Who is Portent?
Weird. Useful. Significant. That’s us. Is it you, too? Then let’s talk.
An agency can’t do its best work without the best people, so we’re relentless in bringing in people smarter than we are and letting them get to work. We love learning from each other and we love learning from our clients. We think the right collaborations create work that’s significant and the journey in getting there meaningful. But our team’s not complete without our clients. With our clients, we’re smarter; smarter together.
Portent's Core Values
Our people are what makes our team special. We look for six attributes when hiring that, as luck would have it, are also the core of Portent's philosophy.
Superior Communication Skills
It doesn’t matter whether we’re hiring a developer, a designer or a copywriter–they must be competent communicators. That’s more than writing skills (although that’s a good place to start). Clear communication is a skill all its own, and without it, the work suffers.
Our team is housed across two different offices: one in Seattle and one in Salt Lake City, Utah. So, when we can’t just walk over to one of our designers or content strategists, being able to effectively communicate—whether it’s across the room or across an email—is a must.
We like folks who have a high Emotional Quotient. The best marketers are self-aware and aware of those around them. They form a fantastic team. They are also really, really good about sussing out what it is that a client or customer needs.
EQ may be a clichéd term at this point. But it’s an essential trait in a marketing communicator and any member of our team.
Portent started in 1995. We’ve gone from AOL as a marketing environment to the mobile web. An agency can only do that if every team member is a relentless learner.
When we hire, we look first and foremost for people who are extremely motivated to learn. They also learn to take what information is available and turn it into applicable knowledge.
Portent does a weekly “Portent University” – an internal all-hands training session where one department presents a case study, a tool, or a new skill.
A side benefit of Intellectual Curiosity: it makes for somewhat quirky folks. I can’t say we actively seek out, er, unique people. But we do tend to find them, or they find us. It makes our work more fun.
At some point, there’s work to do. Telling a client a wonderful idea and then letting it die on the vine is pointless. We prize people who can have a great idea and then bring it to life. We also prize people who enjoy doing that. We need accountability. We need a sense of joy in the work we do, as well. And, we need to know we can take risks and try things without risking our careers.
Execute well, of course. But always be teaching: Your fellow employees, your clients, and the industry.
Teaching fellow employees means silos break down. Teaching clients means a whole bunch of good things happen: Clients love it and learn to see the value in what we do; we get to do cooler and cooler stuff as the client takes over the areas they learn. Teaching the industry means we can add significance to the craft.
We owe a lot to each other, our community, and the industry. We give back by teaching, advising, and helping out any way we can. Portent’s team speaks at conferences around the world, bringing our vision and insights to anyone who asks. We mentor other marketers. We offer an incredible amount of knowledge on our own blog and in webinars. This isn’t totally selfless, of course. We sell by teaching. We recognize that we’re extremely lucky when we can do both at the same time.
What it All Means
We believe that great communications can save the world. The right message, at the right time, can completely change the course of events. Marketing is a form of communications. It’s actually the form of communications. It’s everywhere.
Any successful, services-based company learns a lot of lessons along the way. The first lesson: You can’t do it alone. You need a really great team. The traits you look for in that team will define you as it’s defined us.