DRMA Spotlight: They’re All the Buzz16 Jan, 2013 By: Thomas Haire
Adam Warren and Reno Renaldo say that 3-year-old OpenJar Concepts is tasting great success, but still striving to reach the land of milk and honey.
When it comes to servicing clients, we hold ourselves to the ‘Nordstrom’ standard,” says Adam Warren, president and co-founder of OpenJar Concepts Inc., a fully integrated multimedia agency headquartered in Temecula, Calif. “When you go into Nordstrom, you’re going to be treated like a millionaire. We want our clients to come in here and feel like they’re special and unique.”
Warren co-founded the Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) member company in 2009 with long-time friend and associate Reno Renaldo, who carries the title of executive vice president. The pair, who previously served together at a national performance-based media agency, is clearly at ease during an interview in their brand new office space. “Reno was running ad sales, and I was running distribution and business development when we met there,” Warren recalls. “We formed a quick friendship.”
While Warren’s early professional background was as an award-winning indie filmmaker who entered this business in national sales with Telerep LA, Renaldo came at the business from a different angle. “My background was in the wireless industry,” Renaldo says. “I had an agency (for MCIWorldcom Wireless) that grew to about 125 stores nationally before leaving that business in the early 2000s.”
The idea for OpenJar began, according to Warren, in “an airport in Dallas, where Reno and I had a lot of time to kill and began to dream.” The duo was looking to create a different kind of agency that could incorporate all of their areas of expertise. “We came up with OpenJar because I started to envision what the website should look like,” Warren says. “I could see this hand reaching in and pulling different opportunities out of jars.”
That same night, upon returning home, Renaldo secured the domain name for $1,500. But the pair waited for the right time to make a move. Warren says, “It was Reno who said to me, ‘I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do this OpenJar thing.’ So I said, well, okay, I’m not going to let you have all the fun — so I’m going to do that with you.”
The company hit the ground running in September 2009 — operating out of Warren’s and Renaldo’s homes. “My wife would get upset with me because she never knew when she came downstairs who would be coming out of the bathroom,” Warren recalls. “Then, at Reno’s house, we’d have his kids running around playing ‘Princess.’ I’d be in the middle of a serious call, but there I’d be in my princess crown.”
It was nine months before the duo moved their small team into its first proper office space. But like the company’s offices and staff (see sidebar box) have expanded since those humble beginnings, so have its services. “We’re really a turnkey solution for clients from a national perspective — from script to screen,” Renaldo says. “Across all verticals, it’s really about creating a call to action that drives responses. We turn over every single rock to find consumers to respond to our clients while optimizing the campaign.”
Warren calls Renaldo the “mad scientist of data,” but says how the OpenJar team uses that data in a customer-centric way is what sets it apart. “In addition to being hyper-analytical, we’re also hyper-relationship-focused,” he contends.
The company’s key measurement and tracking tool, appropriately called TrafTrack©, has been crucial on the data side. “It was built from scratch, on a lot of long nights and Excel spreadsheets,” Warren says. “We think it’s the newest system out there for lead-generation management.”
Renaldo adds, “Our system is the driving force of OpenJar. TrafTrack is our currency. And we’re continuing to build it for more interactive types of campaigns, i.e., mobile and online.”
Combining that technology with what Warren calls a “Switzerland-like” positioning has been a winner. “We’ve been able to bridge some highly coveted relationships with our partners to create win-win opportunities that should extend for the foreseeable future,” he says.
That future is one that Warren is intrigued by. “We’re looking for opportunities to be more creatively driven,” he says. “Opportunities to do bigger mobile campaigns; opportunities to create more integrated campaigns.”
The duo says OpenJar has had great success in health insurance, life insurance, mortgage refinance and tort categories. That success led, this past summer, to a newer and bigger office to house OpenJar’s growing staff. “It was time for a move that was not only good for the space, for the environment and culture of OpenJar, but also a place we could really be proud to bring our partners and clients to,” Warren says.
He also says it was key for the burgeoning staff to feel proud of their workplace. And the key members of the team have been crucial additions for both Warren and Renaldo to spend more time looking at the business from a wider perspective. “We look at ourselves like an ad sales factory,” Warren says. “We needed to have greater reach from some key people in here to help accommodate new client acquisition.”
Warren and Renaldo seem ready to take on the new challenges awaiting the industry. “I’m one of those who absolutely believes there’s nothing like the power of television,” Warren says. “But being able to open yourself up on being seen a different way, on having a different conversation with a consumer that still gets to the objective that you’re trying to accomplish in the first place — that’s what advertisers need to be thinking about.” ■