Dixon Schwabl is a full-service marketing agency that puts enthusiasm, energy and action at the top of its to-do list every day. It increases awareness, sparks conversations, engages hearts and minds, generates leads, moves the needle and delivers measurable results for its clients’ brands. And the agency consistently demonstrates that success is best created on a foundation of innovation, passion, respectful partnerships and a strong workplace culture. Its broad capabilities and data-driven insights give the Dixon Schwabl team the ability to greatly impact clients’ specific business goals.
Lauren Dixon is CEO of Dixon Schwabl. She began her career as a news broadcaster and still considers herself a storyteller. Since founding Dixon Schwabl 30+ years ago, Lauren has led by inspiration and example. Always accessible to clients, she is a hands-on executive dedicated to fostering a great workplace culture that enables people to do their best. Under her leadership, the agency has grown into one of Upstate New York’s largest ad agencies, landing on the Great Place to Work® list for 15 consecutive years and being named the #1 Best Small Company to Work for in America in 2008 and 2010. Fortune magazine also honored Dixon Schwabl in 2017 as the nation’s #1 Place to Work in Advertising & Marketing.
A Journey That Inspires Leaders
Dixon says this moment in history is changing the way we do everything. From the way we greet each other to the way we do business, the phrase “things will never be the same” has never held more meaning. And that’s not a bad thing. The culture all around us is changing, which makes this the ideal time to transform and improve the culture of the workplace.
Why? Because a great workplace culture will help a company attract talent, make work meaningful for its team and, bottom line, increase profits.
“Building a great workplace culture can help lay the foundation for any size business,” Dixon says, “whether your company is just starting out or has been around for generations.”
And she should know. Dixon started her business in 1987 with just US$22.11—every penny the recently divorced mother of two had in her bank account when she left the world of TV news and sales. While she didn’t have a fortune to work with, she did have a wealth of business knowledge. Her entrepreneurial father had imparted two key pieces of advice: Hire people smarter than you and make them excited to come to work every single day.
With those guiding principles as a base, Dixon Schwabl has created a culture based on the values of respect, teamwork, integrity, innovation, community and fun. And that has helped attract top talent from advertising hot spots across the country.
While many agencies set their sights on one or two specialties, Dixon Schwabl continues to be a truly integrated agency offering branding, public relations, advertising and design, strategy, market research, media, content marketing and social media, events planning, website development, studio production, print production and so much more. The agency’s service areas work together to create campaigns that drive business success for clients.
Acting Strategically to Define Success
Dixon is dedicated to the strategic bedrocks of the agency’s growth: provide true value, keep production costs in check, avoid billing above quoted estimates and always let clients know they’re a big fish in Dixon Schwabl’s pond. But to be a truly valuable strategic partner, Dixon also understands her team needs to embrace change.
The marketing industry has changed more in the past five years than in the previous 50, Dixon says. “At Dixon Schwabl, we give our people the freedom and responsibility to help keep the agency up to or ahead of that change. It’s an exciting atmosphere, and great ideas for growth continue to come from every department in the agency.”
The agency’s leadership team recently rolled out a three-year strategic plan focused on expanding through existing and new services. It’s guided by a simple but powerful purpose statement: We exist to serve our people, our clients and our community through a culture that inspires impactful work.
The fact that “community” is included is not by chance. Dixon Schwabl has earned a reputation for community giving, contributing to causes as grand as the United Way and Golisano Children’s Hospital and as humble as agency-sponsored fundraisers for team members in need. Most of the agency’s team members volunteer their time to local organizations, and Dixon alone serves on 11 charitable boards.
“Community is one of Dixon Schwabl’s core values,” Dixon says. “It is so important to each of us to give back to the community we serve. It gives purpose to our work.”
The Future of Dixon Schwabl
Dixon and her husband, agency President Mike Schwabl, were named to the Rochester Business Hall of Fame in 2013—and with 33 years and success behind them, the couple is now looking ahead. At the end of 2020, they will transition from CEO and president to co-chairs of the agency’s board. They plan to stay actively involved in Dixon Schwabl’s strategic planning, but will focus their time on their growing family and numerous charitable endeavors.