VOL. 128 | NO. 176 | Tuesday, September 10, 2013
By Andy Meek
A few weeks ago, the digerati at Memphis-based marketing communications agency archer-malmo were deep into work on a website for one of the firm’s clients.
The creative energy at archer-malmo is everywhere, especially on the fourth floor, where additions have been made that include a company bicycle and bike parking garage.
(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)
A person wandering into that scene on the fourth floor of the Cotton Exchange building, at 65 Union Ave., would have seen nine people clustered together in a collaborative work area.
Monitoring two dozen tablets and mobile devices, as well as four monitors running different Web browsers, was a crowd that included a development team, a front-end usability team and graphic designers, among a few other archer-malmo employees.
Nobody, in the words of the firm’s director of digital services Ken Rohman, wants to “go to work in a cube farm every day,” and here was an example of how archer-malmo is, in fact, not that. No walls between them, just a team of motivated creative professionals huddled together, getting it done.
Within the past week, archer-malmo has announced four hires. It’s representative of a steady clip of growth for which the firm has been recognized in some high-profile ways recently – growth that itself is representative of the firm’s creativity-focused company culture.
“It’s a combination of organic growth with existing clients and winning new clients,” said archer-malmo CEO Russ Williams. “At the moment, I’d say it’s more organic growth with existing clients. We’ve got about a dozen key clients that really drive our business. And our relationship with almost every single one of those companies is expanding and has been for the last 12 to 18 months.”
The new hires include Lukus Blackford as a search engine optimization and analytics specialist, Cary New as a public relations senior account executive, Casey Lissau as associate creative director and Christina Comas as retail marketing account coordinator.
Gorkem Yamandag, joined by Tombik, works in the new collaborative space at archer-malmo. The new bike garage is visible in the background.
(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)
Blackford is supporting archer-malmo’s digital team on SEO projects for all agency clients and social media listening and online reputation for Zoetis.
New spent the last 15 years at Viking Range Corp., where she specialized in corporate and B2B media relations. Lissau previously was a senior art director at Sullivan Branding, and Comas will support local marketing activities for all of the Palm Beach Tan corporate markets.
That growth helps illustrate why the agency recently was named to the Inc. 5000 list, a ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The Agency Post also recently put archer-malmo on its Agency 100, a list of the fastest-growing advertising and marketing agencies in the U.S.
“Having the opportunity for 13 years to run a creative company, I feel like I’ve learned so much about how to inspire creative people, and I think that transcends creative people,” Williams said. “We’re known for our culture, we’ve won a lot of awards for our culture, and what I’ve learned is – do things that inspire people to come to work and that inspire them to do their best.”
To accommodate its expanding headcount and the momentum from its business, archer-malmo took on more space inside the Cotton Exchange building this year. Renovations were done to new space on the eighth floor and existing space on the fourth floor with the idea of employee collaboration in mind.
The spaces, for example, are perfect for digital interactive launches that necessitate employees huddling on final-stage testing and implementation for client websites. There are also features like collective, multipurpose workstations.
Along with that, the agency added an indoor bike locker that can accommodate as many as 12 bikes, and the agency bought a communal bike for employees to use.
“Ken’s department lives on the fourth floor of our building – although they’re about to outgrow that floor, and we’re going to have to get them another one,” Williams said. “The fourth floor was renovated to accommodate the collaborative way our digital team works with other departments in the agency and across all their own different functions.”
Rohman leads a digital department of more than 30 people that Williams said is paramount to archer-malmo’s growth strategy. To give a flavor of the department’s capabilities, Rohman said it has a few people who do nothing but social media full time, in addition to the firm having a very large presence in Web development.
“Renovating the fourth floor to look and function the way it ought to for a bunch of hip, young software developers – that’s inspiring to those people,” Williams said. “They want to be here and do their best job. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that at the end of the day, people just want to be inspired.”