December 03, 2019
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Fast-growing Lewiston marketing company gets personal in the digital age

Lori Valigra | BDN
Lori Valigra | BDN
Stephen Gilbert, CEO (left), and Josh Pritchard, president, of Anchour, a Lewiston-based brand and digital marketing company that was named one of Inc. magazine's fastest-growing private companies.

LEWISTON, Maine — A branding and digital marketing company that aims to personalize the digital presence of clients expects high growth this year as it increases its revenue, employees and office space.

Anchour expects to boost revenue by 50 percent in 2019 and add eight more people by next year to join the current 22 employees, said Stephen Gilbert, CEO and co-founder of the company, which is located on Lisbon Street in downtown.

“We also need to expand our office, which is 2,000 square feet,” he said. “We want to stay in Lewiston.”

With the company’s rapid rise, he’s looking for up to triple the current amount of space. Anchour also plans to open an office in California next year as it takes on more clients there.

The 6-year-old Lewiston company helps clients with web development, digital marketing, rebranding, website design and telling their company’s story through their brand.

Anchour was named to the Inc 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the United States last week, one of 11 Maine companies to get that prestigious ranking.

Anchour came in fourth among Maine companies on the list and was No. 892 overall. The company’s revenues were up 476 percent to $2.5 million from 2015 to 2018.

About half of Anchour’s clients are in Maine and half are in the rest of the country. Maine clients include Agren Appliance, Dirigo Federal Credit Union, Baxter Brewing, Marden’s and new Southeast Asian restaurant Boba of Lewiston.

A little more than two years ago Anchour, which likes to create a story behind a brand, totally revamped Rainbow Credit Union. It came up with a new name, brand identity, interior design for all branches and website design.

The new name, Dirigo Federal Credit Union, is a takeoff on the state of Maine’s motto, “Dirigo,” meaning “I lead.” For the credit union, it represents continued momentum and growth.

“They are strong in the digital area, making an impact with a brand and brand awareness. Those are all things we were looking for,” said Nicole Mailhot, chief business officer at Dirigo.

Agren Appliance, the largest independent appliance dealers in the state, used Anchour to rebrand as well, said Eric Agren, marketing manager. The family business is based in Auburn.

Agren had previously hired Anchour to work on the website and branding for Fuel, a Lewiston restaurant he owned that closed last fall.

“Agren needed to rebrand itself as it was getting stale,” he said. “We needed to get coherent branding across all of our signage and business cards. Anchor understands what we need.”

Josh Pritchard, 36, who is president of Anchour, said one thing that distinguishes his company from other marketing firms is that it can “marry high-end creative work with world-class technical assets.” And it personalizes the strategy for the client and its customers.

“We ask ‘why are we talking now? What are the goals” How do you want to grow?’” he said. “If I know the goals of the relationship, then there is engagement all around.”

Gilbert, 28, started the company in August 2013 after working as a web designer for a small firm in Farmington. He said the trend at the time was for companies to outsource design and digital development work, so he felt separated from clients.

“One of the key things I wanted was to start a firm that would have a close connection to clients,” he said. Anchour does not subcontract various aspects of digital design, branding and marketing work. Instead it does all that work itself.

“We integrate well with our clients,” Gilbert said. “We are not the best fit for everyone. We want to align with clients with core beliefs who love what they’re doing.”

That’s one aspect of Anchour that attracted client Kate Farms, a Santa Barbara, California-based company that makes organic plant-based nutrition formula for medicinal use.

“What makes Anchour special is in our first meeting with them, the interview went both ways. They were interviewing us as much as we were interviewing them,” said Nory Emori, creative director at Kate Farms.

“Josh and Stephen made it clear that they just don’t take any company as a client,” she said. “They need to believe in the company and in [its people].”

She credits Anchour’s work in market repositioning and rebranding with helping Kate Farms grow from 20 people two years ago to 80 employees today.

“We are very much partners,” she said.

 



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