Welcome to Q&Agency! Each week, I talk to agencies small and large and get to hear (in their words) what differentiates them and the experiences they create. To help bring some of that information to you, I'm showcasing an ongoing series of interviews with small to midsize interactive and design agencies. If you'd like to see your agency or an agency you work with here, let me know!
On November 1st, I talked with Laura Porto Stockwell, the VP of experience strategy at POP. Edited excerps from that conversation follow.
Forrester: Tell me a little bit about POP.
Laura: POP was founded in 1996 by our President, Bill Predmore. So, we’ll turn 15 this summer. Over the past 14 years, we’ve grown to more than 150 people, primarily in Seattle and an office in New York that services clients on the East Coast. We create innovative experiences for the Web, mobile devices, and digital platforms. Our clients include Target, Microsoft, EA, and Epson. Our primary services are experience strategy, design, Web development, mobile application development, and social media.
Forrester: What is your elevator pitch?
Laura: Informed ideas and flawless execution; that speaks to our two key strengths. We’re strategic thinkers, and we’re able to get things out the door. We pride ourselves on that.
Forrester: What are the three key things that differentiate POP from your competitors?
Laura: The first is that we’re equally good at helping a client come up with a strategy as we are at helping them execute on that strategy. We’re very good at shaping big ideas but never lose sight of the need to deliver the work on time and on budget. The second is that we’re not afraid to try new things. We stay on the cutting edge by making investments in new technologies and platforms outside of the account or project life cycle. And finally, we’re fiercely independent. We’re not owned by a holding company and have no outside investors, so we’re able to focus on the work we want to do and to make smart long-term investments.
Forrester: Why is your agency well suited to deliver a great customer experience for your clients (and their customers)?
Laura: We’re really big on collaboration, both external and internal. At POP, it’s more about what we do together with our clients than what any one individual does. For example, we won a “Best of the Bullseye” award from Target in recognition of our hyper-collaborative approach to that account. That’s the kind of thing we’re really proud of because we want our clients to see the value in our approach. We focus on understanding business problems and consumer problems so together we can find the best path to solving these challenges. Internally we are structured to foster collaboration. We believe exceptional work means integrating different types of interdisciplinary talent: strategy, design, developers. We never have just one type of person in the room.
Forrester: What’s it like to work at POP?
Laura: It’s really exciting and motivating. I’m inspired everyday watching my coworkers and what they’re capable of doing. The culture is constantly innovating, pushing forward — it’s truly cutting edge. POP has an innovative spirit with a desire to do what’s best for our clients. Our scrappy nature makes us optimists: Nothing can’t be done. At the same time, we’re also very respectful of each other — we work together because we love to and make sure every voice is heard. Even in times when there’s a deadline to meet, it’s still an enjoyable environment — you don’t get that everywhere.