AGENCY OF THE YEAR, CATEGORY III
|Active business clients||30|
|Brands by 2013 sales|
|Brand-product accounts held||40|
|$25 million or less||12|
|$25 million – $50 million||5|
|$50 million – $100 million||5|
|$100 million – $500 million||7|
|$1 billion or more|
Delta Marketing Dynamics
Emma Willard School
Glens Falls Hospital
United Way of the Greater Capital Region
Unprecedented success is the best way to sum up 2013 for Fingerpaint, executives say. It was a year that saw explosive growth, strategic expansion, award-winning creative and numerous product launches.
“Last year surpassed all of our expectations – and we set some pretty high expectations for ourselves,” says Ed Mitzen, president of Fingerpaint. “But what I’m most proud of is that we’ve stayed true to our core philosophy.”
According to Mitzen, that philosophy, which includes a commitment to uncommon collaboration both internally and with clients, has turned this employee-owned agency based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., into a marketing powerhouse.
The Year’s Accomplishments
2013 saw Fingerpaint’s client roster continue to grow steadily to 33 clients, including agency of record accounts for Ikaria, Upsher-Smith, Aerocrine, CSL Behring, Alimera Sciences, and Vernalis.
Fingerpaint was instrumental in the global launch of Alimera Sciences’ Iluvien, working with international partners to develop print and digital tactics in Germany, the United Kingdom, and France. In fact, helping clients prepare for product launches was an overriding focus of 2013.
Fingerpaint also worked on prelaunch and launch campaigns for several clients and brands. The agency continued work on an epilepsy awareness campaign for Upsher-Smith, and prepared for the launch of the company’s first branded epilepsy drug, USL255.
Fingerpaint continued to deliver award-winning digital work for Ikaria’s Inomax, including a Website redesign, digital peer surveys, ongoing e-mail campaigns, and online presentations. The agency also launched a new branded campaign for CSL Behring’s Zemaira.
In addition to helping clients, Fingerpaint underwent its own rebranding. The rebrand included the creation of a new company logo, a full Website redesign, and updated agency collateral.
This new business helped drive a 50 percent growth in revenue, exceeding forecasts, and a staff increase of 57 percent. These achievements were recognized by Inc. magazine, which ranked the agency number 815 in its 2013 “Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies.” It also awarded Fingerpaint a 2013 Hire Power Award for staff growth and job creation.
To handle this growth, the company moved into a new, 30,000-square-foot headquarters in Saratoga Springs. True to Fingerpaint’s collaborative style, the new space features an open floor plan with no offices, numerous team meeting areas and a large bistro for in-office events. Fingerpaint also opened a new office in Wayne, Pa.
The agency acquired Cotton Hill, a full-service audio and video production company in Albany, N.Y. Executives say having this state-of-the-art studio in-house enables Fingerpaint to more easily integrate broadcast and online content production to its list of client services.
Leaders know fast growth can spell disaster for company culture, so Fingerpaint balanced its impressive expansion by recommitting to the agency’s core values: people first, collaboration, integrity, will to win, and philanthropy. And to help drive this focus, it hired a director of people and culture.
This focus on people helps explain why Fingerpaint has attracted some of the top talent from all over the country. The agency also touts an industry-low turnover rate, and no turnover among the senior team. It is also one reason why Fingerpaint was named one of the Capital Region’s “Best Places to Work” for the second year in a row, based on employee satisfaction and workplace best practices.
The agency won 19 creative awards across multiple channels in 2013, including 11 Davey Awards and five Rx Club Awards. It was also a finalist in 2013’s Manny Agency of the Year award.
Structure And Services
According to executives, one of the keys to Fingerpaint’s success has been its open, collaborative working style. This allows the agency to offer a full range of seamlessly integrated multichannel marketing solutions that include brand development, strategic planning, audio/video production, content development, mobile and emerging platforms, social and search, digital channels and formats, intelligence and analytics, medical and scientific affairs, e-mail marketing, and public relations.
Fingerpaint’s sense of true collaboration is most apparent in the open office environment and company culture: no offices, no titles … no egos. This flat structure allows the agency to stay energetic, flexible, and nimble, so it can quickly respond to increasingly complex marketing challenges.
Fingerpaint is employee-owned, so everyone is vested in the company’s success. And the senior leadership team is just as involved as everyone else. Everyone works side by side, so the focus stays squarely on the client.
Executives believe that Fingerpaint’s continued success has set the stage for an amazing 2014. Several product launches are scheduled throughout the first half of the year. And contracts have already been signed with new clients. Fingerpaint’s new business team also has aggressive plans to build off past successes to expand the client list into new areas – both pharmaceutical and nonpharma.
Overall, Fingerpaint is projecting a nearly 50 percent staffing increase and a 55 percent revenue growth for 2014. Much of 2014’s focus will be on expanding the Wayne, Pa., office, with forecasts of doubling its staff. And the agency continues to expand its global presence with a new office in Manhattan.
In 2013, Fingerpaint hired a full-time employee to handle the philanthropic efforts for the company and advise nonprofits on messaging and marketing. The agency also created a website devoted to corporate sponsorships, charity events and more. And it provided pro bono work for many local and national organizations, including Saratoga WarHorse, United Way, and SeriousFun.
Fingerpaint also donated more than $70,000 to local nonprofits, including Franklin Community Center, Shelters of Saratoga, Community Hospice for Kids, Saratoga Hospital Foundation, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and more. Every summer weekend, Fingerpaint donated its company parking lot to organizations that then rented out the parking spaces for fundraising efforts.
Fingerpaint has organized a supermarket sweep for local food pantries. And in December, it was the driving force behind local “Code Blue” efforts to bring homeless people in from the freezing temperatures. Instead of holiday gifts for clients, Fingerpaint made a generous donation to help aid tsunami relief in the Philippines.
“We are very aware of how fortunate we have been,” Mitzen says. “Being able to help others is part of our core company philosophy and is as rewarding to us as anyone.”