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Commonground named ad agency of the year by Black Enterprise magazine

(June 30, 2014) The Chicago-based advertising agency Commonground was named "2014 Agency of the Year" by Black Enterprise magazine. The full story is featured in the magazine's annual presentation of "The BE 100s: The Nation's Largest Black Businesses." Under the leadership of co-founders Ahmad Islam and Sherman Wright, CG leapt from 73 employees and $24.4 million in revenue in 2012 to140 employees and $26.4 million in revenue this past year.

"It is truly a blessing to be recognized by such an iconic media entity like Black Enterprise, that has been at the forefront of honoring and celebrating the contributions of African Americans to the nation's economy and business community at large," noted Sherman Wright (left). "Hopefully our success inspires others in similar ways that we've been inspired by previous honorees."

"Winning this honor was a goal we made for ourselves 10 years ago when we first opened our doors. It is truly gratifying to have achieved this goal," added Ahmad Islam (left).

Islam and Wright both attribute the agency's success to consistently staying true to their original business model developed in 2003 based on three core principles: the fragmentation of media and the emergence of digital; understanding of the new marketplace including the role of diverse populations, millennial culture and global influence; and the ability to provide integrated solution-oriented services.

"Moreover, the type of talent Commonground attracts and actively recruits are leaders in his or her own right," said Wright. "Commonground employees keep their cool because we cast for a certain kind of confidence, gained through both work and life experiences. The common denominator is each individual wants to be a part of building something and our agency is the place to do that; we are fully aware that our team is a big part of our success."

Since opening its flagship office in Chicago in 2004, CG has rapidly emerged as a trusted agency partner and one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. CG's newest team in New York will work together with its teams in Chicago and Houston to serve a roster of blue chip clients, including Miller Coors, Nissan, Brand Jordan, Coca-Cola, Bacardi and American Family Insurance.

"In a time where there has been significant client turnover and unsteadiness in our industry, we've been able to grow and succeed because we've stayed true to who we are and continue to create meaningful connections with consumers, on their terms, for our clients," said Islam.

CG's mantra to always bring a unique lens to the marketplace for their clients has provided a foundation for the agency to create innovative campaigns for several blue-chip clients. Today, CG continues to evolve the brand to become a premier global marketing solutions provider that understands the difference between reach and relevance.

"Relevance is rooted in understanding culture and reach is the ability to deliver numbers," said Islam. "Delivering numbers alone doesn't guarantee the emotional connection that's needed for a brand to succeed. And at the end of the day, we are working to help our clients grow their business."

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