Growing Companies

Bridge Worldwide, one of the country’s largest and innovative digital marking agencies, counts international giants Procter & Gamble, Kroger, ConAgra Foods and Luxottica Group among its clients.

And though the company has been around since 1979, its standing skyrocketed in 2001 once it embraced today’s digital technology and the potential it had to create a strong relationship between companies and consumers. The company primarily works with Fortune 500 companies.

“We’re the digital agency of record for our clients. Earlier, we had done various things in event marketing. In 2001, we really focused on digital technology and relationships marketing. We work with pretty much anything related to digital devices, web sites e-mails, mobile phones, in-store kiosks, anything using technology to do marketing,” said Bob Gilbreath, Chief Marketing Officer at Bridge Worldwide.

Company Founder Peter Schwartz is the company’s Chief Creative Officer and works with 60 employees devoted to developing creative marketing ideas. The company started as ImageMatrix, a small business service graphics firm. But it began to evolve into its current form when it launched P&G’s first Web site, DentalResourceNet, an e-commerce site targeting dentists.

And as the bubble burst, the company took a risk when the executive committee decided to invest heavily in internet and relationship marketing. The risk has paid off.

Schwartz has been a large part of growing the company into one of the 50 largest digital agencies in the US. It’s been voted the Great Place to Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management “One of the Best Small and Medium Companies to Work for in America” in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

In a company video, Schwartz said the company uses a collaborative approach to working.

“For a creative that means that ideally you are challenged every day. Bringing the idea to the table, working from really smart insights with research, working with technical disciplines to bring innovation to your work, and working with designers and copywriters to bring the idea to life in an exciting way. And we work with some of the best brands in the world,” Schwartz said.

Among the Cincinnati’s company’s signature services are its specialties in “relationship marketing” and “marketing with meaning.” And with the growing popularity of social networking web sites, cell phone texting and video and photo downloading sites, Bridge brings its clients cutting edge marketing concepts.

“The overall idea of Marketing with Meaning is that we’re in a world where consumers are bombarded with 3,000 ads in a day they’re ignoring ads. They’re using TiVo that skip ads. We believe the only way to survive and thrive is to create marketing that people chose to engage with, that is valuable,” said Gilbreath, whose book on the concept “The Next Evolution of Marketing” comes out soon. “It represents the philosophy we have. We don’t have as much room to interrupt people.”

For example, one campaign the company created for Similac Baby formula is the StrongMoms program.

 “We offer advice, tips and coupons and guidance for using formula and breastfeeding. The reward is brand loyalty,” Gilbreath said.

Bridge Worldwide innovation has attracted high-profile clients and lots of talented workers. In less than a decade, the company has grown from 70 to 220 – and counting – today.

“We have opening for about 20 jobs right now. In a tough economy, we are aggressively hiring. We find current employees recommending people they know to apply here,” Gilbreath said.

Among the jobs that Bridge offer are in client services, project management, design, copywriting, and emerging media. Services include digital marketing and advertising, strategic leadership planning, consumer insight, digital experience and tracking a project’s results. Bridge uses more than 50 development, server and database technology platforms.

The key to the company’s success is its workers, and Bridge culture works to foster creativity, responsibility and cohesion.

“What we’ve done is create that great culture, where we’re giving people a lot of responsibility and letting them make decisions. We group people together in smaller teams to work on projects.

They get to know each other well,” Gilbreath said.

“We also do events together, Fine Arts Fund and volunteer events. And for the second year in a row, the 48-hour Film Project in Cincinnati,” he said.

That allows the company to recruit top talent and retain employees longer than average, he added.

“In any kind of agency your means of production rely on the people who work there. If people come in a good mood, they do better work for our clients. Our competitive advantage is our culture, and is a key to success,” Gilbreath said. 
Bridge Worldwide
302 W 3rd St # 900
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 381-1380