At The Agency Post, we’ve been looking for the top 10 best agencies for startups — those agencies agile enough to work with new brands on accelerated timelines with minimal budgets and maximum innovative thinking. These agencies aren’t afraid of hard work; they live for long hours and risky new strategies. Most of all, they have an entrepreneurial spirit and an eagerness to take an unknown brand and make it a household name.
Engaging Audiences with Intelligent Social Listening
Diffusion is an award-winning integrated communications agency with offices in London and New York. Specializing in digital techniques like social media monitoring, community management, content seeding and influencer relations — along with more traditional PR disciplines — Diffusion excels at working with big names like EBay, Lionsgate and L’Oreal as well as challenger brands in the consumer, media and technology space.
“Our philosophy and approach is different than typical PR firms and aligns well with what many startups are looking for: we are an accountable, results-first firm that quite literally does not charge for anything we do not deliver. We are a startup ourselves, and our new, four-person-strong shop in New York City is a testament to our entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to take risks if we think we can offer the market something new and different.” — Dan Tudesco
Solving Brand Problems with Digital Media
Digital Surgeons is a group of self-diagnosed new media junkies based in New Haven, Conn. This agency can handle your web, mobile, e-commerce and app development heavy-lifting, UX and interactive design and your nuts-and-bolts tasks of digital media buying and web analytics. Clients they’ve helped launch digitally include Crossfit, Fresh Nation and Epic Games’ Gears of War.
Building Brands for Positive Change
dw+h uses a combination of accountability and creative to power brands that promote positive changes in consumer behavior to better the world. Located in Santa Monica, Calif., the client roster includes eHarmony, Hotwire and LegalZoom.
“We believe that business is the most powerful force for positive change. At dw+h, we help startups refine their brand purpose and grow. Our ROI and brand methodology marries creative and robust strategic analysis to ensure every dollar invested is maximized. Our clients were startups since our inception.”
Market Testing Experts
Known for their signature Market Sprint — a rapid-fire, metrics-driven market outreach activity used to answer a specific business question — Explorics is a cost-effective solution for lean companies to bring new products to the market. Services include consumer surveying, market validation and rapid prototyping. They are located in Framingham, Mass.
“As someone who's been a passionate entrepreneur for my whole career, I found an opportunity to apply some of the most exciting things I learned in my experiences on a broader scale…while being an entrepreneur at the same time.” — Brian Gladstein
Disrupting the Status Quo with PR 2.0
Geben’s focus is on implementing the most effective digital PR techniques, including content creation, community building, blogger outreach and crisis management to help their clients excel in today’s social world. Geben helped launch Zaarly, one of Business Insider’s hottest startups of 2011, by using a mix of digital and traditional PR strategies.
Brand Launch Specialists
Located in Madison, Wis., Lindsay, Stone & Briggs is an award-winning agency that specializes in launching and revitalizing brands. They’ve helped launch new products like Seasoned Skewers, premium fresh-cut fruit for Chiquita and Sunrise Growers’ new line of smoothies. Lindsay, Stone & Briggs has also served clients like Kraft, Pepsi, GE, Jockey, Pfizer and Organic Valley.
The Media Experts
Media Kitchen is an agency spin-off with its own brand of media planning and buying. They launched the New York Yankees' fragrance and “Someday” fragrance by Justin Beiber, developed a viral video to accompany Arby’s new product launch and created content and a social strategy for Armani. With offices in New York and Atlanta, Media Kitchen has their very own “Test Kitchen” built by Popular Science. There, they try out all the latest media consumption gizmos, which are updated every four months.
The Startups’ Startup
Launced in 2011, NYC-based Moxie Communications Group is a startup in its own right. A full-service PR consultancy focused on consumer technology brands and B2B, they’ve helped launch startups like DogVacay, Bright.com, Eventup and Dollar Shave Club.
Startup Marketers with Big-Brand Clout
Supercool Creative applies big-brand standards with the added flexibility and agility needed to work with startups. It’s no surprise that this LA-based agency has an entertainment-first philosophy when it comes to digital strategy. Although their client roster includes big brands like Dickies, Pizza Hut and T-Mobile, they love working with startups to fill their appetite for innovation.
“Startups are more willing to take chances and try new marketing approaches. We find ourselves using many of the same marketing tactics we use when working with large brands, but without the existing awareness, fan bases and budgets. So we're challenged to always be thinking of new ways to reach audiences and create new consumers. We love that!” — David Murdico
Brand Message Architects
With offices in San Francisco, Orlando and New York, PAN Communications has stayed true to its startup roots to build an audience for their clients using PR techniques, as well as branding and messaging. PAN Communications caters to startups by offering flexibility with billable hours — “borrowing” and “rolling over” hours and offering a 30-day cancellation policy in all agreements. Startups that have succeeded with PAN Communications include Life360, a family safety app, and Flingo, a Smart TV applications publishing company.