It’s been less than a year since Do More Good emerged from the merger of Grand Rapids-based Hanon McKendry and Colorado Springs-based The CSK Group, and Bob Blanchard, CEO of Do More Good, said the transition has gone better than expected.
The merger occurred at the end of last summer, and the name change and rebranding efforts were a particularly unique move for a branding and marketing firm.
Blanchard said it was an important decision for the company, reflecting a new direction for the firm and its client work.
At the time, Blanchard pointed to the Edelman Good Purpose Study, an annual study that explores consumer attitudes regarding social purpose.
According to the study, consumers are demanding a higher level of social responsibility from brands and corporations, and despite some companies doing a good job with corporate social responsibility, many are still missing the boat, either in their actions or in their ability to convey their CSR commitment to consumers.
Do More Good wanted to help companies share what they are doing in their communities through branding and, at the same time, reflect that attitude of giving back themselves — hence, the name change.
“I’ve been delighted at how well the marketplace embraced the branding and the thinking behind the branding. What we stand for is truly helping brands that truly want to make a difference,” Blanchard said.
He said the company actually has seen a greater increase in for-profit companies as clients, following its rebranding.
“Businesses are taking seriously what the consumer wants, and being much more of a purpose-driven business,” he said.
He said internally the change has been embraced, as well.
“The transition has gone better than expected,” Blanchard said.
He chalks up the smooth transition to a seasoned executive team, many of whom have gone through mergers previously, and to the complementary nature of the two marketing firms.
“The cultural piece has held true. Cultures aligned, and we did offer different services and product offerings,” he said. “One thing we made a commitment to — and this is the hard part, oftentimes — is putting new systems and structures in place.”
He said the company focused on the “third way,” meaning that, rather than adopting this or that practice based on what one of the two firms did previously, executives looked at what was best for the new firm.
The rebranding effort has allowed the company to hold a mirror up to itself in ways that branding firms often don’t do, and Blanchard believes that has given Do More Good a unique advantage to share with clients.
“We really have a proprietary process we go through with our clients, and we put ourselves through that. … Going through the process ourselves to be thoughtful and rigorous gives us insight to help clients,” he said.
He said Do More Good wrestled with its own brand perceptions and now works better with clients because of that firsthand experience.
Throughout the year ahead, Blanchard said Do More Good will continue to work on building its brand awareness. He expects Do More Good is on the forefront of a major shift and that other branding firms will eventually follow its lead.
“In many cases, we have to carve our own path and trail, and really feel positive about the trail that we made,” he said.