BOARDMAN – The Prodigal Company faced a year of adversities like many others as it encountered challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as the agency owner Jeff Hedrich was once told by a business mentor: “Survival is the single most underrated business strategy.”
By focusing on surviving 2020, Prodigal was able to expand its proprietary Brand Scan process, develop COVID-19 appropriate digital services, become a HubSpot agency partner and add several clients to its roster.
Prodigal ended 2020 with the strongest fourth quarter in its 26-year-history, according to Hedrich.
When traditional trade shows and in-person marketing came to a halt, Prodigal used HubSpot’s inbound marketing platform and its Brand Scan process to help manufacturers move forward and drive sales.
Business growth was also aided by Hedrich’s “Branding Hacks” videos series on LinkedIn, which has garnered thousands of views and led to new business opportunities with companies across the United States.
Last year Prodigal added 10 new manufacturing clients, Hedrich reports. Among them are Taylor-Winfield Technologies, BBM Railway Equipment, A-Plus Powder Coaters, Brilex Technical Solutions, Brilex Industries, Chesapeake Specialty Products, ARS Recycling Systems, and Enertech Solutions.
Prodigal also was chosen to represent Humtown Products and Humtown Additive, which were honored by the National Association of Manufacturers.
The agency increased its client base in other industries as well with the addition of Eastern Gateway Community College, Blue Sky Therapy and Tippecanoe Country Club.
Throughout 2020, Prodigal helped many essential business partners navigate the challenging conditions, including two clients for whom it has served as the agency of record for 25-plus years, Farmers National Bank and Sheely’s Furniture and Appliance.
Prodigal assisted Farmers in developing its “Ohio Strong” campaign which informed the community about its commitment to its local stakeholders, and its contactless banking options such as interactive teller machines. This campaign, partnered with the bank’s other initiatives, led Farmers to be recognized as the top community bank PPP lender in northeastern Ohio by Crain’s.
Prodigal’s help in building Sheely’s powerful retail brand over the last 25 years helped the store maintain strong sales in 2020 at its original location in North Lima, Hedrich says. The agency paved the way for the successful launch of its second location in Aurora, which opened with great sales and is on a positive growth trajectory going into 2021.
Other accomplishments include:
• Eastern Gateway Community College achieved a record-breaking year with the help of Prodigal developing its “America’s 21st Century Workforce” campaign.
• For the Regional Income Tax Agency, Prodigal developed a digital strategic communication plan to inform taxpayers across 300 communities about delayed filing dates and additional methods of filing because of COVID-19.
• For Lane LifeTrans, Prodigal communicated the importance of emergency services and the dedication of first responders during the pandemic. The agency also developed a strategic communication advertising program to tell the community about how Lane adapted funeral services because of the realities of COVID-19.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you make of it,” says Hedrich. “The pandemic forced us to scale back and refocus, which ultimately led to new growth opportunities. In 2021, we look forward to continuing to lead in the manufacturing sector, innovating digital technologies and further expanding our team.”
Prodigal, founded in 1994 and based in Boardman, employs nine.