By Jonathan Hanwit
Before sitting down to write this, I took a look back at our original business plan from back in 2003 to refresh my memory on where we started. It was pretty gratifying — to think how much our knowledge and expertise has expanded yet focused at the same time. We started off as a branding agency with a “Parallax” perspective as a differentiator — a European design background mixed with the American business perspective. In the plan was a goal to work with nonprofit and public agencies to do our part in giving back. While we didn’t know it at the time, that natural and focused intent would become who we are today.
We morphed in 2011 from a branding agency to a full-service communications agency, offering content to support the creative to have a more holistic approach. At the time, we looked at all of our projects from the previous years and we realized that we subconsciously were drawn to purpose driven work and had consciously connected with companies, agencies, and partners that had the same mind set. We were then, only building brands with purpose. We dove head first into the corporate social responsibility (CSR) space — reporting, general communications, campaign specifics, social media — all centered on telling the story of impact that these organizations were making with their customers, communities, and employees.
We grew again and it was largely because we became strategic partners for our clients — helping businesses think through how the strategy of their CSR programs integrated with their business and then determining the best ways to communicate with various stakeholders. The projects got bigger, as did the clients and, in turn, the impact.
We liked the work but realized that often the CSR departments and work were siloed. By embedding “purpose” throughout an organization, our work could have a much bigger impact on multiple fronts; it would be the north star for the organization, drive innovation, attract talent, and help organizations be the companies where you want to work and have in your backyard.
It wasn’t easy, but it has become clear with our new process that we will help companies use their values and purpose as the blueprint to create an internal foundation that will be the basis of how they communicate to the world. While rebranding yourself as a branding agency is a challenge, one thing remained constant for the last 14 years, we’ve been raising brands on purpose and will continue to do so as long as we’re in business.