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Thursday, 01 August 2013 06:59

Merger gives new name, strategy to Hanon McKendry

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Do More Good Do More Good

 

GRAND RAPIDS — Two marketing and branding firms have decided its time to set aside their need to compete with the belief that together they can do more good.

In fact, they've decided that should be their new name.

Hanon McKendry of Grand Rapids and Colorado Springs-based market research firm CSK Group have merged to form Do More Good LLC.

The companies agreed to terms and finalized the deal on July 1. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With the merger, both companies will undergo a name change and venture into what company leaders see as an expanding market segment in the "impact economy." Do More Good | hanon mckendry and Do More Good | csk, as each is now known, are setting up to work with companies in the emerging Benefit Corporation (B Corp.) space.

While making a profit is still an important part of doing business for B Corps, their mission also encompasses some form of social change or responsibility. Companies in the sphere produce and sell products or services, but they're driven to be change agents for a greater good, said Bob Blanchard, CEO of Do More Good | hanon mckendry.

Executives at both companies see more for-profit companies taking on a purpose-driven ethos, and Do More Good's aim is to capitalize on both firms' collective experience delivering brand messages in the nonprofit sector.

"There is a quote that says when price and quality are the same, social purpose is the most important factor," Blanchard said. "We see ourselves working with businesses that want to continue to be purpose-driven and whose core business is aligned with who they are."

In relation to the merger, Blanchard said oftentimes companies merge to reduce overhead, cut costs or increase market share, but this merger is notable in that Do More Good brings together two firms with two distinct core competencies, CSK in market analytics and research and Hanon McKendry in the creative disciplines and media production, Blanchard said.

While firms often say mergers make sense because of how similar the two companies are, that isn't the case in this situation, he said.

"The power factor in this merger is we've built a fully integrated brand-building company offering a wide breadth of services," Blanchard said. "There isn't a lot of redundancy, and in fact, we are looking at hiring."

After the merger, the combined Do More Good employs 55 people, exclusive of the 35 people at Mindscape, the company's digital media and web marketing arm.

Although the firm remains committed to advancing purpose-driven companies, they're also not planning to walk away from their list of clients for which that is not yet a priority.

Conversations surrounding a merger between the two companies started after Hanon McKendry's co-founder Bill McKendry flew to Colorado Springs on business and during the time, met with Steve Maegdlin, principal and CEO of CSK Group.

The two discussed the Do More Good concept, which is also the topic of McKendry's forthcoming book that primarily details lessons for nonprofit marketers. The two executives eventually formalized the deal resulting in the merger of the two firms.

Leaders at both companies see what they refer to as a "seismic shift" in the business community spurred by a confluence of market factors, including consumers' post-recession expectations for more transparency, commitment to community and younger consumers' demands to balance profits with social impact.

The recession contributed to consumers asking more of companies and what they stand for, Blanchard said. There is also an emphasis on social and personal responsibility that companies may not have been comfortable with or avoided in the past, he added.

"Research has shown the general consumer in the marketplace doesn't have an issue with companies making money as long as they balance it with community good," he said. "It's not a soup of the day or shiny object we're running after. People call these types of businesses different things. It's the impact economy or the b-businesses, but at the end of the day, they are referring to the same thing and that is people want brands that are meaningful and purposeful.

"There is a reason these kinds of brand are performing 120-percent better than traditional businesses in the stock market."

Not one to simply benefit from others' good deeds, Do More Good seeks to develop client relationships where its expertise can help companies drive an even greater social impact, as well as find meaningful ways to talk about it, Blanchard said.

With leadership at Hanon McKendry involved in the Heartside community and organizations such as D.A. Blodgett in addition to the countless pro bono hours team members have spent working on purpose-driven projects, Blanchard said Do More Good is expected to walk the talk of what they believe in.

"We've seen it already where consumers have demanded that transparency, and that can drive loyalty in the end, too. We'll be on a trend (that's) here to stay," he said. "Instead of jumping on the train later, we like to think we are ahead, driving this move."

Read 3831 times Last modified on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 23:02

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