brands is grueling work. And staying on top of our game is a never-ending endeavor. To stay sharp, we created the Wilderness Academy, a series of programs designed to help people traverse the rapidly changing world of marketing and communications, and create new ways to navigate their own brand wilderness. Programs include our annual Wilderness Retreat, Summer and Winter Advertising Boot Camps, the Start Up Initiative, and ADBOWL®.

The Wilderness Retreat


The Wilderness Retreat brings together leading experts in navigating uncertainty for an intensive, hands-on, three-day retreat at a resort in the New Mexico backcountry. From physicists and statisticians to entrepreneurs and survival experts, the Wilderness Retreat connects the world’s brightest luminaries with distinguished brand experts, to chart out the future of marketing and transform accelerating change into business opportunities.

Advertising Boot Camps


During our Summer and Winter Advertising Boot Camps, young grads and undergrads are given the opportunity to hone their communications and marketing skills through a rigorous branding crash course. With mentorship and hands-on practice working for real clients, the method-marketing programs last between two and six weeks, and culminate with a do-or-die presentation to a client. It’s tough. It’s stressful. And it’s very, very rewarding.

The Lab


The MWC Lab is a future-finding play space located in our creative department. On any given day, you’re as likely to find an engineer or entrepreneur here as you are an art director or copywriter. It’s a salmagundi of technology, art, production and prototyping, with the occasional half-eaten sandwich lying around. We believe it’s what the agency of the future will look like, and we’ve built it smack-dab in the middle of ours.

The Startup Initiative

 

Passare

More than a decade ago, online marketplaces like eBay, Craigslist and Priceline radically redefined their industries overnight. By using the web to bring buyers and sellers together, their new models removed much of the friction and costs of doing business.

We thought, “Why would funerals be any different?” So, we raised several million dollars from the death care industry and launched Passare.com, the world’s first end-to-end, SaaS online funeral services marketplace. Passare.com is eliminating friction and bringing buyers and sellers together during one of the most trying and unavoidable purchase occasions we must all face: the death of a loved one.

 

Swellstarter

One thing that bedevils brands about social media is its unpredictable reach. No matter how great the content, brands can only post it, then cross their fingers.

We realized that brands hold vast, organic social media reach through their employees, members and fans, each with their own network of followers. By tapping them, a brand’s reach can grow exponentially.

We built SWELLSTARTER to do just that. It’s a user-friendly software platform that helps brands share relevant, customized, curated content via their natural allies’ networks. SWELLSTARTER amplifies an organization’s reach by reaching within, if you will. We’ve implemented it for our clients, and now we’re licensing it.

ADBOWL®


ADBOWL® is a website that tracks consumer reactions to the commercials that air during high profile television events. We launched ADBOWL all the way back in 2001, and subsequently incorporated real-time social media feeds into the site, tracking all views before, during and after the biggest football game of the year. Consumers and Media alike utilize ADBOWL as their source for real-time data during what also amounts to the biggest ad day of the year.