Employees at Heart of Sullivan Branding

While talking to Michael Thompson for this week’s “end of an era” story – which focused the ad agency guru’s retirement and the merger of Thompson & Co. into cs2 to form Sullivan Branding – I was intrigued by his concern for his employees.

The combined 80-person firm will be comprised of 64 employees in its Memphis office and 16 in its Nashville office.

When two firms merge, there is usually a duplication of people and the resulting loss of jobs. But Sullivan Branding is unique in that regard, Thompson said, explaining that only three Thompson employees will be let go.

Thompson once calculated the turnover rate at his firm over five years – 20 percent. That means over 35 years, Thompson & Co. has employed well over 300 people.

But to Thompson, “that’s life.” And his “training ground” experience has solidified his outlook on leadership.

“Nowadays, employees want more than anything to be heard and to be recognized,” he said. “Give them a pat on the back every now and then. My goal was always to employ those who kind of look forward to going to work every morning; no one really wakes up completely wanting to go to work. And when they go home at the end of the day, my hope was that their self-worth had been improved in some way.”

Perhaps the fact that cs2 puts on a monthly “Fuel Friday” meeting highlighting employee achievements will even further ease Thompson’s “employee-first” mentality.

Brian Sullivan, principal of Sullivan Branding, “called it a hoot-n-holler” type of celebration that recognizes three outstanding employees for their sharp, genuine and fearless performance.

The first Sullivan Branding Fuel Friday was actually held on a Wednesday – yesterday afternoon, in fact, at the new Brass Door off Madison.

“We’re indoctrinating the new and the current Fuel Friday on steroids,” Sullivan told The Daily News recently. “This meeting will introduce the work that we’ll be doing together.”


  1. Eddie Settles says:

    Fuel Friday sounds like a terrific idea for all businesses. Please tell us more.