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People First. Trust and Transparency Pay Dividends for CLUTCH

Hybrid consultancy and agency adds eight new clients in 2020

Minneapolis, Minn. (December 17, 2020) – When the pandemic-related shutdowns brought the country to a grinding halt in March, business owner Troy Schroeder looked in the mirror.

 “We worked really hard not to have any Covid-related layoffs, even if that meant  turning the screws tighter on ourselves as owners,” said Schroeder, president and founder of CLUTCH, a hybrid consulting and agency based in Minneapolis. “From the start, I was committed to keeping people safe. That was my number one goal. And we had to try and keep things moving. People are inherently good, and if you’re straight with them, that’s the way to build trust and relationships.”

That belief in transparency, a core value at CLUTCH, and putting people first, were among the ingredients in the mix that enabled the firm to add eight new clients in 2020.

Charting a course through such unprecedented times had the potential to be a white knuckle affair. CLUTCH had long ago embraced technology and digital tools for remote work and collaboration.  It had been a critical element of its growth, and the transition to a 100% remote operation was fairly routine on the technology front. But it was the human side of the equation that kept Schroeder up at night. What was once routine for people pre-pandemic was now unnerving, and for some, treacherous. Schroeder’s reassuring attitude and calm demeanor showed that technology can replace many things, but without effective leadership, it’s just bells and whistles. Lending an ear was a top priority, and Schroeder gave his colleagues time to absorb the situation, and finesse a “new normal” in regard to balancing remote work and family life. Once everyone was on firm footing, they reached out to current clients to determine their immediate needs.  The question then arose: who else could CLUTCH help during these unique times? The new business pipeline crackled with activity.

“I’m very grateful our clients were committed to keeping their businesses moving forward and they were still open to ideas coming from us. Our clients have a lot of grit and creativity, as do we,” said Schroeder. “You have to deal in reality. The fact that many of our people have been in our clients’ shoes in past lives really helped us know what they were facing, and then apply that knowledge to what they would likely need from a service provider side right now. It made us pretty darn understanding as to what they were going through and dealing with inside of their businesses and helped all of our team avoid any kind of ‘pandemic paralysis’.”

Among the new CLUTCH clients spanning the agribusiness, food business and construction categories heading into 2021: Heartland Ag Systems, the largest Case IH Application distributor in North America; Real American Hardwood Coalition; the Sod Industry Checkoff; genetics company Benson Hill; the Ag Climate Partnership, led by U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action (USFRA), Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the World Farmers Organisation; and crop nutrition company AdvanSix.

Schroeder said the unique pedigree of CLUTCH has helped the firm carve a niche in both the consultancy and agency arena.

“I think our model has served us very well in this period because we’re more business- minded than most agencies, and we’re more category-specific than most consulting firms,” said Schroeder.  “That inherently puts us at a deeper level talking about our clients’ business than a lot of our competitors. We are always working with our clients to create more opportunity for their business, and that often goes well beyond just marketing.”

And the credit, says Schroeder, is shared by all at CLUTCH.

“I have a deep sense of respect for the level of business acumen and creativity we have on our team. We were honest about what we were going through when the shutdown occurred. We only asked folks to be honest with where they were at, and what they needed from us to support them. We changed the way we work and in some cases, the times we worked, but, I never saw a drop off in effort. I’m truly humbled to be working with such a high-level team and it’s consistently paying off for us and our clients.”


CLUTCH is a hybrid consultancy and agency focused on helping B2B businesses find and realize their peak potential. As business acceleration experts, everything the firm does is designed to drive the growth of revenue and opportunity. The firm combines a mix of strategic consulting, marketing communications and lead generation, and learning and development services to consistently produce business results for clients.

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