SWELL is made up of a team of digital marketers who share the passion of representing your business as you visualize it in an online community.

Swell Digital Marketing Agency

Why I Chose A Digital Marketing Agency (And Why You Should Too!)

Digital marketing isn’t going away.

Smart, unique, noteworthy marketing has never been more necessary than it is today. And it isn’t slowing down. It’s a freight train of innovation, barreling into the future at breakneck speed, as fast as technology and analytics allow it to go.

Even if you don’t really pay attention to marketing and advertising, if you’re in the business sphere (and you are), you’re probably well aware of the necessity to have an online presence. If you have kids with a tablet, a spouse with a FitBit, or have a smartphone, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that unless you’re online, you’re irrelevant. And that’s because you’re smart, and you recognize that’s what people want and need. They want you to be accessible and convenient.

But that’s just the thing. Too many people stop at the beginning. What I mean by that is they stop at just being present…at JUST being online. Think about that in terms of your relationships. It’s one thing to be present…but it’s an entirely different thing to be INTENTIONAL and pursuing CONNECTION. Your customers are begging you to engage with them, and make real connections with them where they are, and where they go for their information.

Get this: 78% of local-mobile searches result in an offline purchase, and 72% of local-mobile searches resulted in a store visit within 5 miles

3 out of 4 searchers decisions are driven by digital marketing. If you’re not on the first page of Google (meaning you’re not taking your SEO seriously) then you’re missing out on your motivated customer base.

Here’s another interesting fact. 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases. Oh yeah. And they didn’t say, 81% of ONLINE shoppers. It’s 81% of people who are going to buy something more than a coffee or sandwich. If that doesn’t motivate you to present yourself in the best possible way online, then I don’t know what will. There are roughly 100 billion Google searches each month, so imagine how many people you’re a.) missing altogether, or b.) people who find you are drawing false assumptions about you and your business because of the way you’re presented online. Like it or not, your website will define you and can steer away even the most motivated buyer. If you don’t make a connection, someone else will. If you’re not engaging, you’re missing out.

Ok, it’s important. Can’t I do it myself?

Reasons to choose an agency…and why I chose SWELL


When you hire an agency, you’re hiring a team of professionals dedicated to perfecting their craft day in and day out. Like I stated above, the digital marketing world is constantly changing, whether it’s Google algorithms or the latest marketing trend, and you’ve got a business to run. Hiring a group of trained professionals to stay on top of it for you will not only take a load off your plate, but make your marketing efforts much more effective and efficient.


Can you do it yourself? Sure, but as I mentioned in the previous point, you’re hiring a GROUP of professionals. It’s the proverbial bang for your buck, and marketing is all about ROI. An agency prides themselves on bringing you the results you want to see. It becomes personal. If they fail, there’s no one to blame. The same dollar that would be going to someone in-house is now going to someone who’s future is tied to making sure you successful, because you could leave at any time if you wanted to.


I haven’t come across a more passionate group of individuals, not only about their craft, but about the clients they work with. Who wouldn’t want to jump on board with a company that sees value in each and every client and helps them tell their story to anyone who will gaze on a smartphone or tablet? Whether it’s creating unique user experience on a new website…coming up with a digital strategy rooted in solid analytics and data…or about hearing people’s stories and bringing them to life digitally…  we have a passion to help businesses connect with their customers in a real and meaningful way, beyond just a transaction.

Relationship: And for SWELL, relationships are everything. We believe in investing in you. You are more than a transaction; we want to become an extension of your business. We want to be on your team. We want to establish trust through transparency, and be authentic in everything we do. We believe if you succeed, we succeed, and we truly are better together.

And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. Marketing has never been about selling something. It’s about finding the right person for your solution, product or service. It’s about connection. Relationship. Authenticity. That’s why I chose SWELL.

marketing internship swell digital grand rapids

Marketing Internship with SWELL Digital Marketing – Grand Rapids, MI

Who You Are:

Creative student looking to gain some real-world experience before you go out into the big post-grad world. You jump at the chance for a challenge and are internally motivated to expand your creative skill set. Constructive criticism is your friend and you enjoy working with others who want to include you in the campaign process. You consider yourself professional but thrive in a close-knit work atmosphere where you can be yourself.

Who We Are:

SWELL is a growing digital marketing agency in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. We run well as a lean team, all working towards the best strategy for our clients. Our team at SWELL is a small group of passionate marketers who believe in using technology and data to its fullest potential. All ideas are welcome and encouraged within our group and we are looking for someone who wants to contribute with us.

Marketing Internship

  • Light project management
  • Blog editing/writing
  • Creating social media or infographics
  • Content writing
  • Data entry
  • Working within CMS for websites
  • Working directly with clients
  • Collaborating with rest of SWELL team on campaigns and projects


  • Third Year Standing
  • All majors considered (Business, Marketing, Communication, and Design preferred)

Paid Internship


Startup Weekend Unwind

I’m sure you can quickly recall a moment when you didn’t feel prepared, or were worried about being good enough to pull off a big project. This is a story about that.

This summer our office attended a Startup Weekend. About a week and a half before our departure, our fearless leader (Jason Sasso) emailed an itinerary to our office. I read through it all with enthusiasm and an eye for detail.

A phone call to Jason went something like this:

Me: Ohmygod I think I’ve gotten myself in too deep, this seems really intense, this is a bigger deal than I thought. What should I be researching, what books do I need to read, how can I cram before this?!

Jason: Cool your jets, you’re gonna be fine. You have more to offer than you give yourself credit for. You bring wonderful and new perspectives to every project. You’re gonna be great.

Me: But, but, but..If you say so. *mumbled sounds of worry*

At Camp BluSky

After arriving to Camp BluSky for our event we chose teams and settled in. I quickly realized my team really didn’t have the skillset we needed in order to pull together a full business proposal by the end of the weekend. As I researched our proposed gadget I found it already existed. As I tried to improve upon the current design, I realized I had no idea how to do that. I had chosen a cool idea to hop on board with, but we just didn’t have what we needed to make it work the way I wanted or expected.

Jason was great. My coworkers are amazing. Always positive, always giving me gold. Always making wonderful suggestions. The mentors for the weekend were doing the same.

My brain was spinning, I was feeling overwhelmed and worried about flopping. Admittedly, I was making a bigger deal out of this than what it needed to be. But uh… that’s what happens when you’re a perfectionist. For better or worse, you put that pressure on yourself. I went to bed quite worried about how the rest of the weekend was going to pan out if I stayed with the team I had chosen.

What I Learned

You know what I learned? I learned it’s okay to know your limits, take a break, and decide to leave. It’s totally ok to switch teams, because it’s really important to be matched with people that can utilize your strengths and help bring out the best in you. I greeted the morning with determination. I respectfully switched to a different team. This is totally kosher, and happens a lot.

Camp BluSky Startup Weekend


My new teamies greeted me with smiles and love. They were lively, full of ideas, eager to do the work, AND had done startup pitches before. Yesssss! It is amazing when you find your fit. I felt a lift in my step when I found a better team for myself. The people you surround yourself with, the energy you gather from your team (in all areas of life), impacts the way you work in the most outstanding way.

You guys, this is a metaphor for life. When you come into any situation (whether it’s in work, school, a relationship) and it feels scary, you feel unprepared, you feel like a doofus… it’s good to put in your best effort. And, it’s good to know your limits. Take a deep breath and surround yourself with environments that bring out all the best in you! Because, I think you’re probably more awesome that you even know.

Finishing the Pitch

Time management can be a beast in normal life but this event really takes it to a whole new level. When you’re put into a large group with wonderfully intelligent thinkers and idea-havers, sometimes it’s tricky to stay on task. I sometimes felt like I was herding squirrels in a peanut factory. I was often reminding everyone of tasks at hand and the ever waning countdown to final pitches. At other times felt like I was a student amongst a tribe of gurus. I was often taking back seat while they organized financials and created in CAD.

All in all, the spirit of this group was just phenomenal. We’d found a dance and a balance with one another that allowed us to have fun in the midst of a difficult project. I once read that a characteristic of lasting relationships is being able to laugh in the middle of a big fight. The ability to see that even though this might be hard and stressful, there is definitely a happy end in sight. Everyone was so supportive of one another, upbeat, a real “we can do this!” attitude. I have to admit, I was the Negative Nancy more often than I would have liked. Because, you GUYS, we’re running out of time!

During the final countdown I was asked to present the final pitch for our idea. Honestly, in that moment, I was hesitant that we’d actually be able to pull it off and have a decent presentation by the time we needed to. My teamies praised me for helping everyone stay on task, and by golly, by the skin of our teeth, we totally pulled off our pitch. We totally did it. (And yeah, I helped pitch it.)

Coming out the other end of the weekend, I feel completely humbled. I feel bigger, and stronger, and braver for it. My team, my office of humans that see me for so many hours every week, have now experienced a version of me that I think a lot of us work to hide. There were moments where my anxiety was pretty high and I was totally checking out. In my head I was questioning whether I could be successful at this. I knew they could see it on my face. I don’t know if they realize it, but this event was hard for me and I felt so vulnerable to have these humans see me on the ride.

But uh..real life is a ride. We want our offices to be places we come to be experts at things. We are “Social Media Marketing Gurus” and “Executive Directors” and “Designers” and “Specialists”. We have our lives together, and these lives don’t impact the work we do inside the office walls. In this space we have answers, we have solutions, we finish projects, we meet deadlines, we don’t have problems, we don’t have issues. Or at least that’s what we strive for and want everyone to think, right?

But let’s remember that we’re real live humans. We can be honest and real about the fact that sometimes our separate worlds impact one another. And guess what? Even when there are bumps in the road, everything still works out just fine. Projects still get finished, pitches still get made, and the camaraderie that’s born out of working hard together is completely priceless.

If you sometimes feel worried about being good enough and pulling off overwhelming tasks here are some more suggestions from a successful newbie:

  1. Research your project! But, give yourself a limit on how much time you’re willing to put into your research before starting in on whatever your project is. If you’re like me, the more you know the more you’ll realize you don’t know and you’ll get totally overwhelmed. At some point you’ll have to jump in, but having a toolbox of information to draw from might be helpful. Also, know that there will definitely be others there to help you. You can always lean on a friend or coworker for extra input.
  2. Set your intention! Are you here to learn? Are you here to win? Are you here to party? Taking a moment to prepare yourself for what you’re coming into, and what you’re hoping to get out of it will help you feel more prepared to greet whatever comes your way. Now, throw half of that down the drain and just go with the flow. Take a deep breath, and chill out. Let go of hard expectations. Like they say, “You make plans, and the universe smashes them.” … or something like that.
  3. Be less cool! Better yet, just be yourself. When choosing a team, friends, new job, partner, or anyone else you’re going to surround yourself with, think less about how cool they are and more about how your skillset, knowledge base, and the things that make you unique will be utilized toward success. Will you feel appreciated, smart, well utilized? Will you feel like you can be the best version of yourself? Will you be welcomed for who you are? Sometimes we realize we’re just not a good fit, and that’s great! Because then we get to continue our adventurous search for the good fit.
  4. Mindset and attitude! When a project or problem feels overwhelming, reframing it in your mind can make all the difference. At Startup I pretended I was back in school. It felt like I had left my entire semester project to the last minute and had 36 hours before it needed to be presented to the prof. and entire class. With that mentality, somehow, everything felt totally doable.
  5. It’s okay to peace-out for a minute! Seriously. I’m someone that wants to always plow through issues and work that comes to me. I don’t want to leave a situation until it’s resolved. But, sometimes you just have to. You have to get up and go for a walk. Get up and have a beer. Get up and tell a joke. Relax. Deep breath. And then get back to it.
  6. Know that you ARE good enough. Or, fake it until you make it. There’s something to be said about Bill Murray’s tactics in What About Bob? Telling yourself, “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful!” or something similar, actually does help your brain believe it. Google it, there’s empirical evidence to prove it.

SWELL team goes to Startup Weekened

(That’s me. Pitchin’ like a pro.)

inspired swell digital agency

How Swell Has Created Inspired Experiences

Making the move from being a marketer in-house to an agency setting was a huge decision for me. The thought of a faster paced work-life was intimidating, but there were so many qualities about the team at Swell that intrigued me to want to be a part of their vision. It was apparent to me after talking with Jason, Swell’s managing partner, that he was so passionate about the business and where they were headed. I have to say his energy was quite infectious.

When I finally came aboard early this month, I was able to witness firsthand that the team at Swell was composed of a solid group of extremely talented and honest people. Over the course of two weeks I’ve been able to understand the tone set with clients, the dedication of work put into each project, and the values shared by everyone at Swell.

Swell Digital RelationshipRelationship

From the moment a client comes in contact with Swell, they will notice a difference with service. What I’ve seen demonstrated in the relationship between the agency and its customers is trust. Before even meeting with a client, Jason and the rest of the team at Swell was already coaching me to act in a way that supports and nurtures a long-term relationship with every client. Building trust is the key to any successful relationship, so why wouldn’t that be at the
forefront of our minds?

From the very first time management sits down with a potential customer, they are concerned with fully educating who is in front of them in the digital marketing process. The online world of marketing can be an overwhelming and confusing part of a business to understand. Where other agencies may look at that as an opportunity to take advantage of someone who may be less informed, the people at Swell go the extra mile and want to make sure the client is comfortable in continuing business. Wouldn’t you want to know what exactly your paid contractor is doing all day, and be able to actually see and understand how that is helping you?

Even after the first meeting, I’ve already been able to witness the timeliness of every team member responding with answers to questions and solutions to problems. Not only that, but Jason and the rest of staff feel it’s important to go the extra mile for reporting. When most agencies will send a document over of charts and percentages every so often, Swell prefers to be face to face with their customers every month. When I asked why that was done rather than saving much more time and sending analytics through email, I was told that having that conversation one-on-one is vital for making absolutely sure there is nothing left unanswered or confusing.


Dedication to Quality

With every project I’ve looked at in the Swell portfolio, there isn’t one that I’ve seen where I wasn’t impressed with the quality of work. It’s easy to see that the time and effort put into making beautiful sites, brands, written content, and optimization all came from some very talented people. Even more than talent, what I’ve seen firsthand in my short time here is the dedication that these individuals put into every piece of work.

Something Jason has been driving home with me day in and out is the mantra that quality work doesn’t have to come at a high price. Many of our clients don’t have the resources to be spending massive amounts of money on campaigns, but should that mean they should have to be left behind in a digital world? The way I see it, digital marketing levels the playing field. Anyone can have an online presence these days, changing the way everyone does business. But most people don’t know exactly what goes into professional grade websites and the like. I believe Swell is here to help those individuals; the ones who care enough about their business to do something bold enough to hire a group of strangers to manipulate the very intimate parts of their brand.

The other factor in developing quality work is skill level. Although everyone at the agency is considered a master of their craft in my eyes, reason would say that skill and mastery is an ongoing and never-ending process. In order to stay up-to-date and relevant on industry standards and best practices, everyone at Swell is dedicated and responsible for continuing their education through available resources. I can’t emphasize enough how “on top of the ball” these people are. Every day I’ve come into the office someone is referencing a new way to try things in the digital space. It’s quite inspiring and helps in igniting my own passion for learning.

Partner at SwellCompany Values

To summarize the authenticity of Swell Digital and what sets them apart from the rest is their values. Values to this group are more than a few written paragraphs on an “about us” webpage. These guys (and gals) live and breathe their values every day. From volunteering to putting in those late night hours for a project, Swell, when it comes down to it, is a group of good people. From the trustworthy relationships and quality work I’ve already mentioned, the individuals here are just as hardworking and trusting in the office as they are at home. Not once have I come across an instance where the “path of least resistance” was taken. If it’s going to be done at all, it’s going to be done right.

Something I’ve heard in every client meeting thus far has been, “If you don’t see the value in what I’m doing, I’d rather you get rid of me.” If that doesn’t scream integrity, I don’t know what does. The work being done here isn’t just to pay the bills. It’s bigger than that. What Swell is doing is creating a culture in business. One where both parties can sit down and look each other in the eye and fully understand what problems need to be fixed and how that can and will be accomplished.

Swell Digital Marketing Agency

We’re Rebranding! Here’s Why:

When my business partner and I founded Paramount, we had one main goal: to help businesses grow. We had no real idea what that was going to look like, but we knew both of us had done so in various ways throughout our professional careers, and we knew it was what we loved to do. We never thought our “brand” would be very public and we never anticipated our vision and mission would matter much to our clients – as long as we helped them grow. So, we launched Paramount without much concern for either and got right to work.

Our focus changed, but our goals stayed the same.

Starting in the business development space, we immediately saw how much need and opportunity there was for insightful, responsive, and personal consultants to help small and medium businesses navigate the complex world of digital marketing.  Not only did many of our clients not even know about SEO at the time, but even more of them barely had a web presence at all. During that first year or so, we probably did more educating our clients on what’s possible from a digital perspective than we did actually doing any implementation. But our clients needed the solutions and the solutions they were getting weren’t great, and they certainly weren’t personal.  To help, we partnered with some amazing vendors here in the United States and got right to work. I even learned web design and optimization myself, and we shifted our focus to helping our clients stay ahead of the digital marketing curve and ahead of their competition.

We realized we were on to something.

As we grew our client list and our capabilities, so too did we grow our network of contractors. Then one day I looked at our team, and realized we had come a long way from a “business development consultancy” and had created a full-service digital marketing agency – capable of not just strategy, but implementation. There was clearly a gap in the market and without realizing it, we had begun to fill it. Contractors gave way to employees, consultations gave way to strategy sessions, and the results kept getting better and better. .

The day had come when we looked at what we had created – simply through reacting to the market – and realized it deserved a proactive and purposeful focus all its own.

I think it probably came as a surprise when I came to our team and asked them how they would feel about working on rebranding ourselves. We were working on bigger campaigns than we had in the past, crafting more beautiful websites, creating highly branded material, and developing brands and identities for clients that we could never have without the talents of our designers and strategists. I no longer felt our own brand (or website, for that matter) was doing justice to the work we were creating, let alone the work we were capable of. For me; it was time for a change. While they may have been surprised that I asked, I wasn’t surprised when our team excitedly said yes.

So we got to work recreating our own identity.

We asked ourselves the questions we’ve asked all of our clients but had yet to take the time to ask ourselves. And we came up with answers we were proud of. We went through the lengthy process of renaming ourselves. We went through revision upon revision to our logo, bringing meaning and team investment into every aspect. Most of all, we created values. We hadn’t just renamed ourselves, we had (re)defined ourselves.

“Paramount” has become “Swell”


There is quite a lot of intention behind our new name, but even more behind our value system. I really can’t say these aren’t the values we’ve operated under as Paramount; because they are. We had just never sat down as a team and defined them. Our values reflect how we do business, they reflect us as people, and we’re excited about the next stage of our evolution with these values at the core of what we do:


Be Decisive. Use proven strategies. Exceed Expectations.


Love what you do. Get better at it every day.


Listen with intention, communicate purposefully, be genuine in all that you do.


It’s not just a buzzword to us. We craft the noteworthy. We create the distinct.


Success is powered by people and we are better together. Invest in each other, trust each other, and watch great things happen.


We are aware of our local and global surroundings and make time for opportunities to make our world a better place.


We are a collection of experts made better by each other. We are not an assembly line. Everyone puts their stamp on every campaign. Knowledge is shared & everyone contributes.



What’s Changing, and What’s Not.

At the end of the day, there’s not too much changing here. Yes, we’re going to be looking a lot different around here in the weeks to come, but our heart will be staying right where it always was.

When we started, we thought the world would welcome a digital agency that’s just as invested in your goals as you are…That looks you in the eye…That brings expertise and modesty to every conversation…That wants you to profit more than we do…That is incredibly transparent. And we feel like we’ve been received pretty well so far. We have amazing relationships with our clients and we wouldn’t be here without them putting so much trust and confidence in us.

Yes, we care about leads. Yea, we care about reach. Of course we care about sales. And we most definitely care about data. But what we care about most is what all these things can help you achieve. ROI is important, but the most rewarding part of what we do is to see our work impact an organization at the fundamental level. Whether you want more sales to be able to employ more people and feed more families, free up more time to spend with yours, or build your audience to have more meaningful conversations with the world; there’s meaning behind your goals. We’re here to help build momentum to get you there and support you every step of the way. And none of this is different from how we began.


So what’s changing? Well, our logo, our website, and our business cards. But not much else. And we truly want to thank you for being a part of it all.


Legacy, and the impact of a socially responsible company culture.

As we begin to wrap up the year, and move toward the season of giving, I can’t help but contemplate our company’s mission.

We’ve done well this year, had the opportunity to invest back into our company, and we did quite a bit of free and discounted work for both national and local nonprofits. We even took losses on a couple projects because we believed in the mission.

But another event has happened last week that has really brought social responsibility to the forefront of my mind.

Doug Tompkins & Social Responsibility

In 2010, I had the opportunity to meet & talk with Doug Tompkins, the founder of The North Face who became a prominent conservationist. He and I talked at length about his conservation efforts in Patagonia (more on this later) and about my newly formed business in the mountains of Colorado. We talked about adventure. We talked about capitalism. And we talked about life. He was one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. Our conversation was relaxed and one of the most natural I had ever had with a stranger; especially a stranger of such prominence. I mean, the Founder of such an immensely popular brand shouldn’t be that down-to-Earth, am I right?

It is a strange feeling for me to smile about the way in which ANYONE dies. But Doug died Tuesday December 8th 2015 at the age of 72, doing something he loved. While obviously still tragic, there is something beautiful about a lifelong adventurer, accomplished outdoorsmen, and noted conservationist dying while kayaking in a part of the world he’s fought so hard to protect for decades.


What Doug has done throughout his life I’ve admired tremendously. Not just the travel & adventure he’s been able to have, but the journey he’s taken professionally. Doug founded ESPIRIT and The North Face, earning him plenty of money. However, in 1990, Doug decided to get out of “making stuff that nobody needed” (as he put it) and shift his focus to the issues that really mattered to him: corporate globalization, sustainable agriculture, preserving wild places, and stopping the clearcutting of ancient forests.

So Tompkins started the Foundation for Deep Ecology and moved to Chilean Patagonia, where he began using his fortune to buy up large parcels of land to form Pumalin Park. Two years later he founded the Conservation Land Trust. Through this process , He and his wife Kris (who is also the former CEO of Patagonia), to date, have donated close to 800,000 acres back to Argentina and Chile as a natural preserve. Facing challenges such as bad development projects, poor & corrupt local governments, and a powerful forestry industry; Doug has said, “I have even begun to think that I am caring for Argentina and Chile perhaps more than Argentines and Chileans.” At the date of his death a few days ago, Doug and Kris owned almost 2.2 Million acres of “ancient forest” in the Patagonia region of South America. I’d say Doug accomplished his goals and then some. What a feeling. What a legacy.

Defining our Legacy

I’ve been proud of the work we’ve been able to perform low cost or even donate at no cost for many causes we’ve believed in. But I’d be lying if I said a team as small as ours wasn’t stretched thin during that time. At times it’s put a strain on us, both with workflow management and financially.

The legacy Doug has left for the world has got me thinking about, well, my own – but also about Paramount’s. When it pertains to growing our business, I can ask myself all sorts of operational or personnel questions – and I can usually answer – if nothing else we usually have a plan to explore possible answers. But when it comes to legacy, even knowing what questions to ask becomes much more difficult.

  • Are we “giving back” enough?
  • How can we be better stewards of society and our community?
  • Can we accomplish these goals in a way that is financially responsible to our agency?

The Internal Impact of Social Responsibility

But how do we justify this as a business? Either we’re donating our time, which we all know time is money – or resources, which costs money – or actually donating money, which well, IS money. Don’t get me wrong, a pro-bono or low cost project may be warranted every once and a while. But because we are a small agency, without a ton of cash lying around; HOW we help will matter to the third question in this list. We really have run ourselves ragged for a no-revenue cause before, and that condition of work doesn’t end up helping the cause itself, and it certainly doesn’t inspire our team to do more good.  So answering the third question is vital.

Notice however that we’re not asking this question in terms of being financially “beneficial”, simply financially “responsible”. While I believe that true service will probably benefit our agency financially down the road (albeit indirectly); doing good with the sole motivation of benefiting yourself is hollow and will yield a hollow benefit.  Still there is real impact that comes from choosing socially responsible practices as core company values, many of which are not financial.

Community Impact

Pretty obvious, and should certainly be the primary motivation. Grand Rapids is an amazing city, with special things happening all over town. We are honored to have been a part of it thus far, and are looking forward to exploring opportunities to impact a community we very much believe in.

Skill Development

We’ll be encouraging our team to donate their professional talents during the week, and during paid time. If an employee is still “doing their job” while volunteering, in can enrich those skills through performing them in a completely new setting, with all different challenges.

Attitudes + Interaction

There are all sorts of statistics on this, but employees who come back after volunteering are upbeat. They feel good. And they’ll be happy their employer gave them the opportunity. A UnitedHealth Group study found that 87% of people who volunteered in the last year said that volunteering had developed teamwork and people skills, and 81% agreed that volunteering together strengthens relationships among colleagues. Encourage employees, or an entire team to go out together. By volunteering together, they’ll not just be out of the office with their co-workers – which is refreshing – but they’ll come back with a unique bond which will no doubt enhance the environment in the office.

Employee Health

According to the same UnitedHealth study linked above; 78% of people who volunteered reported lower stress levels, and 76% say that volunteering has made them feel healthier.


With morale high, productivity will go up guaranteed. Take this quote from Michael Stoik, manager of research and analytics for the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy: “A highly engaged workforce is more likely to exert extra effort and have lower turnover rates, which can be linked to increased output, sales, and profitability,”

Talent Acquisition

Again, there are plenty of statistics here too, but the fact of the matter is millennials are demanding these volunteer opportunities as they look for jobs, says Stroik. “They want to know the companies they work for will let them express their values while on the job,” he says. “Companies know that they have to build these programs into their workplace if they are to recruit and retain the best talent available.”

Giving Back

For all these reasons and more, in 2016 we hope to choose at least three charities to donate time, money, or resources. We hope to volunteer as a team at least one full day every quarter at a local service charity. We’ll also look for opportunities to provide pro-bono or low cost projects to non-profits and other worthy causes. If you are a business owner considering how to implement an employee volunteer program, or how to become more socially responsible, let’s talk. I think I could provide you with some great resources to get you started.

At Paramount, I feel blessed to have a team that has a heart for doing good. A lot of people SAY they care, and I’m sure they do. But we really do have a fire to prove it, both personally and professionally.  Reach out to me if you want to hear some examples, I’ll give you some great ones from our recent past. But I have a feeling we’re going to do some big things in 2016!

Why Art Prize Matters

The city is starting to buzz with activity as venues get staged, signs get erected, & temporary hubs get established. Creative energy is starting to flow as the entire city becomes an art exhibit. Take a step downtown: you can feel it. Art Prize is here, and for the next 19 days, so will people and artists from all over the world.

Having just moved our offices downtown Grand Rapids, this will be the first year our team will be working amongst the energy Art Prize brings to this city. And we’re looking forward to taking it all in. But having grown up in Grand Rapids, I’ve watched Art Prize help transform this city into a thought-leader in commerce and development. With over 1500 individual works of art, over 3 square blocks of downtown, in venues from world-renowned museums and private galleries to public parks, restaurants and local coffee shops – to experience Art Prize, you must experience Grand Rapids.

The best part – and why Art Prize really matters – is that the event has fostered Grand Rapids into a cultural meeting place

The event itself is a collaboration of minds who have crafted something truly inspired. They’ve successfully integrated tenets of economic/community development, social equity, environmental sustainability, artistic expression, popular votes, and professional critique. It’s really quite impressive.



Courtesy of Artprize.org



It’s easy to see why the Art Prize event has received such acclaim. In fact, Art Prize has now transcended Grand Rapids, debuting in Dallas in 2016 – a city with almost 6 Million more people than GR! They’ve built something that other people, in other places have a true desire to replicate. And they’ve built it so well, that it’s going to be incredibly easy to do so. So in the words of Spock – “Your logic is sound [Art Prize Developers]”

But back to why Art Prize matters so much. Though all of these are remarkable too: it’s not the money it brings to the city, or the visitors exposed to our wonderful little second-city, it’s not even the fact that venues are local businesses (some of whom you may never have visited if it weren’t for the event). No, it matters because of the art. With a seemingly all-out assault on the fine arts in schools and a discouraging amount of employment opportunities in creative industries; events like Art Prize make creativity mainstream again…if only for a little while. For someone in a creative (and increasingly analytical) based industry, I can see emphasis on the arts waning in our world. There has become “too many account managers, not enough creatives”.  Aspiring professionals are told these days that art, music, and design are subjective industries and therefore extremely difficult to succeed in. Which to a certain extent is true, but that just makes it more vital for people continuing to pursue their passions for the arts. This event might be modernizing our little city, but in it’s own significant way,  Art Prize is keeping art alive for everyone. And if you’re an aspiring artist, you should probably enter Art Prize 2016 because the contest yields the winners some serious cash (even though the exposure is what really matters, RIGHT?). Check it out.



All to say, I’m proud of our city. I’m excited to be down here during Art Prize. And I hope to see you wandering the art adorned streets of GR soon. Feel free to stop by our offices and say hi while you’re down here!

Introducing our New Creative Director

Paramount is proud to announce the arrival of our new Creative Director, Phil Johnson.

Phil comes to Paramount with 8 years of professional design experience. He has worked on every piece of agency marketing from billboards, to social media, to vehicle wraps for semi-trucks. But of course his specialty is website and digital design, making Phil a perfect fit to help expand Paramount’s capabilities.

We are excited to have Phil on board because he is not only a dynamic design professional, but he is also a natural leader, an impactful thinker, and just an all around great guy. He’s got a heart for all the special causes we tend to get involved in here at Paramount, and has a passion for the work regardless of the subject matter. We feel just plain lucky to welcome him aboard and we know he will have a guiding influence in Paramount’s growth.

Phil grew up in Fruitport, Michigan and transplanted to Grand Rapids after marrying his wife of (now) 4 years. They recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl to the world and are happy to be raising their budding family in West Michigan. When Phil’s not in the office, you’ll probably find him taking a bike ride with his family, doing do-it-yourself remodeling project on his home, or building a custom bench out of Red Balau Batu wood. Yes, Balau Batu. You should look it up. (Actual Pictures Below :))

Welcome Phil. Glad to have you.

Bench-3 Bench-1 Bench-2


School-Year Internships!

About Paramount:

Welcome to Paramount! We are a full service digital marketing agency in Grand Rapids, MI dedicated to expanding organizations’ presence offline by developing their opportunity online. Before taking on a new client, the digital marketing team at Paramount analyzes all the impactful options that they could invest in and makes recommendations based on which solutions fit their needs and achieves their goals. By following this process, we become more than a vendor of a specific product or two and instead become a trusted advisor on a crucial aspect of their business.

By joining our team through one of our marketing internships, you’ll be entering into what we hope to be an educational and enjoyable exploration into agency marketing.

Details + Available Positions:

We have up to 3 Positions Available, Starting this Summer 2015!

  • Social Media Intern
  • Projects and Exploration Intern
  • Digital Strategy + Implementation Intern

Social Media Intern

Social Media is a huge part of what we do here at Paramount. As our social media intern, you’ll be working with real clients, developing real content streams, and posting to real profiles to maximize business potential. Do you have your finger on the digital pulse? Are you on the top of your social media game? Do you want to learn more about the business side of social strategy? If so, you may be a pretty good fit for our social media internship!

Projects + Exploration Intern

Our projects and exploration team works both face-to-face with clients and behind-the-scenes with our team to make everything happen properly. As a Projects + Exploration intern, you’ll be working with real clients, making sure their campaigns are running well, and exploring new opportunities for them to expand their reach online. Are you great with people? Organized and good at communication? Do you often come up with creative solutions to challenges? If so, you may be a pretty good fit for our Projects + Exploration Internship.

Digital Strategy + Implementation Intern

Digital strategy and implementation is what we do. As a DSI intern, you’ll be working behind the scenes to implement strategy, track progress, and measure success. You’ll be working on real campaigns, and responsible for real advertising dollars. You’ll also be expected to have input in strategy decisions based upon your research and the data involved. Do numbers “just get you”? Do you have a knack for analyzing data and drawing insights from it? Can you implement a strategic plan? If so, you may be a pretty good fit or our Digital Strategy + Implementation Internship.

Rough Requirements:

  • Pursuing BA/BS
  • Prefer 3.0 GPA or Higher
  • Prefer Marketing or Business broad-subject majors
  • Prefer Junior or Senior Level
  • Interest in digital communications and agency marketing
  • Residing in the Grand Rapids, MI area

The Nature of Our Internships

You are being asked to join a small but effective group of professionals that work efficiently and often very autonomously. You will be required to do much of the same – working from remote locations and often communicating digitally – to accomplish weekly, monthly, and project oriented tasks. Though some of your responsibilities will carry hard deadlines, the breakdown of work and its required prioritization with how it all gets done will (for the most part) be up to you to decide. Do you learn quickly? Make good decisions on the fly? Have a “just get it done and done well” mentality? Then you may be a pretty good fit for a Paramount Marketing Internship.

We want this internship to be valuable for everyone involved. Because of this, we expect your position and responsibility to evolve and expand as time moves on and your comfort with our operations sets in. What is intended to be, at minimum, a highly educational exposure into small firm and entrepreneurial life, could easily become a paid opportunity as we move forward. Therefore, the potential is yours to maximize.

Interested? Fill out the form on our Contact page, or email your resume and cover letter to hello@inspiredswell.com