O’Brien Industries (OBI Creative) is a research-based, innovation-driven advertising agency based in Omaha, Nebraska.
Founded in 2001 by Mary Ann O’Brien, an Iowa-native, entrepreneur, and former CMO of Gateway Computers, the firm started small, with fewer than 12 employees.
In 2015, O’Brien made a decision to grow into a full-service ad agency. Employees doubled to 25 over the next 18 months and today employ nearly 40 people who are fiercely loyal to each other.
“Our mindset is: we will not let each other fail,” said Karisa Malchow, Director of Client Services. “We are the essence of a team.”
“Every voice matters here. Even when I was an intern, I felt like my voice was heard.”
“We don’t confine ourselves with the status quo,” said Louise Pickens, EVP of Business Strategy and Operations. “We constantly ask what can we do better and we’re always ready to change how we think.”
OBI has built a sterling client roster of Fortune 500 companies, startups and nonprofits from around the city, the region and the nation.
“We build brands based on the perspectives and behaviors of their target customer audience, moving them to engage with brands in new and exciting ways.”
But aside from hard-nosed data and research, OBI also focuses on helping their clients understand their customer’s journey, or the experience he or she goes through to become a customer.
“Understanding this journey allows business leaders to put themselves in their customers’ shoes, to evaluate each touch point those customers experience, and to know how to favorably influence their decisions,” said Malchow.
“It’s the key that unlocks growth opportunities.”
“At the end of the day, customer loyalty and your bottom line are too important to be left to chance,” said Malchow. “Good research delivers insight that frees you to make confident decisions, which ultimately not only leads to healthier bottom lines, but happier customers as well.”
Winning Insights from Our Winner:
Best Practice Tip for Small Business Owners
“Always understand the customer journey. This is the experience a person has and the process he or she goes through to become your customer. Understanding this journey allows you, as a business leader, to better evaluate their experience, and to know how to favorably influence their decisions.”
The Value of Chamber Involvement
“First and foremost, it gives us that sense of belonging,” said Pickens. “We’re here in Omaha and care about the business climate. It’s a rooting of who we are as professionals in this community. It helps us feel connected to everyone here in Omaha.”
“Plus, the chance to network with our peers and potential clients is invaluable. Not to mention all the webinars, meetings, and events help further our growth as a company and our ability to directly impact the local economy.”
Giving Back to the Community
“If OBI had a ‘formula’ for accomplishment, it would be an unyielding commitment to improving the community by selecting a nonprofit organization to help each year with communication and advertising efforts.”
“We’ve worked with charities such as Angels Among Us, The Boys and Girls Clubs, Boys Town, Colon Cancer Coalition, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Nebraska Humane Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities in Omaha, and the YMCA of Greater Omaha.”
Exceptional Customer Service
“The primary way we gauge our customers’ satisfaction level with our service is by being intentional about regularly asking them how we’re doing and whether or not we are meeting their expectations.”
“We return every call and email within 24 hours because that communicates respect and shows we value their time, needs, and input. We use master service agreements and statements of work that clearly outline deliverables, timelines and budgets so that we can manage our clients’ expectations and promote harmony, transparency, integrity and respect.”
Overall Operating Philosophy
“Our cause is to make an effect; to make sure our headlines turn heads; and to make every pixel pop and every strategy shake up the status quo. We’re a formidable talent fighting in the name of your brand. And as industry experts with appetites for disruption, we don’t stop until we have ideas that move people to action and results that validate our research.”
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