Posted by Marc Williams

2015: Year of the Puma.

What an amazing year it has been over here at Williams Helde. Our world moved at the pace of a puma and has no signs of slowing down. With all the challenges facing a marketing agency today we have successfully continued our 46th year of making a positive impact on the world. Thank you to everybody’s moms, our loyal clients, our trusty vendors, the media, and all the friends and family that are rooting for us. We could not do it without you. And, to everyone that has ever taken a chance on us by either working here, recommending, or hiring us… a big fist bump to you, too.

The Draft. This year took us to fresh places with new faces in leadership. Joining our team this year and rounding out perhaps the best team in the business, was Phil Chin, Director of Partnerships and Marketing. Phil ensures success for our emerging and new business clients. We added two Creative Directors: digital master Sue Boivin, from T-Mobile, and copy/strategy pro Craig Motlong (check out his ‘Next MacGyver’ television pilot). These three join Becky Busby, former client turned client advocate, and John Young, winemaker, recording artist (check out one of his songs) and head of technology on the leadership team. Needless to say we have a lot of energy moving into 2016 and some lofty goals for our clients’ success. With our Draft and preseason training fully complete, we look forward to working our way to the playoffs one game at a time.

Midseason: Finding our stride. Besides having a world-class team in place, the one thing I am most proud of is our self promotional work around the Active Explorer audience. This year we produced a 48-page printed field guide to the active explorer. (Click here if you dont have a copy yet.) Along with this field guide we also reset our stake in the ground in terms of advocacy, education and inspiration for active healthy lifestyles. We even added a core value: BE ACTIVE. This work has become an internal bonding force as well as a mission for our team and how we approach our clients’ solutions. I never would have guessed what a motivator this would be. Look for us hitting the streets, trails and fields with even more on the active healthy messaging in the coming year.

The wins: we have made a difference in the world. We’ve inspired better oral health for millions of people worldwide with Philips Sonicare, not to mention the crowds of white confident healthy smiles beaming out there with Philips Zoom teeth whitening. We helped thousands of people live active healthy lifestyles and shed extra weight with Nautilus and Bowflex. And I’m not sure if we can claim lives saved, but our safety campaign (Ready. Safe. Go.) for Alaska Airlines makes us feel good to know we are helping with the most important thing an airline can do. We got our tech on and launched a site for startup VRstudios that has amazing business-centered tech applications that will take VR beyond the gamers IRL (in real life). And we are making lives easier across North America for PayByPhone with a campaign launching in February.

We are always learning, and here’s a few insights from the year.

  • Everybody’s thinking about consumer journeys but nobody is addressing the non-linear, non-sequential behaviors of buyers.
  • We’ve found out we prefer to work on solving business problems, not the business problems of winning the business.
  • Working with other agencies, and even holding companies can actually yield some really good work for clients, and it is nice to see the trend of AOC (Agency of Collaboration) growing.
  • Technology continues to bring fresh ideas to the table, especially in VR.
  • Brick and mortar retail, hotels and dealerships need help. The independent owners need fresh ways to promote your brands and add value for themselves. Stay tuned for some exciting innovation here from us.
  • There is serious passion around the active explorer mindset, so much that it’s hard to tame and focus at times. Everybody wants to participate in the revolution. It’s that aspiration and passion that drives us forward, and it gets us out of our desks at 3pm everyday for Movers and Shakers, which can range from a simple plank exercise to a run around the block.


As the schedule for 2016 is still being written, I’m excited to see where we get to play next and hopefully the streak of the puma carries on.

Marc Williams
About the Author

Marc Williams

Amongst many other things in life Marc is an avid skier and sailor. As a former ski racer he likes to go fast and make big turns on hard snow. He is also the captain of Greystar, and one of the authors of his family's Northwest cruising adventures at When not on the water or in the mountains Marc owns and operates Hayter Communications and Williams Helde Marketing Communications. As a second generation owner, Marc has maintained the focus of the firm on Active, Healthy Lifestyles. Marc graduated from Western Washington University with degrees in Design and Illustration. He lives in Seattle, with two well above average kids, an amazing wife and two brother Whippets.