Okay so technically it's more like two weeks ago at this point, but I've been meaning to write about a string of happy hours full of really interesting people doing really interesting things. I highly recommend checking out the handful of companies below if you haven't already:
Teri Wadsworth & Dig: Dig specializes in consumer insight films for all sorts of brands and topics. Basically, they make ethnography into engaging film — which has earned them a particularly large planner fan base. I worked with Teri in Chicago (former planner) and know Adam (former creative) too and I'm constantly impressed with what they're doing. They're great for current clients and have helped agencies win lots of new biz as well. You can also get their self-funded stuff a la carte on topics like economy's effect on millenials (sample clip here) or moms and social media (coming soon).
Andy Hunter & Pursuit: Unlike Dig, Pursuit is brand spankin' new. Founded by a crop of entrepreneurs, they field a varied degree of work (marketing consulting, customer research, business analytics, interactive and brand strategy) but are simply about getting companies back in touch with what their customers are really doing -- helping brands re-connect to people on their terms. What I like most about them is that they're not afraid of a little complexity; agencies take note. Oh, and thanks to Andy (who knows absolutely everyone) for inviting me to the below happy hour with the Dachis crew.
David Armano-Peter Kim-Jevin MacDonald & Dachis Corp: Lots of people have been talking about this firm for some time and buzz increased last month when David Armano left Critical Mass to come aboard. Billed as a social enterprise that extends beyond marketing and advertising, the effort is intriguingly vague and exceptionally well-funded. It's interesting because David, Peter and Jevin are all sort of brands in their own right and none of them actually live here yet. Happy to have all this brainpower in Austin, at least on the weekdays.
Mike Mackert & the UT Planning Program: Alright so technically the UT ad program isn't a company, but it is a cool program to watch. All of our interns have been raving about Mike for awhile now and I was thrilled to have the chance to work with his class on a Planning For Good project this past spring.While Mike's main expertise is actually in message design for nonprofits, he's taken to planning rather effortlessly and has a ton of great ideas to get his students the kind of industry experience that most ad grads don't have. I'm psyched to be working with him - looking forward to fall semester already.