What we do at Traction

Depending whom you ask, Traction is seen as a creative agency, an interactive agency, an ad agency, a design agency, a social media agency or some combination of the above. The common thread is that we design brand experiences across channels of communication. We believe everything is interactive.

In pitches, we illustrate that the marketing funnel (awareness, consideration, intent, action) no longer exists in a connected world. What’s more, consumers are now empowered to consume media on their own terms—meaning brands must provide relevance and value more than ever before. We have a flexible process framework for developing communications in this environment.

Every assignment has five phases: Learn, Plan, Concept, Build & Evolve. The three areas we generally apply our process are User Experience Design (web sites, apps, mobile, anything with an interface), Social Marketing programs and Integrated Branding & Advertising campaigns.

Strategy happens in the Learn, Plan and Concept phases. First we learn—we gather inputs from internal (client) sources, on the target audience and on the marketplace. Then we plan a strategy that aligns to our brand and digital philosophies.

We believe that in the mind of a consumer, a brand can be one thing. That one thing is not a box. It is a prism through which a brand can be expressed. The artifact that we use to express how we got to that one thing is called the Brand Strategy. This is one of two key deliverables of the Plan phase for our end-to-end brand process.

The second deliverable of the Plan phase is called the Interactive Strategy. We are an interactive agency, but we don’t limit that to digital. The artifact we produce here defines target media consumption and shows how we will move audiences from awareness through conversion (and conversation). We’ve been calling our approach to designing integrated communications plans “Engineered Marketing.”

First, we redefine the purchase continuum for a scenario. Then we develop a big creative idea. Next, we “engineer” a tactical multi-channel contact strategy that takes into account how people actually engage with a brand today. Finally we produce a narrative across tactics to drive measureable results. We define how we will measure success from the outset and provide a transparent view into program performance along the way.

Observing human behavior to design solutions that meet human needs has become a hallmark of the worlds’ leading product design companies. But, no one has applied design thinking to communications planning—until now.

At Traction, we create a brand narrative that aligns business objectives with human behavior.


  1. Thanks for this great explanation.

    I like the idea of relevance and value. I would note that relevance and value leads to targeting, which is what you put first in your process.

    To me one of the major opportunity around social media for marketing is the ability to deliver valuable and relevant messages to diverse communities and to leverage communities for marketing.

    One thing I do not see in your article is how/whether you leverage influencers and communities to move audience from awareness (or lack of awareness) to consumption. Is this something you do ? I would be very interested in learning more.


  2. We definitely leverage influencers and communities in our body of work. When we apply our Engineered Marketing model to social marketing programs, we identify a value chain (as opposed to a funnel) across the spectrum of the social media universe and both strategic and tactical recommendations for implementation. For instance, a recent program for our long-time client SAP spanned Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SlideShare, the blogosphere, conference presence and SAP's proprietary developer community. In that instance, we are primarily strategic partners.

    Depending on the client, we find the right balance of program management between agency and client resources to achieve efficiency, authenticity, transparency and ultimately accountability.

    BTW, I've got lots to say about relevant value and putting your content where it matters. Check out:



  3. Thanks for the additional info and the SAP example.

    We see this as "social eco system" but the way you name it "value chain" is even better.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.