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Small Business Awards: Armstrong/Shank has grown as needs arose

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, April 19, 2012, at 7:17 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, April 19, 2012, at 7:33 a.m.

More information

Susan Armstrong on Armstrong/Shank

What is the most important factor that helped you compete in the past year?

“Our competitive advantage is that we offer an integrated approach to strategic marketing – discovering the big ideas that best tell our clients’ stories and then executing those concepts across traditional and digital platforms. Businesses today are looking for strategic thinking, integration and solutions to their challenges. Every day, our team brings value to our clients.”

What is something about your company that would surprise Wichita?

“We have owned and run successful advertising agencies in several cities and two states. Over the years, we have acquired six companies – five agencies and one direct mail marketing company. We have worked with clients from Seattle, Wash., to Miami, Fla. We have helped multiple clients grow to a point where they were able to sell to larger owners. All of these things might surprise Wichita because we tend to stay focused on telling our clients’ stories. We’re fairly quiet about our own accomplishments.”

What’s next for your company?

“We’re excited about the plans we have for future growth. We’re going to stay focused on hiring good people and giving them what they need to do great work. We’ll continue to work hard to keep our clients happy and try to find others like them. And we’re going to start each day with the same mission: Do something great today.”

More information

Armstrong/Shank Marketing Advertising and Public Relations

Founded: 1981

Owner: Susan and Bruce Armstrong

Employees: 16

Address: 7450 S. Seneca, Haysville

Phone: 316-522-3000

Website: www.armstrongshank.com

When Susan Armstrong started Armstrong Creative Services in 1981, she envisioned her one-woman shop would primarily offer writing services.

“Instead, it grew very quickly into a full-service … advertising-marketing company,” she said. “It became a matter of growing to meet the needs of the client.”

After Ed Shank, who is now retired, joined the agency, it became Armstrong/Shank Marketing Advertising and Public Relations.

“It seemed like we kept adding clients and then adding people to make sure that we had the right talent to do the job,” Armstrong said. “It just grew like magic.”

The agency added graphic services and media planning and placement.

“We started doing more research-based projects,” Armstrong said. “What we have discovered is we do our best work when we have more information.”

She said her team likes to meet with clients and their customers to find “not just what the client offers but what the customer wants.”

“We’re really using research to determine the strongest message possible,” she said.

Mark Chamberlin, director of marketing and public relations, said it’s strategy that matters, not determining which medium – broadcast? print? digital? – to use.

“Those are all worthwhile tacks, but if you don’t have a strategy that you’re really pointing toward, then you’re not going to get the results you’re hoping for,” he said.

The agency has been designing websites for a long time, but in recent years it has started offering more comprehensive Internet services, such as e-mail blasting and social media management.

The agency employs 15.

“It’s a great size,” Armstrong said. “It still feels like a close-knit team, but we have some depth there.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or e-mail her at crengers@wichitaeagle.com.

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