Local marketing firm Warschawski serves a vast array of national companies and organizations.
Warschawski, a full-service marketing communications firm based in Mount Washington, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Led by its founder, CEO and namesake, David Warschawski, the agency works with a wide range of national outfits, from publicly traded utility companies to top international law firms, sports apparel brands to food and beverage brands, as well as nonprofits. Eighteen full-time employees work at Warschawski, serving more than 20 clients.
Warschawski is a past multiple winner of the U.S. Small Agency of the Year award by the Holmes Report, a leading source in the public relations industry for news and information. In addition, David Warschawski in 2012 was named one of Maryland’s most admired CEOs by The Daily Record.
Jmore recently caught up with Warschawski, a native of Basel, Switzerland, who lives in Pikesville with his wife, Rachel Steinberg Warschawski, an artist and designer who creates customized works of art for her clients.
How have you succeeded for two decades in a very competitive field?
Long-term success boils down to these five things for us. 1) Having a very clearly defined and strong brand. 2) Doing everything we can to thrill the client and show them we care about them as both people and a business. 3) Always wanting to understand the business results that the client wants to achieve, not only the [marketing communications] results, and then doing everything we can to help them achieve those business goals. 4) Providing a senior level of experience and expertise for each client. 5) Creating an ‘always-on’ mentoring environment for our team members so they constantly learn and grow and can hit their personal goals.
What do you look for in clients?
We look for clients for whom we can truly help move the business needle. Clients who want a partner and are willing to work together to get great results. Clients who are open and optimistic and like to have fun while doing the work together.
How do you measure results?
Of course, bottom-line results are important, but that is not where we put the primary focus. Most important is creating a culture where people are excited to come to work every day, which translates into doing great work and living our brand. We have found that this always results in strong bottom-line results.
For our clients, we have two primary metrics. First is that they are enjoying working with us and feel like we are a great partner to them. Second, together with the client we always put business metrics and goals to our campaigns, and we know if we hit them or blow them out of the water, our client will be happy.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Finding great team members who have the right national experience and are a great fit for our brand. If we were based in New York City, this wouldn’t be much of a challenge, but being in Baltimore has made this an issue.
How do you give bad news to a client?
Kindly, with empathy and care for how it could affect them both as a business and as people. That being said, we are strong believers in being straight shooters and having very open and transparent relationships with clients.
What’s your advice for people who want to establish successful professional services firms?
There are three key ingredients. 1) Create a strong and clear brand position that you always use both in HR [human resources] decisions as well as in all of your external activities with clients and vendors. Ensure that it is communicated well and that it is lived every day. 2) Make certain that you clearly define and share how you are different from and better than your competition, hopefully in more than one way. 3) Make sure you have fun along the way and celebrate every victory with your team, whether big or small.
What gives you the most satisfaction in your work?
Early on, it was landing big-name clients such as Adidas or Under Armour. I loved to compete against large New York City agencies and win national or international business. As I’ve gotten older and we’ve been fortunate to win and work with many of the top brands in the world, my perspective has changed. Now, I also get tremendous satisfaction from seeing folks who have been with our agency for 19 or 15 or two years grow and hit both their personal and professional goals.
I also get great satisfaction from staying on top of and ensuring that we are truly expert at whatever is cutting edge in our industry. For example, today we have six Google certified analysts on staff and have been named a Google certified agency. I personally have become a digital geek, learning the ins and outs of all aspects of digital marketing.
Peter Arnold is an Olney, Md.-based freelance writer.
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