2021 Reflections on Building Culture and Great Marketing

I’m sure we all started the year thinking, “It’s got to be different, right?” I know I did. And while the year definitely took a new direction, some conditions stayed the same. We and our clients encountered all the standard obstacles of years past:  drought, global supply chain issues, lingering pandemic and all of this called for nimble and impactful marketing. I found myself turning my focus to one thing at AC&C: growing this incredible team through fruitful partnerships. You cannot keep a good team down and this team showed that in spades.

Here are a few things that were top of mind for me as the year progressed:

Stay Aligned with Your Values

Workers everywhere raised the bar when it came to their expectations of employers, especially the experience of their company culture. We spent our 2021 in breakout sessions unpacking what we all believed our “AC&C Values” were, how we could uphold these important covenants with our actions and how to ensure no teammate felt like they were “on an island.” As a team, we discussed what remote work would look like going forward and how to keep giving high-fives and back-pats to coworkers and partners virtually.

Don’t Skimp on IRL Time

We even had our first all-agency offsite since 2019! With COVID-19 testing and precautions in place, much of our team from Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles and Turlock made their way to Lodi, California. We took the time to experience the region’s delicious wine and goat cheese, and of course, reflected on the work behind us and the work ahead of us while enjoying each other’s company. 

Pick Values-Driven People 

Being able to do the job is one thing. Being able to do it and meaningfully contribute to culture and progress is the holy grail. Our team prospered greatly with the additions of Paige Brand as Project Manager, Bonnie Vivatnamongkon as Account Director, Chrissy Perales as Business Director, Madalyn Feld as Account Supervisor and Liz Franco as Senior Graphic Designer. Each new year brings more talent that elevates our work and the reach of our aspirations. These five women have done just that.

Go for the Gold (always on my mind 😉 )

AC&C was awarded four coveted national Golden ARC awards by the Agricultural Relations Council, featuring 2020 client work ranging across video production, design, copywriting, and social strategy. We are grateful for the accolades from the ARC and to our partners at Dave Wilson Nursery, Riverbend Wagu, Sun Valley Rice and California Beans for trusting us with their brands. We cannot wait to submit more fabulous work in 2022 for another chance to see how our campaigns stack up against the best and brightest.

Be Intentional in Choosing Client Partners

The brands we developed this year and the people behind those brands, the partners who trusted our vision, have been remarkable. The following is in no way an exhaustive list of all the work we dove into this year but highlights new businesses and campaigns for 2021:

  • We are in progress on a new consumer marketing campaign for Sun Valley Rice’s Planet Rice brand, an incredibly exciting new frontier as Sun Valley Rice’s Agency of Record.
  • It has been an honor to collaborate with Morada Produce on communication and digital campaign plans for the year ahead where we will break ground on video assets and a whole host of sharp new media.
  • Our continued work as JKB Energy’s Agency of Record led us into grower-specific initiatives and revitalized brand messaging that will surely secure their place as the top solar provider in California’s agriculture industry.
  • We partnered with Minturn Nut Company on a rebrand, new website and videos which have inspired our entire team with their stunning look and honed message.
  • Our tech-savvy friends at AgCode entrusted us with initial brand positioning and creative work that expanded into a logo rebrand and support across all of their marketing touchpoints.
  • We had the pleasure of leading a campaign for Grupe Huber’s 5th Annual Inspirational Messages of Peace/International Day of Peace Celebration and International Day of Peace Open House at University Park
  • Research and discovery with PKW Law as we developed their logo, identity system, and website provided our team with a close look at the laws and regulations shaping California’s access to water in a year when water drove so many of our conversations.
  • After working with TOMRA on the launch of their TOMRA 5C optical sorter last year, our partnership grew into another exciting project where we are currently exploring naming and visual identity for another of their advanced sorting machines in a new crop type.
  • Our work with Monte Vista Farming on their website and suite of videos reminded us that the story of processing makes a true impact when it is people-based.
  • As big fans of all the tasty food products from Burroughs Family Farms, we are proud to be underway on a host of brand development, communication and campaign work with their team.

Speak Up and Share

Lastly, on a personal note, I was incredibly proud to present virtually at the Women’s Leadership Forum for CSU Stanislaus’ College of Business Administration this year. Sharing my perspective with up-and-coming women in business was a pleasure, and as the team will tell you I’m all about finding ways to fill your proverbial cup (and the cups of others) these days.

Wishing hope, joy and peace in the new year.

Be well and happy holidays!