We had the good fortune of connecting with William Akerlof and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi William, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I wanted to work in an advertising agency with smart, decent human beings, working for the kind of clients I found interesting, doing good work and getting fairly rewarded for my efforts. I wanted to work at a company that treated its workers well, listened to them, took care of their needs and allowed them to share in the rewards of their success. It’s hard to find a company like that – so in the end I had to create one.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Liquid Advertising is an independent, full-service global advertising agency that is focused on speaking to fans. Liquid has been closely associated with the video game industry since helping launch World of Warcraft in 2004. The spectacular response to the launch led to many other gaming projects. Today, Liquid has become one of the most experienced and active agencies in the world of PC and console games. We are currently bringing our deep experience and success with the toughest-to-crack fandoms in the world to verticals beyond gaming. Liquid is 100 employees with headquarters in Los Angeles and global operations with employees in 8 countries.

We are most proud of our low staff turnover and high client retention rates. While working at other agencies I marveled at some of the amazing talent that came to work at the agency but left within a year or two. A true dream team could have been assembled with the talent that passed through the agency, but staff retention was poor. The reasons for poor retention often came down to people not feeling that their personal goals and the goals of the agency were aligned. Amazing employees often left for marginally better salaries at competitive agencies. Our best employees became competitors. Strong relationships were severed and client retention suffered as a result.

The first step in creating an agency focused on employees was the name. When we founded Liquid Advertising, most agencies were named after their founders. We wanted to be a democracy, not a monarchy. So we named ourselves after our favorite bar, the Liquid Kitty on Pico Blvd. The next step was to treat employees like owners. We asked ourselves: What is the sort of health insurance coverage I would want? What would my ideal retirement plan look like? And then we made that the default for all employees. In a good year we pay out substantial bonuses to all employees at all levels of the company. We take company trips to exotic locations both to encourage camaraderie and thank people for their hard work. We’ve implemented sabbatical to reward employees for lengthy service – extended paid leaves of absence to pursue travel or other passions. On a day to day basis, we try very hard to make sure that people are treated respectfully and fairly. We don’t tolerate divas or jerks who make others’ workdays miserable.

To date this approach has worked well – though there is always room for improvement and evolution.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend is visiting, it’s probably not because they wanted to see the Hollywood sign or the walk of fame. We’re going to my house, opening a particularly good bottle of wine, cooking something on the grill and chatting about life.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There’s a long list of people who have been critical to the founding and growth of Liquid Advertising – but none have played a bigger role than the amazing staff that work there every day.

Website: http://www.liquidadvertising.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/willakerlof/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/willakerlof/

Other: http://www.willakerlof.com

Image Credits
Image Credit: Liquid Advertising, Inc.

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