Miami, February 10, 2014 - In 1994, Luis Miguel Messianu had the vision to create a multicultural advertising agency that would modernize Hispanic marketing, infusing deep and insightful knowledge of the ever evolving target audience to develop a culture-centric creative model. On February 8, twenty years after first opening its doors, what is now Alma celebrated two decades of accomplishments and evolution that have taken it from a start-up operation to a position as one of the leading multicultural marketing agencies in the United States.
The festivities, which took place at the recently-inaugurated Perez Art Museum Miami, doubled up as a toast to Alma being named AdAge’s Multicultural Agency of the Year just a few days prior to the anniversary celebration. Earning one of the industry’s highest honors on the heels of a year that saw the agency grow 22 percent in revenues and 20 percent in staff, points to Alma hitting a new stride as the firm enters its third decade.
Along the way, Alma has transformed and adapted to meet the needs of a constantly changing audience, adopting new ways of thinking about the market and expanding its services to help marketers face the challenges brought about by the use of digital technology and the growing multicultural influence in the mainstream market. Today, Alma provides an integrated offering that fosters social creativity to help clients connect with consumers across all content platforms and not only have they become experts at reaching multicultural audiences, but also at leading with ethnic insights to overlap cultural boundaries and creating “total market” campaigns for several clients in their home state of Florida.
“Many other agencies plateau by the time they turn twenty, but Alma has found renewed energy, reinventing itself to reach new heights in terms of business growth and creative energy,” said agency founder and current President and Chief Creative Officer, Luis Miguel Messianu. “Part of our DNA is to constantly reinvent ourselves and push innovation. In this business, you must become the agency of the future, or there is no future.”
Building on the work that the agency has done on behalf of long-time clients such as McDonald’s and State Farm Insurance, Alma has been on an upward trajectory in recent years, acquiring eight new clients in 2013 and continuing to produce creative product that is recognized by peers throughout the industry, including campaigns that won two Silver Lions at the Cannes Festival of Creativity, and AdWeek’s Project Isaac Award for Innovation, among others.
“We pride ourselves in a workplace culture that invites creativity and thrives on innovation,” added Messianu. “While we have maintained a strong core of our management team and staff, we have infused new talent into the firm from all over the world to keep us fresh and constantly reinvigorate our approach to multicultural marketing and advertising.”
That creativity is grounded on deep consumer insights, and Alma has pushed to the forefront of thought leadership in the multicultural space. In 2008, Alma’s Strategic Insights department launched the Cultural Curators unit, an initiative devoted to tracking the myriad constant changes in the dynamic of what the agency calls the New America society, and most recently, developed the Social Media Lab to help marketers learn from the online conversations of Hispanics to drive insights that can be leveraged creatively in integrated campaigns.
“We want to challenge assumptions and set the tone in strategic thinking and creative innovation for multicultural marketing,” noted Isaac Mizrahi, Alma’s Managing Director. “Alma is constantly searching for that intangible fiber that touches the lives of consumers creating relevant and unique communication ideas that bond them with brands as Soul Mates.”
That strong belief that brands - like people- have SOUL served as inspiration for the development of Alma’s new logo, which was also unveiled at the 20th Anniversary event. According to Messianu, the new logo encompasses Alma’s vision and why for the future as the agency prepares to enter a new phase in its trajectory.
Founded in 1994, Alma today is the 6th largest Hispanic Agency based on Ad Age's Hispanic Fact Pack. In 2013, Luis Miguel Messianu was named Diversity Trendsetter at the AAF Diversity Achievement Awards. Alma's clients include McDonald's, State Farm, Clorox, Florida Blue, Quaker, Tobacco Free Florida, Diageo, Cricket Wireless, Goodyear, among others.