Ted Anderson: Creativity and Relationships 

These are the fundamentals to make agencies tick

by Melissa Forbes

Success isn’t about rigidly adhering to a plan at any cost. As Ted Anderson, president and founder of ANDERSON Advertising + PR, will tell you, building a legacy brand requires constant evolution, and so does advertising. 

“With the ever-changing landscape of our industry, and that of our clients’ industries, I’ve found that there is no single ‘right’ way forward,” he says. “The saying is true: The only constant is constant change, which means finding new solutions to common problems daily.”

After nearly 25 years of leading a team of marketing and advertising professionals to award-winning, client-pleasing success stories, Anderson can confidently say he’s ridden the wave of agency change. Some of the ripple effects have included disruptive trends like the shift to digital-first, agency and client consolidation, and a 24/7 news cycle. 

“When I started my career, agencies did everything that a client needed. As we moved into the digital age, there was a shift toward more specialized firms. The agency I worked for in the ’80s did its own media buying, but by the ’90s, outside specialized media companies took it over, at a lower cost. The trend to be specialized versus fully integrated is always shifting to match the climate of the industry.”

Anderson began his career on the West Coast, handling publicity for film studios and live music in field marketing — an exciting PR gig with plenty of flash. There, he gained exposure to other marketing tactics, which led him to leave the flashy entertainment space for the allure of strategy: media planning in traditional and digital media.

He didn’t stop at media strategy. Anderson began to see how working with marketing budgets gave a better perspective of the client’s overall business and how it worked. This meant working with clients to determine the cost they were willing to spend to acquire new customers, and what to spend to keep current customers.

“That’s why I love what we do,” he says. “We are constantly inspired because we’re always looking at new things. You end up asking these types of questions about business models, how marketing drives a bottom line. You end up being a consultative advisor versus just an agency vendor.”

In 2005, Anderson took that combined experience and founded his own firm, ANDERSON Advertising & Public Relations. Since then, the agency has won hundreds of awards, and worked with clients like Mayo Clinic, Desert Financial Credit Union, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Foundation, Harkins Theatres and Diageo, PLC. As a testament to his success, Anderson was named 2017 “Ad Person of the Year” by AAF Phoenix.

As an owner, Anderson developed a core area his business expertise in assessing the needs and challenges of a varied range of principals, then bringing together the perfect team to craft and execute a successful solution. This required a deep understanding of relationship-building. “I built the agency from relationships. The connections, I had developed in my community, my industry. Most agencies start and succeed because of a constant, concerted effort to network and build your reputation,” Anderson says.

He continues, “We also do a lot of pro bono work for nonprofit clients. Arizona has been incredibly good to me, and helping nonprofits is one way we can return the goodwill. It’s also a great way to build goodwill that helps cultivate relationships.” 

But it isn’t always easy. 

“As a business owner, you always have to be thinking about relationships: partners, vendors, the community. Every business has ebbs and flows, has good times and those not so great. Whether the challenges are business issues or personal, the best strategy is always returning to what our business does best — building and maintaining great relationships.”

No one can say what the future holds, but with a commitment to managing change with creativity and relationship-building, Ted Anderson believes there’s a wonderful road ahead. 

“Having worked in agencies since high school, I’ve seen marketing evolve and the habits of consumers change,” Anderson explains. “From digital and out-of-home, to Public Relations, TV, print and radio, I just strive to make sure clients consider exactly who it is they’re trying to reach, what it is we’re saying to them (and how). That’s what success looks like to me.”  

Fast Facts: ANDERSON Advertising + PR

  • Founded in 2005 
  • Fun, lively office in Scottsdale
  • 15 employees span account management, creative, PR
  • Produced a TV spot last year with Alice Cooper and a 12-foot python
  • Won 12 ADDY Awards for 2018 creative work
  • Current and past clients include Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Children’s, Harkins Theatres, Diageo PLC, Arizona Craft Brewer’s Guild, Papa John’s, Hamra Jewelers, Desert Financial Credit Union, Meritage Homes, Kneaders, Super Bowl Host Committee, Arizona Coyotes, Oregano’s Pizza Bistro, NYPD Pizza 

[Did You Know: Agencies work extensively with Google and social media platforms; in fact, Google and Facebook account for almost 60 percent of all ad dollars spent online. (emarketer 2018)]

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