SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 9, 2014

King Fish leaps to Beverly

From wheat germ to Bank of America, company focuses on online promotions

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — Did you know that bacon, cheese, wheat-germ grits and poached eggs can fuel you a week before that big race?

If you are a fan of wheat germ, or just looking for healthy eating, you may have stumbled upon mywheatgerm.com, touting the benefits of Kretschmer Wheat Germ. The site, built and maintained by King Fish Media, features stories, blogs and recipes aimed at building awareness of wheat germ.

It’s the kind of content marketing the company wants to bring to other New England companies.

After nearly 13 years in Salem, King Fish Media moved last week from its longtime home in Shetland Park to 900 Cummings Center in Beverly. While the company officials loved Shetland Park, they say its new, 6,000-square-foot office on two floors will allow staff to work more collaboratively with clients, with an open plan and whiteboard wall on the first floor. As in the old office, there’s a large aquarium brimming with fish.

The Cummings Center also provides more central access to clients and employees via Route 128 and may help the company find more clients in New England, company officials said.

Privately held King Fish Media is a unique species of marketing agency.

“What distinguishes us is we are a content marketing agency,” said Cam Brown, the CEO and founder. “So, the content strategy and content marketing is something that really gives us an advantage. There are not a glut of those agencies out there.”

Their competitors are often big ad or communications companies.

“You can’t really line us up as cleanly as maybe you could other kinds of agencies,” Brown said.

What King Fish Media does is build hubs of content online, giving companies places to direct consumers to white papers, blogs, recipes, articles, videos and links to social media, all in the name of generating sales. It is not about building a better brochure online.

“We are all about getting people to spend time with the platform,” Brown said.

That strategy has allowed King Fish to attract 20 accounts, including some really big fish, including Bank of America, IBM, BBVA Compass, Ameriprise, Boston Market, Penske Logistics and Continental Mills. Boston-area clients include Keurig Green Mountain, Lightlife, Joseph’s Gourmet Pasta, Copyright Clearance Center, DTZ a UGL Company and Mass Mutual.

“We really have a renewed energy and focus on New England-based accounts,” Brown said.

Chief Marketing Officer Gordon Plutsky said when King Fish Media started, it was a traditional media company that published custom magazines. Over the past two to three years, it has morphed into a digital content company, publishing e-magazines for clients.

“We realized the needs of the advertisers were changing, the way people consume content had changed, and we had to change with it,” Plutsky said. That meant some staff changes and changes in the way King Fish Media works.

“Now we are really solidified as a company that really creates digital content for midsize and large companies,” Plutsky said.

What also sets the company apart is the creation of articles and unique content. It taps a community of writers, experts and former journalists for this. For Kretschmer, dietitians and food experts write about wheat germ and develop recipes. For IBM, former editors of technology publications talk about cloud computing. Michelle Looney, vice president of content strategy, is in charge of building this content community.

Finding the right employees is key, Brown said. The agency has 15 full-time employees, two of whom work from home. Finding an office centrally located to them, and to clients, was key. Many live locally. Brown lives in Topsfield; Plutsky, who teaches part time at Endicott College, lives in Beverly; account director Lauren Gawlik and studio designer Ginny Jackson live in Salem; social media manager Alexis Devilling lives in Peabody; and account manager Katie Brown lives in Beverly.

Brown and Plutsky said they also wanted to tap into the vibrancy of Cummings Center, where there is the potential to pick up some new clients. They plan to hold free seminars on content marketing and social media there.

The hope is the new office will spur the kind of collaboration their clients crave nowadays.

“One of the things we emphasize here is everyone here has a voice,” Brown said. “They have a voice with clients. ... Everyone contributes to the overall client solution here. That’s something which frankly was part of the morphing that we did at the company over the last five years.”

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.