THE DAILY NEWS | ANDY MEEK
Even before her recent graduation from the University of Texas at Austin, Cara Greenstein had been keeping an eye on her hometown of Memphis, paying attention to job opportunities, looking for the right place to land.
She found it at Doug Carpenter & Associates, a Memphis-based advertising, PR and consulting agency where she’s a few days into her new job as the firm’s public relations coordinator.
Her motivation for landing at the firm is a result of several things. The company’s culture resonated with her, as did the interest in doing work outside of the firm’s four walls to improve the city – a philosophy that extends from founder and principal Doug Carpenter throughout the organization.
Carpenter, for example, was involved in the recent Tennessee Brewery Untapped effort, along with other supporters of the six-week temporary activation project there.
“When I saw what he was doing and how he wanted to help make Memphis great, I knew joining (the firm) was what I wanted to do,” said Greenstein, who will be working closely with Carpenter and public relations directorKerry Hayes and will help out with, among other things, social media, writing and blogging.
The latter is something she’s deeply versed in. She has, for example, her own food blog, Caramelized, which supports her interest in writing and her appreciation for good food.
Snatching up digital natives like her is a no-brainer for Carpenter, who says he’s tried to build a company over the last four years that’s packed with self-starters who are digitally savvy.
“We look and act like a traditional advertising and PR firm, but we’re a little more challenging both internally for the folks we bring on, and particularly about the clients we work with,” Carpenter said. “All of them want to have significant change in their business and grow their business, challenge the status quo and think critically, not just sort of run an ad campaign, but really think about how they can differentiate themselves.
“It’s also a very unique place to work, in that people here are given incredible amounts of responsibility and expected to perform well. They have a personal agenda to get better. They’re exceptional people pushing themselves really hard, and it’s not a micromanaged operation.”
The firm was launched at a time when the economy was still recovering, and Carpenter took a glass-half-full view in thoughts he shared with The Daily News at that time. In a down economy, he explained, there are actually benefits for well-capitalized firms that take a long-term view: Operational and startup capital costs are lower, and, as the economy gets better, people start wanting to bring fresh blood and new insights into their efforts.
“We’re a little more challenging both internally for the folks we bring on, and particularly about the clients we work with.”
Founder and principal, Doug Carpenter & Associates
Which put Carpenter’s firm in a position to seize opportunities.
“We’ve been growing since we started, and continue to grow,” Carpenter said. “And we see more and more opportunities as clients have needs in the PR area, in social media, in blogging and writing and other areas. We’ve got clients who’ve been with us for all four years, plus a lot of new clients coming on. And I think as we’ve grown and developed, the public recognizes who we are even more now, and what we do.”
The firm’s client work extends everywhere from the Carriage Crossing lifestyle center in Collierville to 301 S. Front St. Downtown, where a new spirits distillery and public tasting room is being developed.
Carpenter and several friends also were influential in building buzz and community support for a revitalization of the vacant Tennessee Brewery, which seemed in recent months poised to be razed but now has attracted a buyer with as-yet-undisclosed plans for the property.
With the addition of Greenstein, meanwhile, Doug Carpenter & Associates now has nine people in total. About the kinds of clients the firm works with, Carpenter says it’s not so much about what category or industry they’re in – it’s more about a consistency among them in terms of what they’re looking for and what they want to accomplish.
“It goes to the core of what that client has within them and that desire to be something more,” he said. “We work really hard to help them accomplish more. While you might see a range of categories, the drive of people who work with us is pretty consistent across the board.”