Jordan Zimmerman, founder and chairman, Zimmerman Advertising

Jordan Zimmerman, founder and chairman, Zimmerman Advertising

CORPORATE INNOVATOR, AWARD RECIPIENT

Jordan Zimmerman has been an entrepreneur from an early age. He started a door-to-door greeting card business at 8 years old, and later a successful newspaper route where he managed his first employees, his friends. These ventures taught him leadership and to overcome fear of failure and rejection. He’s continued to create and run successful businesses ever since.

Zimmerman is founder and chairman of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Zimmerman Advertising, a company he started 28 years ago. He’s grown the firm to more than 1,100 employees in 22 offices across the country and runs campaigns for well-known names such as Nissan, Office Depot, Papa John’s, Party City and Ashley Furniture. His success stems from focusing on internal morale and bottom-line results.

To raise morale during a low point for the company after the loss of a major client in 1997, Zimmerman appointed a “Gung Ho” officer — inspired by the book “Gung Ho: Turn On the People In Any Organization,” by Kenneth Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. The officer was tasked with conversing with employees to find out how they were doing and to determine if they still had passion for the business. This frank feedback gave Zimmerman the information he needed to identify and fix internal issues.

To encourage bottom-line results, Zimmerman created his agency’s business plan around “brandtailing” — a combination of creating brand equity over time while driving immediate growth. He created this methodology while in graduate school, disagreeing with the traditional model that focuses on profitability before brand awareness. Built on this innovative idea, Zimmerman Advertising was the first metrics-driven business solutions firm that happened to do advertising.

HOW TO REACH: Zimmerman Advertising, www.zadv.com

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