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When you’ve built a business centered around improving brands and reputations, and aligning business goals with marketing strategies, an outsider might think that the interior world of your own business is completely aligned.
“Not always the case,” says Andrea Arco, founder of Arco + Associates, a marketing communications company that focuses on marketing strategy and execution, design and branding, content creation, and public relations.
“Client organizations always come first.”
This kind of honesty is what one can expect from Arco and her team. She realizes the work she asks of her clients can leave them feeling vulnerable and exposed, so she imparts a tactic she simply calls “being real.”
She finds this approach to be the foundation for client loyalty; when that client-agency connection is strong and authentic, incredible things happen for both parties.
During years in corporate America as a marketing director and CMO, Arco was often called to interview marketing agencies to augment her own staff. She also spent time being interviewed by corporations while holding various positions in agencies on the East coast.
In both positions, she began to notice that there was something missing for both the client and the agency.
Thus, in 2005 Arco + Associates was created with the confidence of knowing, “Neither parties were getting what they needed or wanted out of the experience, and I knew I could do it better.”
Arco + Associates
Her company is results driven and drives results by marrying marketing strategies with business goals and they do not take on competing clients serving the same geographic region.
For Arco’s clients, marketing strategy is not templated. It is based on real reach and revenue goals, real market conditions, and broken into actionable steps.
While there are many companies in this same industry (Arco will tell you that all marketing communications firms have access to essentially the same tools), what sets Arco + Associates apart is the way in which they choose to use these tools on behalf of their clients.
Building A Team
Those collaborating with Arco on these strategies and executing? A top-tier team.
She realizes that though she hires people to support and grow a company built on her personal and professional passions, she acknowledges the individual strengths of all team members.
“I hire people who have different skills than I do, so naturally different things will drive and inspire them.” She believes in allowing people to work within their “area of genius” as much as possible, which can be challenging for her “small but mighty” team.
Her team members are not always able to do the things that truly excite them, but she acknowledges this and provides outlets when she’s able to do so.
This translates directly to her work with clients as well. Through her work, she realizes how important it is to view business owners as “human,” first and foremost. She sees their personal and professional passions as a significant part of how and why they started their own businesses.
“These passions often come up in initial discussions with clients when we are uncovering business goals and how we can use marketing to help them achieve those goals,” she says. “Helping them remember that passion is often an integral part of the process.”
While her enthusiasm for life and innate appreciation for human connection makes her a successful business owner, she’s had to learn the hard way that enthusiasm does not always equal authenticity.
You Do You
Loyalty is incredibly important to her, but she’s realized people do not always honor the commitments they make, with or without contracts. Arco meets the innate fallibility of others with equanimity.
She still engages with every new encounter with the excitement true to her nature, but she has learned how to temper her immediate desire to jump in with both feet. At least until she comprehensively vets the person or situation.
“You can’t change how people are going to act or react, you can only change how you approach or respond to a situation.”
That desire for authenticity, openness, and new connections drew her company into a partnership with Black Dress Partners to create the Midwest Women Business Owners’ Conference (MWBOC).
Midwest Women Business Owners’ Conference
The conference was born out of a lunch meeting with Erin Joy, owner of Black Dress Partners and an Arco + Associates client.
Both Joy and Arco saw the gap in such an opportunity in the St. Louis region despite the large number of women business owners in the region.
“We needed a conference that was immersive and available for business owners at different levels to create connections that improve their lives both as business owners and as people,” says Arco.
She and Joy both recognize St. Louis as a place to grow and thrive as independently owned businesses, and their creation of the MWBOC supports and reinforces this claim. In just three years, it became a nationally recognized, award-winning event.
Level Up All Those You Meet On Your Journey
Committed to getting results for clients, personal and professional growth, and having fun along the way, Arco made Jillian Hausmann a partner in the company in 2018.
Three years ago, Hausmann started as an employee. Arco says that as a young, ambitious, hardworking professional, this type of growth was not available to her so she was committed to making it available to others.
“We work hard and we play hard,” she says. “That is included in all of our job descriptions. You must embrace this mentality.”
Arco certainly does. Hard-working, fun-loving, passionate, and energetic, she is committed to giving 110% to everything she does, for whomever she is doing it – and that means friends, family, clients, employees, and more.