Agency Renews Growth with Focus on Fundamentals

Yes&, as small-business prime for Team PCI, has been awarded a five-year $122M contract to promote flood insurance on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As part of its mission to help people before, during and after disasters, FEMA sponsors the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and selected Yes& and its large-business partner Deloitte to deliver an integrated campaign to encourage flood insurance purchase and renewals.  The award is a game-changer for Yes&, and the agency will add as many as 15 to 20 new staff members to fulfill FEMA requirements.

Even before the FEMA award, Yes& was on an upswing.  Its strong growth from 2017-2019 has been recognized by inclusion in the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America for three consecutive years, the Washington Business Journal 75 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the Washington region list for two consecutive years, and the inaugural Inc. 5000 Series: DC Metro list in 2019.  Then came COVID-19, and like many marketing agencies Yes& saw a retrenchment among its clients and a drop in its projected 2020 revenue.

Yes& moved quickly to respond.  Overhead was reduced by nearly half and government recovery programs were accessed to minimize impacts on the team.  Then the agency doubled down on what had brought success in the first place.

“We put a lot of focus on the fundamentals,” said Yes& President & CEO Robert W. Sprague.  “Taking care of our existing clients, meeting new clients where they were, and strengthening our culture.”

Yes& has always had a diverse client mix, and the diversity served it well as hospitality and association clients pulled back but government and healthcare clients ramped-up to deal with the crisis.  Under a ‘love the one you’re with’ mantra, Yes& methodically reviewed each existing client.  “We asked ourselves, what do they need right now?  And can we help them?” added Sprague.

One thing clients needed was help with virtual events.  Live event production has been a specialty for Yes& throughout its history; suddenly clients needed virtual events that delivered the same or greater value, and Yes& helped organizations like ASAE, AFCEA DC, and AFCEA Bethesda pivot and grow participation at rates up to 250%.  Other clients needed crisis communications support, notably Stamford (CT) Health, which served a region that became an early COVID-19 hotspot.

Yes& also added vigor to its business development efforts, knowing that some projected revenue was not going to return.  In addition to the FEMA flood insurance contract, which involved a multi-month process of capture, downselect, and oral scenario presentations, Yes& was able to secure major new clients including the Fairfax County Public School system, RavenTek, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Finally, Yes& refocused on its unique culture.  “Culture beats strategy every time,” Sprague concluded, “and in addition to keeping the team aligned, we have a number of new team members who we have never met face-to-face.”

Yes& is a certified Agile Agency, employing a methodology inspired by but distinct from agile software development.  In recent months Yes& trained or retrained its entire staff on Agile Agency processes, which include dynamic project scoping, two week sprints, and continuous improvement and feedback in a quest to improve agency velocity.

The agency also responded to the social justice movement by introducing an innovative “activism hours” program granting employees up to 8 paid hours per month to work on making the world a better place, and implementing a fellowship reserved for persons of color wanting a start in the marketing field.

The FEMA contract award will provide Yes& with a solid base for further growth and development over the next five years.  But the agency understands the challenge.

“FEMA selected our team because they want innovation and they want results,” Chairman and COO Jeb Brown said.  “Marketing will never be the same after COVID-19, and we will be working to help all of our clients succeed in this untested environment.”

“The FEMA contract gives us an opportunity to add a diverse array of talents to Yes&, and we want to add exceptional professionals to our already strong team and culture,” Brown said.

Talented agency professionals looking for new opportunities are encouraged to apply to positions listed at yesandagency.com.

Yes& is a Capitol Communicator sponsor.

 

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