Finding The Perfect Client

April 16, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — With 50 percent of Hanon McKendry’s client base being corporate and the other 50 percent non-profits, the perfect client would be one that epitomized both.

That such client just happened to come along earlier this year, and also decided to make Hanon McKendry a nationally known name.

The Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic family service organization, was looking to get its name back into the young minds of America, and to make its services known.

“They had been exposed to some of our work with the Catholic Bishops,” said Bill McKendry, co-founder and chief creative director of Hanon McKendry. “From there they brought us in to see what we could do. Our name is already pretty well-known in the national non-profit circle but this is the first time we have been bought on a national network buy.”

The first ad, entitled “Shoulder to Shoulder,” promotes the name of Knights of Columbus and states surprising statistics about the organizations as well as aim towards a younger crowd. The spot ran through the two week holiday period and will pick up again towards the end of the month.

McKendry said this is the first part in a four-part initiative. “In communication there is a natural progression, you can’t go right up to someone and say, ‘Hi we’re the Knights of Columbus, would you like to buy some insurance?’ you have to go step by step,” McKendry explained.

With the first initiative being a re-introduction and a re-familiarization with people who were already familiar with the name, the second initiative will be a membership drive, the third a vocation initiative to pull in young men who are interested in the priesthood and the fourth will be an insurance initiative.

The insurance arm of the Knights of Columbus is what rounds out the organization and makes it an ideal client for Hanon McKendry with its non-profit initiatives in other areas; its corporate structured insurance arm makes the organization a Fortune 100 company.

“A lot of fraternal organizations have an insurance arm and many, including the Knights of Columbus, were founded as a way to provide for widows,” McKendry said. “These organizations basically created life insurance, as a way of having a bunch of people pulling their money to provide for each other, now it is titled but back then it was just about helping people.”

Believing that insights aren’t created, they are found, Hanon McKendry went out into the community and talked to men all over the country to see what the Knights of Columbus would have to do to attract or keep them and what the organization needed to do to better communicate. What the research turned up was that people knew the name, just not necessarily what it did.

And the campaign was born.

From there it was about gathering statistics McKendry said, and pulling together key ideas and foundational principles the Knights of Columbus believed in. “Everyone in the organization is connected. Since it is a Catholic organization one thing is they are all connected by their faith, but more importantly they are people of action,” McKendry noted. “Last year alone, members gave over 56 million hours of volunteerism and donated over $116 million to charities, so it is evident that they are people of action.”

McKendry added that there is often a compelling aspect of each client, and it isn’t so much that one has to be created, it just needs to be discovered and magnified.

“The nice thing about the Knights of Columbus is that they’re an organization, unlike some of the up-and-coming organizations that we work with, who’s name is already known. So it is really a re-introduction of someone that people may already know, so this is an all new challenge,” McKendry said. “I once heard that the greatest opportunity is getting to work with an organization who’s name is already well-known, but getting people to know what they do, and this is our opportunity.”

Together with this new challenge and opportunity for Hanon McKendry and the Knights of Columbus, McKendry said it is exciting for everyone with both organizations to sit around at the holidays and in the weeks to come and see the ad on TV. “It really is an element of excitement to know that all of your friends and family are seeing it, no matter where they are in the country, at the same time you are,” he said.

“This is a really great experience for Hanon McKendry and great exposure. We are just pleased that we also found our middle of the road client. It is such an interesting mix for the Knights of Columbus to have a perfect summation of what our client base is,” McKendry added. “That is a big bonus for us.”

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