To celebrate our members and their accomplishments, we have started a Member Spotlight blog series.
This month, Partnership Member 19 IDEAS, Inc. shares information about digital marketing, starting your own business and the value of participating in our Executive Exchange program.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Katie Krawczyk, Partner and Communications Director of 19 IDEAS, to learn more about why they’re proud to be a Partnership member.
Q: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Katie. As a marketer myself, I was eager to learn more about the history of your company and how you got started here in Buffalo.
A: My background is primarily in government. I worked at Empire State Development as Director of Communications previously and eventually decided to launch my own business in May 2011.
About a year after I started 19 IDEAS, I hired my first employee. It was the two of us for awhile, and in January 2014, we hired Amber Rampino as our Creative Director to lead our design team. At the same time, Dan Gigante became my partner and 19 IDEAS’ Digital Director, leading up our web and mobile app development team. I lead up our Marketing and Communications team, which includes public relations.
Q: That’s great. What is your mission statement?
A: We have more of an internal mantra: “work with purpose.”
Q: I love that.
A: We’re a full-service marketing communications agency specializing in graphic design, web and app development, and public relations. The “work with purpose” mantra points to caring, on a personal level, about the work that we do.
We care about this community and love to take on work that helps those in the community in some capacity, whether it’s working with area nonprofits or companies that are trying to make a difference in how they service their clients and/or audiences.
We feel passionately about Buffalo because it’s our home, but we also recognize the strength of building communities period – whether that is here or elsewhere. Everything we do is really to help people serve their communities and clients in the best way possible.
We are small but growing. We started 2014 with four people and ended the year with eight, and now we’re at twelve. The end of this year, we are on par to have sixteen team members.
A: Thank you. I think people resonate with our model. We focus on the strategic side of marketing and helping our clients execute strategic marketing and communications plans.
We really look at marketing from a holistic perspective. We look at everything a client is doing from a marketing and communications perspective, be it design, development, media relations, advertising, or digital marketing.
We want to help them implement a marketing and communications strategy that not only fits their needs, but helps grow their bottom line and reach their intended audiences.
Q: That’s great. I know that you recently joined as a Partnership member a few months ago. What inspired you to get involved?
A: The Executive Exchange program inspired me. I adore Michael Cardus; I am a big fan of his. He is truly the best practitioner around in terms of organizational development and really helps business owners think through problems with workforce, growth, management, processes, etc.
The program itself intrigued me, and knowing Mike was leading it… I was completely sold. It was a one-two punch that I couldn’t say no to.
I think the icing on the cake for joining was the idea that it was sort of like group therapy for business owners. Not only is it facilitated by an expert in this field, but it is the idea that I can confidentially kick around some ideas with other business owners and get their feedback on what I’m doing with my company and where we’re headed. That kind of feedback from your peers and folks that have a different perspective from yourself is invaluable.
Additionally, knowing that I can lend my own perspective to potentially help a peer who is going through some challenges. The two-way conversation was really appealing.
Q: I’m so glad to hear that. I’m sure it is incredibly insightful to be able to brainstorm solutions to problems with people who have similar experiences. Speaking of solutions, what types of solutions do you think the Partnership might be able to provide to 19 IDEAS? Are you currently facing any challenges?
A: Workforce development is a hot issue for a lot of employers. We might not have the same challenges that a manufacturing company has, but we still have challenges of filling our positions with the right kind of talent that our clients need and for the type of work we want to be doing.
To me, this boils down to finding the talent that fits with your company. Also, being surrounded by my peers and other managers in business is so valuable.
Q: I couldn’t agree more. The networking opportunities are tremendously valuable. Have you had any recent accomplishments that you’d like the community to be aware of? For example, you mentioned the growth you’ve experienced in this past year.
A: The growth is definitely exhilarating. It’s scary and exhilarating, and not a day goes by when I don’t feel the pressure of owning my own business. Every day I think about the twelve families that I am responsible for, but at the same time, we have such an incredibly talented team that I am inspired by them and the work we do daily.
We have purpose behind the work we are doing and that gives us a cause. At the end of the day, I know that we’re doing this for the greater purpose of the businesses and organizations that make up this community.
I am also excited about the type of work we’re doing. We have a really great digital team and are doing phenomenal stuff in terms of digital marketing. We have a handful of app ideas that we are excited to build and bring to market.
Q: That’s so exciting!
A: It really is. I also was recently recognized as the April 2015 Woman in Leadership Honoree by the NYS Women Inc, Buffalo Niagara Chapter, and we also received an award from PRSA’s Buffalo Chapter for our media relations work for 43North.
In 2014, we had over 380 pieces in earned media that we received with just a two-person team. We had tremendous national and international media coverage for 43North which helped put a spotlight on Buffalo’s startup community.
We are so excited to be able to work with area entrepreneurs who are brimming with ideas and energy – it’s contagious.
A: We’ve got a lot of terrific projects underway, a few re-branding projects and digital projects that are exciting. But we’ve also got some very exciting PR accounts that we’re working on with national reporters. It’s all great stuff that I’m really proud of.
Q: As I’m sure you’re aware, our members benefit from the ability to work together in various capacities such as collaboration or procurement. Do you have any opportunities to do business with fellow Partnership members?
A: Yes, absolutely. 19 IDEAS has the capacity and capability to help any organization expand their marketing efforts – specifically in the digital and public relations fields.
We have a PR team comprised of people with national media experience, so we are really able to provide a full range of marketing opportunities to our clients. We provide robust digital marketing strategies to our clients that often go hand-in-hand with a strategic PR plan.
Ultimately, we feel passionate about providing creative, holistic solutions for our clients that take into account all aspects of marketing and communications not just one thing over another.
Q: Are there any other current opportunities for employment or involvement with your firm?
A: Yes! We are hiring for a UX (User Experience) Designer and a Front-End Developer and a Full-Stack Developer and also another PR Specialist with specific experience in earning national media.
We are also happy to bring on for-credit interns with graphic design, development, PR or general marketing communications experience.
Q: That’s great! It seems like there’s a lot to come for 19 Ideas and I can’t wait to continue to see the work you create. What’s the one thing you’d say you’re most looking forward to benefiting from as a member of the Partnership this year?
A: It really is the learning and networking opportunities. I really look forward to continuing my involvement with Executive Exchange, meeting others who care about the community and hearing what they’re doing to make the area a better place to work and live.
Interested in being a part of our Member Spotlight blog series? Contact our Digital Marketing Manager, Julia Jornsay-Silverberg.