LinkedIn kindly reminded me this month that Strategy House has officially turned 2 years old. In this past year, we’ve solidified our business, our commitment to changing the perception of manufacturing in America, and acquired a talented team of people we love.
When Katie Felten and I co-founded Strategy House two years ago, it was because we’d accidentally started a business. At the time, we’d been planning careers on opposite coasts, but decided to take on a few projects together as freelancers.
Over the course of that year we realized that we had processes, offered product packages, even had a couple of retainer clients, and were consistently delivering results… in short, we had a business, it just didn’t have a name.
Thus, Strategy House was born, and changed both of our lives for the better. In the last two years, we’ve grown out of the coffee shop the two of us started in, to our office in the Third Ward, with an amazing team of five supporting us.
But what I’m most proud of in the last year are the ways we’ve figured out how to give back. One of the best ways we’ve done so is through our Women in Marketing in Manufacturing (WiMiM) group.
Launching Women in Marketing in Manufacturing (WiMiM)
This year we launched WiMiM as a peer support network for … well, it’s in the title. We noticed that many of the manufacturers we knew were hiring women into a role where they were one of a few, or the only one in the marketing department.
Once a month, we gather to talk through challenges, address key issues, and provide feedback on ongoing initiatives. It’s an outlet designed to combat the isolation of working in a small marketing department at a company that hasn’t historically invested in marketing.
If you know a woman working in marketing in manufacturing, feel free to share WiMiM with them. The group is open to anyone who meets the criteria, and is a completely free resource for anyone in the role. We are currently accepting applications here.
Changing the Perception of Manufacturing in America
This year we solidified our business and committed ourselves to manufacturing. Our vision is to help change the perception of manufacturing in America.
With nearly 4,000 manufacturers in the seven counties surrounding Milwaukee, the revitalization of manufacturing would mean wonders to our local economy. But the problem is that manufacturing is still regarded as a dirty, dumb, and dangerous industry. That’s shifting, slowly, in large part due to the committment of manufacturers to adapt to today's digital culture.
We've connected with local manufacturers who are transforming the way they do business by adopting new technology, investing in marketing in way that hasn't been done before, focusing on improving culture -- all to prepare the business to be competitive in the future.
Manufacturers today are worried about talent attraction and retention, adopting technology, and sales growth. Though there’s a lot of discussion about the issues, there’s little conversation about the solutions that Wisconsin manufacturers are using to thrive today.
Sharing Solutions with Candid Conversations
We launched our video series Candid Conversations this year to give leaders in manufacturing a platform for sharing solutions that they are implementing. Turns out we have an incredible, innovative pool of manufacturers in Wisconsin, and it’s no surprise considering we’re the second largest manufacturing state in the country. This also means that the challenges facing manufacturing across the nation have a higher impact on business leaders in Wisconsin.
Manufacturing companies across the nation are facing industry-wide talent shortages, struggling to transition away from legacy sales, and remain relevant in the age of digital marketing.
Candid Conversations unites stakeholders from manufacturing, higher education, leadership development, and the Southeastern Wisconsin community to talk through the solutions that are being implemented today to reinvigorate manufacturing in Wisconsin and nationwide.
This Candid Conversation with Jason Kayzar, VP of Sales & Service at Power Test is a great example of a Wisconsin manufacturer who has changed the way they do business to prepare for the future.
Cultivating Growth by Focusing on our Strengths
Finally, we were able to give back to our team this year. We have an amazing group of people working with us. Our team primarily works remotely, so we took an opportunity to travel together to celebrate our first successful year as an agency.
As a team, we took a trip to Jamaica to hike the mountains, tour local farms, hit the beach, and relax. Between the bonfires, swimming through sea caves, playing cards, and laying in hammocks, we had plenty of time to bond. We also made a point to announce our State of the Company where we shared the our vision for growth within the organization.
We had an amazing trip and came back closer than we originally had been. We’re even considering adding “The team that travels together stays together” into our mantra.
Strategy House turns two, going on twenty
In short, it’s been an incredible year for Strategy House. We’re young as far as agencies go, but we feel like this past year was "two going on twenty." This year we really figured out who we want to be and how we want to grow.
We're constantly evolving and growing, but we now have a clear focus and goal of helping to change the perception of manufacturing in America. We have an amazing team of talented, quirky individuals share our mission. We're helping to elevate women in marketing in manufacturers, and are able to give back to them, our commuity, in a way that fosters connections between companies across the state.
This year was our year to grow up and lean into our areas of expertise; and we're excited for all that's to come in another year. To all of you who have helped us grow or followed along in our journey, thank you. If you have any questions about any of the recent changes, let us know! We'd love to hear from you.