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VOL. 128 | NO. 241 | Wednesday, December 11, 2013

‘Growth Mode’

RocketFuel hitting stride as it makes bigger plans for 2014

By Andy Meek

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The fun, quirky vibe found at Memphis-based Web design company RocketFuel is readily apparent via things like remote-controlled helicopter jousting sessions between employees, and life-sized cutouts of figures like Spock in the office.

RocketFuel CEO Reuben Brunson, center with Hulk hands, poses with other members of the Web design company, which has big plans for 2014. 

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

“We definitely whistle while we work,” said company CEO and co-founder Reuben Brunson.

At the same time, the company takes its work seriously. That, too, is readily apparent, in that 2013 was a seriously good year for the company – and RocketFuel has big plans for 2014.

On the drawing board for the coming year, Brunson said, are “aggressive growth plans” that include bringing on new employees, rounding up even larger clients and expanding the company’s mix of services.

RocketFuel, a custom website design firm that specializes in strategic Internet marketing, also is seeing clients increasingly ask it to be a one-stop shop for the entirety of their marketing needs. While RocketFuel has always tried to be that to a certain degree, the company now is shifting to accommodate that more.

“On the technology side, our content management system is now managing hundreds of clients’ websites, and we’re looking to take on more custom Web projects,” Brunson said of additional plans for the future. “Firm-wide, we’re up to 15 people now, with a few others we hope to bring on soon.”

Among the company’s high points of the past 12 months was a move into a new office at 88 Union Ave. The move nearly tripled the firm’s footprint, with RocketFuel expanding from about 1,500 square feet at Brinkley Plaza, at 80 Monroe Ave., to about 4,000 square feet in the current space.

That, Brunson said, means the firm definitely has the space to accommodate and reflect the fact that it’s “in growth mode now.”

RocketFuel signed the lease for its new space in December with CB Richard Ellis Memphis, working with Chris Brown of Newmark Grubb Memphis as the tenant rep. Tim Garrett of Belz Architects was in charge of the space planning.

RocketFuel CEO Reuben Brunson said about the firm’s fun atmosphere: “We definitely whistle while we work.”

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

Brunson said RocketFuel had been looking “quite a while” for the right spot to occupy, with the new work space needing to fit well with the firm’s culture while lending itself to a modern, collaborative office environment.

The new office fits that bill, having collaborative workspaces for employees and more conference rooms for client meetings. The move also put RocketFuel in the midst of a group of firms doing similar work, with Red Deluxe and archer-malmo nearby, and Lokion Interactive operating in the same building as RocketFuel.

Also in 2013, meanwhile, RocketFuel launched dozens of websites for clients across several different industry sectors, including real estate, the law and entertainment. And the firm added several new employees, including an Internet marketing strategist, director of account management, front end/user interface developer, an account manager and an account executive.

That was after hiring five people in 2012. All of the growth coincides with increasing the firm’s offerings in services like such as design and user experience services.

RocketFuel started as a subsidiary of Rocket Science Design in 2007. Brunson said its success thus far – and the lasting success it wants to achieve – comes down to the team the firm has assembled.

“Our industry has certainly had some ups and downs in the last 10 years,” Brunson said. “I’m glad I’ve got some great people here, and I’ve got to say – our team is so freaky smart and talented.”

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