Firm Looks To Attract Creative Class

December 1, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — Luring the creative class and keeping Grand Rapids “cool” requires meeting a certain set of criteria, and that includes offering interesting and exciting places to work for those between the ages of 21 and 35.

Justice and Monroe thinks it can do that.

Justice and Monroe is the new name and direction of InVision Creative, which formerly acted solely as DP Fox’s in-house advertising and marketing firm. The firm, located on the corner of Ottawa Avenue, which used to be called Justice Avenue, and Monroe Center, now offers its services to outside clients in addition to working with DP Fox.

“What happened is that before, when we were just doing work for DP Fox companies, we were more of a creative shop,” said Jen Czekai, vice president of Justice and Monroe. “When I came in, in November, we had three employees. We now have nine and we have really grown a lot outside of just the people.”

Czekai said the firm has mostly retail-driven account executives and will focus on that area. But that’s not to say that previous DP Fox clients, such as the Rampage, Griffins and Fox Motors, will be left by the wayside.

Most of the employees have between two and 13 years of experience, making it a younger crowd, which Czekai believes will give her company an edge when recruiting potential workers.

“You can get burned out very quickly because it isn’t a 40-hour-a-week job or anything,” said Czekai. “A lot of times after you have spent so many years in it you get tired of it, and while those that are older may have lived through the history of the industry, we can all learn about the same experiences and understand what is going to make a big difference. Not to mention that the industry is changing daily.”

And if the promise of young co-workers isn’t enough to attract the young professionals, maybe the office environment will.

Justice and Monroe has music on all the time and encourages interaction among all employees and clients. Interacting with clients on all levels and understanding the different departments of the company, Czekai said, will benefit clients in the end but also be a continuous learning experience for the employees.

“I think it is a continuous learning experience and that is why I love advertising, and I think that is what we are going to do a little bit differently,” said Czekai. “Stay young, stay fun and continue to educate. I think that is different from what I see in agencies in this and other markets.”

For example, the company’s motto makes mention of having the mentality of a sixth-grader. While that may sound funny, Czekai pointed out that statistics show many adults read and comprehend at that level.

She noted that some of the best creative work she has seen has come out of fun, young and educated agencies.

The hip stuff is cool, Czekai said, but Justice and Monroe goes deeper than that.

“We are going back to the old advertising agencies, when they remembered the value of customer service,” she said. “That is why they were in business, and with a lot of agencies you see that they forget what their core function is and their true objective. We are not just a creative shop or a PR firm or a media buying agency. We are all those but at the same time we keep that new, fresh passion for it.”    

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