NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- You know those agencies where everything is spare and white, or look-how-creative-we-are designed to the point of distraction? That would not be 360i, whose office aesthetic would be better described as poached from a parking lot next to an Office Depot. But that will soon change: The agency, bought by Dentsu in January, is about to move from cramped space in New York's Flatiron to the AT&T Building in tony Tribeca. And there will be foosball. And a coffee bar. And ping-pong.
But the culture -- remarkably diva-free and hard working -- will stay the same. That's one thing CEO Bryan Wiener took from his first experience running a big web company called -- wait for it -- The Globe. (For the youngsters, think Facebook about a decade before its time and that actually went public.) "It was a cult of personality rather than a clear mission as a company that the marketplace and the employees could buy into," he said. Lesson learned: It's all about the work.
To build an agency, Mr. Wiener and partner and co-CEO Will Margiloff began with a solid digital growth business -- search -- and then started shooting for the white spaces, which has taken them into social and mobile. "We have fashioned the agency around the fundamental changes in consumer behavior," he said. "Marketers of the future and agencies of the future have to be organized around consumer behavior and not around their own businesses."
So far, it's working. When the shop started out five years ago by acquiring 360i and Search Ignite under the Innovation Interactive umbrella, it had 45 employees. Now there are over 300, with more than 80 hired so far this year. The core philosophy: technology infused in everything it does. Twenty-five percent of staffers are developers.
Clients such as Kraft, Coca-Cola, JCPenney and NBC Universal chose 360i because they wanted an agency 100% focused on digital. 360i is helping Bravo launch 24 shows this year (nine new and 15 returning) by building social campaigns and tools, as well as monitoring conversations and interacting with fans. "Bryan and his team are fantastic at keeping us on top of what we're not doing," said Valerie Brown, head of consumer marketing for the network. "They're screaming at us right now for not adding more tips to Foursquare."
That deal with Foursquare -- the Bravo badge -- came out of research. MRI said Bravo viewers are more likely to be on both Facebook and Twitter than any other network. From that, 360i concluded they've also probably heard of Foursquare. That was when the social network had 250,000 users, by the way, not the 3 million it has today.
For "Top Chef Just Desserts," 360i built a Twitter feed for a promotion that let viewers know where they could get free dessert. The agency manages two of the top five Facebook pages.
"We have been the upstart since we started the company," Mr. Wiener said. "We are finally at a point where our business is making a real impact on the market."