Peppercomm is one of several, high-profile public relations agencies that have re-branded themselves this year as fully integrated strategic communications and marketing firms.
We re-branded ourselves for two reasons:
1.) To clearly communicate that, thanks to acquisition and organic growth, we now provide a complete solution of channel-agnostic solutions. We listen first, last and always to a client’s audiences and then recommend the precise set of communications and marketing strategies needed to engage in a transparent way. And, we aren’t myopic enough to believe that traditional PR, and PR alone, is always the answer to a client’s communications needs.
2.) We needed an excuse to add a second 'm' to our name in order to stop vendors, prospects and the great, unwashed masses from incorrectly pronouncing our firm’s name as Peppercorn. We figured that even a kindergartner couldn’t butcher Peppercomm if there were two ms instead of one (which some people read, instead, as an r and an n, respectively).
To make sure our now 100-strong staff fully understood why we had undertaken the re-brand, and to help them correctly communicate it to friends, families and total strangers alike, I’ve begun holding a series of workshops. In them, I place as much importance on the re-brand of Peppercomm as I do on the importance of branding or re-branding each employee’s image and reputation.
Knowing that three-fourths of the Millennials everywhere will, statistically speaking, move on to hold some six or seven other jobs in their careers, I urged ours to learn as much as possible about Peppercomm, and what sets us apart. The smarter they appear in various conversations and the more astute they are in explaining their specific role and set of skills within our larger solutions set, the greater the impression they, themselves, will make on our prospective clients and their future employers.
This seemed to sit well. While I was asking employees to proselytize on my behalf, I was also strongly advising them to begin aggressively networking for their own, personal reasons. In effect, I suggested they re-brand themselves as they explained our re-brand.
I concluded by sharing a list of very talented former Peppercomm employees who have gone on to achieve considerable success with other employers, including: Robert Dowling (Fleishman-Hillard), Andy Hilton (Xylem), Stacy Roth Nobles (Wolters Kluwer) and Peter Harris (MSL).
At the end of the workshop, one of our employees asked, “How can we help you, Steve?” I appreciated the question, and responded by suggesting they ask the ‘what if’ question. Ask me, “What if Peppercomm were to offer this solution?” or “What if Peppercomm were to expand to that market?” I told them entrepreneurs love employees who ask the what if question.
I ended the session by asking Peppercommers to ask themselves the ‘what if’ question as it related to their career paths: What if I went to more networking events? What if I had a better grasp of the various career paths available to me today at Peppercomm? and What might I do tomorrow at another employer where I can apply all I’ve learned here?’
The what if question is a great starting place for any agency or individual re-brand.