Colorado Companies to Watch 2019: The Communicators & Educators
These agencies are using their voices to tell stories of brands and people
Digital marketer Diablo Media disrupts the industry by never allowing itself to be pigeonholed.
“We are constantly expanding into new areas in marketing and never rely on one or two projects to fuel our success,” CEO Ben Smith says. “Too many of our competitors rarely change and rely on the same tactics to succeed year after year, whereas we’re always finding new ways to communicate and relate to our clientele, new technology to invest our time and efforts into as well as new resources to keep each and every person here as successful as they can be in their role.”
Diablo keeps employees happy with monthly all-company lunches, kegs of nitro coffee and kombucha, video games, weekly happy hours, free weekly massages, a work-from-home program, flexible schedules and half-day Fridays. On top of an already generous vacation package, employees can earn uncapped vacation hours in exchange for volunteer hours. In less than two years, they’ve logged 667 hours helping others.
“What makes Diablo Media great is its coaching culture,” Smith says. “We are trained to coach up, coach down, coach all around. We truly like each other and strive to make sure that we support each other in both professional and personal endeavors.”
FiveFifty is named after Route 550, the “Million Dollar Highway,” which linked isolated, lucrative mining districts to the rest of the nation.
“In the same spirit of the entrepreneurs who supported the gold commerce by building that road through difficult terrain, FiveFifty helps companies succeed in navigating the ever-changing digital landscape,” founder and CEO Ryan Wilson says.
The digital marketing company offers a custom, unified analytics platform that empowers clients with easy-to-understand and comprehensive data. FiveFifty makes sense of complicated media executions and accurately measures the performance of media investments. Bi-weekly innovation meetings offer employees a chance to present cutting-edge topics to the entire team, and lunch-and-learns inspire productive internal conversations about opportunities to be more efficient or creative.
FiveFifty offers employees a comprehensive wellness program, standing desks, ski passes and remote-work options. “We even spin an awesome prize wheel when someone goes above and beyond in demonstrating a core value,” Wilson says.
FiveFifty employees participate in a variety of charitable endeavors; the company sponsors staff volunteers in week-long adventure trips with First Descents, which focuses on outdoor experiential programming for young adults impacted by cancer.
LRXD invests its creativity in brands that help people get healthy and celebrate feeling good.
“Every day, we use tools that help brands solve business problems,” CEO Kelly Reedy says. “When there isn’t one, we invent it.”
The agency focuses on clients from the food and beverage and health and fitness industries, as well as restaurants and purpose-driven brands. It innovates using marketing intelligence management, statistical modeling, brand positioning and success metrics to help drive client success.
“We are constantly seeking new ways to strengthen our clients’ competitive position and drive more revenue,” CEO Kelly Reedy says. “And our culture and people are the reason we are able to do that.”
Creativity drives LRXD’s charitable giving as well. The agency envisioned and designed music community Cadence & Cause to allow artists to donate exclusive music, memorabilia and experiences to promote their causes. Fans buy artists’ songs, merchandise and one-of-a-kind experiences; proceeds benefit designated charities. Cadence & Cause funds have purchased enough filters to produce 8.8 million gallons of clean water for people in Kenya, Uganda, India and Haiti, and provided health services for 1,021 families living in Flint, Michigan.
As a U.S. Navy training director, Rick Schmidt saw a pressing need for quality training solutions that could motivate learners and deliver improved and measurable organizational outcomes. Today, his company helps fill that void.
TPS has been singled out as a leader in the development of high-impact training and as a result has grown exponentially over the past three years,” the TPS president and CEO says. “This growth is the result of our company’s ability to effectively apply instructional design practices and emerging technologies to deliver compelling training solutions at the point of need.
TPS operates on the principle that clients and their needs come first.
We immerse ourselves in our client’s world, focusing on understanding and supporting their desired outcomes,” Schmidt says. “We honor our clients with active interest and appreciation for the importance of their work. This approach allows us to develop impactful solutions for diverse clientele. This diversity in turn energizes our team.
Tipping Point Solutions has been a longtime supporter of charitable foundations such as the Aurora Police Department’s Back to School and Children’s Christmas fundraising. The company also supports the Cure Spinal Musculature Atrophy, the Denver Rescue Mission, Project Angel Heart and Operation Christmas Child.
Advertising agency Vladimir Jones is 100 percent woman-owned, and it believes that it’s the person who is paid fairly, not the gender. VJ is one of the founding members of the 3% Pledge for Pay Equity, an effort to achieve equal pay in the advertising industry. President Debbie Frickey is a member of the 4A’s Women’s Leadership Forum, which exists to elevate women as ad sector owners and leaders.
VJ’s team-first organization retains employees for twice the industry average, and team members can earn points for rave reviews, tenure and education that they can cash in for more training and education, PTO or cold hard cash.
At VJ, innovation is about growing as a team and growing clients’ businesses.
Our growth trajectory is focused on ensuring that all of our relationships —within the walls of the agency and with our clients and partners — are based on mutual respect, honest conversations and transparency,” CEO Meredith Vaughan says. “Our investment in the relationships we have, and with the clients we represent, is the emotional fuel for our business growth.
The agency gives back in a variety of innovative ways. It recently created The Protect Effect, an effort to keep police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters safe in the line of duty. The result has been more first responders with tactical gear, which includes a Kevlar vest, ballistic helmet and trauma kit.