June 29, 2011
VANCOUVER, BC – Johann Starke created FCV Interactive, a full-service digital marketing agency with a single-minded vision — to find the brightest talent and serve the best brands. Today, FCV is expanding its services further by launching its in-house creative studio.
In a field where many competitors work under the umbrellas of world-wide agencies, FCV has evolved as an independent player in Vancouver’s tech sector and has become one of the largest digital marketing agencies in Vancouver. Starke utilized a full suite of strategy, design, technology and a talented staff to deliver innovative solutions to major brands with the support of his like-minded team. “My dream was to build an award-winning interactive agency, assemble a talented team of people and lead a senior management team who shared my dedication to our clients,” says Starke, President & CEO.
In six short years, FCV has earned a reputation for award-winning digital marketing strategies and deep technology skills that help brands achieve their goals by creating powerful customer experiences. Starke credits his success to identifying core values from day one and adhering to them. “We took the entire company offsite a few years ago and came up with our number one core value. Authenticity. We’re in this business to create and collaborate and be authentic with our clients,” he says. FCV, the ‘little-agency-that-could,’ combines everything from digital strategy to innovative technology to engage its clients’ customers across a variety of channels in Vancouver and Toronto. These include the Canadian Tourism Commission, Nike, Rick Hansen Foundation, RBC, TransLink and TELUS.
Looking back, Starke reminisces how far he’s come since working out of his home office when FCV was a start-up. “I remember sitting at my kitchen table with my laptop with my one-year old son playing at my feet.” Today, the FCV offices overlook Burrard Inlet and Starke’s corner office is wall-to-wall ocean and mountain views. Before he founded FCV, Starke was director of business development at Expedia where he helped launch solutions for BC Ferries, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and WestJet.
Starke honed his digital and mobile roots in the U.S. as business development manager at Amdocs, formerly Qpass, and led business development for its mobile and interactive television business unit, as well as at Accenture. FCV has expanded steadily with a targeted approach. “We developed three service verticals that work together to deliver outstanding and profitable customer experiences for our clients,” says Starke. The agency devotes its time toward strategies that engage customers as well as helping brands express themselves using video and motion graphics. It also provides digital strategy, design, storytelling and content to create innovative marketing concepts. “The way we continue to grow is by focusing on maintaining our existing business first and then on new clients,” says Lothar Boensch, VP Business Development. “The best way to grow a business is first with your base. You have to be innovative and understand your client’s pain points if you want to be successful.”
Success has its rewards. FCV has been recognized by Forbes, Communication Arts, and Applied Arts for excellence in digital design and communications. In 2010, Johann Starke was recognized by Business in Vancouver in its “Top Forty Under 40” business leaders. FCV was recognized by the Interactive Marketing Association for ‘outstanding achievement in travel and tourism’ for its work with the Canadian Tourism Commission. One of the agency’s success stories is a website for Rick Hansen’s 25th anniversary of his Man in Motion World Tour. “The site promotes the relay and invites difference makers from across Canada to take part. Participants pass along a medal made by the Royal Canadian Mint,” says Derek Whyte, VP Client Services. Recently, FCV launched the TravelSmart website for TransLink. “It’s all about sustainable transportation, from encouraging cycling, walking and even teleworking,” says Warren Anthony, VP User Experience. “Before we launched the site, we did extensive user research including testing, early prototype testing and card-sorting to define optimal website navigation.” “We’re also getting more involved in mobile application development across platforms such as iPhone and iPad, Android and BlackBerry,” adds Starke, adding that the digital services include video and motion graphics work from FCV’s in-house studio.
Starke credits FCV’s success to meeting his client needs and providing excellent customer service. “It’s just how we do business. We’re very grateful for the quality of our clients and are validated by their long-term relationships with us,” he says. Scotiabank is one of FCV’s satisfied clients. Working with Hogg Robinson Group, FCV created a plan for users to redeem travel rewards online for Scotiabank’s premier client VISA card loyalty program – the ScotiaGold Passport. It offers a user-friendly way to redeem their loyalty points for flights, hotels, cars and vacation packages.
Starke relies on his hand-picked team for FCV’s success and recently hired Steve Park, VP Digital Strategy to support the agency’s digital strategy needs. “We’re growing rapidly,” says Marcia Starke, VP Human Resources, who notes that about 50 employees work at FCV. Hiring the right people gives FCV a competitive advantage. “An important part of maintaining a great work culture is to nurture peoples’ needs and invest in our employees,” adds Simpson, who reinforces that the company’s growth strategy has been an organic process and attributes it to Starke’s leadership. “We have an amazing team of people,” says Starke. “We have weekly lunches that let me have one-on-one time with everyone in the company.” Before any new hires are officially brought on board, they have to pass the last hurdle: a meeting with Starke. “At that point it’s not about skills or experience; I want to know if they’ll fit in to our corporate culture.”
In addition to the increased digital strategy, mobile application development and creative studio services, FCV’s next milestone is opening an office in Toronto. “We have lots of work ahead of us, but we’ve built a solid foundation for our agency. And we couldn’t do it if we didn’t remain so energetic, passionate and disciplined to our core values.”
FCV Interactive is the user-focused transformation agency. Every day, we redesign organizations and create digital services that people love. With over a decade of expertise working with public and private sector clients, we deliver experiences that make life better. To learn more, visit fcvinteractive.com.
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