12 Jun

Gary Janzen

published on June 12, 2012 - 8:44 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Gary Janzen
Janzen Brands

Education: I attended the University of the Pacific, Stockton, but left after my second year for my first agency job in San Francisco.


Family: Married to Dr. Claudia Anrig, a chiropractor, author and lecturer in family wellness. No children.

What is different about Janzen Brands, Gary?
At Janzen Brands, I am a virtual marketing director. I bring the best of the outside and bring it inside. I call myself a shepherd or a sounding board. My value and fees are very objective.
I help to make the right decisions. Yesterday I spent five hours with a client. I do it at their location if it’s needed. I have clients all over the country.
I mentor young marketers. I train them and guide them to take on responsibility.
I work digitally or on the phone. It is so much more efficient. It’s a virtual agency model.

Tell me a little about your advertising and marketing career, Gary.
I started Janzen Idea Corp. advertising and marketing in 1980. It evolved from 1980 to 2007 from a creative boutique to a full-scale advertising agency. The strategy at first was media based and not that creative. I sold that business and connected with Thielen Partners in 2007. We formed Thielen Idea Corp. in 2007. I served two years as chief strategic officer. I left when my contract was up. Their company was more corporate. It steered our course.
I felt best to get back to the strategic side of the business. It’s a better model.

What do you like most about the job, Gary?
I enjoy working with young people and mentoring. I started in the 70s where there were no Macs. It was not a digital environment. Young people have taught me a lot. Younger mentees are willing to embrace the challenges more quickly, even if he assignment is daunting. That’s the really enjoyable part of this.

How has your business been able to survive in an economy that has been especially hard on advertising and marketing agencies?
The Web has probably leveled the playing field for small- and medium-sized companies. And companies are in need of marketing services that are willing to work with people. Especially if there is no fee structure involved. My system is based roughly on an hourly rate. It entitles a company to X amount of time.

What is your key business strategy, Gary?
Remaining fluid. Markets change. They can change on an hourly basis.

What was the best business advice you received, Gary?
I was fortunate to have a lot of mentors. I was told that marketing is truth well told. You just can’t BS consumers. Any promise you make has got to be the truth.

What was your first job, Gary?
I was a busboy in Bakersfield at Freddy’s Skyway House.

What do you do in your spare time, Gary?
What spare time? Well, I have a garden. Time spent here has grown on me to the point where the daily strolls integrate quite time and business study. Entertaining has been big for us, offering our yard for weddings, non-profit events and other gatherings.

How do you give back to the community you serve, Gary?
I do pro-bono work. I do two to three projects a year. Right now I’m doing a project for the Seventh Day Adventist Church. It’s near Auburn in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I’m not a member, but I believe in their health mission. I’m giving my time to help them promote their work to reverse diabetes. I participated in the program and true to their vision, I lost 50 pounds.

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