Dan Evans, left, and Bill Hunt, Evans Hunt managing partners at the company’s office in the Beltline.
Photo credit: Wil Andruschak © Postmedia Network Inc.
Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Network Inc.
Marketing is often the first line item cut from a budget amid tough times.
Unsurprisingly then, Calgary digital marketing agency Evans Hunt recognized it potentially faced an existential crisis when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March.
“In those first two weeks, we were down about 40 per cent,” says Bill Hunt, managing partner with Dan Evans at the Calgary marketing firm of nearly 100 employees, located in the city’s Beltline district.
Many Evans Hunt clients — global firms — were involved in the tourism and other service industries, which have been deeply challenged by the pandemic.
Yet, amid the chaos came opportunity for Evans Hunt, which specializes in digital transformation, brand development, experience design, website development and other marketing services.
“We went from mid-March where we were saying, ‘Let’s have a shot of whisky and have a toast to a great run of 11 years,’ to today, where we have come out the other side stronger,” says Hunt.
That’s not surprising, since thriving in difficult times is in Evans Hunt’s DNA. After all, the company launched in the fall of 2008, the very week investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed, sparking a global financial crisis.
What seemed like the worst timing possible proved to be the opposite. That’s because the world was also in the midst of the digital revolution, and Evans Hunt was offering the right services at the right time.
The pandemic has made that expertise even more vital.
“A lot of companies might have been on the edge of decisions such as jumping into e-commerce before COVID-19,” he says.
Now they’re all in, “and those that were already there have realized the competitive advantages.”
While helping international clients navigate the current choppy waters is rewarding, Evans Hunt’s roots run deep in Calgary.
That hometown focus includes helping the city’s non-profits and charities by providing pro bono marketing services. It also means hiring, training and developing homegrown talent.
“We started Evans Hunt after working for a major marketing company with international clients, and part of our goal was bringing our experience home,” Hunt says.
It’s been a winning formula, translating into organic, sustainable growth. And while the future is always uncertain, it also presents the opportunity to mine silver linings from ominous clouds.
“We’ve never been just about growth for growth’s sake,” Hunt adds. “More important is that we are a great place to work, offering deeply valued services to our clients and our community.”
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.