Franco is an integrated communications agency that delivers data-driven, people-powered programs for clients across paid, earned, shared and owned platforms.
Find out more about who we are, what we do and why we do it.
Franco has a deep Detroit connection – founded in 1964, we’re the longest-standing agency in the city.
We partner with B2B and B2C companies and nonprofit organizations across all industries with a local, national and global reach.
We’re rooted in PR – which makes us excellent at the people-powered, relationship and instinct elements of our work.
But we’ve evolved our approach over several decades to remain at the forefront of a changing industry – combining PR, marketing, social media and digital, creative services and analytics – plus program management, strategy and counsel and crisis communications – to deliver integrated communications programs that drive organizational performance.
Just like we evaluate whether potential new team members are aligned with our Core Values, we do the same when evaluating client partnerships. Our values must be aligned to build a partnership based on trust.
Above all, Franco has an unwavering commitment to our people, clients and community.
We are driven by data and powered by people. We put this into practice by combining analytics and insights with relationships and instincts. These concepts work in harmony together and are the essence of the Franco difference. You won’t get one without the other.
We pride ourselves on our reliability, courageous truth, accessibility, responsiveness, counsel and guidance. We work as a true and mutual partner – an extension of your team.
Franco offers big agency ideas and execution – while still remaining nimble and flexible to work with your team.
It’s hard to put our culture into words, but it’s often the “feeling” clients get from working with us. We’ve heard from several clients who have worked with other agencies that it’s just different working with us…in a good way! They feel more valued and more heard, and we give them the attention, feedback and creative ideas they seek in an agency partnership.
Integrated communications means paid, earned, shared and owned efforts harmoniously work together to achieve a common goal or goals. Franco has invested in integrated communications because we fundamentally believe in the power of an un-siloed approach.
When a client comes to us asking for a service, we dig into their needs and challenges and can make better recommendations because of our integrated mindset. For example, a client may think they need media relations, but really an owned or paid strategy (or a combo) would be more effective.
We’ve seen so much success with client programs that are integrated, which is why we continuously preach the value of an integrated comms program to our clients.
We believe in this concept so much that we changed our titles to include integrated communications and we have invested in putting our employees through the official PESO Model certification program – and according to Gini Dietrich, the PESO Model certification creator, no other agency has invested in the certification for its employees like Franco has.
A company should hire Franco when they’re looking for a partner. What do we mean by partner?
We’re aligned with you and your organization’s goals. We’re invested in meeting and exceeding those goals, and doing whatever it takes. Our “why” is our unwavering commitment to the work we do and the people we work with.
Any agency can do the work. We all have tools, skills, case studies and client testimonials. But what other agencies don’t have is our unique culture and our amazing people.
Clients hire (and keep) agencies not because of the company name but because of the people they work with. We have talented, dedicated people who love what they do – and are invested in their work. What this means for our client partnerships is the overall great feeling you’ll have about the team you hire – and we’ll get results.
The most successful client partnerships are exactly that – a partnership. There’s mutual trust and respect – and we are not treated like a vendor or a silo. We’re a true extension of our clients’ teams.
We have clients who have ongoing or monthly programs, and others who work with us on a more defined timeline or project basis.
Working with nonprofits has been part of our DNA for forever, so we’re happy to extend a discount to our nonprofit partners.
Clients are happiest with us when we provide a combination of creative ideas, energy and excitement for the work we’re doing on their behalf, generating results and providing counsel.
We aren’t looking for clients who want “yes” people and who won’t challenge them when we think there is a better/smarter/different way to do things. This is where our Courageous Truth Core Value shines through.
Clients see better results when we’re providing integrated programs and counsel. While not every one of our client programs is integrated, we always approach our work from an integrated mindset and will make recommendations on what else our clients can/should be doing from a marketing or communications perspective – even if we aren’t the ones managing that work.
Success means working strategically and measuring our results. Because of this, we aim for long-term partnerships to maintain an effective and efficient workflow and ultimately generate long-term success.
We’ve surveyed our clients over the past few years, and responses we consistently get when we ask where we provide the most value include: Our ability to adapt and support changes in the company’s goals or strategies; Our accessibility and responsiveness; The quality of their account team and our work; Our focus on serving as a true partner and extension of the team; and our strategic thinking and planning capabilities.
While it’s hard to summarize our culture in only a few lines, it’s a combination of challenging and rewarding work, connection and relationships with our team and clients and growing and developing as a person and professional.
We embrace transparency and vulnerability – starting with our leadership and trickling down through the entire agency. We are open and honest during all employee meetings. We don’t ever want someone from our team to say they don’t understand the company’s goals, vision or priorities.
Our people make this agency amazing. While that may sound cliché, it’s absolutely true. Our people represent a wide range of skills and expertise – including journalism, agency and corporate backgrounds – coupled with involvement in many professional organizations and nonprofits. We focus a lot on knowledge sharing across the entire agency…and we learn a lot from each other.
Since our goal is to work with clients who view us and treat us as a true partner, not only do they get the best work product from us, but we get the best experience working with them. It’s a win-win, and it makes our team truly love their work.
People development is at the forefront of our culture. We work with each team member to develop their own individual and unique role definition. Our managers work with their team members to outline growth objectives every six months that serve as a roadmap to get to the next level and align with the career they want to build at Franco.
Franco is proud to be a women-led organization. Three of our four executive leaders are female, and we have 75% women on our team.
We seek people who are aligned with our Core Values and who are excited to learn and grow.
We don’t expect someone to have all the answers, and we encourage questions/discussion, but we’re also looking for someone who embraces challenges and takes initiative to research or make recommendations before asking someone else how to do something.
We’re looking for people who take constructive feedback and learn from it – someone humble enough to admit when a mistake was made without dwelling on the moment. A positive attitude is key.
Finally, we want strong communicators – written and verbal. We want people who are comfortable speaking up when something isn’t working – or in regards to their own career growth and trajectory.
At Franco, there is no “cookie cutter” career path. Leadership empowers each of our team members to shape the direction of their career by working closely with their manager to create a unique role definition. If they follow the plan we build together with them, that’s how they grow and succeed.
We believe in continuing education to bring the most up-to-date integrated communications expertise to our team and clients. We invested in having our team members go through the PESO Model certification through the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Several team members also hold a variety of certifications in email marketing, content marketing, social media and SEO. Franco also pays for professional development memberships and other learning and training opportunities for our team members.
You can always count on us to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new tools and technology. We’ve been paying close attention to how generative AI tools, specifically ChatGPT, have developed and how generative AI impacts the marketing/comms industries. We see generative AI as a starting point for developing content or a tool to brainstorm content/ideas during the ideation stage of a campaign, project, etc. However, we fully understand the limitations of generative AI and the strong probability of AI tools producing inaccurate information. That’s why we’ll never solely rely on generative AI to do what we do best as your partner:
- Adding context and storylines to our content that align with your goals and audiences. We know you best – not AI.
- Researching/fact-checking information included in the content we produce on your behalf to ensure there is no plagiarism or inaccuracies.
- Providing strategic counsel and recommendations that have your best interest in mind
Additionally, we are counseling clients to be cautious when it comes to removing any type of human involvement in content development. This is for several reasons:
- Generative AI doesn’t understand the nuances of your business – it can’t provide context.
- Lack of common sense. While generative AI can generate human-like responses, it does not possess common sense. This means it may provide nonsensical or inaccurate responses to certain prompts.
- Lack of emotional intelligence. AI does not have EI. It can’t detect emotional queues or respond to complex emotional situations. This is particularly important for crisis situations, which we are frequently called on to support with our client partners.
- Trouble generating long-form content. Particularly with ChatGPT, it may struggle to produce lengthy pieces of content that follow a particular structure, format or narrative. ChatGPT is currently best suited for generating shorter pieces of content. This underscores the importance of having a human involved in any long-form content development, like website copy, byline articles, blog posts and strategic plans.
- Potential for biased responses. Generative AI tools like ChatGPT are trained on a large set of text data – which may contain biases or prejudice. Without human involvement to scan/remove such biases, content directly generated from generative AI tools may unintentionally contain biased or discriminatory responses. This could be damaging to your brand reputation if it’s not removed prior to external publishing.
- Inability for generative AI to provide strategic thinking, counsel and/or recommendations.
Ultimately, our stance is AI cannot replicate what we provide to clients as their integrated communications partner. We see value in using generative AI tools as a content development starting point and for creative brainstorming, but at the end of the day, successful integrated comms programs are built on truth, transparency, strategy and compelling content – all things AI cannot fully provide.