The American entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, say those on the frontlines working to fortify the country’s financial future.
Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), celebrating its fifth year, provides marketing and strategic services and solutions that support feasible long-term growth across business, brand development, and digital execution for small businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises. Founded by Julie Gareleck, Junction has expanded its portfolio to service clients in the Northeast and Southeast with office locations in Atlanta, GA, and Gettysburg, PA.
Junction was born from Ms. Gareleck’s experience in leading a venture capital organization and as a marketing strategist, and amid the country’s most significant business and economic downturn in 80 years. Gareleck says she, “quickly recognized the need for a different approach to strategy in order to mitigate and adapt to the challenges and new realities of the business environment.”
The hybrid agency, which combines the intellectual capital of a business consulting firm with the creative execution of an advertising agency, has found a “consultative approach” to be not only productive by effective.
“We partner with our clients. We want our relationship to be transparent so our team is really an extension of our client’s internal team,” Gareleck says.
Junction believes that success has limitless potential when clients are educated and engaged in the conversation. “To have a complete understanding of the goals, objectives and expected outcomes is critical,” Gareleck says. “Think big,” she urges, “but make the plan realistic. We can create pie in the sky strategies but most likely will end up collecting dust on a shelf. Our strategies are designed to drive real success.”
Junction commemorates its first five years, celebrating successful comprehensive marketing strategy and brand development campaigns that have enhanced the sustainability of both small business and Fortune 500 enterprises. The company’s excellence has been lauded with various business awards to include Horizon Interactive Awards for Best Integrated Campaign, Best Consumer Website, and Video production. But Junction realizes that its greatest reward is in the financial viability, even resurgence, of its clients. In the next five years, Junction will continue to maximizing its technological and human resources to spearhead efforts that facilitate growth for other entrepreneurs and businesses.
“Our first five years have been exciting, challenging and at times exasperating for our business and our clients. The lessons learned and the experiences shared with our clients and partners, have afforded us an opportunity to discover and implement many high impact solutions to today’s complex marketing issues,” Gareleck says. “Our passion for delivering value is at the heart of everything we have accomplished in our first five years. We will remain authentic, collaborative and committed to exceeding expectations.”
For most businesses, developing and executing against a strategy is “nice to have” but not always a priority. Gareleck stresses how critical strategy can be to the success or failure of any business. “Businesses that embraced strategy in the downturn are thriving and we have found are in a more stable state than those that ‘winged it’ or had the mentality that things would improve … eventually,” she says.
Such planning is critical in any economic conditions. “Strategy – regardless of the state of the economy – is so important for short-term and long-term growth,” Ms. Gareleck adds.
With success spawned by Junction efforts, the company also facilitates the management of growth.
“We have built a client base – some who have been with us since the inception of their business. We are a partner who can assist our clients as they grow, essentially providing what is needed regardless of the lifecycle of the business,” Ms. Gareleck says. “Growth, while it is the hardest part of the business to predict, plan, or manage, is the most rewarding part of the business. We don’t shy away from the difficulties – rather we roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
In addition to strategy, Junction assists companies looking to refine an overall business plan, marketing and sales strategy, or operational strategy, and receive ongoing or project focused consulting. Junction is adept at designing clear and focused sales strategies to deliver a competitive advantage in the marketplace. For integrated online and offline marketing plans, Junction creates a comprehensive roadmap of marketing solutions that bridge business, sales, marketing, and technology.
An explosion of new digital and mobile technologies in the last quarter-century has revolutionized how businesses attract, connect and engage customers. Junction has maximized emerging technologies to provide successful strategies to harvest the benefits of new marketing approaches. Junction’s technical architects understand how the right solution can achieve organizational goals and objectives, increase visibility, and drive revenues.
Accordingly, Junction’s creative team includes experts in interface and design solutions; information architecture and user experience strategy; integrated solutions for campaigns; advertisements (including Flash, Banner, Print); websites and microsites; video and animation; mobile applications; social media strategy; and search engine optimization strategy.
Junction’s CEO has seen a paradigm shift in the last five years, as businesses consider strategy relevant to the period. “For Fortune 500 companies, priorities have shifted,” Ms. Gareleck notes. “We’ve also started to see more stability among groups – with opportunities to add head count internally or growing partnerships with firms like ours.”
Smaller companies have shifted focus as well. “Many of our small to mid-size businesses were strategic in their approach to growth since 2010. Those companies are focusing now on the next level of growth and exit strategy in some cases,” Ms. Gareleck says.
Companies like Junction Creative, whose charge it is to provide strategy and collateral to enable businesses to maintain a leading edge in an ever-changing world, must keep in lockstep with the evolution.
“Much like our clients – it is always a challenge to mitigate changes in the industry and plan for growth,” Ms. Gareleck says of the challenges of the first and next five years. “Staying on top of the changes in technology, consumer behaviors, and evolving marketplace is something I am focused on every day. We have to be in order to drive impact for our clients.”
At a vantage point to monitor business growth and sustainability, Junction Creative’s CEO thinks the economy can pull out of its doldrums. But it won’t be quick, or easy.
“The dotcom bust hit one sector of business. The downturn in 2008 affected every industry sector and nearly every size of company,” Ms. Gareleck says. “With businesses facing new regulations, healthcare changes, advancements in technology, the hurdles are certainly obvious but not insurmountable.”
The CEO lives and speaks from experience. “I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, so at a very young age I was exposed to every facet of business,” Ms. Gareleck says. “It takes commitment, focus, and guts to take on the risk and ultimately make it successful. When I first started, I was the CEO yet also responsible for taking out the trash. It’s not always glamorous but is certainly rewarding.”
She also warns against shortcuts. “When folks say it takes blood, sweat, and tears – they mean it,” Ms. Gareleck adds. “To get the economy back on track will take the same focus and commitment. And it most certainly won’t happen overnight. We have to work harder to survive what the next five years will bring.”
In its five-year history, Junction has assembled a nimble and diversified team of strategists, account and project managers, designers, information architects, content specialists and developers.
“It is a unique and talented team,” Ms. Gareleck says of the Junction professionals. “This collective of talent allows us to be comprehensive with unique insights and expertise across industry vertical,” she says. “Our team includes entrepreneurs and former execs from big agencies and Fortune 100 companies.”
Ms. Gareleck believes Junction is positioned for success in its next five years, as her team of individual and cohesive abilities is the cornerstone behind devising and executing the company’s strategies. Because amid the uncertainty, marvel and immediacy of the ongoing business environment, is one constant – the human element.
“People still trust and are influenced by people,” Junction’s CEO reminds us. “Even with the changes in technology and all things local, mobile, and social, the one common denominator is PEOPLE,” Ms. Gareleck says. “Technology has allowed us to capture data to inform better campaigns, strategies, and the like. We are still talking about the human sensibility when it comes to making any business decision.”