San Diego Business Journal Features Jacob Tyler

Small Ad Agency Discovers Bigger Is Better 
MARKETING: Jacob Tyler Moves Into Larger Offices; Staff Size, Revenues Grow — by Mike Allen 

SAN DIEGO, December 13, 2010 — Tighter ad and marketing budgets be damned. 

If you’re good, creative and nimble enough, a small advertising agency can make it these days, say the folks at Jacob Tyler Creative Group. 

In its 10th year, the business named after founder Les Kollegian’s son expanded by nine people during the past four months, through a few mergers and several new hires. 

To partners Kollegian and Charlie Van Vechten, it’s all about adding value and services by finding the right people who are seasoned pros. 

First, the marketing veterans had to find each other, or more precisely, find a reason for joining forces. 

Though both competed in the same industry, they came with their own niches. For Kollegian, it was working on the digital side. For Van Vechten, it was creating ads more oriented to print and graphic design. 

The two had been talking about combining for a while before Van Vechten made the jump last year. Both agreed that for the merger to work, it would have to mean more than simply expanding the business by one person. 

1 Plus 1 Equals 3 
“Charlie had a great phrase that put (things) in perspective: If 1 and 1 makes 2, we shouldn’t get together,” Kollegian said. “But if by combining, that 1 and 1 makes 3, then we really have something here.” 

The idea was to create a wider spectrum of services for clients than the partners could deliver separately. 

During the course of several months this year, Jacob Tyler grew larger and more comprehensive, bringing on an associate creative director, two public relations professionals, and a proven Web development firm called TechnoNet Group Inc. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

The latter acquisition, which took place last month, added four new people — experienced, savvy technology experts who have a grasp not only on the digital business, but in how businesses operate and how to best help clients get the most out of their Web sites, Kollegian says. 

TechnoNet has been around for five years, and counts several major corporations as clients, for a variety of Web-based projects, including Toyota Motors, Coca-Cola and Direct TV. 

San Diego-based Lamkin Grips, a maker of golf club grips for top club manufacturers such as Taylor Made Golf Co. Inc. and Callaway Golf Co., hired Jacob Tyler recently to completely redesign its Web site, an online catalog, and a print advertising campaign. 

Kim Doran, vice president of marketing for Lamkin, said Jacob Tyler’s team was “creative, smart, and they came in under budget in a short time frame.” 

It’s that sort of experience that Kollegian says he’s trying to replicate with whatever client comes to the company’s doorstep. Its offices are in the Torbati Building, formerly the headquarters of now-defunct HomeFed Bank, since the agency moved a couple of weeks ago. The 10th floor digs are 3,100 square feet — 2,000 square feet larger than its previous address in Little Italy. 

Providing More Services 
Kollegian and Van Vechten built sizable small businesses before they merged. Van Vechten Creative was around for about 17 years, with a good number of clients in the hospitality and resort industry, and other services. Kollegian’s client list covered many areas, including high-tech and biotech. 

With the recent mergers and additions, Jacob Tyler is truly a full-service advertising and marketing firm, says Van Vechten, providing clients not only with a print ad or brochure, but determining an overall strategy for a business, and tracking results to see if a particular piece or campaign is working. 

The marketplace seems to be giving Jacob Tyler thumbs up on how it’s doing its job. Its revenue increased from $1.6 million in 2008 to $2.1 million last year. This year, it looks like the shop should hit $2.5 million, Kollegian says. 

Although things were pretty bleak in the world of advertising for most of the past two years, there are signs that a turnaround is happening, say Kollegian and other local advertising people. 

“We’re getting more calls from potential clients every week,” said Julia Simms, whose San Diego ad agency — J. Simms Agency — nearly doubled its revenue this year. 

“I’ve also heard that other agencies are getting busier too. In the past six months, I’ve seen more companies that had put their marketing plans on a hiatus in the past few years starting to spend money,” Simms said. 


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