Lisa Faller feeds a culture at FKQ where the best ideas flourish Featured

7:04pm EDT November 30, 2011
Lisa Faller feeds a culture at FKQ where the best ideas flourish

President Lisa Faller sees client loyalty as a direct reflection of her company’s commitment to going above and beyond for clients. Today, FKQ Advertising + Marketing’s client list includes numerous relationships that span decades.

“That speaks volumes about our focus on generating the client’s desired result,” says Faller, whose family founded the Clearwater-based firm in 1961. “You can do a really good job and you can deliver and please a lot of people, but at the end of the day, if you are not year over year making that happen, then your tenure is probably short lived.”

FKQ’s self-defining philosophy of “whatever it takes” is splashed all over the company’s website, and there’s a reason. On the client side, Faller says the company’s associates are relentless in pursuing and achieving every client’s success goals, which she adds are often fairly aggressive. The continuing challenge is not just recruiting candidates that have this drive, but maintaining a company culture where its 82 employees can pursue ambitious ideas and new ways of thinking.

“For our people, it’s about empowering everyone at FKQ to really control their own destinies by creating an environment where the best ideas always flourish,” she says.

One way is by using both large and small group environments to draw out people’s insights and opinions.

“When you are in a large group setting, some people may not feel as comfortable offering up what are no question great ideas to put into play and have everyone benefit from,” Faller says.

Offering a mix of communication channels for people to discuss ideas gives them the opportunity to share in either setting, encouraging more contributions and collaborations. This, on top of daily positive reinforcement of good work is what gives employees the confidence to deliver their top performance.

“That leads to facilitating the best thinking, because then people are confident and positive in terms of what they are able to do,” Faller says. “That helps them in being able to facilitate greater, bigger thinking on a consistent basis.”

Another way to further a results-oriented culture is by getting people to focus on positive outcomes. So as a mentor and motivator, Faller is always acting as the cheerleader for optimism and enthusiasm.

“You have to keep people feeling very good about not only what they are delivering to the client, but just being happy in general,” she says.

“It’s really a lot about a consistent focus on thinking positive, seeing the glass half full and never dwelling on uncontrollable negative influences.”

While clients provide the inspiration in keeping employees motivated about new opportunities and challenges to think through, Faller says a leader needs to provide the context in the vision to motivate the culture as whole.

“You’re identifying what the overall goals are, and then you have to make sure that you articulate that to all of your respective team members so that you have that unified commitment, and that focus and everybody collectively achieving those desired goals,” she says.

Faller also uses employee motivation efforts such as having FKQ-sponsored events or serving up special food offerings. The more mass appeal it has, the more effective it is.

“You need to be open to be making sure that whatever continues to please the masses is something that we focus on,” Faller says. “That keeps people in a charged up fashion to deliver for our brands.”

By solidifying this strong team spirit and unity, she supports a culture where people believe they can make anything happen. An example is when FKQ completed a billboard for McDonald’s McCafe espresso products in downtown Tampa, which had three-dimensional coffee cups and real steam coming off the board. The groundbreaking advertisement not only drove customers to McDonald’s, but was hailed in the industry as a best practice because of its environmentally friendly construction.

“We’re always about how can we resolve this or make this better,” Faller says.

“You have to have that universal spirit. If everybody understands that and every action is guided by that, it’s incredible what that total unity can make happen on behalf of the clients that we serve.”

How to reach: FKQ Advertising + Marketing, (727) 539-8800 or www.fkq.com

Finding rock stars

For companies with a long track record of exceeding clients’ expectations, the biggest challenge is often just finding more rock star talent to feed the growing machine. Lisa Faller, president of FKQ Advertising + Marketing, continues to use a twofold approach to recruit people who fit with the company’s brand character.

“Growing up in the business, I just saw how we had done it successfully for so long,” Faller says. “We just continued to evolve and grow upon what has worked well for this company and been able to infuse even new, younger viewpoints.”

First, the company uses its longtime referral program as a targeted means of recruiting.

“Who better to advocate our brand than those people who actually embody and live it each and every day?” she says.

“That often leads to greater retention because when birds of a feather flock together, not only do you get better candidates in the door, those are the people who typically have the long-term tenure, which is a trademark of FKQ.”

Secondly, the company works with the best HR professionals that it has come in contact with over the decades. These people specialize in the disciplines FKQ offers for employees, which creates a pipeline of new talent.

“We’re bringing in the best talent that keeps our FKQ fire burning, the juices flowing and that spark that fuels the energy that keeps this agency bursting at the seams throughout our 50-year tenure,” Faller says.