By: Jim Longworth
Ever wonder why Fruit of the Loom, Primo Water, Lowe’s Home Improvement and Novant Health are so well known? One big reason is SFW, a Greensboro-based company who specializes in creating and strengthening brand awareness for its clients. Founded in 1984 by the late George King, SFW is today, run by King’s son Ged who, over the past decade has quietly grown the company into the largest privately owned marketing agency in the region. And, just as Ged has helped scores of clients improve their market position, he and his team have also helped improve quality of life for countless individuals and nonprofit agencies.
For example, Ged has made SFW the largest nationwide participant in the annual 24-hour “Create-a-thon,” where agencies such as his offer free marketing services to area nonprofits. His efforts in that regard have allowed those nonprofits to reach more clients who are in need of crucial social services.
Ged also promotes healthy living initiatives, such as SFW’s participation in “Bike To Work Week,” and he encourages his staff to get involved in all sorts of community organizations and events. Some SFW employees volunteer as coaches and mentors, while Ged himself serves as an adjunct professor of marketing at Wake Forest University’s School of Business, where he teaches second-year MBA students.
But perhaps the single most significant activity that SFW supports is “Reeling for Research,” an annual fishing tournament held in Morehead City that raises money to fund childhood cancer research. To date, SFW has helped to raise over $2 million in the fight against pediatric cancer. For Ged, It’s a fight that has great personal meaning.
“Watching my parents lose their battles with cancer made a lasting impact on my life,” he said. “I simply can’t imagine having to watch a child suffer through the atrocities of this disease. So if our agency can play any role in helping to land a cure, we’re going to do it.”
When he founded SFW, George King’s mission was to find a better way to serve clients. Today, Ged King is continuing that mission, not just for clients, but also for people in the community who are in need of a helping hand. Perhaps one day SFW will be as well known as its clients, but, for now, these marketing wizards are content to perform their magic behind the scenes, and that’s not a bad brand to have.
Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).