As you may know from reading anything I’ve been covering lately, I’m a big nerd when it comes to marketing. I study it, I practice it, and as a journalist, I’m lucky enough to chat with leaders who pave the path towards innovation every day.
So when I stumbled on PH3, a digital marketing company that hails themselves as “the only agency + brewery in the nation,” I simply had to reach out. Marketing, and beer? What’s the deal with this business?
Turns out, that’s exactly the point, Rick Romot, the owner and creative director at PH3, told me. As the need for digital marketing grows, agencies need to find new ways to stand out, and connect with clients in a conversational way. PH3 just so happened to combine their creative passions with their marketing savvy to build their own, unique, brand.
If I lived in sunny Orlando, I would have asked to come down to the PH3 office to sample some of their in-house offerings. But instead, I sat up in our NYC office on a rainy Friday afternoon, having my own “happy hour” with Romot, who gave me a taste of life behind the scenes at PH3.
AO: I have to ask, how did you get into this business?
RR: Ha, yeah, that’s definitely the first question everyone asks. We kind of spawned all of this from a friend of mine who had a beer-making kit, and just kind of did it as a hobby on the side. And then as I started the agency back in 2002, I just brought it into the company over time, and then decided we needed to rebrand ourselves as an agency and brewery. So we brought this little nanobrewery into the office.
So in 2009, that’s when we rebranded, and that’s when we became an agency plus brewery. When we started, PH3 was really about the three main things that made us really good as an agency. There’s the creative side, the technical side, and then there’s the execution side as well.
AO: How does the brewery fit into all this?
RR: The big thing about having our own beer in the office is that not only does it make great Christmas gifts for clients, but it’s also great for setting ourselves apart from the competition. In this day, every marketing company out there says the same thing, or they say they’re focusing on different areas, when really, they’re just offering the same services.
AO: Wait, so your beer is only for clients?
RR: Exactly – that’s the unique aspect. We come up with our own recipes, and we’re constantly figuring out which ones we really enjoyed, to repeat those again.
We also do it as a company perk for employees. After they’ve been here for a year, they get to come up with their own beer style that would be their own – and we come up with the style and packaging that would be just for them. We also take a quick break on Friday afternoons – call it our “happy hour,” if you will – where we take a quick break and just connect.
AO: Tell me more about your overall company mission.
RR: So our mission is heavily built around relationships. We believe that good client relationships revolve around talking. So it’s [the brewery] a nice way to break down those barriers and talk about what we do. It’s also great internally, because advertising can be stressful, and it’s a nice way to say “hey, let’s take a break and see how everyone is doing.” It gives us a chance to keep our hand on the pulse of our business.
AO: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve seen your clients face when it comes to digital marketing today?
RR: Social is the big thing right now. Everybody’s trying to get caught up on how to reach the next generation. Trying to get their messages across all channels, while also getting picked up by search engines – while driving good creative, which is really at the core of all of it.