Awards Case Studies The Drum Awards For Marketing Americas Marketing

How Crowe cut through the sector’s sea of sameness with ‘Embrace Volatility’


By The Drum, Editorial

June 6, 2024 | 7 min read

Winning Design/Brand Gold in The Drum Awards for Marketing Americas is Crowe with Embrace Volatility. Here is the award-winning case study.

Example of winning work

Example of winning work


To show how we can be a catalyst for creating value through volatility, we needed to think, act, and invest differently. Our goal: Harness powerful ways to break through the “sea of sameness” among accounting and professional services firms to differentiate ourselves in the market and leave a lasting impression.

Embrace volatility campaign

The Embrace Volatility campaign is grounded in the reality that volatility is a constant in today’s business environment. However, it’s not a doom-and-gloom message. It’s about finding the spark of excitement in the unknown. Some of the greatest innovations stem from accidents – and we believe in finding ways to create value and positive outcomes in those situations.

“Embracing Volatility” is a scary idea for our risk-averse audience, which might not understand how or why they would do so. As more companies speak to volatility in market every day, we must demonstrate what it means to Embrace Volatility by connecting "volatility" with client issues, and clearly demonstrating our firm’s role as a catalyst for creating value from volatility – all while understanding it will take time for this idea to resonate.

Our goal was to develop a dynamic campaign experience that is focused on thought leadership, drives engagement, and takes immediate ownership of Embrace Volatility. Through the campaign, we intended to increase organic search volume for Crowe-related keywords, increase site traffic across, generate substantial ad impressions and video views, and see a positive shift in aided awareness.


The campaign media strategy focused on building awareness, creating impact, and growing engagement. We used data to identify highly relevant business volatility themes to closely align our messaging with media placements.

Our target audience was defined as decision-makers at Fortune 1000 companies and influencers at Fortune 500 companies. This included C-suite leaders and supporting decision-makers in these companies. Our intended geographic aim was national reach with targeted spend in New York City metro, Austin, Dallas, and Houston.

Insights that informed our strategy included:

  • Target Audience: The C-Suite relies on their teams to help them gain insight and make important decisions. This audience cannot be overlooked when setting campaign targeting. (Forbex CxO Growth Survey)
  • Media Consumption: Digital dominates our target audience media consumption, but traditional continues to be strong, spending 30 hours on digital, 10 hours on social media and 10 hours consuming TV content in the last 7 days. (MRI/Simmons – C-Suite)
  • Product Discovery Channels: BDMs (Business Decision Makers) rely on websites, social media, emails, newsletters, TV, conferences, videos, webinars, and newspapers when trying to keep up with the latest developments, products, and services. (GWI – Decision Maker Audience)
  • Top Social Channels: LinkedIn is the top platform for BDMs (70% use daily/weekly) followed by YouTube (69%) and Facebook (46%). (GWI/LinkedIn)
  • Advertising Content: With limited time, BDMs look for relevant content from trusted and reliable sources, regardless of the distribution channel. (SmartBrief)


For the Embrace Volatility campaign, Crowe collaborated with the VML and Strawberry Frog agencies and utilized internal creative resources.

With our knowledge and insights of the audience, we utilized multiple highly targeted campaign tactics, including:

  • Impactful floating spreads in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times
  • Podcast presence with NPR’s Planet Money and Wondery’s Business Wars
  • Forbes relationship incorporating high impact digital units and custom content amplification
  • Sponsorship of the Forbes Sustainably Leader Summit, which included a panel speaking role from Sheila Enriquez, Managing Partner at Crowe
  • A holistic video approach with C-suite targeted Addressable TV at launch followed by targeted CTV/OLV across relevant content and video distribution on social platforms (LinkedIn and Meta)
  • Additional local TV spots in key strategic markets (Austin/Dallas/Houston/New York) in select PGA Tournament and NCAA March Madness programming
  • Digital display support targeted to C-Suite/BDMs using 3rd party data and targeted to key strategic markets across strategic business sites, including WSJ and NYT
  • Strategic placements of Crowe messaging on screens in and surrounding Fortune 1000 office buildings, lobbies, and elevators
  • Digital screens in airport lounges to reach business travelers
  • Behind-home plate signage for MLB teams Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and New York Yankees
  • Paid search and retargeting tactics which brought users back to the website


Overall campaign results have shown a positive shift in aided awareness. We have seen consistent, increased organic search volume, suggesting greater awareness of Crowe in the market, as well as a substantial increase in website traffic year-over-year. Markets with heavy-up budgets have seen larger year-over-year traffic increases, suggesting a higher campaign impact with greater spend.

The Embrace Volatility campaign is a testament to the collective dedication and intellect of the Crowe marketing team. For the Drum Awards entry period between April 2023 and April 2024, the campaign has consistently provided great momentum in achieving incremental awareness and lifting engagement, especially among target demographics. Additionally, people exposed to our Embrace Volatility brand campaign are more likely to know who Crowe is and consider working with us. Our Embrace Volatility campaign is driving more traffic to Fiscal year 2024 performance of our Embrace Volatility campaign continues to exceed cost efficiency projections and over-deliver video views.

Crowe brand KPIs have strengthened relative to competition since the campaign began. Among a field of 18 competitors, Crowe aided and unaided awareness improved from 11 to 8, familiarity improved from 7 to 5, and consideration improved from 8 to 6 in the last year.

Website traffic and branded search volume are growing faster than our competitors'. Our YoY change of website traffic is up 56%, and our YoY change of branded organic search volume is up 55%, compared to an industry average increase of 29%.

Improvements to ads and website content have increased audience awareness and engagement. Our campaign study showed lift for targeted demographics when comparing exposed versus control groups via the below channels:

  • Local TV (specifically golf) drove the highest brand lifts among all channels (+11% aided awareness, +8% familiarity, and +11% likelihood to hire)
  • Both NYC (+8%) & Texas (+7%) markets saw sizable lifts in brand aided awareness.
  • Highly targeted media channels drove higher lifts in brand awareness, specifically newspapers (Wall Street Journal and New York Times) which saw an aided awareness change of +13.3% and traditional TV which saw an aided awareness change of 11.3%.

The Embrace Volatility campaign has led to overall aided brand awareness of Crowe to increase 2.1% and 3.9% among VP level & above within $500 Million+ Companies. Over the course of being in market, and with key optimizations, the Embrace Volatility campaign exceeded projections and drove efficiency. The campaign delivered over 441M impressions (17% more impressions delivered at a 20% more efficient investment than projected). It also delivered 34% more digital video views and 40% more completed video views than projected.

Ready to get your work recognized on a global stage? Enter The Drum Awards today. Need more inspiration, read our Award Winning Case Studies.

Awards Case Studies The Drum Awards For Marketing Americas Marketing

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