Kelly Walker, a Bend marketing veteran, and his wife Andrea lead an Intrepid team of experienced creatives. According to Kelly, the Intrepid name and tagline, “Think Forward,” symbolize the journey over the turbulent waters of a tempestuous economy to new marketing frontiers.
How has your business been impacted by the economic downturn?
In today’s climate, clients are fewer and marketing budgets tighter, but most businesses need marketing more than ever. Major changes in technology and media communications have forever changed the face of marketing and customer acquisition, and consequently our profession.
One of our biggest challenges used to be keeping up with all the work; now it’s providing outstanding service and results on a budget. But there is opportunity in every circumstance. We have learned to offset leaner budgets with intense creativity and resourcefulness that use (even) a down economy to our clients’ advantage. We put in more time for less money, but applying this formula to our own business makes it all balance out.
How have you reinvented yourselves to stay in business?
When economists forecasted the perfect economic storm, it became obvious that everyone would have to adapt or sink. A major shift to sales-oriented marketing was occurring. Soon after the crash, I (Kelly) sold my shares in a well-known local branding agency. Before the downturn, this agency had mainly done (re)branding: AirLink, Saving Grace, Mosaic Medical, etc. After the crash, I took a different tack; Andrea and I created a new brand: Intrepid.
Intrepid combines national-level services with Central Oregon relationship-based values. The name means “bold” and “fearless,” something all of us have had to be to forge ahead in uncertain times. Intrepid fearlessly guides companies to the frontiers of marketing, strengthening their identities so they will not be lost in the wilderness of competing voices. We lead our clients to where consumers are directing their attention and ensure they have a compelling voice that will build a loyal following for their brand. We do branding, but in a larger, integrated marketing context.
What are your goals going forward in our present economic climate?
We’ve built a team of some of the industry’s best talent; it’s our goal to provide them with satisfying work they can be passionate about. Happy, appreciated creative professionals give an incredible level of service, mastermind attention-grabbing marketing and produce the returns our clients need to thrive. Our goal as a team, the very reason we exist, becomes helping good businesspeople reach their goals.
What have been the keys to your continued success?
One key has been educating others and helping them in every way we can, regardless of their budget (or absence thereof). I’ve written a volunteer marketing column for Cascade Business News and other publications for quite some time; we give workshops and trainings for local businesses; we will sit down with anyone and help them, without expectations. We work hard to meet budgets, but we maintain high standards: we won’t take shortcuts that hurt our clients in the long run. It’s absolutely crucial to deliver engaging content in the context of solid strategy. We’re here to build relationships and help others succeed long-term, not to make a fast buck.