Information Experts: Driving Growth Through Culture

Information Experts (www.informationexperts.com) is based in Reston, VA. Information Experts (@InfoExperts) is a trusted strategic communications firm. CEO Marissa Levin sat down to talk to Ascent Advisor (@AscentAdvisor).   CEO Marissa Levin Ascent Advisor – David Grau: You have experienced great success and rapid growth; to what do you attribute that, both personally and as a company? Marissa Levin:  Over the period of almost two decades we have experienced both great growth and decline, so we are not a company that has had straight growth all the way through.  Like most companies, we have our ups and downs. We are dependent on market shifts, we are dependent on government agendas, and we are dependent on whether it’s war or peace time. I think one of the great things about being in a small business is that we are very nimble and we are able to pivot quickly when there is a shift in the marketplace.  That is one of the things I attribute to our success and growth; it gives us the ability to remain viable regardless of what is happening in the market.  Growth is great, but the ability to remain viable and to be able to see yourself through difficult times is just as important. Ascent Advisor: How do you go about anticipating the kinds of shifts and meeting what you anticipate is the future demand? Levin:  I am personally connected to the CEO and executive community.  I’m very engaged in the sectors that affect our business, whether it’s from an industry sector (such as being involved in many government organizations) or whether it’s being involved in...

OpalStaff: Agility in Augmentation

OpalStaff (www.opalstaff.com) is based in Maryland. OpalStaff (@OpalStaff) provides companies with technical contract and staff augmentation. President Trevor Simm chatted with Ascent Advisor (@AscentAdvisor).   Ascent Advisor – David Grau: When you first founded OpalStaff in 2002, what was your vision for the company? Trevor Simm:  When I started OpalStaff, my vision was to create a staffing firm that offered the highest caliber talent and customer service, as well as a firm that was able to be flexible and change with our customers’ needs. Ascent Advisor:  What do you think a smaller company can do as opposed to a very large company in terms of the kind of service you provide? Simm:  I think smaller companies are more agile and can provide a more personalized level of service. We do on-site visits, face-to-face, and picking up the phone, whatever the client wants.  We are also not bound by big company protocols and bureaucracy. We can act quickly, which helps support our value proposition of finding the right person for the job right when you need it. Ascent Advisor:  What’s your vision going forward?  Where do you see the company five or ten years from now? Simm:  There’s not one simple answer.  I’ve got a solid group of individuals that I work with and we have a very low turnover.  As we grow in the future it will be organically — from the inside — into different markets, into different clients and things like that.  The federal sector here is huge and it’s something that we’re really excited to capitalize on. Ascent Advisor:  Do you think the opportunity in contracting...
The Borenstein Group: Making Creativity a Science

The Borenstein Group: Making Creativity a Science

The Borenstein Group (www.borensteingroup.com) is based in Washington, DC.  The Borenstein Group (@BorensteinGroup) is a branding, marketing, and PR company that makes creativity a science. CEO and Founder Gal Borenstein chatted with Ascent Advisor (@AscentAdvisor).   Ascent Advisor- David Grau: You are now in your 18th year at The Borenstein Group and have been ranked among the nation’s top 500 branding, marketing, and digital communications agencies. To what do you attribute your rapid growth and success as an organization? Gal Borenstein: There are three fundamental principles I try to stick to that have withstood the test of time over almost two decades. The first is that the world of marketing, branding and strategic positioning is both an art and a science. In consumer advertising, people focus on getting someone to impulse buy. We’ve positioned our company to focus on B2B, where you have stakeholders, decision makers, and influencers. It’s a construct that involves bringing psychology, business management, business processes, logic, and creative ideas together to generate a result that expedites the sales cycle. I noticed a chasm where business process and science were absent in creative thinkers in the advertising industry. The Borenstein Group connected the dots between business understanding and creativity and then turned it into a science. Science, by definition, is taking an idea, testing it, and creating a linear sequential process that can be successfully replicated to produce predictable outcomes. That is the fundamental reason we were able to succeed during downturns; our view of the world is not that we are in the business of making it more creative, it’s about how we help a client be...