Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
When the new branding work was done, we parted ways with the firm who did the branding work. I was involved, but I wasn’t the lead on that project. I’m not sure what happened, but that company left. That work that was done was okay. We didn’t have a full array of logos and brand colors weren’t documented. My boss liked to use a lot of her own people, and we had a situation where we created banners for an event. When all the materials came in, I felt it was of an inferior quality. The banners were ripped, and colors from a table cloth bled. There were just all sorts of issues.
I turned it all over to the Sutter Group who identified how the colors weren’t right. We reordered all the banners, table cloths, and branding material. They were great in cleaning everything up, developing the style guide, and identifying everything. I was continued to work with them, but it was instances like that which convinced my boss that we should keep Sutter Group. She was somebody who came in, changed everything, and liked to use her own agencies. The fact that they could turn things around, deliver things on time, and at a very reasonable rate convinced her that they were definitely a partner to keep.
How did Sutter Group perform from a project management standpoint?
I had dedicated resources. They don’t have account directors or anything like that. I don’t know if that’s something you require. You’re really interfacing with John Sutter [COO, Sutter Group]. As far as estimates and timelines, they were really on top of them more than I was at sometimes. They’d contact me and let me know there was an event coming up on this day, asking if I had all the collateral I needed. I eventually turned over all my fulfillment to them too. I did 55 events last year, and it was getting ridiculous that I had to pack boxes, so I turned everything over to them.
I can’t speak highly enough about Mary Ann, the office manager. I would recommend her to anybody for any position. She is just phenomenal and on top of things. She contacted me, calling about upcoming events, and if I was all set for it as far as what I’m going to send and deadlines.
There were times in our company where they didn’t take the deadlines as seriously, but when you’re dealing with an event, the event is coming whether you like it or not, and it’s going to happen on that date. They were just great about staying on top of that and making sure that we were looking for the least expensive way of transporting things by not having to pay rush charges, and I appreciated that.
What did you find most impressive about Sutter Group?
I would say their turnaround is a great aspect. I worked for a company that was incredibly fast paced and understaffed. It might be the way all companies are today. We needed stuff turned around in an instant, and they went above and beyond to do those things. To give you an example, we had an event in January and had acquired a company. My boss decided she wanted to add their product set to our banners. The show was starting that weekend. I brought it to them on Wednesday, and they redid, printed, shipped, and delivered those banners to Hawaii on Saturday. One box didn’t show, and they stayed on that box, getting it delivered by Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning. That’s the part I’m most impressed by.
Are there any areas Sutter Group could improve?
The Sutter Group has adhered to our brand standards. For example, we have a president’s club every year, and we wanted a poster made and sent to all the offices. I wanted it to break the brand standard. Sometimes they struggled a little bit with moving away from the brand. I couldn’t fault them for that, but I had to push them to create something from a clean slate. The logo had to be there, of course, but the brand colors didn’t have to be reflected in the lettering.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Sutter Group?
I’m not sure how big your project for Sutter Group is, but be aware that they are a small shop, which allows them to give personalized and intimate services. But then again, if you have a really big project, just make sure that they have the staff lined up for it. John has lots of resources. Like any agency does, there are lots of people you can bring in on a freelance basis. That would be my only thing.