We have some great news to share: today we’re announcing joining Schawk, Inc. I’ll try to keep this brief if enthusiasm allows and look forward to answering a lot of the more nuanced, in-depth and personal questions directly. I’ll share here a little more about our parent company, our reasons for joining and thoughts about what to expect ahead.
To do so, we need to rewind a couple of years to a board meeting in Aspen. We had just cleared some challenging times, reconfigured our business to capitalize on the emergence of significant changes in the digital platform as well as at our clients. Our conversation was one of those big crystal ball discussions to divine where we could create the greatest value. We concluded that we needed to combine our pioneering and deeply digital roots—we started some version of this endeavor back in the earliest days of the web in 1994—with big agency talent that shared our values. We believed the market was bifurcated between Big and Digital and that clients shouldn’t have to give up one for the other. This belief informed a lot of our most strategic decisions over the next couple of years from talent, to services, to areas of intensity and ultimately here.
When we first met Schawk we were struck by a few impressions. First, we were humbled by the fact that each of our accomplishments from longevity, client tenure, revenues, portfolio size, reach, etc. were eclipsed 10-fold by this global, public, independent company. In a time where client and CMO tenure beyond a third anniversary are an exception, it’s remarkable to find a place where loyalty of 20+ years is a norm. It’s no surprise when you meet the quality people running and working in the company, which was our second impression: we share and cared deeply about the same core values. We share a number of clients. And we share a passion for relentless innovation and reinvention, which is more the nature of today’s emerging companies than 56-year old giant organizations.
We’ll be leading the charge for strategic digital marketing integration in North America for Schawk under the Anthem World Wide strategic brand services division. It’s a big charter, but we’re up for this challenge. It allows us to do more of what we’ve done for the last 17-years in one form or another and the last 10 years as Real Branding: bringing big, strategically-informed ideas to brands that embrace the digital age. In plainer terms, our greatest successes have been for clients that are ready for the digital intensity of The Valley combined with strong traditional advertising and marketing disciplines. In the context of the Schawk and Anthem offerings there’s a hint at some great things ahead.
There are a lot of answers to “why,” but you can probably distill it down to one notion that most of us think about: how to do more of what we love better, faster, longer, with greater scale and impact? When you find this solution, the more appropriate question is “why not?” There were other, well-worn paths we could have taken, but hopefully in these few paragraphs you can see those weren’t the way to greatest value for us.
We believe it’s an amazing time in this space with the stage we’ve been presented. We’re looking forward to bringing more of the valley innovation to unlocking powerful brand truths and business potential. We’re excited about taking these ideas to more channels and broader client solutions.
While looking forward we want to also recognize all of those that got us here. Our team is made up of some of the best people in the business. They would stand out in any business and are gold standards as people. We’re proud of all those that called our agency home professionally over the years and that putting Real Branding on a resume increases its value. We’ve been so fortunate to attract other cohorts into our grand vision as well, from clients and partners to advisors and friends. We wouldn’t be here, facing this new opportunity without you. With great humility and all my heart, I say “Thank You.”
When I started I mentioned wanting to keep it brief. I may not have succeeded on that front but hopefully I’ve anticipated and answered a few questions on this big move. Stay tuned and keep expectations high. Be Great. Cheers!