International Marketing Services, LLC was founded in 1986 as IMS, Inc. with an original mission to facilitate business and trade between the United States and the former Soviet Union and its erstwhile Eastern Bloc allies in Central Europe. At that time, many countries were still in the grip of authoritarian, Communist governments, and Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika were merely ideas. Free trade between the United States and those countries was unimaginable for most people, and even travel required extensive paperwork. Most trade was in “must have items” for either side. Nevertheless, we saw an opportunity in the slow but sure opening of the Soviet Union, as well as the practical fact that most trade missions at the time were run by either government and ineffective at providing post-show marketing and sales support.
After a couple years of initial research and preparation, we launched our first trade mission to Moscow and followed with trips to Poland, Czechoslovakia, and other cities within Russia. IMS’ co-founders, Jozef and Jolana Jaklovsky traveled extensively during that time, facilitating US companies’ meetings, logistics, and providing post-trip support directly and through local representatives. In all, we took 150 trips to the region, assisting companies as diverse as Bethlehem Steel, US Steel, Dresser Industries, Cherco Compressors, and Texaco develop partnerships and customers that included divisions of Gazprom, Slovnaft, Transmash, and the Polish Oil and Gas Company.
After the early 1990s, as more multi-nationals developed a strong presence in the region and economies became fully privatized, we shifted focus away from consulting clients with on the ground opportunities to engaging in direct import/export. Since that time, we have developed opportunities as diverse as water heaters, copper tubing, industrial machinery, pharmaceutical substances and nutritional supplements in Russian, Central Europe and North America.
In 1999, as the Internet revolution was taking shape, we developed a subsidiary, Polar Design to provide international marketing services and consulting to companies intent on reaching international audiences via the web. The subsidiary grew to provide a complex range of communications and IT services, but IMS continues to work with it on international marketing projects for our clients that call upon design of web sites or collateral, search engine marketing and e-commerce.
Today, IMS remains a dynamic and international organization, employing 25 professionals (including those in the Polar Design subsidiary) assisting clients with a wide range of marketing and communication needs. We operate out of two offices, one located in the United States and the other in the EU. While our mission has evolved since our beginnings to embrace more than the facilitation of east-west commerce, we remain at heart a company that helps clients open new markets wherever there may be barriers, be they geographic, cultural, or technological.