AdAge Recognizes YML as Inaugural Customer Experience Agency of the YearBy YML
Ad Age named YML the 2022 Customer Experience Agency of the Year — an award that honors “the agency that has best created new strategies and smart ideas that have enabled clients to connect more closely with consumers.”
This award marks YML’s second consecutive year on Ad Age’s A-List after being named Standout Agency of the Year in 2021.
Across 2021, YML’s work reached hundreds of millions of people — from building digital vaccination cards and tele-health to virtual EV test drives, an AI banking concierge and digital grocery stores for more than 15% of the US.
“At YML, we build solutions across tech stacks, industry verticals and geographical boundaries, and to see that work make a lasting impact for customers and clients alike is powerful,” shared Ashish Toshniwal, YML’s Founder and CEO. “I am so proud of our team and grateful for this recognition.”
This year’s honor recognizes YML’s innovation and impact for clients across a variety of industries with one common thread: building world-class, seamless customer experiences that scale.
Impact for Clients at Speed and Scale
For a third consecutive year, YML achieved record business and team growth. The agency brought on 14 new clients including Polestar (Volvo), Twitter, Ally Financial, Champion, as well as leading brands in the aviation, finance, and healthcare industries.
YML designed and engineered an immersive product experience for Polestar’s flagship electric vehicle, resulting in a 190% increase in test drive sign-ups. For California Pizza Kitchen, it combined three separate backend systems (Olo, Paytronix and their internal database) into one cohesive platform that increased order conversion by 2X. And for YETI, YML built a flexible design system and scalable e-commerce infrastructure to launch their new line of bags — completed in just 8 short weeks.
“The way YML builds is contagious for clients because we move fast, learn fast, and drive meaningful results fast,” shared Gowri Sivaprasad,“ VP of Engineering and Country Head, India. “Our team of 65% technologists all over the world is special, and they earned this award recognition.”
In addition to driving critical business impact for clients, YML also earned industry recognition for from Fast Company (for work with Thrive Market), Jay Chiat (for work with Obie in partnership with Anomaly) and multiple Webbys (for State Farm and Thrive Market).
After building the foundational digital products for an array of startups, YML had five clients (C3.ai, Latch, Thrive Market, Polestar, and HealthyEquity) go public or earn billion-dollar valuations in 2021, marking 10 in the company’s 12-year history.
“Design and technology is the new frontier of customer experience,” shared Stephen Clements, YML’s Chief Creative Officer. “Your customers are impacted by the beautifully crafted experiences you put in their hands, which is driven by its underlying technology. You can't have one without the other.”
200+ Hires to Reach 500 Employees Globally
2021 brought a new hiring record of 221 people in one year (47% growth YoY), and a new milestone of 500+ employees worldwide. With adapted hiring practices — emphasizing diversity across disciplines, genders and backgrounds every step of the way — YML’s BIPOC representation increased to more than 40% overall. Furthermore, 33% of Director and above hires were women.
YML attracted elite talent from leading brands, startups and agencies alike, including TikTok, Nike, Amazon, Huge, Deloitte, Accenture, Macy's, AKQA, Target, Microsoft and more.
"Culture adds over culture fits — that's our hiring and culture mantra at YML," shared Minela Bjelevac, YML's Head of People. "We want to ensure every YML'er, no matter where they are, feels safe and confident in the work they pursue. Our massive growth in the context of such uncertain times has been incredibly rewarding for our team."
With such rapid growth on both the client and company side, preservation of culture and prevention of burnout became more important than ever before. YML’s retention rate of employees was 88%, and the turnover rate was less than half of the agency average.
To help support a year of massive growth and success, YML doubled down on the simple, yet powerful idea that a workforce from different backgrounds, cultures, genders and races facilitates the building of more impactful products for a broader, global audience. The agency’s relentless commitment to diversity has enabled the continued scaling of a fully remote team that extends into 22 states and more than 10 countries.
Expanding Through Strategic Partnerships and Programs
YML also build new partnerships that are helping to expand its services, reach and growth. Figma — one of the world’s leading web-based tools for design, and valued at $10B — selected YML to join their Agency Partner Program. "YML is the perfect fit because they have a record of helping their clients run at scale and providing an overall elevated level of service and craftsmanship," said Andrea Helmbolt, who runs the Program.
Olo, a leading on-demand, restaurant commerce platform, also selected YML as an exclusive technology integration partner. "YML successfully launched and enhanced California Pizza Kitchen's new ordering site and user experience. We look forward to joining forces to benefit more brands in future projects,” shared Sean Marrero, Olo’s Director of Partnerships.
YML’s CEO, Ashish Toshniwal, also doubled down on the Y in the Valley podcast, interviewing more than 10 founders, leaders, and unicorn creators shaping culture, tech, and the future. From Dylan Field, the CEO and Founder of Figma, to Gabe Dalporto, the CEO of Udacity, and Leif Abraham, the co-CEO of Public.com, Y in the Valley demystifies the idea of “overnight success” by hearing directly from the leaders building groundbreaking products and brands.
In the year ahead, YML is continuing to reimagine clients’ products in new and exciting ways.
Rebuilding healthcare (again); blurring the lines between real and virtual realities; reinventing blockchain and Web3 technology; and ultimately, creating digital products that export Silicon Valley to the world.
"Speed and impact over all else — that's been at the core of our success," shared Stephanie Wiseman, YML's Head of Growth and Brand. "We plan to double down and keep building world class digital products that make a tangible difference for our clients and their customers."