Reflections on Year One

August 13, 2013 John Simpson

 An Open Letter to Our Biggest Supporters

In August of 2012, we announced to our clients and the market the creation of One North Interactive, a new agency focused on the unique and complex needs of relationship-based businesses. Today, as we reflect on our first year in business, we want to start by extending a heartfelt thank you to our clients and supporters for giving One North the chance to do what we love to do. The sincere encouragement we've received from all of you reminds us what is so special about our industry. What follows is a brief overview of the strides One North has made this year. We’re confident that we are better positioned to serve you than ever before, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to continue doing so.

From its storied Hubbard One roots, One North was envisioned as an interactive agency that would enable professional services organizations to harness the power of the digital experience. We set out with 65 talented employees, a client list containing some of the biggest brands in professional services and plenty of passion and energy. Our mission: become the partner that firms rely on to combine strategy, creative and technology, and produce extraordinary interactive experiences.

From a service perspective, we’ve worked hard to build a client-centered agency. Every One North client now benefits from having a dedicated account team, including all planning and technical resources they need to build, manage and grow their digital presence, all led by a veteran Senior Account Director. Our entire staff has been trained in client service principles, developed and taught by one of our law firm clients. My One North colleagues have enjoyed the deeper relationships they now have with our clients as a result of this client–centered posture. Even our business processes, including contracting and invoicing, have been re-engineered to make it just plain easier to work with One North. We invite and encourage our clients to keep providing us with feedback. To this end, we will be introducing a bi-annual NetPromoter survey. You will receive your first survey in September. We very much look forward to hearing your candid feedback.

Deploying our expertise in ways that provide the most value for our clients continues to be a key theme at One North. We started the year launching our Latitude 41 blog, featuring strategy, creative and technology commentary and best practices from talent across One North. Our inaugural client event, The Experience Lab, attracted over 50 legal marketers and technologists from more than 30 law firms to Chicago, where we imagined creating a digital experience for the future. Our monthly webinar series has brought tactical advice on everything from Content Marketing to SEO and personalization approaches. We've also experimented with a variety of social media channels, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare, and Pinterest, as we continue to find new, interesting and effective ways to communicate with clients. Most importantly, we have invested in the expertise of the people that guide our clients. We've welcomed seasoned front-end developers, art directors and account management personnel to our team. We have also worked with leading universities, such as Northwestern and the University of Illinois, to hire the best and brightest candidates from leading computer science programs. And we've broadened the experience of One Northerners through significant attendance at the SXSW Interactive conference, Sitecore User Conference and key industry events like LMA and ILTA. Interactive marketing is changing rapidly, and One North is invested heavily in bringing our clients expertise at the forefront of the market.

At the backbone of the digital experience is technology. As an independent agency, One North’s aim is to bring the best technology to bear for our clients’ needs. From a software perspective, we have continued to make client-focused updates and releases to the Web Center software. In addition, we continue to partner with Thomson Reuters to ensure integration with other Business Development Suite modules. Client interest in additional technology options led us to form partnerships with Sitecore, for its Customer Engagement Platform, and Microsoft, for its Azure cloud-based hosting environment. When appropriate for our clients, One North now provides numerous open-source options, including WordPress. From a technical skillset perspective, One North has continued to push the envelope, deploying the first legal responsive design website in the Am Law 200, leveraging Microsoft Isotope for next generation information display and building mobile apps for several clients.

The One North team has enjoyed collaborating with our clients to create interactive marketing programs that set and exceed web industry standards. It gives us great pleasure to know that our clients have been recognized for their marketing and communications excellence by the likes of the Awwwards Website Awards, the International Academy of the Visual Arts' 19th Annual Communicator Awards and the Web Marketing Associations' Internet Advertising Competition. We look forward to partnering with our clients to create more outstanding work this year, and for years to come.

When we started working in the professional services marketing industry back in 2000, firms were still deploying their first generation websites, “branding” was the new buzz word and business was still primarily generated by “who you know.” Fast forward to today, and the landscape has changed dramatically. Websites are not simply another form of collateral. Brands are built less by what a firm says about itself and more by how its services are experienced. Rainmakers are starting to realize that digital communications and social media can greatly increase not only “who you know” but also “what they know about you.” One North is evolving its services to help our clients represent their brands across digital mediums. Over the past year, we've designed brand experience strategies, including visual identity, message and campaign development, SEO, and social media.

As we conclude our first year in business, all of One North wishes to thank our clients. Thank you for entrusting us with your business. Thank you for providing feedback on how we may better serve you. And thank you for being collaborative and enabling us to create great things with you.

Warm regards,
John-Simpson-Sig         Jeff-Hirner-Sig


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John Simpson Chief Executive Officer

John Simpson is one of One North’s founders and serves as the Chief Executive Officer. For more than 20 years, John has been helping professional services marketers engage with their clients and grow their organizations through brand-based digital marketing experiences. He is a frequent author and speaker as it relates to relationship development, digital strategy and marketing innovation.

  • Favorite season: Summer. Summer makes everyone feel like a kid again.
  • Super power: Positivity. A psychology professor once told me that humans are predisposed to be positive. His logic was that the cave man faced so many challenges – sabre tooth tigers, starvation, cold weather, disease – that they had to be positive just to survive until the next day. I can’t say whether or not this theory has scientific merit, but it’s good enough for me!

One North Interactive 
222 North LaSalle St, #1500
Chicago, IL 60601

+1 312.469.1740