Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
The projects were so wide-ranging that it would be impossible to speak about all of them. However, one part of their work that I could point to as incredibly successful was the annual reports they created for us, year after year. We were building the first international network infrastructure to be completely optimized for internet technology. This was when the internet was still in its infancy, so people didn’t really understand what we were doing. We were building a different kind of network, and we needed to tell our story in a way that was clear and compelling to investors, customers, regulators, and potential employees, helping them understand what we were doing and why.
Being able to tell our story effectively was crucial for being able to recruit highly-skilled employees and raise the billions of dollars of capital needed to build an international network. Daake absolutely delivered for us in the shaping and development of our story for each of our critical audiences at each stage of our development as a company.
To give a few examples of our success, working with Daake, our work was frequently recognized and honored at key national marketing and technology conferences. State public utility commissions around the country would contact us and ask for 20 copies of our annual report because they were using them to train their staff.
We also found that industry analysts kept our reports on their shelves as references. One of the most important recognitions we received for the work we did with Daake involved a request we received from the office of the Chairman of the SEC—a request for more copies of our annual report. They told us it was one of the best examples of an annual report they’d seen and wanted to use our report as an example for other companies.
How did Daake perform from a project management standpoint?
Daake had a whatever-it-takes attitude. Whether it was a weekend or 11 o'clock at night, Daake was there working away and doing whatever it took. If we were at a trade show or conference, they worked around the clock. Daake was in the foxhole with us at all times.
What did you find most impressive about Daake?
The caliber of work provided by Daake is first rate. They are as good, or better than anyone I've ever worked with, and never disappointed me. Coming out of the agency world, and having been involved in marketing, public relations, and advertising, I've encountered very talented people who lead with their creative egos and make it difficult to question their vision. This would always lead to tension between the client and the creative team.
With Daake, the ego is taken out of the process. Even though they are an incredibly creative team, they are humble, they listen, aren't afraid to incorporate client input, and gently provide the right direction for the work. Daake let us be a part of the process and explored every idea which was thrown to them. Daake worked with us, compromised, and changed the creative approach, based on our input. It was an incredibly positive experience to go through the creative process with them.
On another note, Daake does not lead with the billing and their budget, which I see as a plus. Daake's focus was always on the work, making the client look good, and delivering whatever they needed. And they never charged as much as I expected them to charge.
I always felt that, out of all the agencies I've known and worked with, Daake's caliber of work, lack of ego, and ability to put the work first were unique and incredibly powerful. Unlike other agencies, which have clients who come and go, Daake creates relationships that last for many years.
Are there any areas Daake could improve?
Daake could do a better job of promoting themselves. Because they do so much work, the old saying "the cobbler's children have no shoes" applies to Daake. Over the years, we've had to convince them to brag a bit more about their work and the parade of prestigious awards they've won and continue to win. Their principal, Dave Webster, is very humble. There’s a reason his clients—and his employees—have stayed with him for so many years.