The Silicon Review
You might think that it is odd that a Ph.D. in Psychology is running a pioneering digital agency, but the logic behind this is pure genius. Advertising communications is all about observing and bringing about a behavioural change – individually and societally – and who is more qualified to bring effective actionable insights to communications than a psychologist? “Everything we do is aimed at changing behavior. We’re never satisfied until we’ve positively moved the needle for our clients and our community,” said Renee Fraser, PhD.
Renee established Fraser Communications in 1998 as a boutique agency that could help clients tackle tough issues through psychological insights derived from actionable research. Fraser Communications’ services are highly analytical, digitally smart, and research-based. They serve clients that include the state of California, Lexus, Hyundai, Johnathan Louis Furniture and Health Net. But what inspired Renee to establish such a pioneering firm?
Origin and Growth
As a teenager, Renee Fraser visited her Dad’s ad agency. Although she loved the people at work at the agency, she was fairly discontented seeing that such a creative workforce was selling products that people do not really need instead of trying to make the world better. But later in her life, she led a multi-national ad agency as the president of its Pacific Division. And after four years of leading the $150 million agency, she decided to set up an agency of her own that would help change the behaviours in health, health-related products, education, and environmental issues through its services.
Today, Fraser Communications is the largest woman-owned and woman-led agency in the western U.S. And it is the only one in Los Angeles-owned and run by a Ph.D. in Psychology. Fraser Communications generates insights from observing behavior in addition to conducting ethnography and qualitative research. The company uses psychological practices of motivational interviewing and projective techniques to develop campaigns and themes that resonate and empower people to change. Helping this process is Renee’s leadership, whose strength is to see the situation from other’s point-of-view, What Renes calls conscious empathy? This pioneering approach has helped the agency grow to $36 million in size.
A Beacon during the Pandemic
The pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe, with the cries of help continuing to circulate. The disease has brought about roughly 580,000 deaths in the U.S. alone and has affected every business one way or another. But Fraser Communications has kept its head high, helping businesses however it can.
Having a great deal of experience working closely with the LA County and the State of California on COVID-19, meth, vaccine hesitancy, opioids, tobacco, early childhood education, and other health/wellbeing issues, the company is now offering its knowledge to cause-oriented private sector clients to help them recover and continue their path to growth. Fraser Communications is currently strongly focussing on social media and the strategic use of influencers Renee says, “meeting people where they are and activating trusted sources are key principles that drive much of our work”.
The company’s work brought in 11 awards in 2020, including multiple prestigious MarCom platinum award wins in the category of Digital Video Marketing.
Advocacy for Women Leaders
Societally women have always been at a disadvantage due to the biases placed against them systemically. Hence, it is important that women are provided with the necessary support to grow and bring diversity and their cutting-edge innovation everywhere. And this is something Renee and Fraser Communications firmly believes in. Accelerating women into leadership roles is Renee’s passion. “As President of NAWBO Los Angeles in 2001, I became a spokesperson for women entrepreneurship. Since 2010, I’ve been integral to 2020 Women on Boards (re-branded 50/50 Women on Boards) and advocated for increasing the proportion of women on publicly-traded company boards,” said Renee. She also hosts a radio show called The Deciders on KABC, Los Angeles. Through this platform, she offers the microphone to women leaders to access a wide-reaching audience.
Renee White Fraser, Ph.D., CEO: A PhD in Psychology, Renee felt that her power of psychology can greatly help in revolutionizing the ad scene. Hence, she started Fraser Communications in 1998.
With 3 grown daughters, Renee is committed to helping women achieve leadership roles through philanthropy, and is active with 2020 Women on Boards, NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) and Pathways, a program focused on accelerating women of color to board seats. Renee taught research and evaluation and guest lectures at USC Annenberg and at USC Marshall School of Business.