For the second consecutive year, The Variable has earned recognition from Fast Company as one of the world’s Best Workplaces for Innovators, joining an exclusive list of globally-recognized organizations like Google, Samsung, Mattel, IBM, General Motors, and Moderna, among others.

Fast Company’s third annual list of Best Workplaces for Innovators was created in collaboration with Accenture and honors businesses and organizations that demonstrate a deep commitment to encouraging innovation at all levels. Together, Fast Company editors and Accenture researchers carefully reviewed nearly 1,500 organizations from a variety of industries, including computer science, biotech, consumer packaged goods, nonprofit, education, financial services, cybersecurity, and engineering to select this year’s finalists.

“These leaders and teams created cultures of innovation and sustained them, even as remote work extended into 2021,” says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “This newest list of the Best Workplaces for Innovators honors those organizations that found ways to collaborate and invent despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, ensuring employees were at the forefront.”

The Variable’s unique offerings and proven ability to assess business challenges, invent and commercialize solutions, and craft creativity that drives consumer action has led to successful partnerships with clients that include P&G, Nestle, Electrolux, Char-Broil, BASF and Purpose Financial, along with newly-formed client partnerships with Scott’s MiracleGro, NAPA Auto Parts, and Bonnie Plants, among others.

“Advertising alone can’t fix broken business models or lackluster product experiences, and new innovations usually don’t sell themselves,” says David Mullen, president and partner at The Variable. “So we created an agency model that combines innovation and advertising, and recruited incredibly talented people from diverse backgrounds to help us bring it to life. We’ve been able to foster this incredible culture of innovation, business acumen, creativity and teamwork that leads to better business outcomes for our clients and deeper relationships for us across their organizations.”

Among the specific company- and employee-led innovations and efforts that elevated The Variable above others were:

  • The launch of Fairly, a new pricing, forecasting and resource management solution- – created in-house by The Variable — that is revolutionizing how advertising agencies operationalize their businesses, price their services and go to market.
  • Turning our beloved internal “Good Idea Fair” competition — where everyone from the receptionist to chairman is challenged to pitch an original product or service idea that we turn into real businesses–into a mobile-first SaaS platform clients can use to develop fun-filled innovation cultures.
  • Demonstrated progress against our commitment to using our passion for innovation and advertising to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at our own agency, within the consulting and advertising industry, and throughout our community of Winston-Salem, N.C. Women now make up 63% of our director and group director leadership team, and more than 65% of our last 20 new hires identify as diverse based on race, sexual orientation or gender identification.Last year, we formed The Variable Vanguard, an internal DEI board led by a team of people from various departments and levels of seniority to help drive transparency, leadership accountability, priorities and programs going forward.
  • We’ve also worked this past year to outline a partnership with Winston-Salem State University, a historically black university located just a couple miles from our office, and co-created a plan to introduce more Black students to marketing and advertising through speaking opportunities, classroom participation, mentorships and paid internships.

Earning a spot on this year’s list of Best Workplaces for Innovators marks just the latest honor The Variable has received for effectively combining the thinking of an innovation consultancy and the doing of an advertising agency. In 2020, The Variable joined organizations such as Google, Amazon, Diageo, Alibaba, Etsy, Nestlé and others as one of Fast Company’s 2020 Top 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators, and earlier this year, was named by Forbes as One of America’s Best Startup Employers. The Variable is also a three-time winner of Ad Age’s Small Agency of the Year awards.

For more information on the 2021 Fast Company Best Workplaces for Innovators list, visit

About The Variable
The Variable combines the thinking of an innovation consultancy with the doing of an advertising agency to help businesses overcome indifference and accelerate growth. Clients rely on the company’s expertise in innovation, strategy, design, creativity, advertising, social media and PR to create value in people’s lives and to deliver exponential growth and value for their businesses. Whether it’s developing a new product innovation, a unique service offering, an unforgettable brand experience or the next great ad campaign, The Variable helps its clients rethink the way they think about their business opportunities. For more information about The Variable, visit: