Common Sense. Uncommon Thinking.

JStokes is a creative marketing agency with extensive expertise in business services, real estate development, consumer products and retail franchises.

 
$10,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
1978
Show all +
Walnut Creek, CA
headquarters
  • JStokes Agency
    1444 N. Main Street
    Walnut Creek, CA 94596
    United States
    925-933-1624

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Subway Restaurants, SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service, Bay Alarm, Bryan Cave LLP, Knobbe Martens Intellectual Property Law, Lennar Multifamily, Benchmark Communities, Bishop Ranch

Reviews

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Full-Service Advertising for Security Company

"They get great longevity and people who care, and it shows."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000,000+
 
Jan. 1997 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

In an ongoing relationship, JStokes Agency provides branding and full-service advertising to support products entering new markets. Their work includes traditional and digital marketing as well as media buying.

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Eric Taylor
Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Bay Alarm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Over the course of a 20-year engagement, sales have expanded to 5 times the original estimate, and customer retention has increased. JStokes Agency provides creative that keeps up with the industry, and the team excels in project management. Moreover, their media purchasing power is second to none.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the senior VP of sales and marketing for Bay Alarm, which is the largest independently owned and operated security company in the United States. We’ve got 1,000 employees spread through 14 branch offices, from San Diego in the south to Redding in the far north of California. We provide physical security, such as burglar and fire alarms, closed-circuit TV, access control, and guard services to businesses and homes throughout California.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with JStokes Agency?

We’ve been partners with Jim [President, JStokes Agency] and his team for 15 years. We're in a dynamic market with a lot of new competitors, changing technology, and changing expectations with our customer base and potential customers. We’ve turned to JStokes for help in defining who we are in the space, what our core strengths are, why people buy from us and defining our benefit to the customer base in very succinct, on-target marketing.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

What I like about Jim and his folks is that they’re not just buying media and putting together pretty picture ads. They’re the full research team, data analysts. They’re not afraid to get analytical to figure out why people are motivated to be partners with Bay Alarm.

We have an ongoing research relationship with JStokes Agency. If we’re entering a new market, we’ll do brand awareness studies to figure out the makeup of that market. Then we’ll tailor our brand message and our media buying based on that research. Some of the research JStokes has done has helped to define us and our services, in a very broad, changing marketplace, through quantitative and qualitative research. After research, the team comes back with strategy briefs showing why people buy from us, how people see us, what people are attracted to, and what they don’t find attractive.

In addition to strategy, JStokes Agency does creative work. They handle our full depth and breadth of media presentation, from very complex media buys, in some of the biggest and most expensive markets in the country, to TV, radio, billboards, print media, and PR.

JStokes Agency also does a good portion of our digital marketing, and they’re always on-point and very pragmatic, which I appreciate. They’re not lost in the clouds of big words and chasing the latest and greatest thing. They make it work.

How did you come to work with JStokes Agency?

We started small with JStokes Agency. They handled some small media purchases and did some script writing. They had a very small portion of our business. After the first three or four years, they proved themselves to earn more and more of our business and our trust. We expanded our marketing budget a little at a time to where we are today. They have earned every step of the way.

How much have you invested with JStokes Agency?

We’ve invested over $10 million throughout the partnership.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working with JStokes Agency in January of 1997, and the work is ongoing. By February of 2003, we had expanded the relationship, and we were fully partnered together.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

They’ve been incredibly successful for us. In the 15 years that they’ve been our primary agency, we’ve grown from 300 people to almost 1,000. We’ve grown from just Northern California, to throughout the entire West and throughout California, saturating all the major markets.

Over the course of our partnership, our sales have expanded five-fold. Our customer retention has increased, and people understand who we are much better.

The creative work helps our company keep up with the changing trends in our industry. It’s defining who we are to our customers, our prospects, and even to our employee base.

How did JStokes Agency perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re great. We continue to stay with JStokes because they have the most professional project management that we’ve been able to find in the San Francisco market. They’re big enough to provide world-class development of media strategy, creative, and media purchasing expertise, but they’re small enough to give us a very capable partner to project manage. They’re a privately-held agency where the owners care greatly about the final product. They treat us like we try to treat our customers.

They’re perfect on deadlines. They meet or exceed all deadlines. We use Google Docs to share information. They are technology-forward people, and I think they have to be in this marketplace.

What did you find most impressive about JStokes Agency?

I think their people is the most impressive thing about JStokes Agency. They’re not transient employees. Jim and Danny Stokes, who run the agency, are in the office every day, working. They care about their employees and their customers, so their employees stick around. They get great longevity and people who care, and it shows. Their media purchasing power is second to none compared to anyone else we’ve come across because they have long-term employees who know what they’re doing. That’s what makes the difference. We’re dealing with Jim, Danny, and their team, not some big agency with a rotating employee of the month type of carousel.

Are there any areas JStokes Agency could improve?

I can’t think of anything. If there were anything JStokes Agency could do better, I’d be going elsewhere to find it. They meet all our needs.

5.0
Overall Score I’m very happy. JStokes Agency has grown with us, and they’ve been a part of all our successes, setbacks, and challenges. They’ve been a partner through all of it, which is all you can ask for.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    JStokes Agency meets their deadlines. They’re professionals.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    If I could find better value for the dollars we spend, I’d probably be using it. JStokes Agency gives me a great return on the investment. I’m very happy.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    JStokes Agency took the time to get to know us, so their deliverables are on-point. When they miss the mark for some reason, the dialog is always collaborative and beneficial. They go back and retune the deliverable to meet our needs.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’m very willing to recommend JStokes Agency, and I do it very often.

Branding and Marketing Strategy for Law Firm

"JStokes has really gotten to know the nuances of our organization, and they’re able to work very well within that structure."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
2012 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

After beginning their engagement with a discovery program, JStokes Agency has provided rebranding efforts and two major advertising campaigns. The work includes collateral, a new website, and digital strategy.

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
Orange County, California
Krista Hosseinzadeh
Director of Business Development, Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The award-winning campaigns have contributed to growing brand recognition in its industry, and users’ time on the website has increased dramatically. JStokes Agency has been willing to experiment with their work to find what works best, and their communication is open, detailed, and clear. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

My company is Knobbe Martens. We’re an intellectual property law firm, and we’ve focused on that practice for over 50 years. We’re headquartered in Irvine, California, and we have eight offices, including one that we’re getting ready to open in New York City. I am the director of business development, and I’ve been with the firm for eight years.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with JStokes Agency?

I wasn’t happy with the marketing and advertising support that I inherited when I joined the firm. I decided that we had outgrown our provider for those services, so we started a year-long search for an advertising and marketing partner. We wanted to do a whole rebranding, a new website, and to start everything we needed to do to set ourselves apart from our competitors.

I think law firms have been behind the 8-ball on marketing because there was always a stigma of being aggressive in marketing your services as an attorney. The whole ambulance chaser mentality was a concern. I think it was very undeveloped when I came onboard, and the firm made a conscious decision to change that.

The previous firm had a lack of capacity. The people there were great for a firm who wanted a regional or local reputation. However, our firm was interested in a national reputation. I felt that our firm had outgrown that small company.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

JStokes came onboard and ran a discovery program, meeting with various focus groups of the lawyers in the firm. They asked how those lawyers felt about the firm and what they envisioned for five-year growth. From that series of interviews and all the due diligence they did, they developed a proposal for rebranding. JStokes presented that to the firm, and the firm was very impressed with the options they provided. One stood out, and we decided to move forward.

The tagline or rebranding effort was ‘IP for a new age,' and that campaign won Advertising Campaign of the Year from the Legal Marketing Association. We were very proud of that as the first major project we worked on.

JStokes has executed two very different advertising campaigns for us. They did the whole rebranding. They completely redid all our collateral. They did a brand-new website from scratch. They have developed various digital strategies for us and all our email templates. They helped us establish our brand guidelines, which we didn’t have previously.

We established processes, procedures, and methodology for everything we do from a marketing standpoint so that we have consistency in the marketplace. We're now a full-fledged, professional marketing organization within our law firm, and that’s very much due to the partnership we’ve had with JStokes.

We’re working with them on some blogging right now. From a content marketing standpoint, we’ve been trying to market our content through social media in a different way. We just did a test, and we were trying some less targeted marketing of our thought leadership content. We were really targeting business and legal websites, some lifestyle sites, and some fitness and health organizations. We’ve been trying that to see how far we can push the envelope with our targeting and make it worthwhile. JStokes has been very involved in the content marketing as well. They’ve been very helpful in the strategy related to that.

The collateral has involved our entire new client packet. We still have physical copies of nice folders with a firm brochure. We also have an interesting collateral piece called IP 101. It’s a fantastic tutorial for people who aren’t familiar with all the facets of intellectual property.

We produced a major video this year on the Patent Trial and Appeals Board process, which is new in the patent world. It’s an educational tool for various companies’ legal departments. JStokes helped us create the video in a very artistic and entertaining way. It’s the first of its kind that I’ve seen, so it will be interesting to track how that gets used.

How did you come to work with JStokes Agency?

We did a year-long search for the right agency. The deciding factor in hiring JStokes was that it just felt right. You can have all your checklists, and make all your comparisons, but it comes down to a gut feeling in the end. Also, I received insight from a respected colleague on comments her clients had made about JStokes, which were very reassuring.

We had several meetings, both in our offices and theirs. We met all the people, and it felt like we would make a good partnership. I wasn’t looking for a vendor relationship; I was looking for a partner. It has to feel right when you’re going to be working very closely, so it was a mix of all those things.

How much have you invested with JStokes Agency?

We’ve invested over $1 million to date.

What is the status of this engagement?

I think we originally spoke with JStokes in March or April of 2012, and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Winning the Advertising Campaign of the Year from the Legal Marketing Association was a huge win in our mind. When we first started, our attorneys said they were frustrated that the people they talked to in various encounters had never heard of us. That didn’t sit well with them, as we’ve been around for 50 years, and we’re highly specialized in intellectual property. They’ve all felt a marked decrease in that since we’ve worked with JStokes. They say that they never have that occur anymore. So, the brand recognition we’ve gotten in the last five years has turned a corner regarding our name being recognizable.

We do some tracking on social media and our website. We had some recent results which showed visitors staying on our site longer than some competitors. They’re getting enthralled with some of the content on there. We’re in the middle of tracking success with our video.

Programmatic was something we did as a test because it’s always a bit risky to get less targeted, see how far you can go, and still get good results. On that one, we were less than what the benchmark expected. We decided that we learned what we wanted from the test, but we didn’t move forward with rollout. I don’t think it’s a failure when you test something and it doesn’t work. You take away that knowledge and move on. Now we know where our limits are on that.

How did JStokes Agency perform from a project management standpoint?

JStokes is terrific. We have a production call every Monday. They keep track of all of the open projects. Our teams meet and go down the list of projects. We talk about deadlines, answer questions, and make sure we’re on the same page. They’re great to work with in terms of setting expectations with the attorneys. We talk in realistic timeframes.

The communication lines are very open, from the top down through all levels of the organization. We email each other’s teams, not just individuals, so we know any urgent requests will be satisfied. Dan Stokes [EVP, JStokes Agency] is very involved. I can call him day or night, and I know he’ll be available. They’ve been very involved in coming to the table and leading presentations with our business development committee. They’re focused on involvement and communication.

What did you find most impressive about JStokes Agency?

Law firms are very complex organizations with many stakeholders. JStokes has really gotten to know the nuances of our organization, and they’re able to work very well within that structure. That sets them apart from other experiences I’ve had.

Are there any areas JStokes Agency could improve?

Their industry tends to have more turnover than a marketing department of a law firm, but JStokes' team has done well with knowledge transfer as people leave. I don’t think it’s a criticism of them; it’s more of an industry situation that creates challenges.

5.0
Overall Score I’ve worked with many different marketing agencies over almost 40 years. Our partnership with JStokes Agency is one of the best of my career. I couldn’t think more highly of them.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    JStokes Agency worked after hours and on weekends. They’ll do whatever it takes to make sure we get what we need.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Advertising firms are expensive, but we receive huge value for what we’ve invested. The quality processes JStokes Agency has in place to ensure something can be executed perfectly, take a lot of time.
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    When JStokes Agency presents concepts to us, they’re right on point most of the time. Now and then, probably due to turnover, we might get concepts that are very divergent from what our attorneys would accept.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer