Should Marketing Agencies Mirror Their Clients’ Values?

As brands increasingly embrace their role as cultural contributors, the decision for marketing agencies in Chicago and elsewhere to either mirror the values of their clients or maintain a neutral stance becomes a complex dance between authenticity, transparency, and societal pressures.



This is something that hits home for us at Fortress because we are not monolithic. All members of the Fortress team carry with them the best aspects of where they came from. The experiences, beliefs, and mindsets born out of that organic diversity shape our individual and collective successes when we come through the doors and into work. Conversely, we fully believe the same is true of our clients. So that’s why Fortress has never siloed into specific industries. When it comes to finding new business, why box yourself out like that? Our agency is proudly multicultural and multigenerational, and we consider that diversity to be one of our strengths. 



It’s far more exciting to learn from the people you’re in business with than to think you have all the answers already. So, the question, then, is this: what role does the agency truly play in the marketing initiatives they orchestrate? It’s a complex question with no answer that is short enough to be hanging on our walls as a reference point. 



That said, there have been some specific projects we can highlight where questions like this have come up that gave us an idea of what our answer is. One is our work with Kam Buckner, a candidate for Mayor of Chicago. We are not a political agency, and this was the first time we had gotten involved with a candidate for office. So, we took a step back and began thinking about what is necessary for a partnership like this to work. It became immediately apparent just how much Kam Buckner cares about the city of Chicago – just like we do – and it did not take long for the excitement of getting to work on a project like this to set in. Though Kam didn’t win the election this time around, we felt immensely proud of the work we did, which was nominated for an Emmy. Check out the “Son of Chicago” campaign launch video we orchestrated here:




Two other examples of similar dynamics we’ve worked through come to mind. The first is our ongoing work with Chicago Bears legend Brian Urlacher. Brian said some things and got vilified in the media. Exactly what was said is in the past now and re-hashing it now is not the point of this blog. His agent called us to ask if we wanted to stop the work and we continued on because we aren’t in the business of canceling people and we believe everyone deserves a second chance. Urlacher’s statements were pro-police at their core and while we can debate his choice of words and delivery, we cannot argue with his right to speak his mind. On the other side of that coin, we have helped launch several campaigns for an anti-police corruption non-profit called Truth, Hope, & Justice, spearheaded by Civil Rights Attorney Andrew Stroth. If you put the THJ team, Brian Urlacher, and the Fortress team all in one room like a Thanksgiving dinner, you might end up with some spirited intellectual debate about societal issues and how to solve them. But what wouldn’t be up for debate is that differing opinions can coexist with respect. For an idea of what the Truth, Hope, & Justice is all about, check out this video, filmed, produced, and edited right here at Fortress.




What we learned across these projects and many others is that ideologies are not the same as motivations. No two people (or no two organizations) can claim to truly have the same exact outlook on the world, but that should not stop them from trying to achieve something together, as long as there is overlap in terms of what drives them. 



Essentially, the question “What drives you?” is far more interesting to us than “Who did you vote for?” or something of the like. In the case of us and Kam Buckner, or us and our longstanding law client, Walner Law, or us and our e-commerce client, Give’r, we found success by realizing that we are driven by a common obsession with meeting the needs of people and improving their lives as a result. To be blunt, it shouldn’t be about money. The money will come if you’re aligned on the motivation question first.


Let a complex thing be simple. If you think you and your potential client – or you and your potential agency – aren’t driven by similar values, it might not be the ideal partnership. But that’s far less a political question than it might seem at a glance. It’s a much deeper, more human one.

In the world of branding, a slogan is akin to a thesis, establishing values and rearranging perceptions with every word. Think about the brands you love; chances are, they have connected with you through their written words. A great slogan is a condensed mission statement, reminding the consumer that they and the brand share the same attitude towards the world; that they and the brand are friends, willing to do right by one another. In this blog, we are going to discuss the significance of slogans, provide insight on what to do and what not to do when crafting a slogan, and reference case studies of brands that Fortress has helped discover slogans and taglines for through our Branding and Corporate Identity Services


The Best Slogans in the World


We all know these slogans, but do we know what makes them so memorable? Let’s start with Nike’s “Just Do It.” This slogan is brilliant for a few reasons; it is extremely brief at only three words and eight letters; it is motivational and fits with their brand philosophy of pushing one’s physical limits and being prepared for adventure; and lastly it is works as as a subliminal message that helps users make their decision to buy from Nike. Debating on getting that new pair of running shoes? “Just Do It.” Enough said.


Next up, Apple. Their iconic slogan, “Think Different,” encapsulates the very essence of their brand philosophy. It’s not just a call to buy their products; it’s an invitation to embrace innovation and individuality. In just two words, they’ve managed to capture the spirit of those who dare to challenge the status quo and break new ground. 

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SENIOR Designer

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      SENIOR designer

      Full Job Description

      Fortress is a fast-growing digital marketing and branding agency headquartered in Chicago that has worked with clients ranging from global corporations like Nike, Jordan, All-State, Acura, athletes, and celebrities like Kevin Hart, Steph Curry, prestigious universities, startups, and everyone in between. We believe in putting family first, being team players, staying humble, and being obsessed with our clients’ success. We provide a unique and energetic culture that fosters creativity and camaraderie.

      We’re currently seeking a full-time Senior Designer to join the team and work out of our Chicago, IL office. The right person for this position sees the bigger picture while remaining passionate about the details.

      You’re knowledgeable and skilled in Web, Branding, large-scale marketing campaigns, and more. You’re a jack of all trades in creative software, but you also have a passion for design beyond the screen. You understand that great design is in the nuance—that subtle cultural references should be woven into the things you create and every project should be approached with the end-user at the center of it. You love working on a team with diverse perspectives and you’re willing to learn from as well as build up those around you. At the core, you’re a problem solver with a knack for making things look good.


      • Contribute to various projects in web, brand identity, and print across multiple industries
      • Collaborate and ideate with the design and marketing teams, while also giving and receiving feedback on designs
      • Create presentations and asset kits to be delivered to team members, clients, and partners
      • Present your creatives to clients with the ability to back up your ideas, while also being open to new ideas and critiques


      • 3-5 years of experience working in design and digital marketing
      • A strong portfolio with a diverse array of work and a strong foundation in basic design principles (typography, layout, color, UX/UI)
      • Problem-solving and storytelling abilities
      • Multi-tasking and prioritization skills
      • Experience working in Adobe CC and Figma
      • 3D, Animation, Video Editing, and Photography is a plus
      • A collaborative mindset
      • A good sense of your own design and visual style
      • Attention to detail
      • A passion for growth and a never-ending curiosity

      Job Type: Full-time


      • 401(k)
      • 401(k) matching
      • Dental insurance
      • Flexible schedule
      • Health insurance
      • Paid time off
      • Professional development assistance
      • Vision insurance


      • 8-hour shift
      • Monday to Friday
      • Weekend availability

      Supplemental Pay:

      • Bonus pay
      • Commission pay

      Ability to commute/relocate:

      • Chicago, IL 60642: Reliably commute or planning to relocate before starting work (Required)


      • Graphic design: 6 years (Required)
      • Web design: 4 years (Required)


      Apply by filling out the form and someone will be in touch with you.

        Attach Files (Resume, Portfolio etc.)



        Someone from our team will reach out to you about your project soon.