Published on December 13, 2018, at 6:42 p.m.
by Anna Jones.
In Birmingham, Alabama, there is a company that values exceptional work just as much as it values its own agency culture.
According to Inc., Intermark’s CEO Jake McKenzie majored in psychology at Vanderbilt and has integrated this degree into sales and marketing ever since. This unique psychology-driven approach makes Intermark the largest psychology-driven marketing firm in the country.
According to Summer Wales, senior account executive and intern director, it is this psychology-based approach that differentiates this firm from other marketing firms.
“With every new client, Intermark holds a shape session, which is a collaborative approach to establishing a consistent cross-channel brand voice,” Wales said. “With these results, Intermark can develop a full marketing campaign including creative, digital, public relations, social and media.”
During its 41 years of business, Intermark has been able to create many unique campaigns, including its Sweet Home Alabama campaign for Alabama Tourism. This experiential campaign focused on engaging the five senses while highlighting experiences one can have when visiting Alabama. This campaign was awarded 14 ADDYs at the 60th annual AAF-Birmingham American Advertising Awards.
However, behind the firm’s award-winning work, there is a deeper motivation. According to Digital Insights Analyst Sam Campbell, Intermark has a company culture that constantly promotes creativity and the free flow of ideas.
“The atmosphere encourages collaboration and creative thinking, and the contemporary buildout of our office is different than what you traditionally see in a corporate setting,” Campbell said.
Intermark fosters a progressive culture through its Interact Committee, office space and professional development opportunities.
“The agency culture is all about mixing work with fun,” said McClelland Schilling, summer 2018 public relations intern. “Intermark works hard but plays harder. They also pride themselves on having a diverse team, and they make sure they showcase what makes everyone unique and a great asset.”
The Interact Committee, Intermark’s event-planning committee, plays a large role in developing agency culture. This committee plans after-work, birthday and holiday activities, as well as other company events. Events include movie days, PJ days, cookie days, Halloween costume contests and staff birthday celebrations.
“My favorite thing about our culture is that we’re all friends,” Wales said. “I feel like I know a lot about everyone’s personal lives, because we are all so close and comfortable with each other.”
Along with the Interact Committee, Intermark utilizes its office space to promote a collaborative agency culture. In the office, everyone sits in a cube, even the CEO. This setup allows for a free flow of ideas between all employees in the office. There are also think pods throughout the office where employees can brainstorm in a very casual and relaxed environment.
Intermark also offers professional development opportunities in which one person from each department is chosen to complete a two-year leadership program led by McKenzie.
“We come together and learn how we can better lead our departments and help in future work situations,” Wales said.
However, full-time staff members are not the only ones who get to benefit from this culture; interns benefit from it as well.
Intermark has a three-month summer internship program where interns work with a real-life client. Last summer, their client was Milo’s Sweet Tea. They were responsible for developing an entire marketing campaign with social media and digital recommendations that would help build awareness of the brand in emerging markets of the United States. At the end of the summer, the interns pitched their campaign straight to the client.
“My favorite part of my internship at Intermark was working with my intern team. We shared a vision of how we wanted to help Milo’s achieve its goals and we were determined to deliver exceptional work,” Schilling said. “Throughout the entire process, our intern managers were cheering us on and equipping us with everything we needed to succeed. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Outside of producing exceptional work and maintaining a progressive agency culture, Intermark also values giving back to the Birmingham community through programs such as Birmingham Reads, Angel Tree and Children’s Hospital.
“We just really want to make sure that we are a good force in our community,” Wales said.
While the culture, philanthropy and professional development opportunities are perks of working at Intermark, the driving force behind the success of this firm is the 100 employees who make the experience worth it.
“I think the people are what make the difference,” Campbell said. “It’s just an office with diverse people with different ways of thinking and different ideas, and that just makes working here all the better.”