Allow Us to Reintroduce Ourselves

04/14/2015 10:07 am ET | Updated Jun 13, 2015

Businesses today are operating in an environment characterized by emerging risks, increased regulations, and the accelerating velocity of technological change. Our consumer culture continues to evolve with market trends and digital disruptors, instantly creating new expectations of brands that are trying to keep up, while challenging their value in the marketplace.

These realities affect all of us - across the globe, in every industry. They are the forces that should be the impetus for growth, not the cause of stagnation. Though brands recognize the need to adapt quickly, many are struggling to make meaningful connections with their key stakeholders at a time when earning trust and loyalty is more important than ever before.

So how can brands remain relevant while continuing to make those meaningful connections?

At MWW, we saw that these changes not only presented opportunities for growth, but that growth was necessary in order for us to continue to service the needs of our clients and their businesses - to continue to deliver on our promise to matter more - so that our clients continue to matter more to their stakeholders who matter most. We've responded to the environmental shifts in recent years by growing organically, expanding to Europe and throughout the US, and investing in formidable insights, strategy, and technology capabilities. Throughout this journey, our promise to matter more has not changed--in fact, it's gotten stronger. However, our rapid growth created the need to recalibrate our brand and sharpen our unifying corporate culture - to refocus and reinvigorate the principles that encapsulate who we are, what we stand for, and where we're going.

For businesses today, many of which are making a range of changes to grow as well as remain relevant, now is the time to revisit the intangibles that make your business the trusted choice for your stakeholders - the culture and brand essence that embody your personality and core values. That's why as of today, we are officially MWWPR. And it's not just a name, it's a mindset. It's a natural step in our progression; our identity that both defines who we have become and reimagines what public relations can be.

Having just completed the process, we learned that the following steps are critical in redefining a brand and reframing corporate culture.

Take a look in the mirror.
Defining your brand identity starts on the inside; it is reflected by the people who live and breathe your mission day after day. Ask your employees - from office managers to vice presidents, in different locations and practice groups -why they work at your organization and what keeps them inspired on a daily basis. What does your brand mean to them?

Couple that information with insight from existing and prospective clients into what attracted them to your brand, why they want to work with you, and what makes your organization unique.

Articulate the qualities you're hearing repeatedly - the descriptors, emotions, and phrases that are consistently evoked when people hear the name. These are the personality traits and values that lay the foundation of your brand essence.

At MWWPR, we discovered that we are fearless and smart. We are entrepreneurial, authentic, and relentlessly relevant. We value imagination and action, collaboration and transparency. And most importantly, we passionately care about everything we do; to put it bluntly, we give a shit.

Embrace what makes you, you.
As the underlying standard that your stakeholders know you for and hold you to, your brand must be authentic.

Don't try to be something you're not. While other players in the PR industry are trying to be everything to everyone, seemingly diluting their core strengths, we are proud of our public relations expertise that is so deeply rooted in our founding DNA. While we also have the best-in-class digital, social, creative, and technology offerings that are essential to any modern PR program, we're not running away from our heritage - rather, we are leaning into public relations and its central role as the hub in the marketing mix.

Distill your essence.
Brand essence - the simplified culmination of your personality and values, what working at your company means to your employees and what working with your company means to your clients, a single thought that captures the heart and soul of your brand - is certainly hard to define. It should encompass the set of attributes that your brand perpetually emanates.

For us, it was the moment when everyone's heads tilted to the left after hearing it--that's when we knew we had found it. PR Unleashed. It means a fearless approach to PR that goes beyond the boundaries of expected thinking. It pulls from the intersection of strategy, communications, and creative to develop integrated, targeted and relevant communications that produce maximum we can make those connections with the stakeholders who matter most.

Hone your voice, not just your look.
A brand is more than what you see on the surface. It's not just a look, it's a feeling. It goes beyond a logo or a color scheme to embody how you think about yourself, how you work, and how you behave. It's a unifying premise that guides every message, every decision, and every action - from top to bottom and side to side, throughout all facets of your organization.

Your brand must be consistently reflected in your tone when you conduct business, and in the messages you convey both internally and externally. Consistency is critical: when your unified voice is echoed throughout everything you do, your audience will listen.

Place a stake in the ground...and allow your employees to do so too.
Project your voice and talk about your recharged identity. Share it. Make it known. And get your most important asset - your employees - rallied behind it by listening to their reactions. Through our process, we found that our rebranded mindset called for the notion of response- ABILITY, the idea that our employees can and should respond to our new brand identity and essence. Being unleashed empowers our employees to be fearless - because if you're fearless, there's no problem that cannot be solved. It allows everyone to tap into their inner entrepreneur and creative strategist, whether it's taking a class to pursue an interest outside of the office, or swapping jobs with people in other practices. PR Unleashed aims to inspire our employees' best work and gives them the autonomy to make their mark.

Because ultimately, our people are the ones who make our clients matter more.