Search Isn't Horseplay - Well, Maybe Sometimes

Horse-Riding-BThe keyword term "corporate social responsibility" might seem foreign to some, but the sentiment reflects an eco-friendly and philanthropic-minded business culture. That's how Russ Mann, Covario founder and CEO, would like folks to view the company's ethos and his passion for search engine marketing.

Mann lives and breathes the lifestyle. He calls himself a "would-be weekend cowboy," tending to a small private vineyard and olive grove during the weekend or riding horses alongside his border collie. The two herd goats at his modest ranch in the desert foothills between San Diego and Palm Springs, California.

The friendly country-style atmosphere mixes with high-tech Internet marketing to create Covario's business culture, tapping a philosophy toward environmental conservation of natural resources to minimize any detrimental impact from the company's operations on waste, energy, and water.

Nearly two floors in a building that Covario now calls its headquarters, operated by a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, received awards for using low water to feed the property's vegetation through an automated system that measures moisture requirements.

Gyms on the top floor of the building, along with a ping-pong table in the lunch room and a Microsoft Xbox 360 entertainment center with Kinect in a conference room, keep employee minds stimulated during free time. "Culture eats strategy for breakfast," Mann said. "So we put a lot of emphasis on culture and training to keep things upbeat, fun and interesting."

Philanthropy also plays a role in the company's culture. From a conference room at Covario headquarters, employees write a record number of holiday cards to send to overseas U.S. troops. The company's management team and employees contribute approximately $70,000 in cash donations, marketing services and software to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the San Diego Helen Woodward Animal Center, and the Arizona Humane Society.

"We're passionate about search, but no search is more important than the search for a missing child or lost pet," Mann said, explaining the employee's work for the numerous charitable organizations.

Covario's Culture Club, team-based company groups, spearheads projects to help local communities, from walkathons to sending holiday cards to the U.S. troops. The group sent 1,000 cards prior to Thanksgiving. 

What keeps Mann up at night? The pace of change around consumer dynamics; changing interest and the way consumers consume media and discover brands. It's exciting and fun, he said, but trying to keep ahead of that becomes challenging. "The millennial generation is ADHD in general; everything is fast, fast, fast," he said. 

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