Oh Hello wins web design award, strives to break marketing’s glass ceiling 

The Lincoln-based, woman-led brand development and brand management agency Oh Hello recently won Best Web Design Agency in the Midwest from Corporate Vision Magazine’s Media Innovator Awards.  A panel of expert judges selected Oh Hello in recognition of the agency’s expertise in web design, dedication to customer service and client satisfaction. The award complements a…

Oh Hello CEO Natalie Micale, courtesy of Oh Hello
Oh Hello CEO Natalie Micale, courtesy of Oh Hello

The Lincoln-based, woman-led brand development and brand management agency Oh Hello recently won Best Web Design Agency in the Midwest from Corporate Vision Magazine’s Media Innovator Awards. 

A panel of expert judges selected Oh Hello in recognition of the agency’s expertise in web design, dedication to customer service and client satisfaction. The award complements a year in which the three-year-old company saw unprecedented growth, according to CEO and Co-founder Natalie Micale.

“I hate to admit this, but 2020 has been amazing for Oh Hello,” Micale said. “We do digital, and everyone wants to be on digital. I mean, we’re having to turn down clients at this point because we’re a boutique agency and we can’t work with everybody.”

Micale said it feels weird to admit to such oddly timed success, since not every business is having the same positive experience. In fact, a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report issued Dec. 7 revealed that 56% of establishments nationwide experienced a decrease in demand for their products or services. 

Thankfully for Micale and her crew of 20 employees, who work virtually across Lincoln and the Philippines, Oh Hello was decidedly not among the 4.7 million companies this year who suffered a drop in business. Rather, the pandemic helped the agency secure clients they would not otherwise have been able to reach, she said.

Take Texas-based custom home theatre builders Dreamedia, for instance. Dreamedia had grown a sizable YouTube following of about 66,000 subscribers before the pandemic hit, but the high-end business geared toward cinephiles and audiophiles did not have a good website. 

The nearly overnight shift to telework for 68.6 million workers forced Dreamedia to reckon with the fact that any potential customers would be researching them online for the foreseeable future. They needed a better web presence immediately, one that would appeal to an audience willing to spend thousands of dollars on state-of-the-art home theater systems. 

So, the company contacted Oh Hello, whose Philippines-based design and development teams built a sleek, understated site with a palette of blacks, whites and muted wood tones that evoked the atmosphere of speakers, projection screens and the knotty pinewood surfaces frequently found in professionally engineered acoustic environments.

“It is so clear that we would not have gotten that project with the urgency that (Dreamedia) needed it done or the element of investment they were willing to put into design if this pandemic had not happened,” Micale said.

Like many other brand marketing agencies, Oh Hello has two focus areas: helping new and established companies brand or rebrand themselves, and managing the day-to-day operations of existing brands. They speak in familiar terms about the power of storytelling, about never underestimating the desire for emotional connection among customers looking to purchase barn lighting fixtures.

Unlike most agencies, however, Oh Hello’s offices are entirely virtual and international, with the majority of the agency working in the Philippines. This decision was fueled not just by the desire to cut costs—though Micale did note that the wages Oh Hello pays its overseas specialists are considered high for the Philippines—but also by a practical need for skilled tech talent she said they couldn’t find in America.

“In the Philippines, their developers are wicked smart. They’re way more advanced than most people in the United States,” she said.

(That tech talent gap is a huge issue.)

As for the agency’s future, Oh Hello wants to keep working with brands that want to tell amazing stories, regardless of industry.

“What’s most inspiring for us is when we work with founders who are so passionate about telling the ‘why’ behind what they do that they allow us to really creatively engage with brand strategy and web design, start to finish, building the brand,” she said.
“And they’re engaged in it as well, because they’re excited to get that story out.” 

Micale also stays galvanized by a personal goal. She wants Oh Hello to break the $1 million revenue glass ceiling, something that only 2 percent of women-led businesses achieve

She also wants to inspire other women to fearlessly carve their own paths to success.

“Not a lot of women are founders of agencies,” she said. “I talk to so many women who are freelancing, and they want to start an agency, but they’re really scared to. I want to lead the way in showing other women in the marketing world that they can be badasses.”

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