Founded as Winger and Associates by Sherry Winger in 1986, the story of our agency actually starts with Hugh Hefner. The roots of the business were actually planted during the heyday of Playboy in Chicago. Sherry Winger was head of marketing and PR for Playboy Hotels, and her expansive network of individuals in business and entertainment served her well when Playboy decided to start selling its hotel properties. Sherry’s expertise quickly and seamlessly translated to her own boutique PR and special events firm. The agency serviced hospitality, restaurants, and luxury fashion boutiques.
In the mid-nineties, Sherry’s husband Doug joined the firm. His military and banking background attracted a variety of new businesses. Doug Winger was also a passionate antiques collector and relished the opportunity to bring on antiques shows and international dealers as clients. As the years went on, our exceptional work in PR and special events gained the admiration of many key journalists in Chicago, who then generated a stream of recommendations for the firm.
Soon, Winger was working with major hospitals, law firms, non-profits, and international expositions. Karolyn Raphael joined the firm in 1997 and became Vice-president in 2004. In 2006, Karolyn became President and Owner after she and her husband, Lance, purchased the company from Sherry and Doug Winger.
With more than 20 years of PR, marketing communications, and media experience, Karolyn continues to lead Winger Marketing and has expanded its services and offerings. The firm has grown from a boutique PR firm into a full-service marketing agency with in-house graphic design.
Our expertise includes public relations, public relations training, media relations, media buying, advertising, social media marketing, search engine optimization, thought leadership development, promotion of special events and the development of marketing collateral. The agency’s passion has remained the same over the years, despite the changing economy and media landscape. We share our clients’ stories. Helping businesses grow by sharing their stories of success and passion through an integrated marketing approach is the bread and butter of Winger Marketing.
The marketing agency with offices in Chicago and on the North Shore, represents both middle-market companies and small businesses in industries ranging from art and real estate to health care, legal, and associations. Our own story continues to evolve and grow as we help clients adapt to social media, content marketing, and the value of search engine optimization.