We’re amazed and humbled to win AdAge’s Small Agency of The Year, Northwest award. But if I’m being completely honest, we set this as one of our goals from day one. We knew it would take hard work, a talented team and great clients to win. We also expected it to take longer.
When we launched Duft Watterson in January 2018, our goal was to build something unique—a privately owned agency with national scope, right here in downtown Boise, one of the fastest-growing cities in America. Boise is an amazing place to live. But it isn’t Madison Avenue or Wilshire Boulevard. If we were to succeed, we would need to offer clients something many large-market agencies don’t: inspired thinking, genuine collaboration and agility.
To be clear, there are a lot of great agencies across the U.S. But many of them have a hard time delivering inspired ideas at the speed of modern consumers and marketing. We thought about why that is the case. Are they just not built for it? Do they have too many layers and fiduciary requirements? In many cases, yes and yes.
That was our opening.
So what makes us different, and how has that impacted clients?
Boise has a lifestyle all its own. It’s open and collaborative. It also has a “can-do,” hardworking ethos combined with creativity that permeates every pocket of our city. It drives a lot of our agency culture. At Duft Watterson, egos are checked at the door. But a passion for doing great work is pushed every day.
The other thing that drives our agency culture is our mantra, “Make them heroes.” By “them,” we mean our clients, of course. We don’t forget that if they’re celebrated for doing great work, it means we’re doing great work with them. It’s a win-win. This allows us to be creatively driven, while also honoring operational guideposts that can bend to support changing client needs and market realities. I won’t give away the secret sauce, but some of it includes providing our clients direct access to any decision-maker in our agency—at any time—our “can-do” work ethic and our genuine love of creativity.
Of course, this only happens if you have super talented and passionate people on your team, as well as clients who want genuine collaboration and great work. For the latter, this means we work with clients who genuinely want to work with us, and who want to leverage smart marketing to have a positive impact on society. It’s that simple. It’s that complicated.
What an AdAge Award win means for Boise.
So, here we are, nearly three years in. Clients now come to Boise from across the U.S. for our scrappy, boots-on-the-ground work ethic and passion for ideas you expect from a privately owned advertising agency…but with the acumen, tools and cultural awareness of a national agency.
Winning in the category of Small Agency of The Year, Northwest highlights how Boise businesses and people are being deservedly recognized on a national stage. While Boise is no stranger to ranking high on numerous nationally circulated lists for its lifestyle and cost of living, this recent AdAge award is different. The win solidifies Boise as a top destination for the creative, marketing and tech industries and job-seekers alike. In addition, it offers business and marketing leaders across the country additional proof that world-class advertising can be found outside of the traditional advertising markets like New York and Los Angeles.
Today, Duft Watterson is a full-service boutique agency uniquely positioned in Boise, Idaho, with an office in San Francisco, and national clients from coast to coast. We’re a member of 1% For The Planet. We’re #11 on Outside Magazine’s Best Place to Work 2019 list. And we’re the very thrilled recipient of this year’s AdAge Small Agency of the Year Northwest Silver Award.