• Gina Michnowicz

The Making of The Craftsman Agency



Today is the day! It is my pleasure to announce the rebrand of Union+Webster to The Craftsman Agency. This is a decision made after months of research, many hours of conversation, and many more hours of preparation by our team. And it reflects what I truly believe is the best, most exciting path forward.


The Need for Change

Last August marked five years for Union+Webster. And it’s been a fantastic journey. I’m quite simply filled with gratitude for both our incredible clients and every single member of our team who have been a part of it, from those who joined us soon after Cristol and I founded the company to much more recent additions. We’ve had so many amazing and humbling experiences together. 


So what sparked this pivot? Why the need for change?


When you’re busy with client work, it feels like you have no time to think about your own brand. But when I sat down to write the five-year anniversary blog post last year, I had that time to think. And I hit writer's block in a big way. 


While I had so much to be grateful for, and while I could see great moments in the future, it felt as though an integrated advertising agency was not the best positioning for us. After all, you can’t be everything to everyone—especially when you’re small. In addition, as I looked to the horizon, I saw fundamental shifts in marketing and, ultimately, us. 


The Origin of The Craftsman Agency


A couple of weeks later, I had a transformative conversation with Jamie, one of our first employees. We started discussing trends in the industry and society in general. We talked about the different types of work our agency was doing, what we found exciting and aligned to our strengths...and also what could be better handled by someone else. 


One example that we talked about falling into this second category is paid social. (Note that I’m not talking about organic social media. I see great opportunity in organic social for brands to connect powerfully with consumers.) While we’re extremely competent at managing paid media campaigns, paid social isn’t tapping into our true strengths: creating a solid strategy supported by incredible content and amazing experiences that tell a story. Our paid efforts should always be an element of this broader strategy. 


After all, marketing is about experiences. It’s about connecting at a human level and telling a story in a powerful way.


This is the moment in our conversation when The Craftsman Agency came to life. I mentioned that I had been toying with the idea of an incubator agency within Union+Webster, where we could focus on art and immersive storytelling. Where we could make beautiful, awe-inspiring work that evokes emotion, that speaks authentically. Where we could hone in on our craft, “like a craftsman,” I said. The word “craftsman” really seemed to say it all: an artist, creating beautiful, thoughtful work through skill.


It would be an understatement to say that Jamie enthusiastically agreed. With her prodding, I checked if the TheCraftsmanAgency.com domain was available—and it was.


Of course that’s not the end of the story.


We set out to validate our hypotheses: Art matters. Consumers are yearning for a different type of marketing—one that is helpful and entertaining. We saw trends that made us think the timing for this shift might be perfect. Our leadership team explored whether The Craftsman Agency should be an incubator or a rebrand of the current agency. We tested the concept and positioning with a few clients and prospects who provided us with positive and thoughtful feedback. In the end, to ensure that we continued to deliver quality work to our clients and keep our team cohesive, we decided on the rebrand. 


However, we didn’t get rid of Union+Webster. Union+Webster will act as the holding company, allowing us to create focused businesses as needed, at the right time. This gives us the platform to invent methodologies, services, and products and bring them to market in ways that align with our clients and market opportunities. When we started this company, we envisioned evolving into multiple businesses. Today is the beginning of that evolution.


The Rally Cry

The Craftsman Agency is more than an agency; it’s a movement.  


It’s a rally cry for imaginative marketers who want to push the envelope in new ways while still focusing on results. We will stand up against bad stock photos, the mundane, the amplification of brand messages that sound like every other brand. 


The Craftsman Agency Approach


The Craftsman Agency is building a collective of artists with a keen focus on craft. Our sweet spot is bold storytelling that makes a real impact. Through quality visuals and strong narratives, we bring forth the authentic voice of a brand, the voice that resonates with its audience. We create experiential activations, both physical and digital, that truly engage the audience—experiences that evoke emotion and deliver lasting impressions and positive actions. 


Our team is made up of the most talented, passionate, and supportive people I have ever worked with. We show up every day to do our best work. We pour our hearts and souls into serving our clients. Each and every day. While our name has changed, this will not change. Ever. 


We are The Craftsman. Hit us up. We’re eager to get started on your masterpiece. 

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© 2020 The Craftsman Agency