What We Believe

You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to think like one. You just have to be open to new ways of doing things. You have to be bold. You have to be ready to go out on a limb and try something different. Because different is good. Different gets you noticed. Different moves the needle and makes customers interested in what you are selling. You won’t increase your sales 12% over last year by doing the same thing everyone else is doing.

Very few of our clients are genuine entrepreneurs, but they all act like it. National Geographic Museum is heavy into guerilla, interactive and environmental and they had a sell-out exhibit. It takes courage, but the rewards are measurable.

How We Work

We create strategies and insight. The ads, tweets, stunts, banners, gigantic straws and microsites are just the fun part. Because a great idea doesn’t need a TV spot. Or a print ad or a banner or a microsite or a facebook page. It needs the right mix of them all. And they all need to deliver the same message because it’s all going to the same place – the consumer’s head. That’s why we don’t have a formula, or a business model that is based on media spend. Every client needs a different mix and we’re comfortable working across all media equally.

Matt Smith,
Chief Executive Officer

Matt’s special talent is putting together lots of diverse points of view and distilling them into one simple, big idea. Every department and every consulting company has a different point of view, but somebody has to make the big decisions. That’s what Matt does. He herds everyone with an opinion into one place, figures out the big idea, and then makes sure everyone follows through on it.

It’s been the key to Matt’s successful career, helping launch and strengthen brands throughout the country. He’s done it for cars, hotel chains, newspapers, beer, banks and about a hundred other categories. And although he has worked in New York, San Francisco, Boston and Richmond, the same principles apply to how he focuses his skills to come up with the big idea wherever he is.

This has led to more than his share of awards – One Show, Communication Arts, D&AD, Cannes, Clio, Effie and Best in Show here in DC. Not surprisingly, he has judged award shows all around the country. In between, you may run into him speaking in various places about his philosophy of “branding while retailing”and“thinking big.”You may also have seen his commercials featured on “America’s Funniest Commercials,” the TODAY Show and Entertainment Tonight.

Suzy Smith,
Chief Operations Officer

Suzanne is a good person to know if you want to run an ad agency. She’s also good to know if you want to do business with one. She’s smart. She’s organized. She has a left brain bigger than the rest of ours combined. It must be all her years working at Chiat/Day, Young & Rubicam, and WB Doner.

For someone who wears as many hats as she does, Suzanne is incredibly focused. She keeps us headed in the right direction, while keeping her eye on a dozen other issues. Suzanne does exactly what her title says; she keeps us operating.

How she keeps it all organized and moving forward is beyond us, but we wouldn’t be in business without her.

Fred Krazeise,
Director of Social Media

Fred Krazeise is the Director of Social Media for SmithGifford. His personal belief? “Social media marketing is not new. It’s just enjoying a renaissance because of new technology. All marketing is social. It’s a contact sport. It’s about connecting directly with your customer, giving them information that is relevant, and communicating that information in a way that allows the customer to make meaningful connections. Like all great marketing, social media marketing starts with a grand idea; a strategy. Without a grand strategy, social media marketing devolves to simple tactics. Tactics are easy. Anybody can do that. Grand strategy is hard, and that is what we do at SmithGifford.”

Fred helps our clients to listen, understand and engage in conversations through social media. His client work at SmithGifford includes Identity Guard®, the #1-rated identity theft protection service, Roy Rogers Restaurants, Apptix, and Brown’s Automotive Group. Fred is also the social media strategist for the Council of the Better Business Bureau for the USA, where he developed the social media strategy and outreach plan at the national-level.

Prior to joining SmithGifford, Fred was Associate Vice President, Marketing & Product Planning for Sharp Electronics. At Sharp, he was responsible for the development and marketing of more that 300 small office/home office and small business products ranging from business calculators to multimedia projectors and professional LCD monitors and displays. Fred led a multi-disciplinary marketing team that created SharpPlace.com, the online direct-to-consumer store for Sharp, as well as expanded online distribution by establishing relationships with major resellers and distributors such as Ingram Micro, TechData, CDW, PC Connection, PC Mall and hundreds of other smaller online resellers.

Fred holds a M.A. Education from Chapman College and a B.A. from the University of Maryland. He is an active member of the American Marketing Association as well as a number of other online marketing associations.