Digital grows up at Hanon McKendry

April 1, 2011
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Hanon McKendry has re-branded itself with a new tagline, a new division and new talent.

The tagline “Integrated Brand Connections” has replaced “Brand Consultants” for Grand Rapids’ largest advertising agency, reflecting the importance of online marketing’s growing prominence, said Bill McKendry, agency founder and chief creative officer.

“Hanon McKendry has always been focused on branding,” he said. “What we’ve seen over time is the growing importance of the whole digital space.”

Just a few years ago, clients hired the agency to create an advertising campaign that treated websites and other digital resources as kind of an additional service. Today, online is the lead medium requested by clients, he said.

This altered reality prompted the changes to meld digital branding into Hanon McKendry’s services, he said.

Clients may use one of the service lines or all of them, depending on their needs, McKendry said.

  • IRON at Hanon McKendry uses research to shape a strategy and hone messages.

  • Design Culture Studios at Hanon McKendry creates brand identity and defines the “touchpoints” where the brand reaches its audience, and makes sure the message is integrated across platforms.

  • MindScape at Hanon McKendry, the result of the two companies joining forces in 2008, continues to provide Web marketing and development and social media management and added a Content Division last fall. It also acquired local software development firm Venux last fall.
Paid digital marketing strategies is the focus of newly hired Matt Neilson, director of digital strategy and activation. “A lot of the clients that we have could obviously use help immediately with a lot of the digital strategies and just identifying the right touchpoints to talk to their consumers and customers online,” Neilson said.

“I like to think of my role in this space as more than just placement-based and buying media and planning media. What platforms online and in digital space do your consumers connect with and how should you talk to them through each of those? It’s such an efficient way to reach your audience, it should be one of the first things that you look at — not some afterthought.”

In fact, the time is over for viewing online marketing platforms as emerging, he said.

“I like to think of local as kind of an expertise,” Neilson added. “With a lot of the clients that we have here and that we’re going after, they’re not interested in a huge national buy but targeting specific zip codes or regions or states or cities. The Internet and mobile and social (and online video) provide perfect ways to target that.

“Those are things that are not necessarily emerging any more. These all have penetration rates north of 75 percent, for the most part, in terms of people online that are using these things.”

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