Integrated marketing and full-service PR
Employees of FCF Schmidt share office space with their counterparts at advertising agency Fleming & Van Metre Advertising in a truly integrated office that promotes dialogue between the practices and helps avoid the inter-disciplinary rivalry that too often interferes with successful cooperation. The firm provides a full range of public relations services, from national media relations to grassroots publicity, from media training to event planning, from community relations to crisis management. The majority of its $1.25 million in revenue comes from the consumer sector, with the rest divided between business-to-business and non-profit clients. The firm has particular strength in the professional pest management category, due to its work for the National Pest Management Association and BASF’s pest control unit.
Sharing space with all those advertising types does not appear have had a detrimental impact on employee morale. FCF Schmidt says part of its philosophy it to “keep employees for a very long time” and does so in part because it’s big enough—as part of an ad agency—to offer generous benefits (up to 30 days paid time off, a 401k with matching that has been as high as 68 percent), yet small enough to offer personal touches such as summer bonuses, free tickets to Phillies games, and complimentary limo service to and from the annual holiday party. But it’s the ability to treat every one of its employees as individuals that makes the FCF Schmidt culture truly unique. Two bonuses a year are nice, but employees like the “more unorthodox” benefits too: “Flex time is offered without question to all employees,” says one respondent to our survey. “Sick kid? Work from home. School closed? Same thing.” Adds another: “I’m the envy of all my friends and colleagues who are stuck working for unappreciative, inflexible, or overbearing managers.”
The firm enjoyed growth of 36 percent in 2004 (albeit from a modest base), with the consumer practice making the biggest contribution. New business came from the School Nutrition Association (for a name change and re-branding campaign); Unique Industries (a national consumer media relations blitz to launch a new product); and Norristown Area School District (improving stakeholder relations). The firm also continued it trade and consumer PR efforts for the BASF Professional Pest Control account, supporting the company’s Termidor product with a mobile marketing campaign—the Towering Termite Tour—to raise awareness among homeowners and the media of the damage caused by termites.