The Origin of The Forest

The world doesn’t need another interactive agency.

Seriously, there are plenty out there already. And while we create online solutions (usually represented as websites), we’re not an interactive agency, exactly. Our solutions oftentimes manifest themselves as websites, but our business is all about who we work with, why we work with them, and how we work. What the world needs is more people who care about what they do and why they do it. 

Who We Work With

Who we work with is a broad statement… it covers our partnership, our team, and our clients.

Our Partnership

We (Stephen and Annie) have worked together for several years, leading large and small teams on epic adventures in website strategy, design, and development. Our relationship is built on the trust that each of us will always do our best, and rely on the other to strengthen our weaknesses. It’s a combination of optimism and realism, creativity and practicality, overarching strategies and the tactics to make them happen.

We’ve found that projects of any size are sustained by an adept and passionate core leadership team that stays engaged to see the vision through from start to finish, maintaining a consistent thread of care and intention from inception to launch.

Our Team

We recognize that our clients deserve the best possible people working on their projects, providing solutions and filling specific gaps based on the unique needs of their project. This is why we build upon our core team with experienced, senior-level staff who are specifically appropriate for each project. We’re not trying to fit square pegs in round holes just because we have some square pegs sitting around… we customize and curate the right collection of round pegs. This might mean bringing in a specific seasoned strategist with experience in your industry, or a development team that is expert in the technology specific to your integration needs. This allows us to scale per project and client relationship while bringing in new ideas and insights for each one. It’s a win-win for our team and our clients.

Our Clients

We believe that people are happier when they spend their hard-earned money on experiences instead of things. Because of this, we’ve made a conscious decision to work with experiential brands, with a mission of helping people find happiness. Many of these experiential brands are in the travel and tourism industry… from Destination Marketing Organizations for an area (city, county, region, state, etc.), to resorts and hotels that offer more than just a place to stay, to trips that let people experience the world around them. Sometimes an experiential brand sells a product that allows people to go on adventures… the perfect boot for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, or the rain jacket that will keep you dry even in a place like Portland, Oregon. The commonality between these brands is they all have stories to share and have experiences waiting to happen.

Most frequently, our work for our clients is represented through a new or redesigned website, but sometimes takes the form of an app, a content strategy for directing people from social media to a website, or any number of other interactive solutions. It all depends on the client and their objectives.

How We Work

Everything starts with a conversation. We have a series of conversations with clients to discuss what their challenges are – business, brand, marketing, online – translate these challenges into objectives, and then figure out possible solutions to meet these objectives.

Every project is different, yet there are similarities in what we do. Our clients understand the importance of content strategy, content creation, and publishing. They understand that the differences between destinations can be geographic, but what they can do to truly differentiate themselves is the context around their stories and content. But having a preconceived idea of what the solution should be, before having these conversations with clients leads to templated sameness at best and building inappropriate solutions at worst. The process of having a series of conversations, which favor listening over talking and understanding over assuming, is the foundation for the value we provide to our clients. The path to this value usually isn’t the easy path, but it’s the right path. It’s a path built on a relationship of trust, understanding, and mutual respect between ourselves and our clients, which is necessary for navigating these challenging paths.

A key part of trust and understanding is recognizing what we, and you, don’t know. This is why our intentional conversations with clients are always backed by adeptly vetting practical solutions through measuring, analyzing and adapting the solutions we create. Sometimes we help clients see problems they didn’t know were there, or change their perception of an existing challenge based on user research, analytics, or testing. We often even surprise ourselves! Approaching projects with this sense of openness and curiosity keeps us fresh, keeps projects fun, and builds honest relationships.

The path is the process, and our relationships with our clients and the solutions we create are strengthened throughout this journey. We couldn’t do what we do without going on this journey, together. And that’s the path you’ll find us on as it is infinitely more interesting, the views along the way are generally spectacular, and they always end at a fulfilling and rewarding place..

Why We Do It

We love what we do. But why?

Experiential brands have the fundamental ability to change people’s lives, both the people having the experiences, and the people creating, providing, and facilitating the experiences.

We’ve explained a bit about our belief in guiding people to experiences over things, and working with experiential brands in the travel and tourism industry is a direct correlation between our belief system and projects for clients.


Our work also changes the lives of the people providing these experiences. In the United States in 2014, over $925 billion was spent directly by domestic and international travelers, generating $141.5 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments. Travel supports 15 million jobs in the U.S. — 8 million direct tourism jobs and 7 million indirect and induced jobs. (U.S. Travel Association Travel Facts). Travel and tourism is a huge economic driver for communities across the country, through employment, tax revenue, and profiting local businesses. We get to help positively change people’s lives through the support of local economies. We look at examples like Oakridge, Oregon – a community that was struggling because of the loss of the logging industry in the area. In cooperation with Travel Oregon’s Tourism Development and Rural Tourism Studio, they reinvented their town into a mecca for mountain biking, with all the services and amenities that support this type of visitor.

There are plenty of interactive agencies that build shiny, disposable websites. We’re not one of them. Our goal is to build sustainable, long lasting interactive solutions. Some might see this as not being as glamorous as a three week campaign microsite, or perceive it as long, arduous work. They’re right, it is hard work, and it usually takes a while. We happen to think this is incredibly glamorous. And when we do create campaign microsites, we’re thinking about how they can have longevity and be extended beyond a single purpose.

The origin of The Forest For The Trees is pretty simple: work with great people that we trust, do what’s right instead of what’s easy, and help people have experiences that can change their lives.

We’d love for you to join us on the path through The Forest. You can follow along on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. And if you’d like a more active role on this path, we’re currently having conversations with prospective clients and interviewing potential teammates. Let’s see the forest for the trees, together.

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