• Arctypes: The People Who Define Our Agency

    Originally posted to the Arc Worldwide blog.

    Arc explores its agency culture through the kinds of people who work here.

    There’s a certain type of person who thrives at Arc Worldwide. In fact, there are a few types of people—and they all have a crucial role to play. 

    We call them Arctypes. 

    Amidst a year of great transformation for our agency and change in our industry, we were fortunate enough to find ourselves on a great new business run. Which got us thinking more mindfully about what makes Arc distinct and uniquely successful. 

    As an agency dedicated to creating Irresistible Commerce for our clients, the work we do identifies and leverages the unignorables of brands—those value propositions that are too attractive or convincing for consumers to resist. So, we put our own process to work to identify the unignorables of the people who define our agency. 

    The result was five Arctypes—read on to find out what they are, how we define them, and what winning an Arctype Award means to our employees, straight from some of the inaugural inductees. 

    There’s the Miyagi.

    Like that mystic sensei from the Karate Kid, you have a knack for helping people find the talent within them. Part teacher. Part mentor. Part Jedi Master. People just thrive under you. 

    VP Strategy Director Nimisha Jain was among the first to earn the Miyagi title. When Jain came onto her account team, it was a personal goal of hers to create a culture where everyone felt like they could grow, collaborate and bring their best selves to work. “It felt great to be recognized as a Miyagi, first because I love “Karate Kid,” but second because for me it really is all about the people,” said Jain. “We want to find great solutions for our clients at Arc, and nurturing our talent is how we can make that happen.” 

    For Arctypes recipients, the recognition also feels profoundly personal, as VP Creative Director Alma Klein reflected on. “Receiving the Miyagi award meant so much to me because it’s an acknowledgement of how far I’ve come,” said Klein. “Earlier in my career, I made the mistake of jumping in and solving problems that others needed to struggle with. I heard, time and again, that people found me intimidating. I knew I could have a successful career as a creative, but I wasn’t sure I’d succeed as a creative director. It took a few years, but I solicited feedback and made changes. I learned to nurture talents, crow about achievements, and give constructive criticism—with love.” 

    There’s the Action Hero.

    You may look like a normal employee. But you have a Spidey sense for opportunity and the mutant-like reflexes it takes to seize it. And because you sprang into action, great things are happening. 

    Exemplified by individuals like Account Director Alex Gallagher, the Action Hero is all about the go-getters who help make good things happen for the agency. In his case, working tirelessly to build productive relationships across internal and external teams—providing top-notch client service in his day-to-day account, and stepping in to lend a hand for new business pitches and incremental client work on other accounts. 

    “Arc is filled with real-life super heroes who go above and beyond to serve our clients and fellow coworkers,” shared Gallagher. “Arctypes as a program has helped shine a light on what different facets of our creative process look like. We are only as strong as the team that supports us, and at Arc that team mentality is evident in all that we do.” 

    And there’s the Rainmaker.

    Through your smarts and hustle, you helped us unlock an amazing growth opportunity. You made it rain. And rain grows our agency. 

    The Rainmaker has gone to senior executives who have led major new business wins. But it’s also gone to people in the trenches. Senior Art Director Kathy Paik is one such Rainmaker. By day she consistently delivers (and over-delivers) as a master of design in the beauty category. But she’s also the first to raise her hand every time a pitch opportunity presents itself. Most recently, Kathy helped Arc defend its position with a critical client in a category she was unfamiliar with—all with her signature optimism. 

    Reflecting on her Rainmaker award, Kathy said, “I think it’s great that we recognize each other. Recognition drives you to do your best work. We honor what everyone already does, so it’s affirmation to keep doing what you are doing.” 

    There’s the Machine.

    Like the Energizer Bunny, you just don’t stop. You represent the tireless effort it takes to make this place run like clockwork. In fact, you’re such a machine, machine learning could learn a few things from you. 

    Strategy Director Taylor Spaeth earned the Machine distinction for her particular role in wrangling the account teams to complete the rigorous forms and video submissions for the 2019 Effie Awards. Reflecting on the honor, Taylor said, “Not every agency or workplace takes the time to thank you for when you go beyond the call of duty. It fosters an environment that makes you WANT to go above and beyond every time, because you know it’s appreciated and you feel truly a part of a place.” 

    Another Machine honoree, Executive Producer Pete Javier, shared how he feels Arctypes represent Arc as a creative company. “I think the Arctypes program sets the agency apart in how it actively encourages colleagues to celebrate the people they work with day to day.” 

    Arctypes is a peer-nominated process, where employees are invited quarterly to identify a coworker they feel is deserving of the honor, and why. “For people to take time out of their schedule to provide this type of positive feedback and acknowledgement is a welcome aspect of the culture,” Javier continued. “I think everyone at all levels and disciplines aspire to help out their respective teams, and kinds of recognitions raise the collective output and overall quality of client work.” 

    And finally, there’s the Cheerleader.

    When those around you are kicking ass, you’re the first to make sure everyone knows about it. And because you always make sure credit goes where credit is due, today we’re cheering you on. 

    The one exception to the peer-nominated rule is the Cheerleader. That’s because this award leverages another the agency’s use of TinyPulse, an employee engagement and feedback platform where employees can post messages of encouragement and appreciation for their teammates. Each quarter, the Cheerleader is that person who stands atop the TinyPulse leaderboard—and they happen to be the hardest to get to talk about themselves, because they are too busy championing others. 

    Not surprisingly, when asked about her individual honor, Cheerleader and VP Account Director Julie Glick responded, “Individually each award is special and personal, but collectively they represent the pillars of the agency. Arctypes puts a focus on the people—the well-rounded, fun, talented people of this agency who partner to bring solutions forward. 

    Arc is filled with people who make us better every day, and the Arctypes are the embodiment of the best of our agency. 

    Associate Creative Director (and Action Hero recipient) Glenn Madigan framed it perfectly: “The Arctypes are a great representation of our values and the type of people who excel here. We’re a group of go-getters (Action Hero), passionate craftspeople (Machine), coaches and teachers (Miyagi), drivers of growth and change (Rainmakers) and champions of our peers after a job well done (Cheerleader). Having a team that brings all these people together is a recipe for success, and it translates to irresistible ideas for our clients and their brands.”

  • Stores Stay Relevant in Real Time with Responsive Retail

    Originally posted to the Arc Worldwide blog.

    Online tactics make their way to brick-and-mortar stores, giving new dimension to the offline experience, writes Arc ACD Glenn Madigan

    We’ve all been there – browsing a brand’s eCommerce site and get served up “other items we may like” or things that are “popular with other shoppers.” This responsive shopping experience is commonplace on the web to help users discover new items or inspire another purchase. And offline retail is taking note. Some brands are now finding ways to offer real-time recommendations and personalized merchandising in-store. 

    This responsive model, or “live store” concept, can leverage user data (presented by apps, polling, and online purchase records) that identifies the most relevant, desired, and value-adding items in their collection to decide what shows up and stays on shelves. 


    Nike’s first live store, Nike by Melrose, opened in Los Angeles in 2018. The store adapts its inventory based on the insights and behavior of NikePlus members in the area, allowing the brand to hyper-localize “apparel, footwear and accessories based on LA’s needs regardless of Nike’s broader seasonal priorities,” as noted on the company’s blog, in order to “fill the store on a bi-weekly basis and sometimes even exclusively.” Nike is leaning into this model and has more neighborhood-specific stores in the works, including one in Tokyo set to open this spring. 

    While an entire live store isn’t as easy to activate nationwide, Nike has been able to roll out data-driven displays on a much smaller scale by devoting just a single fixture or zone to the concept in other stores. At their New York location, for instance, a “now trending” station has a rotating collection of merchandise that’s popular in the area. 


    Amazon is also finding opportunities to leverage data in ways that add value for their shoppers, especially as they continue to refine their approach to brick-and-mortar retail. Their bookstores do this particularly well by translating the shopping behaviors and reviews of online users and Kindle readers to inform the merchandising of their physical space. Displays around the store are devoted to books that are “Highly Rated: 4.8 Stars & Above,” “Most-Wished-For-Books on Amazon,” and even city-specific displays like “Nonfiction Top Sellers in Chicago.” 


    Aside from changing out inventory to shift with any single city’s product preferences, retailers can still tap into responsive messaging through digital signage and display systems. Walgreens is now testing a new line of digital cooler doors equipped with cameras and face-detection software. This technology will allow the cooler to determine a shoppers’ perceived gender/age and take note of what’s in their cart to present ads that are relevant to them (on the virtual shelf strips) while providing shopping insights and inventory data to the retailer and brands. 

    By finding opportunities to leverage online and offline data that can influence and flex in-store merchandising, retailers can be ahead of the curve and stay #trending. 


    Glenn Madigan is an Associate Creative Director for Arc’s Retail Design Group – a team devoted to building fully immersive, sensorial brand activations & experiences.

  • Google Paper Signals

    In an effort to test out some of the latest tech from Google (and to better understand how it could potentially be applied to our clients) Arc Chicago hosted a competition to design something new using Google Paper Signals. 

    Paper Signals is an experiment that explores how physical things can be controlled with voice. Google designed a few examples that are available for anyone to replicate and build for themselves, but also made the code available to open up more possibilities. 

    My team (a creative bunch of art directors, copywriters, and producers) concepted and built our own unique "smart signal" (not sticking to just paper) pulling from available data sets on the web. The result was a wacky allergy pill dispenser, to be mounted to your wall, that automatically releases a pill each morning if the pollen level is above a certain point.