Marketing communications and brand building
In 2004, Fleishman-Hillard became the latest big global agency to spin out a smaller, more entrepreneurial boutique firm, following in the footsteps of Edelman (with its subsidiary Zeno) and Ruder Finn (RF|Binder Partners). Blue Current, a marketing and brand-building firm led by Larry Meltzer and Robert Martin, whose Meltzer & Martin agency was acquired by Fleishman in 1999, had its first full year of operation in 2005, and experienced moderate growth while defining its internal culture and establishing its brand with external audience.
BlueCurrent specializes in helping clients connect with target consumers, deliver their brand messages, launch ideas or concepts, and make a big splash in their respective markets. The firm employs a signature creative process based on the concept of navigation and the firm’s core values of discovery, insight and imagination. The process, the BlueCurrent Creative Navigator, invites clients to take a creative voyage through the concepts of discovery, insight and imagination, with a three-phase methodology built upon a series of distinct principles and guidelines that direct the agency’s creative and problem-solving activities. In addition, agency staffers are trained in Splashpoints, a portfolio of 12 specific idea-generating techniques designed to foster creativity.
Meltzer serves as chief imagination officer, directing the agency’s creative product and serving as a knowledge resource for brand-building and media trends. Martin is chief navigation officer, directing work in the areas of brand strategy, market research, competitive intelligence and reputation management. They are joined by Annette Rogers, partner, who has broad experience in the consumer products, hospitality and retail sectors, and in 2005 by Keith Lester, who joined as a vice president from Baer Rutter & Associates.
Major clients included USAA (a diversified financial-services company); Shell Oil Products; Lennox International (a leading manufacturer of home comfort systems); Service Experts (North American retail service company providing home heating, cooling, ventilation and air quality product installation and repair); Hispanic Scholarship Fund (national non-profit organization supporting higher education for the Hispanic community); and LSG Sky Chefs (global provider of in-flight catering and services). New additions included Brach’s Confections; Hibernia Bank; and Vital Processing Services (a major processor of credit-card and related transactions).
High-profile work included the USAA Freshman Finance 101 campaign, examining how well-prepared incoming college freshmen and their parents are to meet the financial challenges of college; Shell’s “Clean to the Extreme” program, a search for the dirtiest car in key Shell markets; and the Lennox “Home Comfort Makeover” initiative, an annual search for the “most uncomfortable home in North America,” designed to raise awareness of the hidden source of discomfort in most homes—air quality.