Spring 2019 Catalyst
If you’ve experienced any of the PA Chamber’s last 17 annual dinners in the Hershey Lodge’s Great American Hall, you probably think of JPL as a premier event producer.
And you’re right, but that’s only the tip of the JPL iceberg. This Pennsylvania powerhouse offers an impressive range of cutting-edge capabilities.
Headquartered in Harrisburg, JPL is one of the Mid-Atlantic’s largest full-service, integrated marketing communications companies. Its roster of clients includes The Hershey Company, Quest Diagnostics, Rite Aid and the American Chemistry Council.
JPL provides strategic thinking and creative execution across a full range of services, including brand and integrated marketing, content creation, digital, and employee engagement and internal communications, in addition to top-shelf event production.
Moreover, through subsidiaries d’Vinci Interactive and Paskill, Stapleton & Lord (PS&L), JPL also provides specialized custom learning solutions for corporate, educational and government markets, and enrollment marketing for higher education.
Three decades of growth
Founded in 1989 as JPL Video Productions, the firm has grown inexorably by keeping its eye on the horizon, recognizing and seizing opportunities, and shaping and delivering each new service with the same relentless passion and attention to detail.
“JPL has grown and evolved our business in a highly-competitive and rapidly-changing marketplace for 30 years,” says JPL President Luke Kempski. “We continue to drive growth by building on our extensive strategic, digital, creative and production capabilities, thanks to a deep and talented staff of integrated communications strategists, innovative digital marketers and technologists, and inspirational creative leaders.”
The firm’s evolution has been especially noteworthy in its ability to stay several steps ahead of the digital tsunami.
Evolving to meet client needs
Most recently, JPL expanded its paid media and analytics services with a new office on Madison Avenue in New York City. This Big Apple presence will enhance the Pennsylvania team’s product by beefing up its digital media and analytics staff. The new office also gives JPL and PS&L greater access to top tech companies and the latest digital solutions, which will also drive growth for clients.
JPL’s New York office is led by Brian Aitken, who joined the company last year from New York City-based Assembly, Advertising Age’s 2018 Media Agency of the Year. Aitken is serving as managing director of JPL’s Manhattan presence, while continuing to lead the company’s paid media and analytics group.
This aggressive approach is in the company’s DNA. In the ’90s, the company moved into interactive CD ROMs, computer-based training and interactive kiosks. It dropped “Video” from its name and became an early provider of web services, including development, strategy and marketing, paving the path to where it stands today.
In the 2000s, Kempski recalls, “More and more clients were coming to us to construct their websites, but they didn’t have a strategy. In 2008, we made a deliberate transition into a comprehensive marketing agency so we could better serve our client needs. We dropped ‘Productions’ from our name and launched JPL as a full-service firm.”
Powering up through partnerships
In 2013, JPL acquired d’Vinci Interactive, Inc., a Maryland-based company that uses learning technology to help clients improve quality and boost performance. These enhanced capabilities benefit a range of clients, including National Geographic, Constellation Brands and the National Park Service.
With the acquisition of York, PA-based Campbell, Harrington & Brear Advertising Agency in early 2017, JPL expanded its paid media capabilities.
Later that year, JPL formed a corporate partnership with PS&L, the Philadelphia-area college and university enrollment marketing agency. This endeavor, says Kempski, makes JPL “one of the most comprehensive and resource-rich higher education marketing firms in the nation.”
Fifteen Pennsylvania colleges are currently raising their profiles and increasing enrollment thanks in part to the experienced, disciplined counsel resulting from the partnership.
JPL’s depth of creative, media production and digital marketing capabilities benefits the clients of all three companies.
Pennsylvania continues to win
In the 30 years since its founding, JPL stands as a strategy-driven, tech-enabled, data analytics-fueled generator of measurable results.
In Harrisburg, JPL has 100 team members providing strategic and creative marketing, web development, and media production and placement services. Half of d’Vinci’s 20-plus employees are also located in Harrisburg, with the remainder working in the company’s Hagerstown office. PS&L is headquartered near Philadelphia in Glenside, PA.
The range of disciplines and number of locations provide growth opportunities for existing team members, while enabling the company to attract higher-level talent from a broader geographic footprint. The company fully embraces the idea that remote team members and partners boost creativity and capacity.
JPL keeps winning, too
Clearly, JPL’s evolving construct seems to be working. How do we know for sure?
“To grow in our highly competitive market requires the company and each team member to constantly increase our knowledge, capabilities and skills,” says Kempski. “This is how we meet the client demand for new and effective strategies for engaging employees, customers and other target audiences.”
Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.