A Creative & Strategic Advertising Agency

1903 merges best-in-class brand creative, technology, and data to maximize marketing ecosystems and inspire lasting connections. Founded in 2001, we grow brands in a connected world.

 
$50,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2001
Show all +
Pittsburgh, PA
headquarters
  • 200 1ST AVE, STE 203
    Pittsburgh, PA 15222
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Hollister, Abercrombie and Fitch, Dicks Sporting Goods, Kitsbow and Ibis Cycles

Kitsbow Brand Revamp Image

Kitsbow Brand Revamp

Kitsbow was founded to create the riding apparel not available to mountain bikers: A perfect balance of technical performance, timeless design, and impeccable tailoring. With a higher than average pricepoint, 1903 had to reposition Kitsbow to shift the mindsets of the traditional road and mountain bike consumers with a focus on engineering and community.

Katz School of Business Brand Platform Image

Katz School of Business Brand Platform

1903 extracted over two decades worth of brand DNA to create a new platform by which all brand activities can be guided by and measured against.

Katz School of Business Digital Platform Image

Katz School of Business Digital Platform

Breaking the boundaries of the traditional educational brochure site, 1903 established a modern experience for Katz that takes the prospects on a journey through the benefits of the program. In order to reduce confusion about degree offerings, 1903 also built a proprietary system that analyzes the user to help micro-segment their programs.

Reviews

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Full Service Digital, Web, & Branding for Fitness Retailer

“They could do everything, from print and digital content development to technical e-commerce management.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Agency 1903 provides a comprehensive range of digital marketing services, including social media management, email campaigns, content creation, branding, and e-commerce development.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Petaluma, California
Former COO, Fitness Retailer
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Email lists grew twofold, and open/click-through rates improved thanks to Agency 1903’s outreach efforts. They developed marketing strategies, implemented new metric trackers, and helped internal stakeholders remain committed to their marketing goals.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I was the former COO of a high-performance recreational sports and outdoor apparel company. We sold apparel and accessories to active outdoor enthusiasts.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Agency 1903?

We were struggling to produce consistent outbound marketing materials/strategies that adhered to our brand guideline. As a result, we reached out to Agency 1903 to support our digital marketing efforts in addition to developing our brand and growing our customer base.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They handled all aspects of our digital marketing and branding, from high-level strategy to daily content creation. The latter involved coordinating photo shoots, creating copy, and writing journal entries with outside influencers. Agency 1903 also managed our email campaigns as well as our Facebook and Instagram pages.

As we continued to work with them, they got us into an appropriate cadence to capitalize on our outbound production before moving on to unpaid advertising opportunities. They introduced a suite of software to improve our tracking, including Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and AdRoll. This helped us manage several key performance indicators (KPIs) like customer growth, revenue growth, and site traffic.

One of the major projects they completed was a site migration. They moved us from an old e-commerce platform to a new, rebranded Shopify site. The site featured improved backend functions that allowed us to better track our stock and see pricing adjustments as well as customized e-commerce management.

What is the team composition?

We worked with about three people, including one of their principles who was a sports enthusiast.

How did you come to work with Agency 1903?

I met another principle at a fitness event and started conversing with her. At the time, we were a relatively small brand, and Agency 1903’s experience with larger companies was very appealing. We wanted to have a partner that could support us as we grew. I also liked how they were able to bring in qualified resources and scale them as necessary.

How much have you invested with them?

Depending on the amount of work involved, our monthly spend varied from a few thousand to over $10,000. This includes the advertising spend.

What is the status of this engagement?

Their work began in 2015 and, to the best of my knowledge, is ongoing. When I left the company, I knew that they were still managing our social media, email campaigns, and e-commerce presence, but we were trying to bring some items in-house.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Since I’ve left the company, I don’t have access to all of the metrics. However, at one point, they doubled our email subscription list through active campaigns. As a result, they grew our open rate as well as our click-through rate and increased web traffic.

How did Agency 1903 perform from a project management standpoint?

They were professional and managed the account well. They delivered materials in a timely manner, and we communicated through phone, email, and Slack.

What did you find most impressive about them?

In terms of creativity, I valued their brand direction and the depth of their capabilities. They could do everything, from print and digital content development to technical e-commerce management.

Are there any areas they could improve?

It might have benefited them if they had a better perspective of our operations. However, it didn’t really affect the branding process much.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

It’s crucial to understand your own personal brand in order to communicate it to a vendor.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Full Service Digital Service Partnership with Creative Agency

“Their digital marketing, marketing strategy, production, and creative capabilities are all impressive.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Sept. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Agency 1903 partners with a creative agency for various third-party projects. They augment creative services, marketing strategy, guidance, and execution to suit the needs of each contract.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Columbus, Ohio
Michael Tallman
Founder, EMBLEM
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Sales and site traffic have increased and Agency 1903 makes useful strategic suggestions. They keep track of joint successes and have been very helpful in a variety of projects.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the founder of Emblem, a UX, creative, and digital experience agency.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Agency 1903?

I’ve partnered with them in various capacities over the past 10–12 years. Most recently, they helped us with creative services, marketing strategy, guidance, and project execution.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We usually begin with a discovery process with interviews and discussions. We make sure there is a clearly articulated statement of work and a project plan to complete tasks and make deliverables for our clients. Each project is different and they provide different combinations of their services. We take time to understand the key differentiators for each brand or experience and put together concepts and find opportunities within the space.

What is the team composition?

I work with their owner and a client and brand consultant.

How did you come to work with Agency 1903?

They were a local shop when I first started working with them at another company. We sent out informal requests to agencies in our area and they responded. We rewarded them a small project and their involvement has grown exponentially since then.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent in the $50,000–$200,000 range with Emblem. We worked together on a much bigger scale at the previous company I worked with.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together at Emblem in September 2017. We work together whenever new projects arise.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We’ve increased sales and site traffic. They track our revenue and may have clearer numbers of our joint success than I do. We’ve delivered functional e-commerce websites and branding from scratch.

How did Agency 1903 perform from a project management standpoint?

Their process varies from client to client but we normally have weekly meetings and a lot of communication via email and Slack. They’re also always available by phone. We have some in-person meetings and some by teleconference, depending on the project.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their digital marketing, marketing strategy, production, and creative capabilities are all impressive.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Their current web presence and their own site should be stronger. There isn’t a fair online representation of their capabilities.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Engage them in strategic aspects and don’t limit your collaboration to purely design production. Be open to their suggestions as projects unfold.

5.0
Overall Score We always get more out of the final project than we originally anticipate. Our partnership goes beyond the standard client–vendor relationship.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They’re very consistent and are always clear if there are any changes to project timelines.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The cost to value ratio is extremely high.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They meet expectations every time we work together.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would absolutely recommend them.

Packaging Design for Sports Retail Chain

“Agency 1903’s knowledge of retail strategy is their biggest strength.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Apr. - May 2018
Project summary: 

Agency 1903 developed the packaging design for a new product. They researched the marketplace to deliver designs that could compete with industry standards. A collaborative process informed the final product.

The Reviewer
 
10,000+ Employees
 
Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
Director of Brand and Packaging Design, Sports Retail Chain
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

They worked within an aggressive deadline and created high-quality designs. Agency 1903 possesses the ability to develop strategies that yield impactful deliverables. Their process is efficient and to produces viable market solutions. A communicative staff further elevates the experience.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the director of brand and packaging design for a sports retail chain. I oversee the customer-facing visuals on our in-house brands and products.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Agency 1903?

We developed a new line of golf clubs to sell at an elevated price point. As a result, we needed an advertising agency to create a unique logo as well as cohesive look, tone, and feel for the product’s signage and marketing collateral.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We started the engagement with a possible name and communicated the competitive benchmark we had to work towards to meet industry standards. During the initial meeting, we laid out our vision for the product and the technologies it featured. Then, we went to other stores to examine the product’s competition and took notes on the design elements we liked and disliked. We directed Agency 1903 to come up with a few conservative options and one outlandish design that would make us uncomfortable. After that, we left it up to them to deliver. The first phase of our engagement has wrapped up and we eagerly await the start of the second.

What is the team composition?

We worked with their owner, the creative manager, and a project manager. Several designers and copywriters worked on the project as well.

How did you come to work with Agency 1903?

We had a few mutual connections and found them through word of mouth. We brought them in and talked through the project. They seemed to have a good understanding of how retail worked and how to position successful products. After a brief discussion, we decided to move forward with them.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent a total of $40,000. The cost might be lower than what they typically charge because we’re a large client that frequently outsources design work.

What is the status of this engagement?

The project took place from April–May 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Agency 1903 delivered conventional options and a wild option as requested. We ended up going with something in the middle of that spectrum. They did a great job of explaining their strategy and organized a panel of golfers to demonstrate concrete findings on what the product’s target consumer appreciates. We’re thrilled with the results they produced.

How did Agency 1903 perform from a project management standpoint?

They rapidly created deliverables within a short time frame and presented their designs over three checkpoints before we came to a final decision. We used Slack to communicate and they’re very responsive.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Agency 1903’s knowledge of retail strategy is their biggest strength. They understand that we need viable solutions that are relevant to the market rather than a cool art project.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Overall, we’re happy with everything considering they worked under a compressed timeline. If more time were an option, I’d like to see a more collaborative dialogue in between project checkpoints.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Leverage their ability to build an underlying foundation of design principles and they’ll create materials that resonate with your target audience. That’s how they add extra value to any project. Finding agencies with their level of engagement and drive is hard.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They met all deadlines.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer