Executive Spotlight Q&A: Stuart Feigley, president of Feigley Communications


Stuart Feigley

Position: President, Feigley Communications

Age: 52

Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Education: Majoring in journalism, graduated from LSU in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree from the Manship School of Mass Communication

When Stuart Feigley started out in the marketing and advertising industry a quarter century ago, there were just four main medial channels to reach an audience: TV, radio, outdoor and print. “Now, the web has opened things up in so many ways,” he says. “Our team is constantly improving our data analysis skills to harness the real power of digital for our clients and help them reach their goals.” While he leads the company as president, Feigley says people might be surprised to know just how involved in the creative process he remains. “There are many facets to running this company and they all take time to do well,” he says. “I’ve worked hard on my time management skills to carve out hours here and there to close the door, pull out a legal pad and work on the next great idea.”

What was your very first job and what did it teach you?

My first job was at Bocage IGA, which is now Calvin’s Supermarket. I started off bagging groceries, then worked in the deli. It was a great first job that taught me how to work hard and interact with people.

You are a copywriter by trade. How did that lead you to your current line of work and how did your previous experience prepare you for the job?

For me, copywriter was an entry level position that taught me the mechanics of creating ads that evoke emotion and motivate people to make a change or buy a product or service. When I became a creative director, I added managing people and advising clients on marketing strategy to my duties. Once we started the agency, experience with the financial aspects of running a business followed.

What makes you excited about going to work each day?

I love problem solving. Hearing about a client’s challenge and then working with our team to solve it and move the needle for the companies we work for is very rewarding. Nothing gets me more fired up than hearing how the work we created and strategy behind it produced measurable results for our clients. 

You’ve been in your field for more than 25 years now. What have been the biggest changes in the industry over that time and how have you and your company adjusted to them?

Fragmentation comes to mind. When I started, there were four main media channels for reaching an audience: TV, radio, outdoor and print. Now, the web has opened things up in so many ways. There are many more channels and strategies to be considered, evaluated and implemented. At Feigley Communications, our team is focused on staying current on trends and technology that impact what we do. And, from a hiring perspective, having digital experience is a must regardless of the position.

What do you think will be the next big change or challenge in your industry?

A big challenge will be how to more effectively and efficiently evaluate the data that digital provides. There’s so much of it to analyze that it can muddy the water and make it difficult to separate what’s important from what’s not. Our team is constantly improving our data analysis skills to harness the real power of digital for our clients and help them reach their goals.

How do you try to set your company apart from local competitors?

Our extensive background in leading research initiatives and using that data to develop sound marketing strategy in advertising, public relations, and social campaigns is a key advantage of working with our team. Our experience with developing questionnaires, studying focus groups, and evaluating the findings has led us to uncover kernels of truth that have helped our efforts be more impactful for clients.

What are your greatest goals for your company?

Continued growth, both as a company and everyone individually. Being larger in size would provide more opportunities for our team members, which is important to me. They could learn different roles, expand their knowledge and work with clients from different industries. All of that helps to make a person’s time in the office more rewarding.

It has been almost three years since your business partner and co-founder, Jeff Wright, passed away. Personally and professionally, what was the most difficult part of moving your business forward after such a loss?

Professionally, I lost my trusted sounding board. Our partnership worked well because we had a good dialog and loved to challenge each other. Personally, Jeff was a dear friend I had known for 25 years. Back then, we used to talk about running our own agency. Having this dream we worked so hard for end so early and suddenly was tough.

What is one thing about your job that would surprise people?

That I still work on creative. There are many facets to running this company and they all take time to do well. I’ve worked hard on my time management skills to carve out hours here and there to close the door, pull out a legal pad and work on the next great idea.

What is the greatest personal or professional obstacle you have overcome, and how did you do it?

The passing of my business partner was undoubtedly the largest professional obstacle I’ve ever faced. Our team did a tremendous job rallying around each other and our clients were also very supportive. That key combination gave me the strength and confidence to power through the adversity.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

This would probably be having work featured in Communications Arts’ Advertising Annual. It’s one of the top magazines for creatives in advertising and the chances of having work featured in it is almost impossible. Having the best creatives in the industry vote your work into the annual was definitely a career highlight.

What other leadership roles do you hold in the community and/or what volunteer efforts do you support?

On the business side, I’m currently the PR Committee chair for the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge. I also was selected to participate in the LED CEO Roundtable, which I’m looking forward to. On a personal level, my wife Sue and I have led a married small group at Healing Place Church for the past three years that we enjoy immensely.

What is an item on your “bucket list?”

Travel more. While I’ve traveled the U.S. a bit, I hadn’t crossed the Atlantic until this past April when I visited Paris with my wife, Sue. It was very eye-opening to be in another country and experience their culture … and we really loved it. The more I see, the more inspired I can be.

What is your strategy for relieving stress and not getting burned out?

Because I love what I do, it’s tough to turn it off. However, activities such as reading, swimming and volunteering at church provide a needed change of pace that helps me recharge physically and spiritually.

Where are your go-to spots in Baton Rouge when you have free time? 

Beausoleil for drinks. Fleur Di Lis when I crave pizza. Yogurtland for a sweet treat.

Featured Image: Photography by Don Kadair

This article first appeared in www.businessreport.com

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