Skylar Werde is working to build on Lola Red's recent growth and translate founder Alexis Walsko's vision into action for the digital public relations agency based in Minneapolis and Denver.
As vice president of operations, Werde is responsible for strategic planning, growth and the "overall well-being of the agency." Werde, an educational psychologist, led a generational consulting firm for six years before joining Lola Red.
In addition to Werde's hiring, Lola Red said this month that it has expanded its client roster by nearly 50%, retained 85% of its clients and added team members including senior talent in its public relations, digital and social divisions and Lola Pro sports-marketing arm.
New clients include consumer electronics, hospitality, consumer-packaged goods and luxury-goods companies, according to the agency. Among them are Finley's Barkery, a Minneapolis-based dog-treat maker; Miko, an educational-robot company; Reverie, a luxury-bed company; and RollinGreens, a maker of frozen, plant-based foods in Boulder.
At Lola Red, Werde also holds the title of "Integrator" to CEO Walsko's "Visionary," roles used in the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) business model, which aims to align a company's goals and vision with results and growth.
Lola Red's independence was critical to Werde's decision to join the agency.
"I work really in lockstep, hand-in-hand with the owner as the 'Integrator,' " Werde said. "I have to be able to translate her vision into action so being independent was essential."
Walsko and Werde also are leading a rebranding of the agency, which she founded two decades ago.
Q: Where does the rebranding stand?
A: We're just starting that process. Alexis started this out of college and developed this incredible lifestyle brand that just did amazing work specifically for consumer brands. From there we became a backyard player for those that wanted to come from Minneapolis and go national. Over time more attention has gone toward that national work. Now we are pushing heavily to say we're your digital PR partner. We're growing up not throwing away. It will still look and feel like Lola Red but we're maturing a bit.
Q: What is contributing to Lola Red's growth?
A: Focus. Honestly knowing where we can win for our clients. With 20 years of experience of knowing where we're great and where we've missed the mark, we know where we win. So we really have focused on consumer brands that we can take to the next level. We're proud of the work that they're doing and that we're doing for them and with them. That's been resonating pretty strongly with other clients as well.
Q: Where is the agency getting those wins?
A: One area is emerging brands. Brands that have a following that we can help grow. If you look at our past work for Love Your Melon (Minneapolis apparel company that gives 50% of net profits to organizations fighting pediatric cancer), it was very, very small and all of a sudden they're a $40 million company. Today, Finley's Barkery is giving 50% of net profits to initiatives that help those with disabilities. We've helped lift them up and we're proud of that work. But most of the brands have some sort of giving principle or understanding of how they're going to take their community along with them.
Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is email@example.com.