After experiencing multiple mergers and acquisitions in the banking industry, Ellen Schlafer decided to take her fate into her own hands and leverage her financial services expertise and marketing knowledge, and open Electrum Branding. 15 years later, the boutique agency committed to helping businesses find, get and keep customers for a remarkable ROI is still going strong.

2004 was an optimum time for Schlafer and her team to set up shop as newly chartered, or de novo, banks were being formed all over Florida.  Having expertise in creating systems, directing performance, growth, and expanding business lines in regional and super-regional banks, Schlafer responded to the trend by creating a “de novo bank marketing package” that included anything a new bank could need from corporate identity and account development to sales collateral and website design.  Demand was high and Electrum would eventually launch 21 bank brands.

As its reputation in the financial services industry spread, Electrum began to attract the attention of other industries and its client roster grew.  Business was booming.  So much in fact that its gross billings for 2009 earned Electrum a spot on the South Florida Business Journal’s 25 Largest Advertising Agencies.  But what comes up must come down – or so the saying goes. 

As a result of the great recession, not only were new banks no longer being chartered, existing banks were being purchased or shuttered completely.   Just as she did in 2004, Schlafer seized on an opportunity and shifted the agency’s focus to Mergers & Acquisitions including FDIC-assisted transactions which required the agency to become adept at creating clear communications directed toward a variety of audiences including customers, employees, the general public and the media, while assisting in the physical re-branding of acquired institutions.

As the economy continued to shrink and businesses became even more competitive for a dwindling customer base, Schlafer saw another opportunity and grabbed it. By offering Customer Experience Measurement and Management (brand audits, mystery shopping, customer feedback surveys and internal employee surveys), she knew Electrum could help brands build brand loyalty, improve the customer experience, reward their service superstars, and reduce new customer acquisition costs. Within a year, customer experience measurement and management was generating 40% of Electrum’s revenue.

In 2016, MSPA North America, the premier association supporting customer experience measurement and management companies, awarded Electrum with its Elite distinction for demonstrating distinguished leadership and support in advancing the goals and objectives of MSPA.  Electrum was one of only four businesses recognized for shouldering the advancement of the industry at the national conference in Orlando that year.  Electrum would go on to win the distinction again in 2017.

Over its 15-year history, a lot has changed but the agency’s core values– Creativity, Respect, Integrity, Sense of Purpose, Continuous Improvement, and Positive Attitude – have not.  That’s largely due to the longevity of Ellen’s Electrum’s partners, Roger Hicks and Thomas La Badia, who are guided by Electrum’s core values every day.

Roger Hicks, who joined Electrum in 2006, is an Addy-award-winning copywriter with more than 30 years of marketing experience.  As part of his commitment to continuous improvement, he went back to school and completed his Masters Certificate in Integrated Online Marketing in 2012.  And, as the client demand for social media strategies grew, he became a certified social media professional.

Thomas La Badia, who joined Electrum in 2010, creates captivating graphics and cutting-edge websites that help Electrum Branding’s clients get noticed and remain top of mind.  In 2018, Ritter’s Communications named La Badia the winner of its annual Pantone Color of the Year Magazine Cover Design Contest.

In 2017 and 2018, Expertise named Electrum Branding one of the Best Advertising Agencies in Fort Lauderdale after reviewing 61 agencies and scoring them based on reputation, credibility, experience, availability, professionalism.

“We’ve been successful because we’re nimble and take advantage of opportunities as they arise,“ said Schlafer.  “My original goal was to create a company with a culture where people wanted to work and we’ve done that.  We even have a mascot, a miniature English Bull Terrier named Zoe.  Electrum is a fun place to be and, as a result, every employee is dedicated to the team and its ongoing success.”