It’s that time of year when I have the privilege of announcing our Agency Partner Program Value Award Winners. At Sprout, we’re lucky enough to work with an all-star cast of agency partners who continue to impress us with their dedication to their clients and communities. To recognize this hard work, each year we award five deserving agencies with the Sprout Partner Value Awards, modeled off of our own internal programs for recognizing excellence.
These awards acknowledge agencies that live and breathe the core tenets of the Partner Program: they contribute to and support the #SproutPartner community; have expanded their services offerings and client books by adopting an “Always Be Growing” mindset; cultivate thriving client-agency relationships; create, plan and execute innovative campaigns and embody what it means to be an all-star partner.
In 2020, as many brands struggled to move their business online, find new ways to connect with their customers or discover their voice to take a stand, our agency partners led their clients to success, demonstrating grit and determination. In a year unlike any other, I’m excited to shine a light on the incredible work our partners achieved last year.
Over the past few years, our partner community has grown exponentially to become a go-to resource for agencies to collaborate, strategize and request and give feedback. In 2020, our partner community became an even more critical space for agencies tasked with navigating crisis communications, developing new services, posting job openings or even adapting to ever-changing network features and algorithms.
Our #SproutPartner MVP actively supports their agency peers and community by facilitating important conversations, providing insights and sharing resources as well as their expertise. This year, we tapped our agency community to select the partner they felt contributed most to the #SproutPartner community, resulting in over 500 votes.
For anyone active in the community, it is no surprise that this year’s #SproutPartner MVP is none other than Talissa Beall, Social Media Manager at Idea Grove. Talissa has been a constant presence in the Agency Exchange, weighing in to provide advice, soliciting feedback and offering much-needed levity. She has also been an active contributor to Sprout thought leadership content throughout the year, sharing important perspectives on how to tackle difficult conversations around racial injustice, providing tips and tricks for working in B2B social and appearing on an expert panel on how to effectively use social metrics.
Congratulations, Talissa. You’re a leader and have made an impact on so many of your #SproutPartner community peers.
Being “customer-obsessed” is a trait Sprout shares with our agency partners. Throughout 2020, we saw agencies grapple with an industry turned upside down and the need to re-prioritize how they could best serve their clients. As a result, agencies changed longstanding policies to offer more flexible contracts, created new services offerings to meet shifting client needs and thought deeply about how each client should navigate sensitive topics.
The Cultivate Award is given to the agency that exemplifies a client-first approach, consistently providing outsized value to their clients. They create strategies with a deep understanding of their clients’ business objectives, build in flexibility and agility needed to be able to quickly shift tactics to ensure they’re driving value and form deep partnerships with clients. In 2020, this dedication to driving business impact and relentless focus on client satisfaction made the difference between companies going under or adapting to the digital-first era.
Our very deserving 2020 Cultivate Award winner is Communicators Group. Communicators Group was able to not only retain, but expand, their client book by leveraging social media to share essential information with their clients’ audiences in a timely manner during the pandemic. Always on Award finalist and Social Media Manager at Communicators Group, Raven Gill, played an instrumental role in helping their clients pivot with virtual messaging and ideas on how their clients could help their communities during this time.
Kudos to Raven Gill and Communicators Group for championing social and supporting clients through challenging times.
Always Be Growing
When offering digital services of any kind, especially social media services, adopting a “learn it all” mindset is key to creating agile, data-driven strategies that support your client and agency business objectives. Agencies that were able to learn from and quickly adapt to the opportunity presented during 2020 saw incredible growth.
The Always Be Growing award recognizes the agency that has shown their commitment to growing and scaling their agency business and brand awareness through client expansion and creating impactful thought leadership content to move the industry forward.
This year, we’re ecstatic to present this award to Garden Media Group. President of Garden Media Group, Katie Dubow, purchased the agency in January 2020 without knowing what the year had in store. With Katie’s leadership, the agency streamlined processes, focused on reducing response times and leveraged social listening to keep her clients informed and ahead of trends. This strategic approach resulted in a 220% increase in the number of new clients brought on. They also contributed to the garden industry at large by publishing their 2021 Garden Trends Report, which shares insights into how businesses have created successful strategies during the pandemic and how people will adjust their home spaces to accommodate stay-at-home life
Props to Katie and the entire Garden Media Group for making 2020 a banner year.
Agency Campaign of the Year
In a year when most campaigns were paused, altered, reduced in scale or just plain scrapped, we saw agencies double down on using social data and insights to test new strategies. The winner of this year’s Agency Campaign of the Year provides a masterclass in how to use data in real time to shift resources to optimize campaign performance.
The winner of this year’s Agency Campaign of the Year is Acronym. In 2020, Acronym developed a comprehensive digital campaign including full paid social, search and SEO strategy to launch and promote an ecommerce site for a travel industry client. The team stayed agile and shifted tactics multiple times to meet the current environment, most notably when adjusting campaign messaging as COVID-19 hit. These efforts resulted in a 9x return on ad spend on social and 3.4x return on ad spend on paid search, outperforming their ROAS goals in 2020 by 75%.
Not only was this campaign a huge success, it was a clear example of how social can be leveraged to drive bottom line results in digital marketing campaigns. Due to the success of the campaign, the client is currently looking at ways to expand their ecommerce site to new geographic markets and introduce more products with social as a key component.
Great job to the entire Acronym team. We can’t wait to see what you cook up in 2021.
Partner of the Year
Finally, we have the award that encompasses all the qualities outlined above. The Partner of the Year is our all-around award honoring the agency that exemplifies all of the traits of a successful Sprout Partner: continued agency growth, dedication to creating valuable thought leadership content, commitment to community and innovation when evolving their social media service offering. We are so grateful for the amazing contributions, participation and dedication to agency excellence demonstrated by our 2020 Partner of the Year winner: Giraffe Social Media.
In 2020, Giraffe Social Media saw incredible growth. They increased their client portfolio by over 50%, expanded the number of services they offer and brought on new teammates to support their growing client base. Giraffe Social Media also dedicated time to create impactful thought leadership content including the launch of their new podcast, as well as contributed to articles including CEO Blog Nation, RealExpertAdvice.com and Sprout Social, and presented on Al Jazeera and the BBC.
On top of all these initiatives, Giraffe Social Media carved out time to contribute to their local community. In 2020, they ran multiple campaigns to donate proceeds to Rowans Hospice and supported local business during the first lockdown.
Bravo to Giraffe Social Media for staying focused on delivering value and spurring growth in 2020.
Cheers to our #SproutPartner community
While it is my honor to be able to recognize the fantastic work of our Sprout Partner Value Award winners listed here, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to extend a huge “job well done” to all our agency partners for persevering through an incredibly difficult year.
Cheers to everyone in the #SproutPartner community for staying focused on client satisfaction, growing their service offerings and client bases and continuing to move the industry forward by truly impact their clients’ businesses.
Interested in working with our talented agency partners? Find and connect with them today.
Don’t fear the retro: How open communication strengthens agency-client relationshipsPublished on July 6, 2021 Reading time 4 minutes