Our Work

We’ve worked with clients in just about every industry — from dancing horses to private equity, higher education, arts and culture, professional services, associations, travel and real estate. Our specialty is small and medium-sized companies in any stage of operation, from start-ups to 150+ years old companies (that’s right, 150)!

Our sweet spot? Whatever needs to be done. Regardless of the client or industry, our successful process remains the same.

  • Research
  • Target
  • Create content
  • Implement
  • Engage and build relationships
  • Analyze, measure, assess and adjust

Case Studies

GO Group International

World’s largest international ground transportation company

Challenge:

FCI has been working with GO Group since its launch in 2007. Since then, the company had been seeing steady and consistent growth, adding new operators, airports and services around the world. Then came Uber.

By 2015, GO saw its customer base, website hits and revenues drop significantly due to the popularity of the new ride share companies which are not required to comply with the same rules and regulations as GO members.

Because GO is comprised of individual, local operators, many of whom offer services beyond airport shuttles, e.g. sight-seeing tours, there are technology issues which make booking more difficult than competitors. Most employees are union, insured by their operators, professionally trained, vetted and certified by the Department of Transportation. All of this means higher overhead than companies which only hire freelance drivers.

These factors, coupled with the fact that laws vary by city in terms of what, if any, discounts can be offered, make it impossible for the company to compete on price alone.

To compete and thrive, the GO marketing team, which includes FCI, had to develop and implement creative digital and content marketing programs.

Strategy:

  • Drive traffic to the website by engaging with influencers, improving SEO, improving visual and messaging consistency and adding travel content
  • Seek content from external sources such as travel experts, hospitality industry, etc.
  • Focus messaging on safety, reliability and flat-rate pricing (everything people don’t like about ride-sharing companies)
  • Find ways to generate revenue outside the transportation services
  • Better promote new operator affiliates
  • Reach newer, younger audiences
  • Specifically target groups that cater to older users

Tools:

  • Redesign the website
  • Blog, using external content and accepting guest posts
  • Monetize 550,000+ email list through third-party rental
  • Launch App marketing program
  • Amp up social media posts
  • Increase budget and launch a more aggressive pay-per-click and affiliate marketing campaign
  • Add website overlay offering additional discount if the site visitor booked online
  • Shorten and jazz up email copy messaging

Results:

  • Six months after launch, the number of reservations started stabilizing and trending upward
  • Increased e-commerce conversation rate by 6%
  • Increased email open rate by 62%
  • Increased email-generated revenue by 20% compared with previous year
  • Increased revenue from PPC program by 75% compared with previous year
  • Nearing goal of 30% of revenue being generated from affiliate marketing program
  • Increased blog readership by 47% in six months
  • Significantly increased engagement on press releases and social platforms due to sharing by content providers, improved content and more frequent posting
  • Generated new revenue through email ad campaign  (numbers to come)
  • Strong search visibility for website, ranking number one on key words such as “airport shuttle” and others
  • Increased website visits, length of time spent, number of pages visited and lowered bounce rates
  • More balanced ages of riders. On average, 90% of riders were aged 40+; latest survey results show this number has dropped to 72% with the biggest increase in the 20 – 39 age group.

Chicago International Map Fair

2015 and 2016

The second largest map fair in the country. Held at the Loyola University Museum of Art in 2015 with 24 vendors and in 2016 at the Chicago Cultural Center with almost 40 vendors.

Challenge:

Promoting a non-tech “nerdy,” small-niche event during the fall when numerous other cultural events are taking place and when all media was focused on the Cubs, and, in 2016, the election.

Strategy:

  • Promote it as an “anti-tech” event where people can view and touch history
  • Create stories around individual collections
  • 2016 – collection of political maps
  • 2015 – newly discovered Ogden Collection, pre-dating the Chicago Fire and believed to have been drawn by William Ogden himself
  • In 2016, announce and promote the event sponsor, the newly formed nonprofit History in Your Hands Foundation
  • Note that the Map Fair founder, Sammy Berk, is part of 50+ year-old family-owned business, Harlan J. Berk. Ltd

Tools:

  • Media outreach and press releases
  • Social media including Facebook boosts

Results:

  • Facebook grew from 40 “likes” to more than 450 as of August 2017
  • Event attendance grew from 400 in 2014 to about 800 in 2015 to more than 1,000 in 2016
  • Event was moved in 2016 in part to accommodate larger number of vendors and attendees
  • Tribune article directly resulted in website hits, phone calls, in-store visits and map sales

ROI:

  • Expanded social media presence
  • Increased event attendance over 200%
  • Increased sales from Tribune article

Media Results:

2016:

  • Voyage Chicago, Meet Sammy Berk, Dec. 2017, Chicago Tribune: Full page article in the Sunday edition by Rick Kogan
  • Crain’s Chicago Business column by political writer Greg Hinz
  • Chicago Tribune highlighted event in Things to Do with Kids column
  • Daily Herald, Things to do in the Midwest
  • WTTW featured event
  • Inside Publications/Skyline column and interview
  • Chicagoist Top Ten Things to Do
  • Plus: MetroMix, WTTW, Make It Better.com, The Local Tourist, TimeOut, Choose Chicago, Chicago Woman, Free Chicago and Round Town

2015:

  • Crain’s Chicago Business article about the Ogden collection by Denis Rodkin
  • WGN radio interview, After Hours with Rick Kogan
  • WGN radio interview with Out of the Loop
  • Bisnow column
  • Gapers Block feature
  • Art & Antiques Magazine, November issue
  • Chicagoist Top 10 Things to Do
  • The Distance, podcast, Ancient History, Modern Family
  • Plus….Discover America, Make it Better, Time Out, Choose Chicago

IT Management Services Company

April 1 – Sept. 1, 2016
Client prefers to remain anonymous

Challenge:

Differentiate the company from the multitude of companies offering similar services.

Strategy:

  • Create a “personality” for the company
  • In addition to pitching as IT and cybersecurity experts, pitch general business-related topics such as leadership, creating company culture, marketing, employee onboarding, etc.
  • Encourage team members to provide content

Tools:

  • Direct emails to existing and purchased lists
  • Weekly blog on business, IT, cybersecurity, marketing, company culture, training, etc.
  • Social Media: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Posting on external blogs
  • Media outreach and press releases
  • Company and leadership award entries
  • Association outreach

Results:

  • From April 1 – September 1, Facebook “likes” increased 47%
  • Group memberships reaches 2,000,000
  • Website visits, comparing April 1 – August 31, 2015 with 2016: users were up 90% and page views were up 26%
  • Inbound links to the website grew from 38 to 330

ROI:

  • Expanded website visibility by almost 100% in 5 mos. including almost 900% increase in inbound links (which Google loves) and which will impact the company’s longterm ROI

Media results:

  • Epodcast.com radio interview about entrepreneurship
  • Breaking Down Your Business podcast
  • Business Insanity radio with Barry Moltz about Cybersecurity
  • CIO Magazine about making your blog a must-read
  • Flarrio SMB Manufacturing about Cybersecurity
  • American Express Open Forum about employee onboarding
  • Daily Herald, Best and Brightest award coverage
  • Daily Herald, Channel 360 award coverage
  • Schaumberg Business Association newsletter award coverage
  • Technology and Management Association newsletter award coverage

Avenue Inc.

June 2014 – June 2015
Hybrid marketing and strategy agency

Challenge: Differentiate the company from other marketing agencies.

Strategy:

  • Create new and repurpose existing content
  • Break down lengthy white papers into manageable columns and articles
  • Position CEO as an expert in process and strategy and a thought leader

Tools:

  • Media outreach
  • Speaking engagements

Results:

From the client:

“I want to say thank you for all the support, ideas and help you provided us. You helped us launch our PR efforts and get traction in an area we hadn’t ventured into before! It helped us go to the next level; we now have full-time content and marketing roles on staff.”

Speaking engagements:

  • Panel presenter at American Marketing Association BrandSmart
  • Speaker at Chicago Booth Executive Program “How to Talk Ted”

Media results – bylined articles:

  • Chief Executive.Net, How Mid-Marketers can Influence Beyond their Size
  • Branding Magazine, Collaborating for Brand Relevance: Branding Roundtable #11
  • The Marketing Scope, Fixed or Fluid: Which brand management approach is right for you?
  • B2B Marketing Magazine, How to: Create a Product Launch Strategy
  • Middle Market Growth Magazine, Brand-Driven Approach Accelerates Post-Merger Acceleration
  • C-Suite Network, Leading and Communicating Through Big Change, part 2
  • Branding Magazine, The Challenges of Rebranding, video and published interview
  • C-Suite Network, Leading and Communicating Through Big Change – part 1
  • The Marketing Scope, 10 Considerations for Mobile B2B Sales Activation
  • C-Suite Network: How to get Unstuck: What are You Waiting For?
  • C-Suite Network 7 Telltale Signs your Company is on the Path to Stagnation
  • ABF Journal, Leading Organizations Through Big Change
  • Marketing Profs, Why and When to Re-Evaluate Your B2B Brand Strategy

ROI:

  • Grew the company’s media visibility exponentially
  • Facilitated in-house content and marketing staffers for ongoing marketing

Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate, Roosevelt University

1999 – Present

Began working with this client with Schindler Communications and helped to establish multiple real estate programs, forum series, association partnerships, the advisory board, sponsorships and the gala. Fast forward to today: The MBIRE is seeking to establish itself as one of the country’s premier real estate schools.

Challenge:

Working with busy students, volunteer advisory board and committee and an in-house marketing department, which provides services for the entire university, as well as the layers and approval process of academia. Our goal is to clearly define and promote the brand and to recruit students, sponsorships and board members.

Strategy:

  • Tap into the expertise of the advisory board, which is comprised of top industry professionals
  • Connect and engage with students and their social expertise
  • Capitalize on Chicago’s strong architectural and real estate development history and opportunities
  • Connect with industry associations

Tools:

  • Social Media: LinkedIn and Facebook
  • Create an official sponsorship program
  • Create a program to provide more visibility and value for sponsors on the website and other outlets
  • Create partnerships with industry associations for events, marketing and support
  • Create content for in-house publications and external digital outlets
  • Media outreach and press releases

Results:  Ongoing

Work on the new branding and marketing campaign began on January 1, 2017. LinkedIn Group and Facebook pages have been created and both are growing. A new executive director was named in June. Working with her, we have achieved a great deal: created a more formal sponsorship program; work with the marketing team to create print and digital marketing materials, a more robust website with a blog for internal and external content, call-to-action, sponsor recognition, links to social platforms, and email sign up.

From Jon DeVries, Founding Director (2002 – 2017):

“Dyana worked directly with me for over 15 years creating and coordinating publicity for the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University.  Her professional press network is awesome, her technical assistance superb, and her work with me and our 50 member Advisory Board always achieved direct results. I highly recommend her services to anyone seeking effective and timely marketing, social media and press services assistance.”’

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