Every year when the holidays roll around, Brafton hands out annual awards for employees who went above the call of duty, and best exemplified our core business values.

Why bring up internal company awards? Because year after year, without fail, you could be guaranteed that Director of Content Marketing Strategy Sonny Sharp would be in the mix for “Client Whisperer.”

Sonny understands what makes a client tick – that is, what drives them, what goals they want to achieve and what success means for both their business and their position.

Frankly, Sonny could take that title every single year, and no one would bat an eye.

The start of a marketing career

Sonny’s first foray into the world of marketing wasn’t in SEO or account management or even in digital. He cut his teeth selling newspaper ads for the Chicago Sun-Times before moving to the newspaper’s digital department. He then moved on to a small SEO firm in Evanston, just outside Chicago, where he further honed his digital marketing chops.

Sonny quickly found he had a knack for analyzing performance metrics and using those insights to drive successful content strategies for his clients. And when he came across a job opening at Brafton, he jumped at the chance to join the quickly growing operation.

What caught his attention?

“Brafton was an up-and-coming agency in Chicago with a wide variety of accounts, and they were just doing so much more than other firms at the time,” Sonny says. “They were offering services that no one else could touch.”

After interviewing with the Account Management team, Sonny knew that not only would Brafton help him achieve his career goals, but it would provide the right culture fit. So, it came to be that in January 2012, Sonny Sharp began his career with Brafton.

The Brafton school of hard knocks

Sonny spent his early days at Brafton soaking up as much knowledge as he could and honing his analytics and digital marketing skills.

That involved a lot more than just becoming certified in a wide array of data platforms (although, he is most definitely that) but developing a strong rapport with his clients and understanding both what they were hoping to get out of their relationship with Brafton and how he could deliver those results.

“You have to understand that your clients are people just like you and me, with their own lives outside the office,” says Sonny. “Taking the time to build those personal relationships, it makes everyone involved that much more invested in the success of the partnership. And more than that, it helps establish trust. When I come to a client with recommendations, they know I have the best interests of them and their company at heart”.

This approach has served Sonny well over the past six years, even as his role has shifted from a strategist to manager to Director of Content Marketing Strategy, overseeing a team of talented strategists in both Chicago and San Francisco. All these years later, he still works with some of the same clients he had back in his early days at Brafton.

There’s no place like Brafton

After all this time, what keeps Sonny here, lending his digital marketing expertise to Brafton? The people? Sure, the people are great. But more than that, it’s the fact that what Brafton accomplishes is wholly unique in this industry, and that’s a special thing indeed.

“Brafton takes a very hands-on, boutique approach to our relationships, but we have the products and services and ability to scale on a global level,” says Sonny. “Nowhere else are you going to find that type of mix — a sophisticated, data-driven approach with a personal touch.”

With that client-first mentality driving his approach to digital marketing, it’s a fair bet that Sonny will continue to be Brafton’s de facto “Client Whisperer.”

Jeff Keleher is a writer and editor at Brafton. A man of simple tastes, he enjoys playing guitar, playing video games and playing with his dog - sometimes all at once. He still hasn't gotten over Illinois' loss in the 2005 NCAA National Championship game, and he probably never will.