Hermes Creative Awards. Courtesy Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals

By Rick Griffin

Public affairs firm Southwest Strategies has announced it recently received seven Hermes Creative Awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. Southwest Strategies said it received awards in the categories of design, publications, website development and marketing collateral.

The company was recognized for its work with its client the San Diego Association of Governments, winning the platinum honor for the innovative State Route 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project brochure, in addition to recognition in poster design for the LOSSAN Rail Corridor project.

Southwest Strategies also took home awards in logo design for Campland on the Bay, infographic design for The Shops at La Jolla Village, newsletter development for Pacific Gas and Electric and website development for Pacific Highlands Ranch.

Additionally, this year, Southwest Strategies created a new leave-behind booklet with information on the company’s expertise and success for prospective clients. For the leave-behind booklet, Southwest Strategies received a Gold Hermes Award in the category of marketing collateral-branding.

Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, and design of traditional and emerging media.

“At Southwest Strategies, our goal is to produce award-winning creative that drives the message home for our clients,” said Chris Wahl, Southwest president. “We were humbled to receive seven Hermes awards that reaffirm our goal. We will continue to search for ways to create compelling and innovative campaigns that produce results for our clients.”

Southwest Strategies was founded by Wahl and Alan Ziegaus in 2000. Offices are located in San Diego, Fresno and Sacramento.

Mindgruve Expands Client Service Offerings with Macarta Partnership

Mindgruve, a San Diego marketing and technology agency, has signed a two-year strategic partnership agreement with Denver-based Macarta, announced Chad Robley, CEO of Mindgruve.

Macarta is a strategy consultancy firm and outsourcing partner focused on helping brands and retailers optimize sales and grow revenue on Amazon. Robley said the partnership with Macarta will provide Mindgruve clients with current and new tools and resources to increase ROI on Amazon.

“Amazon has re-imagined the online retail world,” Robley said. “Brands can no longer operate without a concise, well-informed Amazon strategy and execution plan. This partnership will provide our clients, current and new, with more of the tools and resources necessary to increase marketing ROI on Amazon and other marketplace platforms.”

Robley said recent studies suggest more shoppers perform searches on Amazon than Google, and nine in 10 visit the online marketplace to research products. He said Amazon controls 60 percent of all ecommerce sales, while 69 percent of online shoppers turn to it along their paths to purchase.

Crowe PR Adds Restaurant Group to Client List

Crowe PR, a San Diego-based public relations firm, has added Social Syndicate to its client roster, announced Anna Crowe, founder and CEO.

Social Syndicate, a San Diego-based restaurant and development group, has been revitalizing and designing popular restaurant brands since 2014. Most recently, the company opened its sixth restaurant, OB Surf Lodge in Ocean Beach. Social Syndicate’s five other restaurants include Bootlegger, Wonderland Ocean Pub, The Local, The Local PB and The Rabbit Hole. Social Syndicate also collaborates with Resident Brewery, now available at Petco Park, along with Wonderland Ocean Pub.

“It’s an honor to partner with Social Syndicate and get the opportunity to tell their incredible story, while sharing all the great things happening at their diverse restaurants throughout the city,” said Crowe, who founded her firm in 2015.

Carson Lane

IABC San Diego Chapter Discusses Employee to Consultant Switch

The International Association of Business Communicators San Diego chapter will host “From Corporate Communications to Consulting,” a lunch-and-learn program on transitioning from employee to independent communications professional, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at UCSD Extension, Room 316, at 6256 Greenwich Drive.

Speaking will be Carson Lane, who left Jack in the Box in 2007 to found Carson Lane Strategic Communications, a San Diego-based consulting company. Over the past decade, Lane has lived and worked in different cities around the world for a few months at a time for such clients as KPMG, Honeywell, U.S. Navy, Wells Fargo, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Life Technologies. He also worked in corporate communications for Kelsey-Seybold Clinic and Houston Community College System. In 2014, he was named IABC-San Diego Communicator of the Year.

Cost to attend the program is $20 for members, $30 for non members. Lunch will be served. For more event information, visit

Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.

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