By Joey Parks
Last Monday, a handful of Ad Club members visited Auxiliary Inc, an advertising and design agency in downtown Grand Rapids.
Opened in 2006 under Tom Crimp, Auxiliary is dedicated to creating long-lasting relationships with their clients both large and small. The agency works with brands such as Chacao, Amway, Steelcase, Uncle John’s Cider, Start Garden, and more, creating integrated creative solutions in print and digital mediums.
Auxiliary had recently moved into a new space on the south side of downtown, just a few blocks away from the downtown GVSU Pew campus. The location had been converted from a raw storage space to their office, with only a few renovation changes being made to clean the kitchen and floors, but not too much as to preserve the space’s character.
The main working area is all open-concept with come-and-go computers and workstations supplemented with more private workspaces built into the sides of the main area. This space eliminates the idea of “departments” in the agency – everyone works side by side in close collaboration.
In addition to owner Tom Crimp, a designer, project manager, and creative director also joined our tour and discussion. They provided us with more insight into the responsibilities held by the AUX team members. Club members first asked some general questions, getting to know the general feel of the working environment.
Day to day, the hosts all agreed that the work environment is ever changing in the office and that due to their collaborative workstyle and client base, no day of work is ever the same. They described their working style leading up to the client as “very transparent,” always reviewing each other’s work and progress throughout the stages of development. They do this to make sure the pieces being presented to the client are well thought out, professional, and pushing the creative boundaries of the company.
To keep their clients satisfied with the relationship, the team is very prompt at communicating with their clients. Although every client is a different size with a different need, they maintain the same approach to collaboration and innovation throughout their client base. Emails are to be responded to within 4 to 6 hours and are never left overnight.
Ryan, a new designer in the office, says he gets a particular joy out of solving client’s design challenges. The team aims to present multiple works to the client that solve their problem in different ways, each solution taking a completely different path than the other. When the team does not satisfy the client’s needs, they work to assess what went wrong and how it can be improved.
When the team finds they miss the mark multiple times, they discuss with the client what might be the issue in the relationship, going so far as to find another agency that might better fit the needs of the client. This clearly shows how dedicated AUX is to creating not just good work, but also longstanding and meaningful relationships with their clients.
When asked what the best thing for students to do to prepare for the workplace is, the team first responded by stressing a good writing ability. You don’t need to be a great creative writer, but you need to be able to communicate your ideas effectively and with the correct tone to your co-workers and your clients. Additionally, they said internships are extremely beneficial to getting into a workplace atmosphere and meeting people who may hire you in the future.
Overall, however, the team stressed being passionate about what you do and the team you work with. There may be challenging times with clients, but it is important to have a strong team bond to get through it together.
Thank you again to Auxiliary Advertising & Design for meeting with the GVSU Ad Club!