WE ARE
STRONG.
WE ARE
RESILIENT.
WE ARE
HOUSTON.

HOUSTON RALLIES shines a light on heroic small
businesses and the things you can do now to rally
behind them, help them stay afloat, and save jobs.

WE ARE
STRONG.
WE ARE
RESILIENT.
WE ARE
HOUSTON.

HOUSTON RALLIES shines a light on heroic small businesses and the things you can do now to rally behind them, help them stay afloat, and save jobs

FEATURED
STORY

For Ann Lee, principal of advertising agency The Lee Group,

the pandemic was an opportunity to reach out, tell stories, and encourage Houston to rally around small businesses like hers.

FEATURED
STORY

For Ann Lee, principal of advertising agency The Lee Group,

the pandemic was an opportunity to reach out, tell stories, and encourage Houston to rally around small businesses like hers.

It’s safe to say that a passion for learning and for hard work are behind everything that Ann Lee does – and everything that has led her to where she is today, as principal of her Houston-based advertising agency, The Lee Group. Putting herself through college at the University of Texas by waiting tables, Ann saw early on the value of hard work and learning about people and human nature. Those insights prepared her well for her first job as a production manager in the Beaumont arm of a large advertising agency, where Ann was determined to roll up her sleeves and learn her way through.

Eventually, after a lot of hard work and developing a deep love for the craft of advertising, Ann was faced with the closure of her employer’s Beaumont office – but found that it presented her with an unexpected opportunity.

“I didn’t start out thinking I would open an agency, but I decided then to go it alone in my house with a typewriter,” Ann recalls. “The timing couldn’t have been better. I had learned so much at my job, about great creative, production and media buys, that I offered my services to help clients who couldn’t afford a full agency.”

Fast forward almost 40 years later, and The Lee Group has grown to earn its position in the ranks of Houston’s most-honored full-service marketing and advertising agencies. Over the decades, The Lee Group has earned more than 340 creative and results-based awards in service to more than 1,000 clients in 48 states. As they ventured into working with clients from new industries, they considered it an opportunity to learn and develop expertise and have now served clients in retail, education, healthcare, financial services, energy, and even government, providing strategic planning, branding, creative development, and media services. But in spite of the agency’s many accomplishments, Ann says they are a small business that does big things through learning, hard work, and great passion for creative.

“I never wanted to be the biggest agency. I wanted to be a good agency distinguished by our work ethic, outstanding creative, and respect for learning and working intelligently,” says Ann. “Data, insight, learning about a client and industry – it all goes into what we do and how we accomplish each client’s objectives.”

By putting intelligence to work, The Lee Group has weathered many kinds of storms in its 39 years. Client bankruptcies. Recessions. Business losses. But never had they seen anything quite like the coronavirus pandemic. Ann describes the first days of closures as a choice.

“We could have sat back and taken it on the chin, but our team members immediately started developing ideas for what we could do to make a difference for other small businesses out there. We’re a small business, and we feel that struggle, so our answer was to do what we do best, which is build brands and tell stories for small businesses that were in a dire situation due to the pandemic. We’re fortunate that we could set ourselves up to work virtually. Other small businesses here in Houston didn’t have that luxury, and they needed help.”

And that’s exactly what The Lee Group did, creating a short-term advertising campaign and small business movement known as Houston Rallies. Key team members worked tirelessly around the clock to build a microsite and produce the Houston Rallies manifesto.

The campaign was kicked off with a full-page ad in the Houston Chronicle. After that, the small businesses in need of help came pouring in. And, fortunately, so did the help. As The Lee Group ramped up its efforts, creating radio commercials, outdoor advertising, press releases, online feature stories, digital ads, social media posts, and podcasts – all at no charge to the businesses they served – the campaign caught the attention of providers who were inspired to join in their efforts to help. Along the way, GOW Media – ESPN 97.5 FM, the Houston Chronicle, Outfront Media, SignAd Outdoor, and Bruce Abbott and Ray Schilens with Radio Lounge all pitched in with in-kind contributions to help The Lee Group promote small businesses struggling to survive the pandemic.

The businesses they helped – including Pinkerton’s Barbecue, Prison Break Tattoos, Ledge Lounger, Harold’s in the Heights, Cornerstone Automotive, Aspire Sales & Electrical Services, Shaftel Diamonds, Dao Chloe Dao boutique, and 501(c)(3) Youth in View – benefited from an incredibly successful effort. The campaign’s outdoor ads resulted in millions of impressions, while digital ads enjoyed click-through rates that were double the industry standard and social posts garnered a click-through rate ten times higher than industry average.

In spite of keeping a relatively low profile, interest in The Lee Group also grew in response to the campaign, giving rise to a 22,155% increase in impressions on the agency’s web site.

In total, the campaign contributed more than $100,000 in services and advertising to small businesses looking for help to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Through the process, Ann saw that her agency had a lot in common with the businesses she served through the campaign – that, just like The Lee Group, they refused to sit still. They all started innovating to keep going. It was a moment that reinforced for Ann what she had known all along: that learning in and from new situations and working hard are what matter most.

What you can do now:

Consistent with their Houston Rallies campaign, The Lee Group’s highest hope is that Houston continues to rally around all the small businesses of our community. The fact that the agency has seen its own clients have to pull back in these difficult times shows them that there is still a lot of work to be done as our communities recover from the pandemic fallout.

And now, more than ever, Ann Lee is learning and working hard, planning where she and her talented team will take Houston Rallies next.

“This is important work, and we want to be a part of it,” she says. “We want to help. And I am eternally grateful to my team members who devoted endless hours to make it all happen. Their contribution is what allowed us to make a difference. It has also shown us how generous this great city is to rise up and help. It’s all in. And it’s been an incredible experience.”

It’s safe to say that a passion for learning and for hard work are behind everything that Ann Lee does – and everything that has led her to where she is today, as principal of her Houston-based advertising agency, The Lee Group. Putting herself through college at the University of Texas by waiting tables, Ann saw early on the value of hard work and learning about people and human nature. Those insights prepared her well for her first job as a production manager in the Beaumont arm of a large advertising agency, where Ann was determined to roll up her sleeves and learn her way through.

Eventually, after a lot of hard work and developing a deep love for the craft of advertising, Ann was faced with the closure of her employer’s Beaumont office – but found that it presented her with an unexpected opportunity.

“I didn’t start out thinking I would open an agency, but I decided then to go it alone in my house with a typewriter,” Ann recalls. “The timing couldn’t have been better. I had learned so much at my job, about great creative, production and media buys, that I offered my services to help clients who couldn’t afford a full agency.”

Fast forward almost 40 years later, and The Lee Group has grown to earn its position in the ranks of Houston’s most-honored full-service marketing and advertising agencies. Over the decades, The Lee Group has earned more than 340 creative and results-based awards in service to more than 1,000 clients in 48 states. As they ventured into working with clients from new industries, they considered it an opportunity to learn and develop expertise and have now served clients in retail, education, healthcare, financial services, energy, and even government, providing strategic planning, branding, creative development, and media services. But in spite of the agency’s many accomplishments, Ann says they are a small business that does big things through learning, hard work, and great passion for creative.

“I never wanted to be the biggest agency. I wanted to be a good agency distinguished by our work ethic, outstanding creative, and respect for learning and working intelligently,” says Ann. “Data, insight, learning about a client and industry – it all goes into what we do and how we accomplish each client’s objectives.”

By putting intelligence to work, The Lee Group has weathered many kinds of storms in its 39 years. Client bankruptcies. Recessions. Business losses. But never had they seen anything quite like the coronavirus pandemic. Ann describes the first days of closures as a choice.

“We could have sat back and taken it on the chin, but our team members immediately started developing ideas for what we could do to make a difference for other small businesses out there. We’re a small business, and we feel that struggle, so our answer was to do what we do best, which is build brands and tell stories for small businesses that were in a dire situation due to the pandemic. We’re fortunate that we could set ourselves up to work virtually. Other small businesses here in Houston didn’t have that luxury, and they needed help.”

And that’s exactly what The Lee Group did, creating a short-term advertising campaign and small business movement known as Houston Rallies. Key team members worked tirelessly around the clock to build a microsite and produce the Houston Rallies manifesto.

The campaign was kicked off with a full-page ad in the Houston Chronicle. After that, the small businesses in need of help came pouring in. And, fortunately, so did the help. As The Lee Group ramped up its efforts, creating radio commercials, outdoor advertising, press releases, online feature stories, digital ads, social media posts, and podcasts – all at no charge to the businesses they served – the campaign caught the attention of providers who were inspired to join in their efforts to help. Along the way, GOW Media – ESPN 97.5 FM, the Houston Chronicle, Outfront Media, SignAd Outdoor, and Bruce Abbott and Ray Schilens with Radio Lounge all pitched in with in-kind contributions to help The Lee Group promote small businesses struggling to survive the pandemic.

The businesses they helped – including Pinkerton’s Barbecue, Prison Break Tattoos, Ledge Lounger, Harold’s in the Heights, Cornerstone Automotive, Aspire Sales & Electrical Services, Shaftel Diamonds, Dao Chloe Dao boutique, and 501(c)(3) Youth in View – benefited from an incredibly successful effort. The campaign’s outdoor ads resulted in millions of impressions, while digital ads enjoyed click-through rates that were double the industry standard and social posts garnered a click-through rate ten times higher than industry average.

In spite of keeping a relatively low profile, interest in The Lee Group also grew in response to the campaign, giving rise to a 22,155% increase in impressions on the agency’s web site.

In total, the campaign contributed more than $100,000 in services and advertising to small businesses looking for help to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Through the process, Ann saw that her agency had a lot in common with the businesses she served through the campaign – that, just like The Lee Group, they refused to sit still. They all started innovating to keep going. It was a moment that reinforced for Ann what she had known all along: that learning in and from new situations and working hard are what matter most.

What you can do now:

Consistent with their Houston Rallies campaign, The Lee Group’s highest hope is that Houston continues to rally around all the small businesses of our community. The fact that the agency has seen its own clients have to pull back in these difficult times shows them that there is still a lot of work to be done as our communities recover from the pandemic fallout.

And now, more than ever, Ann Lee is learning and working hard, planning where she and her talented team will take Houston Rallies next.

“This is important work, and we want to be a part of it,” she says. “We want to help. And I am eternally grateful to my team members who devoted endless hours to make it all happen. Their contribution is what allowed us to make a difference. It has also shown us how generous this great city is to rise up and help. It’s all in. And it’s been an incredible experience.”

©2020 HoustonRallies.com