Agency Profile – Slingshot
Published on December 3, 2018, at 4:45 p.m.
by Ali Carden.
On one Thursday morning each week, Slingshot’s employees can be found having breakfast together and staying up to date by listening to company and industry leaders.
In 1995, this Dallas-based advertising agency began its journey of producing excellent creative work while being “fiercely independent,” according to Slingshot’s website. “Google was still just a sketch on a cocktail napkin. Social media was years from its start. We cut our teeth at a time when technology was transforming the world of marketing around us.”
The timing of the company’s start allowed Slingshot to become an industry leader and win the race for many firsts, such as dynamically updatable online ads in 1996,
a media awareness guarantee in 2001, and consumer planning methodology using social media information and internet testing in 2006.
Twenty-three years later, Slingshot has established relationships with an impressive collection of companies and clients, such as UT Southwestern Medical Center, White Cloud and Dallas Museum of Art. Also, Slingshot was named #16 in Ad Age magazine’s Best Places to Work in 2010, and again named #12 in Ad Age magazine’s Best Places to Work in 2011. These accolades show just how successful Slingshot is both internally and externally.
Kristin Schulz, an account coordinator for Slingshot, is responsible for communications between the client and all Slingshot departments involved in different projects. Schulz said, “I like my job because I get to interact with so many different people in the agency from every single team.”
Schulz also explained that Slingshot’s 40-person company is relaxed and open across all of its teams. “Departments are intertwined, and everyone hangs out together,” Schulz said.
The positive environment encourages agency employees to produce great work, and reap many benefits as well — beer cart Thursdays, 2 p.m. Fridays during the summer and “Shottie” Awards given to recognize great leadership within the company.
Account Executive Genevieve Edgell says that Slingshot’s quarterly award ceremonies and big ceremony at the end of the year, is very encouraging. “Anonymous nominators submit quotes that go up on the big screen for everyone to see when someone wins an award. It is very encouraging to see the support of your co-workers as well as a nice medal to show off on your desk!” she explained.
Edgell and Schulz both agree that the company culture truly does make Slingshot a great place to work, especially with great leadership. “There are young leaders in the senior-level manager positions. However, they expect us all to be leaders even though we have great relationships with them,” Schulz said. Owen Hannay is the CEO of Slingshot and has been known to have great relationships with the team, to bring in a cook for family-style lunch once a month and has possibly been the victim of a nerf gun fight, according to Schulz.
Something that encourages Edgell is the presence of women leaders in positions such as VP, media & communication planning, or senior-level managers.
As CEO, Hannay created a “family tree” of partnerships within the company. Edgell described the the other Slingshot owned companies. “They are great so that our clients don’t have to go elsewhere to get certain jobs done, such as video production or content creation, and work as an added bonus when they come to Slingshot for different projects,” Edgell said. There are five additional companies owned by Slingshot that have various specialties.
Slingshot’s website shares that [link 2] “Insite has served as a strategic partner in developing custom websites, digital marketing solutions, touchscreen applications, and mobile-based applications for companies nationwide.” Varnish specializes in videography and any other visual aid that clients need through its in-house production studio. Swimming Duck specializes in retail and non-retail clients and addressing their needs in an efficient and quick manner. “Circa 46 delivers the senior market with leading-edge digital and traditional advertising.” The Slingshot Content Studio “provides clients with content strategy, social media, reputation and community management, and promotional services in a small-shop agency atmosphere with personalized service and support.”
Getting into the mind of the consumer or audience can be one of the most challenging, but vital parts to a successful public relations or advertising campaign. At Slingshot, new ideas for how to capture the attention of the consumer are explored every day.
Although advertising and public relations do have their differences, the similarities, such as promoting a brand, are very important for both advertising and PR professionals to understand. “Advertising does cushion the PR for a company. The messaging has to all be the same. If it isn’t, then you run into consistency issues,” Schulz said.
Edgell shares that fortunately this has never been an issue in her time at Slingshot. Through her work and experiences with different projects, she has been able to see through the blurred lines and distinguish one from the other.
“When sharing clients with a PR partner, we have to be sure that the messaging and brand voice are the same across the board,” Edgell explained. “We were responsible for our own content and so was the PR team for a certain client, and by working together to ensure consistency, we were able to have a very successful campaign.”
Slingshot gives the opportunity to students to be able to learn about agency culture through internships. Interns are given their own client project and are able to see a creative campaign and/or strategic project from start to finish with mentorship guidance. The pro-bono work includes managing client communication and presenting all of their hard work at the end of their internship to both clients and the Slingshot agency. Past internship clients include Dallas Arboretum, SPCA, and Parks for Downtown Dallas. This structured approach to internships allows for students to take control of their experience through the opportunity to hold more responsibility.
“The culture here at Slingshot is a huge draw for interns and employees in general,” said Edgell. With a wonderful company culture from top to bottom, and benefits in between, it is clear that Slingshot is truly “fiercely independent” and being successful while doing it.