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Peak Ace: 2021 Year in Review

Another year has gone by – and what a year it’s been! As always, Peak Ace has been busy winning awards and appearing at events, but we’ve also seen through some very special changes. We’ve opened a new office, signed new clients, adapted to the new working situation brought on by global events, and started a (new) newsletter to document it all.

Want to know more? You’re in exactly the right place! Stay tuned as we dig into the details and take you through our 2021 highlights. Let’s look forward together to another year of performance marketing excellence!

Contents

  • Company Growth
  • A Year in Industry Awards
  • Events
  • Internal and External Communications in 2021
  • Looking Forward

Company Growth

We’re here to talk about us, so let’s dive straight into it. Here’s a breakdown of how Peak Ace has grown and changed in 2021.

Our new office

2021 saw us hit a major milestone: Peak Ace opened its second office in Leipzig. We feel that Leipzig’s status as an online marketing centre, as well as its proximity to Berlin, makes it the perfect choice for us.

The perfect location requires the perfect teams. We were delighted to invite Ariane Ackermann to head up the Leipzig office, who brought her many years of experience in paid search to help us kick off this next stage of our growth as smoothly as possible.

We spoke to Ariane back in June about the new office and what she was most looking forward to. Here’s what she said:

After spending so long in home office, I’m looking forward to working in a nice office on new projects with exciting clients. I’m especially looking forward to a crop of new colleagues in the Leipzig office. By the way, we’re already looking for new Peak Acers – it’s worth taking a look at our open positions

Welcoming new clients

It wasn’t just our offices that grew in 2021. Our client roster changed too. In September, we were delighted to sign our contract with US multi-tool manufacturer Leatherman. We started working with Leatherman in October, providing Performance Advertising services in Germany, Italy, France and Spain, as well as taking on the social media and Google accounts for the company. To learn more about this, you can read our press release on the Peak Ace x Leatherman Account for Europe.

When asked to comment on the Leatherman account, Bastian told us:

We are very proud to have won Leatherman Europe GmbH as a customer and to be able to support them from Q4 onwards with our expertise in the field of Performance Advertising. This is an exciting new challenge that we are delighted to take on.”  

Other clients who joined us this year include:

We’re so excited to see where these new partnerships take us in 2022 and to begin working with yet more expert leaders in their fields.

Our new structure

This year, the company has grown and changed right here in Berlin, too. We have been working hard in accordance with our company values to create decision paths that are even more transparent, to foster faster decisions, and to help Peak Ace continue to grow in a more structured way in 2022.

In order to do this, we have re-organised our leadership teams and structure. This new management team consists of people from all essential disciplines within the company and it’s something we’re very proud of.

Without further ado, let us introduce the new Peak Ace management team…

  • CEOs Bastian Grimm (Sales, Comms and Marketing) and Marcel Prothmann (MarTech and Development) remain the Board of Directors.
  • Dominique Harris and Julia Riml were promoted to Director of Organic Search and Director of Performance Advertising respectively and will be heading up Client Services in 2022.
  • As for our People & Operations side, Isabel Stoof was promoted to Head of People and Culture, and Norman Knust to Head of Operations.

In having Peak Acers from all disciplines on our new management team, we will be able to take decisions that consider aspects of all core disciplines equally in a faster and simpler manner than before, allowing communications to flow more easily both internally, with Peak Acers, and externally, with clients. It’s a system that has already been working well and we look forward to seeing even better results in 2022.

The Peak Ace Academy

If you follow our socials (or already work at Peak Ace, hi!), then you’ll already know about the Peak Ace Academy. The Academy is our learning and training programme for Peak Acers, aimed at helping them deliver excellence from the very beginning of their time with us. This year, we have been focussed on expanding our trainings and ensuring that they are offered on all levels.

To learn more about the Peak Ace Academy, head over to our blog post on the topic. There is plenty to explore regarding your professional development, and we can’t wait to continue to improve this programme in the new year!

Peak Ace Apprentices

The Peak Ace Academy has been central to another major development at Peak Ace: our apprentice scheme started this year.

Since September, new Peak Acers have been joining us across our teams as apprentices to learn while on the job, gaining theoretical knowledge and then getting the opportunity to put it into practice within the framework of the many exciting projects we work on here.

The exact duration of an apprenticeship at Peak Ace can depend on the type of training and the previous knowledge of the apprentice, but it usually lasts three years. We’re proud to allow apprentices to get involved at an early stage and grow within their teams to get a fast and uncomplicated start to their careers. We’re so excited to have them here and can’t wait to watch this scheme develop over the coming years at Peak Ace!

The HR team highlighted

The HR Team put together a very special “Peak Ace Rallye” for the four newbies, sending them on various challenges to get to know our office, including taking pictures in some significant spots in the office, exploring the local area, ⁠and taking selfies with their new department colleagues⁠ – but that isn’t the only great work the HR Team have been doing this year.

Our HR team have worked brilliantly to continue to develop social distancing-friendly initiatives and foster that warm company culture that we value so deeply. This year, we’ve transitioned back into having Feierabendbier in the office, in person, where all Peak Acers were tested for the occasion, and the HR Team have also seen through many safe and secure in-person team events to keep morale up.

Further to this, the team have worked hard to improve feedback loops even further.

In 2020, we started using Leapsome to organise our employee happiness surveys. This was essential during the first wave of the COVID pandemic in 2020, but it also worked so well that in 2021 we extended our Leapsome use even further to allow immediate feedback within Microsoft Teams. Colleagues can now praise each other publicly on our Leapsome wall, then take part in surveys on the application from the HR team on employee happiness, making the feedback loop far more comfortable.

Throughout 2021, it has seemed as though nothing has ever been too much for them. We’re very grateful for the team – thank you so much!

A Year in Industry Awards

Yet again, Peak Ace won big at online marketing awards ceremonies this year.

We took home a total of 51 awards in 2021, beating our record of 35 titles last year, and were honoured to be recognised everywhere from the Global Content Awards to the European Agency Awards, to the Global Digital Excellence Awards (where we took home an incredible 11 trophies, including Global PPC Agency of the Year, Global SEO Agency of the Year and Global Integrated Digital Agency of the Year!).

Here are just a few of our 2021 wins:

Naturally, it wasn’t just our agency that was recognised in 2021: our campaigns won big too. Our Pool-Chlor-Shop campaign (Swimming against the COVID-19 tide) and our TIMOCOM campaign (Rebuilding Paid Search from Lisbon to Moscow) won 10 awards each, while our campaign with ZAVA (Trust me, I’m an online doctor) won a total of 9 awards.

This is a triumph for our agency, of course, but also for our clients. Without their trust and support, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

How we celebrated

Awards ceremonies continued to look less elaborate than usual, but Peak Acers kept the party going with Zoom celebrations! Here we are “at the” European Search Awards:

Our award-winning agency culture

The awards we were most proud to achieve in 2021 were for the Best Agency and Best Agency Culture. In a year where the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was still very much being felt, we really did do our upmost to maintain an amazing work culture and support our Peak Acers wherever possible. To have this recognised by a body as significant as the Global Agency Awards (where we also won Independent Agency of the Year), among others, is incredibly gratifying and humbling.

Of course, we have to give a shout-out to our awesome HR, IT and Back Office teams (and the plethora of Peak Acers they support), without whom none of this would be possible.

It was largely due to the hard work, dedication and planning of the HR Team that we were able to bring our Peak Acers back into the office more often in the late summer of 2021.

Thanks to the expertise to the Kitchen Team, we were able to go back to providing delicious lunches five days a week completely free of charge, and with the amazing work of our Cleaning Team we all felt safe and comfortable in the office, whatever team we were on.

Meanwhile, our IT Team did a fantastic job of ensuring that Peak Acers had all the equipment they needed, whether they were in home office or not. And we can’t forget to thank the rest of our excellent staff who took it all in their stride. Thank you!

Events

2021 was ripe with events. Our Peak Ace team appeared at conferences all over Europe, both online and in person, and we feel so fortunate to have consistently been invited to dive deep into the world of search.

Here is a timeline of our conference appearances:

4th Feb – SEO Day Denmark

11th Feb – Digital Loft PR Summit

24th Feb – Affiliate Con

15th-17th Mar – SMX Munich

13th Apr – SMX Create

28th Apr – Digital Marketing Europe

3rd Jun – Search Y Paris

21st-22nd Jun – SMX Advanced Europe

21st Oct – We <3 SEO

4th Nov – SEO Day Cologne

11th Nov – SMXL Milan

19th Nov – SEOkomm

24th Nov – Search Seekers

Action Replay – Bastian’s 2021 SEOkomm Keynote

SEOkomm was particularly exciting for us this year, as Peak Ace CEO Bastian opened the Salzburg conference with his keynote “Action Replay – Alles auf Anfang?” Bastian was particularly excited to open SEOkomm this year, as the event marked nearly ten years since the first time he joined them as a speaker.

After a look at the recent history of search, he posed the questions that should continue to occupy all SEOs in the future. Sorry non-German speakers, this event was held auf Deutsch!

If you want to watch it, the keynote has been posted online. Don’t miss out!

Peak Ace and SMX Advanced Europe 2021

One of the biggest events of the year, as far as Peak Ace was concerned, was SMX Advanced Europe, which took place in June. The conference was held all over Europe in different locations, with our Berlin office being one of the hubs.

On day 1 of SMX Advanced, our very own Julia Riml presented her hands-on guide to automation levers for your business. She spoke alongside other industry experts including Jono Alderson, Izzi Smith, and Mike King. Here’s Julia in action:

On day two, Bastian Grimm took the stage! He gave his talk “5 (Tech-) SEO Hacks You Never Knew Existed”. Bastian was joined by other industry experts including Philipp Kloeckner, who was also in our Berlin office for the occasion. It was truly a star-studded line-up and an awesome two days in search for us!

Want to dive into SMX in more detail, or interested to know more about Julia and Bastian’s talks? You can check out our SMX Europe Day 1 recap post and our SMX Europe Day 2 recap post for everything you need to know.

2021 Peak Ace Christmas Dinner!

Of course, the real event of the season for Peak Ace is always our annual Christmas party. After last year’s mostly virtual, very pared-down celebration, we were delighted to be able to meet in person for a lovely 2G+ dinner at SAGE restaurant on Thursday 16th December to eat, drink and be merry, and celebrate an excellent year of the company. It was wonderful to see Peak Acers old and new see out 2021 and look forward together to 2022.

Extending our internal and external communications

In 2021, we also looked for new ways to reach out to you at home. This included giving our Instagram page a facelift, featuring Peak Acers with guest spots on our blog (such as Carina Mayrhofer’s three part series on the marketing funnel) and releasing a brand-new external newsletter to keep clients and interested parties up to date with our news.

Our new external newsletter

One exciting project that kept us busy in 2021 was relaunching our external newsletter. This quarterly newsletter has become a great way to connect us with our clients and other interested people. If you’d like to join the mailing list and stay up to date with us, sign up now!

Our newsletter contains news from the world of organic search, performance social advertising and marketing technology (hand-picked by experts in the different fields), upcoming events that Peak Ace and our Peak Acers are involved with, and a full long-form section on a topic worth learning more about. We can’t wait to continue this tradition in 2022.

A face lift for Instagram

Over the past 12 months, our Instagram page has become one of our most important external communication channels, targeted mainly towards our past, present and future Peak Acers. We’ve been able to highlight the great spaces and facilities in our Berlin office, make people aware of our new work in Leipzig, and highlight some of the most important values that we have as a company. We’re also so glad to have a space where we can highlight some of our brilliant Peak Acers and teams.Don’t want to miss out on fresh new content? Give us a follow @peak_ace_ag!

Our Blog

If you want even more ways to stay up to date with us, the Peak Ace blog is a great place to go. In 2021, the Peak Ace blog has functioned as a home for posts on a variety of different topics.

We’ve tried to pack as much as possible into the past 12 months – but mostly we just can’t wait to continue to connect with you through our blog in the new year.

Peak Ace on Air

A large part of our time in the first three quarters of 2021 focused on the production of our podcast, Peak Ace on Air. This year we were delighted to put on a huge array of episodes with some esteemed guests, including:

Although we had to put a pause on producing new episodes of Peak Ace on Air, due to time constraints and calendar conflicts, we’re proud of the content we put out there, and beyond glad that we were able to continue producing long-form content on performance marketing news via our blog in the final quarter of the year!

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us on Peak Ace on Air this year. Whether you took part as a guest or a listener, we’re delighted to have had you! Who knows what the future may hold…

Looking Forward

As you can tell, 2021 was an eventful year for us. We’re so proud of the progress we’ve made and the things we’ve achieved over the past 12 months, and we truly can’t wait to see what the next 12 have in store.

So, wherever and however you’re celebrating the start of 2022, let us thank you for your support over the past year and toast together to another great year of Peak Ace.

Cheers!

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