Take a look at the changes we've made to our privacy policy effective May 25, 2018. By continuing on this site you agree to the terms stated in this policy

Read More Close

The Current

Thought Leadership

A bright white, futuristic tunnel with light bars and a lightning bolt at the end. In pink graffiti on the wall, "the future is here."

Our 2023 Word of the Year: VALUE

We believe in the power of aligning our values with others, and more than ever, we’re committed to delivering work that moves our partners forward.

Are you part of the WOTY crowd? For the uninitiated, WOTY (Word of the Year) exchanges the highly aspirational, high-pressure list of resolutions for a single word that brings focus on many different levels (personally, professionally, relationally, spiritually…). Personally, it’s a way to speak intention into your own life so you stay invested in your story as the months unfold. Professionally and as a leader, it’s a powerful tool for inviting your team into a story and prioritizing your investments.

Straight talk: As the hero of your story (and champion of your brand/business) you get to choose whether the supervillain Dr. Distraction derails your year – or you absolutely crush it and save the day. When you deploy WOTY, you come out swinging with the double-edged sword of focus and filter you can use for making strategic decisions. No mercy! 

A meme-style image of Thanos holding a double-sided sword with the words "focus" and "filter" on either side. The meme text reads: "I am inevitable! --Growth"

Here’s our word for the year and what you can expect to see from us – and keep us accountable to – through this bright, shiny, hopeful 2023.


VALUE = the importance of things to you

We believe in the power of aligning our values with others. As a growth partner (not a production shop), one of the things we’ll try to learn right away from prospective clients is what they value. 

What do you VALUE?

  • Culture 
  • Communication & transparency
  • Product integrity / performance
  • Customer experience
  • How you’re perceived by investors or the competition
  • Making an impact
  • Innovation
  • Profit

What you value informs how you make decisions, and when we know what’s important to you, we can better align with you by choosing strategies and tactics that add value in the right places.


Don’t just add value, add VALUES

We’re going to call this one “mindful marketing” (you heard it here first, folks…). This year, cultivate the practice of asking “why” for every piece of marketing you put out there. 

  • Does this support our goals?
  • Is this true to our values?
  • Will this inspire someone?

It’s not about tricking people into clicking, it’s about creating things of value. And doesn’t that feel infinitely better?

At VOLTAGE, our guiding mantra since the very beginning has been “be a force for good.” While of course we want to deliver value-add work, we’ve learned it’s just as important to deliver work that adds values – your values, our values, your customers’ values. 

You’re never just selling a hat, or beauty product, or financial services. You’re forging human connection. You’re putting your values out there to resonate with an audience who cares about those things too. And at the end of the day, that’s why people buy.


VALUE = getting more than you paid for

Whether posting positive ROI or improving some of those intangibles like brand sentiment, when we talk about VALUE, it’s a reminder to make measurable progress. And making progress usually involves making change.

At the end of the day, we believe working with an agency shouldn’t cause you to bleed money. While it does cost money to work with a quality agency partner, the value you receive – growth, profit, time savings, a captivating digital presence – should be a no-brainer net-positive. You should be excited to spend that money because you know it’s going to unlock more.

If what you’re paying for isn’t turning around equal or greater value, the first place to start troubleshooting is the brief. If the problem isn’t clearly defined or the vision for where you’re going as a company isn’t clear, no one is going to be clear. Read that again. If your company’s vision isn’t clear, no one – from your employees to your partners to your customers – is going to be clear. Without a vision, it’s next to impossible to chart a course for success and mark progress. 

If this spins you into a sudden existential crisis, not to worry – you don’t have to figure this out in a vacuum!

Think of working with an agency like seeing a counselor or therapist. We pay trusted counselors to listen while we process, ask the tough questions, and act as a mirror when our blind spots get in the way. Sometimes they help us work through a specific blocker; other times they’re a valued voice for “general maintenance,” to remind us of our goals and keep us oriented toward growth. 

As a trusted growth partner, our team of project managers, strategists, developers, designers, marketeers, and brand experts is trained to work seamlessly with your team to set goals and deliver on them so that growth is inevitable.

VALUE gets delivered when hidden opportunities that lead to growth are identified and you get equipped with a roadmap for executing on a clear and focused strategy that works

  • Have a vision for where you want your business to go
  • Collaborate on a clear (focused) brief
  • Make a plan for measuring ROI

“How do I know when I’m getting VALUE?”

If you’re Factor 1 and we’re Factor 2, you’re probably thinking 1+2=3. 

But with VALUE math, 1+2=5. Or 12. Or even higher. To the moon! 🚀 

Your return on investment with your partners, your ad spend, and marketing initiatives should be at least what you paid to execute on those strategies. 

Spend some, get more-more-more.

Here are some examples of where you should stop seeing cost and start seeing value:

  • “I don’t have budget for a $200K website rebuild” → Can your business afford not to have a website that converts your audience? (What would you pay your top salesman? You should allot at least this much for your website.)
  • “We don’t have time to execute on an email strategy.” → Your competitors are emailing your customers and winning their business while you get distracted and bogged down in busy work.
  • “Why should I spend $50K on a new logo when my nephew can do it?” → Your investors and customers will choose the brands that stand out and make them look good by association.
  • “I think our conversion rate could probably improve, but hey, we have loyal customers and they’re familiar with how it works…” → You spend a lot of time and money trying to get people to your website, can you really afford to lose them once they’re there? (Also: Customer loyalty isn’t as much of a thing as you think it is.)


A few closing thoughts from our team on VALUE:

“Being in lock-step with our clients as true partners provides the greatest value, in my mind. Knowing our clients’ business goals as though they are our own, our solutions and recommendations will always hit the mark in all the areas that matter. Some examples being UX improvements tailored to their audience to jump-start CVR, or micro-targeting through effective campaigns (email marketing, social, etc). We could never do that with a one-size-fits-all approach that’s client-agnostic. We’re here to grow with our clients. Their business is our business.”
— Paul Spaeth, Client Services Director

“This year, I’m trying to think more like Michelangelo working on David when it comes to the projects I’m responsible for. What can we remove? What’s really important here? We want to remove the things that add unnecessary cost and complication for you. Value can look like less, not more.”
— Julie Kelley, Sr. Technical Project Manager

“Branding can be hard to quantify compared to some of the marketing work we do – its value is largely based on emotional response and that can’t be quantified in data or analytics. However, when we ask questions and dig deep into your brand values, it allows us to enhance and revamp your visual identity to reflect who you really are. If you’re an upscale financial services firm but your website feels like a real estate site, it’s really important to get that right. We do a lot of research and analysis that guides how we distinguish your brand visually and verbally from the rest.”
— Vanessa Wainwright, Associate Creative Director

“I see us providing value by bringing additional insight, recommendations, or ideas that naturally come about as a result of a genuine desire to help our clients and have a tangible impact. Value to me is providing value-add – helping in unexpected ways like highlighting opportunities you may not be aware of, the little things that may not fall naturally into a large scope, the little cracks that can eat away at a brand’s potential – spotting those cracks and helping fill those in.”
— Evan Husted, Director of Digital Strategy


Wrapping it up

Don’t start the year strong then lose the plot. 2023 could be your most powerful year yet for growing your business – if you decide to write that story. Kick off your year with an analysis and injection of big ideas to cut through distraction and make growth inevitable:


Book a Discovery Package and tap into technical, marketing, and creative expertise. 


Get a detailed analysis of your business’s digital presence and an actionable roadmap for growth.


Grow your revenue, your audience, and exceed your goals. Look back at 2023 as your most focused year yet.


Unwrap unprecedented VALUE with VOLTAGE → 


Go deeper: 


VOLTAGE is a digital agency specializing in eCommerce, digital brand experiences, and web apps. Get emails and insights from our team:

Like What You Read?

Share it. Your followers will thank you.

About Julie Overby

Julie Overby

Make stuff & make stuff happen. Help clients look good and hit goals. Growth strategy. Brand experiences. The art & science of copywriting. Surprise & delight. Brand DNA. "Does it support the story?"

View More Articles by Julie

Read More The Current

  • The VOLTAGE Digital Growth Framework | It's how we get ecommerce stuff done

    Want to get ahead of the curve on your ecommerce digital growth goals? VOLTAGE will be your digital growth partner through the highs and lows of the race to win leads. How do we do it? By using the VOLTAGE Digital Growth Framework: We take your business goals and apply our four step process until you get the results you’ve been searching for.

  • Cybersecurity graphic displaying a skull formed out of code and the text "system hacked"

    Cybersecurity 101: The Unofficial Guide to Building Your Digital Fortress

    In the ever-evolving landscape of digital business, establishing a robust cybersecurity practice can often feel like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded. We get it. The journey is challenging, and the road is often riddled with unexpected twists and turns. It’s a daunting task for businesses, big and small, to navigate the complex web of threats and defenses, all while trying to keep their doors open and lights on. However, trust me when I say, you’re not alone in this journey. In this article, my goal is to deepen your grasp of cybersecurity and empower you to take those critical first steps toward fortifying your business’s cybersecurity posture.