Agency: The VIA Agency

Location: Portland, ME


Twitter:  @theVIAagency

Instagram:  @theviaagency


For 20+ years as a brand, marketing and advertising agency, The VIA Agency has consistently delivered on one mission: to help clients grow through creativity. Our mission statement might not be unique or clever or pithy … it’s just true. And it’s not to be taken lightly. We need to ensure that we always offer fresh perspectives, challenging insights, and inspiring creative solutions. These are our deliverables, and we have taken great care to create an environment and agency that nurtures them.   

VIA is a place of fearlessness and exploration. We believe creativity is only achieved when one lives richly, openly and fully, so we make that a reality for our employees. It is a strategic imperative and an investment in our business that we call the “Go. Do.” Go out into the world, experience new things, talk with new types of people, try new products, learn something and then, bring it all back to the agency … to the work that we do every day to help our clients grow.   

Our Principles reveal a lot about us.  VIA Principles: 

Be curious: Curiosity leads to creativity. Have an inherent curiosity about life, ideas and clients.     

Honor the process: It’s easy to skip to the end, but follow the process and you might just find an unexpected answer.   

Think like the audience: Know your clients’ audiences well enough to think like they do.   

Create respect: Act in a way that commands respect, and honor those around you with the same courtesy.   

Be on time: Be respectful of time pressures and realities.   

Be on budget: It’s our job to manage our business and our clients’ businesses closely.   

Figure it out: Be confident in yourself and your team to find answers for the toughest challenges. Never give up. This doesn’t mean you don’t ask questions.   

Find the magic: Don’t ever forget that what we are creating involves just a bit of magic.   

Believe: VIA seeks to maintain a positive work environment and asks that all employees continually assess themselves according to VIA’s Behavioral Values to ensure that they are constantly striving to be the best they can be.

Ask yourself …    Have I been honest and forthright with my fellow VIA employees?  Have I openly sought out, listened to and understood others’ opinions?  Have I understood, respected and supported VIA’s decision-making processes?  Have I responded in a timely and appropriate manner?  Have I given my colleagues the benefit of the doubt?  Have I appreciated and acknowledged the contributions each VIA employee makes?  Have I behaved in a way that earns respect from others?  Have I taken initiative to be part of The Answer?        


Top 3 Interesting Facts a #MAIP2017 Fellow Won't Find on the Agency's Website?

Our purpose is simple: to help clients grow their businesses through creativity. It tells us what type of clients we need (ambitious ones who strive for growth) and it broadens our focus from just creative (the output/work we make) to creativity (a mindset and approach to all we do). We ask every VIAn to achieve creativity in everything they do, every day… a tall order and increasingly difficult in today’s fast-paced, deliverable-oriented world. In order to support that ask, the agency management needs to foster a culture of creativity. That doesn’t happen in a scheduled or forced manner. Rather, we have to enable it through open eyes and open hearts … we have to push ourselves to try new things, to get comfortable embracing fearlessness, and to support each other in our creative endeavors.  We believe the following help us to do this.   

  1. VIA teams and activities:   These are the things we bake into our agency environment in a scheduled way.  They include all the teams we support (bowling, basketball, etc.), theannual bocce tournament which consists of 45 or so teams that compete throughout thesummer, providing a reason for daily breaks of 15 minutes to compete andengage with others we don’t necessarily work with, Free Beer & Fiction — a monthly event wherein three names are drawn to be writers/readers for the benefit of the whole agency. They are given a theme to write a story from and then have 20 minutes to read it to the agency at our FB&F meeting (where there is also beer, in keeping with the name), House band and acoustic nights — opportunities for anyone to swing by and participate in an open jam session, learn a new instrument or just sing along.    
  2.  Sabbatical program:   After 10 years of service to the agency, a VIAn is entitled to a six to eight-week sabbatical to learn or explore a skill or challenge he or she has not had time/opportunity to do prior. A $2,500 stipend from the agency enables the journey (pays for a class, trip, materials, etc.) Eligible employees must submit an application to the Executive Team answering the questions "What?" and“Why?” before being granted a sabbatical, and upon return they must give a presentation about what they learned/did/experienced to the broader agency.    
  3. Go. Do. and Hey You! Go. Do.  These are divided into agency-wide events that happen whenever the CEO gets a whim and has a point to make (Go. Do.) and individual adventures (Hey You! Go. Do.) The Go. Do. always has a lesson to be learned, howeverit is NEVER discussed overtly. So far, some of these events have included an exotic food tasting, lunchtime dance party, snow sculpture contest, art museum tour, laughter yoga, sledding, movie time to see Straight Outta Compton at a local theater, no email day, arts-and-crafts hour and improv sessions with a local expert. Hey You! Go.Do. was introduced in 2016 which consists of an individual adventure presented to one VIAn selected at random. The activities are designed to expose theVIAn to a cultural event of significance or optimize a time of year. The only catch isthat, like the sabbatical, the chosen employee must return and share his or herexperiences with the entire agency. To date, we have done three Hey You! Go. Do.’s;  In February 2016, the weekend before the NH primaries, an employee was sent on a political adventure. Armed with a car, a map, some reservations/tickets and a timeline, he set out to see and meet eight presidential candidates representing both parties. Along the way, the employee decided to capture and share his experience on Facebook. Check it out here:   
    1. In late spring and while Lin-Manuel Miranda was still in the lead role, an employee was selected to take a trip to NYC to see Hamilton: An American Musical and see what all the buzz was about. He and his wife stayed at the famed Algonquin Hotel, dined at Sardis and Joe Allen, and sat Orchestra right at the performance.   
    2. Most recently we sent an employee to the North Pole to visit Santa’s Village at the base of the Arctic Circle in Finish Lapland and meet Santa and his elves, go on a reindeer safari, see the northern lights and dine in a restaurant made entirely of ice and snow.   

Top 3 Interesting Facts or Things to Do in the Agency's Host City?

here is an embarrassing long list of things to do in our beautiful small city on the sea, Portland, and throughout the state of Maine, however we've limited ourselves here to just a few:   

  1. Try out the L.L.Bean Discovery School and take a lesson in archery, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding and much more.     Experience our local summer festivals such as the Greek festival, the Italian festival, the Old Port festival and the Yarmouth Clam festival.    
  2. Cruise with Casco Bay Lines and visit the nearby islands such as Peaks for Reggae Sunday.  
  3. Eat in one of our many renown restaurants - though it will be difficult to choose from the hundreds of options.    

This only scratches the surface, but any VIAn will be happy to share their favorite list of things to do and see in and around our city.