50 Best Workplaces of the Year 2017

Kelton Global Where Insight and Imagination Intersect

thesiliconreview-tom-bernthal-ceo-kelton-global-17We believe in data-driven creativity to take clients from upstream exploration to downstream application with confidence. 

Kelton Global is a leading provider of custom research and insights-inspired branding, innovation, and communications solutions. Our work enables many of the world’s best-loved brands to better align with their customer needs and drive growth. Offering a unique approach with a broad insights toolkit, we deliver strategic solutions by bringing deep expertise across quantitative and qualitative research, cultural insights, social/digital analytics, and design. We’re a trusted partner to 33 of the Fortune 100 and our client list spans from iconic blue-chip brands to the most disruptive companies in the world.  

With offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and London, we’re extremely proud of our accomplished, entrepreneurial employees who bring diverse backgrounds in marketing strategy, research, analytics, journalism, design and more. We love what we do and we’re proud of having an entrepreneurial, start-up culture where training is very “hands on” and there’s an atmosphere in which teams are tight and colleagues really help each other. We’re passionate about empowering the creative thinking, curiosity, and ideas of our energetic, innovative staff.  

Kelton was founded by two former journalists, Tom Bernthal and Gareth Schweitzer, and our roots in journalism guide our approach: we ask questions, explore all angles, assess information, and put the pieces together to uncover the best way forward. Empathy is embedded in our core, and we’re driven by the desire to understand what makes people tick. The needs, wants, worries and hopes of people sit at the center of every solution we deliver. 

Interview Excerpt: Tom Bernthal & Gareth Schweitzer  

What is the niche Kelton fills in the marketplace?

We use our unique foundation in insights and strategy to drive innovation, branding and communications capabilities for many of the world’s most admired brands. As former journalists, our instincts and ability to ask the right questions, hone in on the most important information and effectively communicate and tell a story are part of our DNA. We leverage our own journalistic roots (and look to hire talent who share these skills) to help brands grow based on a deep understanding of their customers. 

Why do clients work with Kelton, and why do employees choose to build a career with you?

First and foremost: our work is extremely interesting, and our people love what they do, so we have a good time doing it! We are fortunate to work on interesting, ground-breaking projects for many of the world’s most loved and admired brands. We’re constantly learning and thinking about new challenges, which keeps our work exciting and our ideas fresh. Here are a few factors contributing to our success: 

Unique Capabilities: We bring a differentiated approach to strategy consulting work, founded in our broad insights toolkit.

Strategic Client Relationships: We build meaningful, long-standing relationships with our clients and develop intimate understanding of their businesses. 

Highly Skilled and Entrepreneurial Culture: We hire and retain employees from prestigious backgrounds, cultivate their skills in a close-knit, nurturing environment, and empower them to support and guide the success of our clients. It’s fun and challenging to be part of this team! 

Senior-Level Attention: Clients have access to our whole team and can leverage a wide variety of skillsets as their needs demand. Our senior leaders are actively engaged on the front line with clients, and are extremely committed to mentoring our staff. 

Ability to “Tell the Story”: Our roots in journalism allow us to explain the “story” around data, research findings, and strategic solutions. 

Valuable Insights & Strategies: We focus on delivering strategies and solutions that are deeply rooted in insights we have conducted directly. 

Two-way communication between employer and employee is extremely important. Employees need to feel they have an outlet for sharing their observations and ideas. How do you approach this challenge at Kelton?

Employee feedback is the cornerstone of our success. Our six company values guide everything we do – from establishing staff programs to how we engage with our clients. These include: 

Trust One Another:  The best work and communication happens when individuals trust each other to be accountable to the same set of goals. Trust is at the core of a culture that has a team mentality. We live this daily as we provide our staff with ample opportunity to work with autonomy and have ownership of their work, even early in their careers. 

A Community of Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs look for and seize opportunities and relish tackling challenges. By nature, they are creative problem solvers, and are wholly responsible for the success and failure of their ventures. We recruit and screen for an entrepreneurial skillset, and look for people to join our team who are eager to provide a voice and raise new ideas. 

Honest and Clear Communication:

Creating a culture of clear and honest communication is the foundation of positive human interaction. The feeling of understanding – and of being understood–generates positive, trusting relationships. We emphasize, every day, the value in ensuring your colleagues and clients understand why you take the actions that you take. Most importantly, our emphasis on communication is reflected in our deliverables – the means in which we communicate to our clients what we’re doing on their behalf. These are constructed and thought about with the client at the center of the process, so the result reflects how they interpret information without shying away from honesty and directness. 

Genuine Reflection: Truly honest, reflective individuals are better able to evolve, innovate, and work effectively with others; they are also able to provide credible, thoughtful perspectives to clients. We actively try and see issues from our clients’ and colleague’s perspectives before rushing to judgment; we recognize there are no points to be scored by self-evaluating uncritically; we take areas where we can personally improve, or improve as a company, and apply our problem-solving skills to self-improvement. 

Contagious Passion: We are known as company that is willing to go above and beyond to ensure our clients get exactly what they pay for. What they love is our passion, intensity, and pride in the work we do. 

Democracy of Ideas: Democratic recognition of ideas encourages intellectual growth, collaborative thinking, and innovation. Furthermore, it leaves no stone unturned when it comes to creative problem-solving and implementing change. 

Anchored by these values, we administer an annual employee engagement survey, the Kelton Pulse and solicit questions from our staff on an ongoing basis about programs and services. Our leadership team has an open-door policy. We have a formalized mentoring program, and engage in regular company townhalls to encourage discussion around business growth and company vision. Beyond these formal channels, we believe in the importance of ad-hoc discussion and feedback from employees at all levels. 

Contact information

Kelton Global

12121 Bluff Creek Drive, Suite 150

Los Angeles, CA 90094

Phone: 310-479-4040 

Meet the Dynamic Duo 

Tom Bernthal, Co-founder and CEO:

Tom, a former journalist and now a researcher, has won three Emmy Awards as a producer at NBC News, including one for “100 Days, 1000 Voices”, which brought the hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations of thousands of Americans to television during the 2000 presidential campaign. Later, he opened a West Coast office for an Omnicom-held agency. Mr. Bernthal settled in Los Angeles in 2001 and has lived in Venice Beach since 2007. He attended University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wisconsin.

Gareth Schweitzer, Co-founder and President: Mr. Schweitzer was a political journalist (one of the youngest-ever members of the White House Correspondents’ Association) and an embedded reporter in Iraq during the war’s early days. Additionally, he appeared regularly on CNN, Fox News Channel, and nationally syndicated radio to discuss topics ranging from global geopolitical affairs to consumer behavior. Mr. Schweitzer was born in India, grew up in London and Washington, DC, lived for a year in Chile and attended college at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.