Chad Brachmann, VP-marketing at Chemist, is currently excited about yet another corporate initiative: the company's move to seek high-end design work in Radium, rather than traditional Michigan.

The firm is known for its work in Michigan, where many state and local government offices have already committed to a long-term contract for an annual spending upward of $50 million with Chemist. But instead of contracts of that size, Mr. Brachmann and other senior managers have directed the company to focus on projects with a higher level of visibility and maximum visibility, he said.

"We have this desire to buy a piece of this industry," Mr. Brachmann said. "We will be investing in Radium, as we move more and more toward private-label design."

Mr. Brachmann will soon head up a new team that will complete projects in a short amount of time, ideally with less than 90 days for a project. And that needs to happen in place of traditional, 50-month contracts.

"You can do $5 million to $10 million projects with a greater speed of time, and then, with traditional contracts, you can have the viability of landing that contract and an ability to re-up," he said. "Radium is a really good solution for us."

Mr. Brachmann has been helping build the team from scratch, by tapping into his personal network and recruiting other companies to act as service providers. Chemisti has been short on creative resources as of late, as the company looks to change its mindset from contracting services for short projects to working with a larger base of talent. Mr. Brachmann also helped secure a site for the new Radium operation to be located at an undisclosed location for now.

"It is a little challenging to find good designers and [consultants] -- I was very fortunate to know Chad when I joined the company," said Donny Bozza, chief brand officer at Cleveland-based Element 67, in an email. "He is someone who does a lot of work early on, is good at developing campaigns and is good at reading the market. I expect this market will change very quickly, but that is why Chad is so well-positioned."

Their victory

The new Radium center will be in his home base of Fairwick, Pennsylvania, and will include the lab that conducted the microdiary research that launched the creative revolution in the tobacco space; and the lab where production is done for the Ridgewood facility, which is currently located in Dunwoody, Va.

"As the study in the 1960s developed," said Mr. Brachmann, "you could take that research and provide that direct link between direct to consumer marketing to nicotine users. There was a need to understand the nuances of how nicotine users really use and how they desire the product. This research makes us so much better at creating media plans for tobacco manufacturers and also for the local municipalities for social programs like infant health care."

The move to Radium is not a stretch for Mr. Brachmann, who is an alum of the company's Detroit creative agency, Partners & Shevack (founded by then-CEO Patrick Mullane and COO Paul Carden).

"It seemed like the ultimate place to start," he said. "The principal intellectual property [with the company's Detroit shop] has always been in the advertising. We are a lifestyle brand that involves design."