Boulanger Sets Up Own Shop

Boulanger & Associates, with Sprint PCS on its roster and an entrepreneurial philosophy inspired by industry legend Leo Burnett, has joined the fast-growing list of regional startups.

Founded in Canton, Mass., by Diane Boulanger, 33, the new agency employs about a half-dozen staffers and works for several consumer and business-to-business clients on both project and retainer contracts.

Boulanger most recently served as a copywriter and creative director at One to One Interactive, Boston, working on efforts for insurance giant The Hartford, Motor ola and others. She held that post for six months, then left to freelance last June. The desire to concentrate on integrated marketing and plan the launch of her agency prompted her departure, she said.

“Leo Burnett is my personal hero,” she said. “If he could start an agency in the middle of a depression, I can give it a shot now.”

One to One co-founder Jeremi Karnell, who has known and worked with Boulanger since 1995, praised her people-management skills and smooth interaction with clients. “[She’s] a people-oriented person foremost. She’s passionate about what she’s doing, and she’ll learn the business aspects [of running a company] as she goes along,” he said.

Prior to One to One, Boulanger spent four years in the Boston office of Leo Burnett Technology Group. As one of the shop’s two creative directors, she contributed to national campaigns for CMGI, Allaire and others, helping to guide LBTG’s rapid rise into the ranks of the region’s largest agencies before the tech boom went bust. LBTG closed its doors a year ago.

Boulanger learned some lessons from LBTG’s meteoric rise and fall. “I don’t want to concentrate on any specific niche,” she said. Diversi fying is important in terms of client types and agency services if the shop is to meet its goal of 40-50 employees in the next few years, she said.

Initial clients include Sprint PCS (regional print and outdoor executions); the Ground Round casual eatery chain (interactive efforts); business-software provider SMC Technologies (marketing services and online ads); and video- editing house Offspring Productions, for which Boulanger is handling public relations chores.

Boulanger’s staff includes art director Jennifer Pompa and Dan St. George, who serves as CFO.