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Business Observer Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022 2 weeks ago

Ad agency looks to seize opportunities in 2022

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FKQ aims for growth year amid challenging times with new clients and new hires.
by: Mark Gordon Managing Editor

Company: FKQ. The past year was a milestone one for the Clearwater-based advertising, marketing and branding firm: it celebrated 60 years in business. Robert Faller co-founded the firm in 1961 in Buffalo, New York.  It added some offices across the country in the 1970s, and in 1987 Faller bought out his business partners Al Klenk and Lawlor Quinlan and moved the firm to Clearwater.

Lisa Faller, Bob’s daughter, was named CEO in 2003. FKQ now provides a range of services for clients, from data analytics and digital marketing to creative content and public relations. The company has some 100 employees, and clients include Hertz, McDonald’s, Tampa General Hospital and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. “We live by the mantra that we do whatever it takes,” Faller says. “We run like mad everyday to deliver on our client’s goals, and frankly, exceed those goals.”

Opportunities: Faller, who started with the firm in 1983 in Buffalo, sees one big opportunity in continuing a mission FKQ has been on for several years: to diversify its client base. It’s been doing that for several years, she says, both in the region and outside Florida. The pandemic, in a counterintuitive way, has helped to some extent, Faller says, because companies are rethinking both how much to spend on marketing and where to spend it. One of FKQ’s strengths, she says, is “helping clients monitor consumer behavior and make the necessary changes” to reach targeted audiences.   

Another opportunity? Hiring people looking for new challenges. “One big thing we want to do in 2022 is grow the talent pool,” Faller says. “We need to add people in every department in the company.”

Faller says the company has high retention rates, even amid the Great Resignation, of people leaving companies en masse. Part of that, she believes, is the company culture. And a big part is the work. “It’s not a place where people like to do one thing and then go to the next thing,” she says. “We are all in, all the time, nonstop.”

Threats: Having a diverse client list like FKQ does puts Faller in a prime spot to see what other business leaders worry about. “There’s like one million things going on, with inflation and supply chain issues,” she says. And those issues clients have often trickle down to FKQ in some way. So Faller keeps a close eye on those threats.

Faller also hears all kinds of threats, and up-at-night worries, through her CEO group she’s in with the Entrepreneur’s Organization. “I think I’ve learned more in the last 18 months as a CEO than in the last decade,” she says

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