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5by5 Agency blazes path as an agency of change

Brentwood-based marketing firm sits among group of fast-growing US companies

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What do a tiny green lizard, the phrase “Can you hear me now?” the Snap, Crackle & Pop elves and an apple with a small chunk bitten off have in common?

They are just a few of the millions of product logos and slogans people everywhere have come to recognize being associated with specific products. 

Logos, slogans, symbols and catchphrases are all a part of branding, an important tool in the marketing business, whether it be for a large, international corporation or a small, local company.  

With a desire to use their skills to help companies, organizations and people to be successful and also make a difference, Shannon Litton, Mike Schatz and Josh Miller created Brentwood-based 5by5 Agency about five years ago.

To ensure their strategic efforts did more than just sell something they developed five core values: 

1.) Two things matter: God and people.

2.) Steward all things well.

3.) Integrity is everything.

4.) Always learn.

5.) Work hard. Laugh loud. Value the experience.

According to Litton, president and CEO of 5by5, they wanted to work with “people and organizations driven by change” and have a double bottom line: revenue and impact. 

Their first client was Katie Davis Moore, founder of Amazima Ministries. After a mission trip to Uganda in 2006, Moore, a Ravenwood graduate, found her calling. She returned the next year and by 2008 founded Amazima Ministries. “Amazima” means “truth” in the native Luganda language and her mission became to educate and empower the people of Uganda through the love of Jesus. 

The organization grew organically, but when Moore needed help to take fundraising to another level, she turned to the recently created 5by5 Agency. Its success in helping Moore in 2014 has them working together now on additional strategic initiatives.  

Since starting up, 5by5 has moved into a new, much larger space, added dozens of talented team members, earned a StoryBrand certification to its list of qualifications, landed at No. 799 in INC magazine’s 2018 list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in America and was recognized as one of Nashville’s best places to work two years in a row.

The term “five by five” refers to a radio signal format measuring reachability and clarity. Five by five is the best possible signal, Litton explained. 

“If you have a marketing problem, it’s either a clarity problem or you’re not reaching the right people,” Litton said. “If you reach everybody with an unclear message, you’re still not getting the word out.”

Likewise, she says, if you have a clear message but still have a problem, it’s not reaching the right people.

Josh Miller, CCO of 5by5, said that once you’re successful, what got you to one level won’t get you to the next. At that point the question becomes, “What’s next?”

To answer that question, a team from 5by5 spends time with each client in an effort to understand its mission, vision and goals, create a relationship, clarify the business message and define the customer. 

According to its website, the company offers strategic, digital and marketing services to “change makers who work where life changes happens.” 

To do that, team members actually go into their clients’ world and become a part of the organization or business.

“For us, it starts with understanding the organization and its goals,” Litton said. “We’re insiders and outsiders. On the inside, we spend enough time understanding the business. On the outside, we have enough perspective to have a level of effectiveness.”

Although branding is the business story, the story is really about the organization’s customer and answering one key question: Why would someone care about the product or business? Litton added.

Branding is more than creating something and attaching advertising. 

“It’s a lot more about helping the customer understand who you are,” Miller said. “We build a brand, then take it and make it work (with a clear consistent message).”

5by5 Agency works with change makers across all professions, including health care; sports and entertainment; nonprofits and for-profits.

In a partnership with the NFL Players Association, 5by5 Agency recently hosted an NFL Draft Prospects Debut Brand Workshop with 30 of the 2019 NFL draftees while they were in Nashville for the annual NFL draft. Litton said that the first-of-its-kind event presented the essentials of building a brand on and off the field.

She said that doing so can be significant because “the average NFL career is three years.” 

The program included members of the NFLPA and 5by5 who discussed building something with more than a personal lasting effect and the challenges of building a brand set up to last after retirement and provide a means for players to use their unique platform to do something life-changing for themselves and for others.

“When you can work with people who are making an impact on the world, we get to be a small part of that,” Miller added. “There are all kinds of companies out there doing amazing things all over the world.”

And in the community. 

5by5 Agency has also worked with World Vision, the Tennessee Titans, Nashville Rescue Mission, Upward Sports, Lincoln Health System, Dr. Meg Meeker, Brentwood Academy, Show Hope and a variety of clients in Williamson County, Middle Tennessee, throughout the country and around the world.

“I want people to know we’re here; we are Williamson County,” Litton said. “We love this county and this community.”

The Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home is one of 5by5’s clients and each June 5by5 team members host a summer picnic. They also help with special needs during the year and special requests at Christmas.

“We love working with change makers,” Miller said. “It’s wonderful to watch people with a passion for their profession also making an impact.”

For more information about 5by5 Agency, go to 5by5agency.com.

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