Colangelo Synergy Marketing has come a long way since its humble beginnings in a Connecticut farmhouse. The 11-year-old shop, headquartered in Darien, CT, has grown from a mere 10 employees five years ago to a team of 110 today.
It consistently ranks near the top of the PROMO 100 as it continues to develop strategic and creative campaigns for its client roster. Net revenues for the No. 13 shop rose almost 21% to $20.2 million in 2003 up from $16.7 million in 2001. Current clients contributed to 24% of additional business and 76% of U.S. revenue growth came from new clients won in the past year.
According to CEO Robert Colangelo, “We take a three-tiered approach — business managers team with strategy and creative to go after a problem, so that we have a solution that hits all components.” The Colangelo team works with client to strategically define program objectives before jumping into a project. This strategy lends itself to campaign measurability and defining ROI.
“ROI begins with properly defining the problem to be solved,” says Susan Cocco, VP-strategic planning. “We’re intimately involved in creating the objectives first and then the measurements for success — when we turn to the end of a program we should have both quantitative and qualitative results that are measured against what we set out to do.”
The shop builds promos from consumer insight and brand equity. “The ideas don’t come from outside the box, they come from inside the box; they come from brands,” Cocco says.
As AOR for Kraft since 1993, Colangelo has revamped Post’s kids’ cereals by driving awareness and integration through Post’s Web site, Postopia.com. “Because it’s Internet and because it’s 24/7, there is ample opportunity over the course of a day to engage with kids,” says Bob Terry, executive creative director. Over 3.4 million unique visitors hit the site in March alone; Postopia.com holds its own against kids’ sites like Nickelodeon.com.
“Colangelo is incredibly strong on the strategy side of things — they are able to develop, understand and apply consumer insights for our work,” says Thano Chaltas, senior category business director for Kraft. “They redefined the role of a promotion agency within Kraft.”
Using its knowledge of kids, Colangelo tapped into the minds of tweens in order to help Dannon launch its drinkable snack, Danimals XL. This was the first time Dannon segmented its audience to target older kids. Colangelo identified strategies to reach an older target. For the launch, Colangelo partnered Danimals XL with Disney Channel, the leading primetime cable network for tweens.
“The brand team loved this idea since it was very aspirational, gave tweens a really unique opportunity and reinforced the ‘chill’ positioning,” says Heidi Dvorkin-Krauss, marketing director, Dannon. “We liked the Disney Channel promotion so much that the brand team actually decided to broaden the relationship with Disney Channel in order to create a year-long sponsorship, making Danimals XL the exclusive yogurt sponsor of Disney Channel.”