Principal: Janet Tyler (pictured); Lisa Vallee-Smith, co-CEOs
Offices: Southfield, MI; Mountain View, CA
For tech communications specialist Airfoil, 2012 was a year of major change. This included the implementation of a new strategy and a restructure that "took its toll on the business," according to co-CEO Janet Tyler.
After experiencing an impressive 20% growth the prior year, 2012 revenue declined 3.8% year over year, which Tyler attributes to the loss of a "significant" multimillion-dollar project for an undisclosed retained client in the latter half of 2011.
Last May, Airfoil reorganized in a bid to introduce "more infrastructure, process, and rigor" to the firm. It created an executive leadership team and agency management team, with Tyler becoming joint CEO alongside Lisa Vallee-Smith.
While Airfoil made no major hires, Tyler describes its staff turnover rate of 17% as "a silver lining," as keeping its staff was a priority amid all the change.
In Airfoil's quest to become more integrated, the firm has focused on diversifying staff expertise, through training and hiring, to include online advertising, SEO, content, and social strategy.
Last February, the agency began to implement a new three-year marketing strategy, dubbed "+ mobile," to address the growth in people accessing information via their mobile devices.
Airfoil also moved into proactive selling for strategy work relating to multi-screen integration and resigned a number of accounts that did not fit with this strategy, totaling $250,000 on a retained basis.
Six months later, the firm also introduced the brand positioning around the concept of "positively impossible to ignore."
Global expansion was high on the agenda in 2012, with Airfoil creating an exclusive affiliate partnership with Babel PR in London and Newell PR in Hong Kong. It is also in the process of selecting a partner in Latin America.
Expanding its footprint
Overall, Airfoil's organic account revenue increased by nearly 10% due to diversified services and an expanded global footprint.
A key win last year was SurveyMonkey, which acquired the firm's former client Zoomerang. Others included Plex Systems, ABB, Delphi, and America Laser Skincare. Airfoil's biggest loss in 2012 was MobiTV.
"Last year set the stage and hopefully will lead to a year of great growth," says Tyler.