Brick City Greenhouse
One Gateway Center, Suite 2600, Newark, NJ 07102
- Account wins: 7
- Active business clients: 14
Brands by 2022 sales
- Brand-product accounts held: 21
- Professional advertising: 70%
- DTP: 20%
- Corporate communications: 10%
Brick City Greenhouse was founded on the idea of being a brand-first agency that empowers people to create the extraordinary on behalf of our clients. Many of the employees came from large holding-company agencies and saw firsthand how the bottom line is a bigger driver of agency behavior than doing what’s right for brands. The agency’s leaders wanted to change this paradigm and create a model that was truly focused, not just in words but functionally, on bringing out the best in brands and in the people who support them.
Since then, Brick City Greenhouse has strived to create a new agency model for both marketers and agency staff alike. Executives say the agency has made several fundamental departures from the standard operating procedures and norms of traditional agencies, freeing staff to create the highest caliber of work and giving marketers a greater sense of partnership and accountability.
“The overall breadth of experience and ability to execute on a full spectrum of marketing needs has been exceptional,” says Blayne Fleck, director, commercial marketing, BIOTRONIK Neuro. “The way they seamlessly integrate into our strategic processes makes it feel as though we are working with an internal team rather than an agency.”
Despite the continued challenges of the pandemic, 2022 was a solid year for Brick City Greenhouse. In 2022, the agency added six new clients to their roster and seven new brand assignments. This included two brand launches and one corporate launch. Leaders say the agency also used 2022 as an opportunity to refine and articulate its values of being agile, collaborative, respectful, refreshing, and kind. Brick City Greenhouse uses these values not only as internal guideposts but also as filters for potential clients and benchmarks for assessing the health of current client relationships.
Structure and services
Brick City Greenhouse has stripped away the unnecessary barriers to productive relationships so clients can get exactly what they desire from their agency without all the baggage that comes with traditional AOR models, leaders say.
According to executives, the agency gives clients more day-to-day, senior-level involvement; a higher caliber of strategy and creative than they get with junior teams at large agencies; improved budget optimization; and faster turnaround times.
To do this, the agency has eliminated the billable-hour model and uses fixed-fee pricing. For AOR assignments, Brick City Greenhouse carves up the scope of work and charges a project cost for each line item. Managers say this gives marketers a greater level of predictability in their budgets, adding, “If there’s a change in strategy or some other factor that changes the scope of the assignment, up or down, agency leaders work up front with the clients to re-estimate and change the scope in a way that is comfortable for everyone.”
According to executives this fundamental change has led to a whole cascade of advantages for clients. “Brick City Greenhouse hires only A-level talent without passing increased salary costs on to clients,” managers say. “These highly qualified individuals are more efficient and produce better quality work, and this structure incentivizes the agency’s teams to be as nimble and agile as possible. And overhead, especially with the remote working model that was in place before the pandemic, is significantly lower and allows the agency to keep costs down for clients.”
Because Brick City Greenhouse’s goal is to attract, inspire, and retain the most talented personnel in the industry, agency leaders they have created a work structure that seeks to empower employees not only to do their best work but also lead their best lives. The agency does not use the traditional timesheet model, and allows for complete flexibility in work arrangements, offers a truly remote working structure with its employees spread across seven states, and provides unlimited paid vacation time. And, as an added perk, the agency pays for employee healthcare and supplements the cost for spouses and dependents. These efforts led to MM+M naming Brick City Greenhouse as one of the Best Places to Work.
“These fundamental changes in how the agency operates allow Brick City Greenhouse to deliver marketing and communication services that are better, faster, and more cost-effective,” executives say. Brick City Greenhouse offers a full range of professional and DTP healthcare communication services, both in the United States and globally. Competencies span from prelaunch activities, such as disease awareness and launch readiness, to franchise and corporate communications, to LOE efforts both online and off.
In 2022, Brick City Greenhouse also continued to add to its strategic, account, digital, and creative capacity. According to leaders, this follows the agency’s philosophy of ensuring clients get senior-level, day-to-day attention on their brands.
“BCG was our AOR in preparation for our first commercial launch,” says Rossana Ferrara-Pontoriero, former executive director, marketing, and now executive director of business development at Scynexis, Inc. “The involvement from senior-
level talent throughout the launch was a main differentiator. They were an invaluable partner.”
Agency leadership shares that it’s deeply rewarding to see the new model they created is increasingly being sought out by both employees and clients alike.
Brick City Greenhouse will continue to hone and refine its ever-evolving model. Agency leaders say they want to make sure that the agency is always inspiring its clients and employees, so change here is a given – as is growth. “Some of the agency’s biggest accounts started with a single small project,” executives say. “Leadership has found that once clients experience what it’s like to work with Brick City Greenhouse, things grow quickly.”
According to managers, the agency is ready and well-positioned to take on these challenges, and doesn’t look at new business as an onerous task needed to feed the ever demanding “bottom line.” Leaders say they see it as an opportunity to carefully curate a collection of interesting and likeminded clients that they can be passionate about.
Agency leaders say Brick City Greenhouse is a mission-built, female majority-owned agency that has always had a desire to give back to the healthcare community. As part of this mission, every year the agency strives to donate five percent of its post-tax profits to health- and wellness-related charities. Managers say this philosophy of altruism and inclusivity extends to pro bono efforts and in working with companies that bring unique value to the medical community. In 2018, Brick City Greenhouse started working with Medicines Development for Global Health, a not-for-profit biopharmaceutical company focused on neglected diseases based in Melbourne, Australia. “Brick City is in complete alignment with our mission and values,” says Mark Sullivan, founder and director of Medicines Development for Global Health, a 2019 Fast Company Most Innovative Company and 2019 Prix Galien nominee.