Category: Top 10 Minority-Led Agencies

If the past year has proven anything, it’s that diversity matters—a lot. As DEI officers are hired around the industry, more minorities are heading up agencies, truly making a difference. Here are Adweek’s Fastest Growing minority- owned agencies.

Rank

Name

Industry

Location

Growth

Size

1
1
1

Movers+Shakers
Creative
California, United States
2,227%
51-100 Employees
Address
1217 Wilshire Bl., #3327, Santa Monica
Region
US Headquartered (2+ offices)
Agency Size
Multiple Offices/Agency Network
Movers+Shakers

Movers+Shakers was one of the first agencies to venture into the TikTok space, and it’s found booming success at the forefront of the social revolution.

Founded in 2016 as a collaboration between Broadway performer and director Geoffrey Goldberg and marketing expert Evan Horowitz, Movers+Shakers has grown exponentially through its smart use of culture and social media, elevating brands through TikTok and other platforms. The agency now has offices in New York and Los Angeles.

“We were one of the first agencies to identify TikTok as an emerging platform back in early 2019, when it was very fringe,” Horowitz says. “Our early work on TikTok became quite famous—it made TikTok famous.”

The agency first worked with cosmetics company e.l.f. to develop the #eyeslipsface hashtag challenge and a 15-second original song called “Eyes.Lips.Face.” Since that blew up on the then-fledgling social platform, Movers+Shakers has gone on to create successful campaigns for other brands, including Amazon, Mattel and Match.

The agency recently surpassed 150 billion views on its TikTok campaigns, but Goldberg and Horowitz note that it isn’t just a TikTok agency.

“One of the things that allowed us to keep growing is that we keep innovating and helping find new ways for brands to connect to culture,” Horowitz says. “We want to help them build cultural relevance, cool-factor buzz, and that’s why brands are really flocking to us in a big way.”

To keep up with that culture, the agency looks not only to social media, but also to microcultures and influencers, and it has started offering unique nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, to super fans in order to raise awareness and interest in brands through the bidding processand courting brand collaborations, as it did successfully with e.l.f. and Chipotle on a food-inspired makeup line.

Goldberg says the agency is building an agile model that lets it listen constantly to cultural conversations and activate campaigns quickly.

“That’s what’s led to a lot of these really cool campaigns, because they’re really culturally relevant,” he says.

For its ability to keep a finger on the pulse of culture and execute viral campaigns, Movers+Shakers tops Adweek’s Fastest Growing agencies list, with over 2,000% growth over the past three years. —K.O.

Rank

Name

Industry

Location

Growth

Size

4
2
1

Whtwrks Inc.
Full-Service
New York, United States
820%
6-10 Employees
Address
111 West 111th Street, A, New York
Region
US Headquartered (2+ offices)
Agency Size
Multiple Offices/Agency Network
Whtwrks Inc.

Whtwrks is a strategy, production and creative agency whose mission is to depict people of color in a positive and genuine way. The founders describe it as a Black business that connects culturally with consumers, and brands see an inherent value in having Whtwrks’ expertise in the space.

Whtwrks co-founder Martin Ekechukwu tells Adweek his agency has grown because it presented itself “more obviously as being Black-owned with a core expertise in culture, cultural storytelling and authenticity.” It utilizes its unique point of view to help brands better reach Black, brown and Asian audiences.

To keep the agency’s growth strong, Whtwrks plans to showcase its award-winning work to raise the profile of the business, while adding additional team members to help handle the increased workload. “We have not needed to expand out our business development thus far because of how much incoming we receive,” says Ekechukwu. —K.O.

Rank

Name

Industry

Location

Growth

Size

6
2
3

NP Digital
Digital
California, United States
585%
201-500 Employees
Address
750 B Street Suite 1400, San Diego
Region
US Headquartered (2+ offices)
Agency Size
Multiple Offices/Agency Network
NP Digital

Neil Patel, a marketing consultant and trusted source of all things SEO, has been tapped by some of the world’s biggest advertisers—Amazon, Facebook and Google, to name a few. But after being overwhelmed by client demand, Patel decided to start his own agency in 2017.

So, working alongside co-founder Mike Kamo, he introduced NP Digital, which has grown from a consulting firm to a one-stop-shop for performance marketing services like SEO, paid social media and paid search. The company is not beholden to shareholders, which CEO Michael Gullaksen says has contributed to its ability to innovate and grow.

“Coming from a consultancy background to a media background is a very unique way to approach performance marketing,” he says. “Not being tied to legacy, nondigital heritage helps us grow a little bit faster than performance agencies that are part of holding companies.”

Clients of NP Digital, which brands itself as the “alternative to the agency status quo,” include Adobe, Party City and Fiji Water. The company expects 2021 revenue to hit $70 million, a 112% increase from 2020.

“Over the last few years, agencies have been so focused on profitability, which has created a difficult relationship with clients,” says Gullaksen. “We deliver a high-quality product while focusing on client satisfaction and our employees.” —E.L.

Rank

Name

Industry

Location

Growth

Size

10
1
4

Adesiem
Digital
Missouri , United States
451%
6-10 Employees
Address
7733 Forsyth Blvd, Suite 1100, Clayton
Region
U.S. Regional Agency ‚ Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, NE, ND, SD, MO, OH, WI) (1 office)
Agency Size
Single Office
Adesiem

Adesiem, formerly called Tenshi, set out to solve its clients’ challenges and help them build and execute large-scale advertising and marketing campaigns. In recent years, the agency has become more data-driven, leaning heavily on analyses and data science to produce results that exceed industry benchmarks in terms of returns on ad spend and revenue and business growth.

“Since 2018, we have seen an exponential growth in revenue, which has continued beyond 2020,” a company spokesperson says. “We attribute this growth to our proprietary systems, suites, processes and machine-learning AI that have been in development for half a decade.”

According to the agency, it consistently produces an average of 18 times return on ad spend across industries. Its business model is 90% retainer, with all services included, and the agency doesn’t hold its clients to yearly contracts, so the onus is on its teams to perform. Adesiem boasts a 98% client retention rate since its inception over a decade ago.

Adesiem has built a team of data scientists for heavy data analyses and built custom algorithms and systems to understand its clients’ customers at a granular level, to market to them, cut wasted spend and find new avenues of revenue growth. —K.O.

Rank

Name

Industry

Location

Growth

Size

14
1
5

Chicory
Digital
New York, United States
332%
21-50 Employees
Address
137 5th Ave., 5th Floor, New York
Region
U.S. Regional Agency ‚ Northeast (CT, DE, NH, MA, NY, PA, VT, NJ, RI, ME, MD) (1 office)
Agency Size
Single Office
Chicory

Tech firm Chicory, a digital shopper marketing platform for CPG and grocery brands, looks to bring efficiency and transparency to grocery shopping. The agency partners with leading CPG brands like Campbell’s and grocery retailers like Wakefern Food Corp. to serve hyper-relevant ads to consumers when they’re planning their grocery purchases. A pioneer of shoppable recipes, Chicory creates digital tools, like contextual, in-recipe ad placements, to harness the power of recipes to get brands in front of millions of shoppers and inspire them to buy. —K.O.

Rank

Name

Industry

Location

Growth

Size

15
3
6

growthbuster
Digital
California, United States
310%
11-20 Employees
Address
3338 Newton Street, Torrance
Region
U.S. Regional Agency ‚ West (AK, CA, CO, ID, MT, OR, UT, WY, HI, WA) (1 office)
Agency Size
Single Office
growthbuster

Growthbuster provides a unique blend of marketing that has developed some of the fastest-growing companies in America, and its mission is to help people, brands and products give the great legacy companies a run for their money. Growthbuster relies on referrals and its reputation for growth, and is looking to become the go-to agency for businesses that want to grow their apps’ user bases. —K.C.

Rank

Name

Industry

Location

Growth

Size

16
4
7

Born & Bred
Brand
California, United States
297%
11-20 Employees
Address
360 Pine Street, Floor 3, San Francisco
Region
U.S. Regional Agency ‚ West (AK, CA, CO, ID, MT, OR, UT, WY, HI, WA) (1 office)
Agency Size
Single Office
Born & Bred

During the pandemic, brand agency Born & Bred, which specializes in launching and growing category disruptors, prioritized its growth efforts for industries, like fin tech, cannabis, b-to-b software and DTC, that were less impacted by the pandemic than others. The consultancy touts its value for venture-backed, category-building challenger brands—like Lumanu and Eaze—and has built its business supporting them, which has led to high retention rates. —K.C.

Rank

Name

Industry

Location

Growth

Size

17
4
8
5

Trends Paris
Media
France
281%
11-20 Employees
Address
191 Rue Saint Honore, Paris
Region
International
Agency Size
Holding Company
Trends Paris

With a commitment to developing digital marketing, Trends Paris utilizes data to provide PR results for its clients. The agency consistently anticipates new markets, and it has landed over 30 new clients between 2020 and 2021 as a result. For Trends Paris, “it’s never about what the market can give, but how it can be driven forward.” —K.C.

Rank

Name

Industry

Location

Growth

Size

18
6
9

Thinkingbox
Digital
British Columbia, Canada
255%
101-200 Employees
Address
602 West Hastings St., 2nd Floor, Vancouver
Region
US Headquartered (2+ offices)
Agency Size
Multiple Offices/Agency Network
Thinkingbox

Thinkingbox is a global creative collective shaping the future of brands like Adobe, Intuit, Riot Games and Pinterest with a diverse team that blends business with technology and creative storytelling. Even though the pandemic proved to be a fierce challenge, Thinkingbox leaned on its core services, and instead of layoffs, it tripled its staff during 2020 and early 2021. —K.C.

Rank

Name

Industry

Location

Growth

Size

22
7
10

Cheil North America
Full-Service
New York, United States
211%
101-200 Employees
Address
837 Washington St., New York
Region
US Headquartered (2+ offices)
Agency Size
Multiple Offices/Agency Network
Cheil North America

Boasting 55 offices on six continents, Cheil embodies the global agency model with precision and versatility. The agency boasts its speed to market and adjusting to market changes. Its primary growth has come from fostering and enhancing a long-standing partnership with Samsung, with a recent focus on the U.S. market. —K.C.