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Marketing agency veteran opens Authenticity Marketing Group

Conversation with his son was impetus to taking the plunge.

January 10, 2014
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This past fall Bill Danhof fulfilled a lifelong dream by launching his own marketing firm: Authenticity Marketing Group.

Danhof said he’d always considered it as something he might do, but there were always reasons why the timing wasn’t right: Basically, the bills needed to be paid.

Then he got a nudge from his son, Matt.

Danhof said that a conversation with his son on a return drive to Michigan State University, where Matt was attending college, helped him make the leap.

“We were chatting in the car and he asked me if I’d ever thought about starting my own firm,” Danhof said. “I said, ‘Oh, sure, I’ve thought about it.’ He asked what was holding me back, and I think anyone that has kids, there’s a mortgage, tuition to pay, food to provide — all those reasons to not do it.

“He said, ‘Well, don’t you think you can do it?’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah, I think I can do it, of course.’”

Danhof said that his son further prodded him saying, “I don’t think you should wait any longer, I think you should do it.”

Like many people who decide to undertake the risk of opening a business, Danhof said the conversation helped him realize he didn’t want to look back with regret, wishing he’d gone for it.

“So my son’s little conversation was the push I needed,” he said.

Danhof opened Authenticity Marketing Group in October 2013, leaving his position as a partner with Hanon McKendry, which, just a couple of months earlier, had undergone a merger and name change to Do More Good.

He said he chose the name Authenticity Marketing Group for his firm because it signifies what he thinks needs to be at the heart of any successful brand.

“Authenticity is core to what it is that we are trying to do for our clients,” he said. “I always believed that projecting the foundational principles, ideas and benefits that are the heartbeat of a company make for a stronger, more sustainable and more magnetic brand.

“If we can bring the company’s heart to life and present an authentic brand, we believe that we will be able to create a deeper connection level with customers and prospects. Our goal is to project that authentic brand and connect on a deeper level with the target audience.”

Authenticity is a full-service marketing firm, and Danhof is utilizing a virtual team to accomplish client projects of all types. He said though he expects to add employees in the future, he will continue to rely on the virtual team model, as well, because of its many benefits.

“What I want to do is bring the right talent with the right expertise and the right background together with a particular client,” he said. “For instance, if it’s a health care client, I want to bring folks that have health care backgrounds and have expertise in the category and bring them together to work on that brand.”

Using such experts on a freelance basis allows for greater flexibility as well as greater affordability for clients.

Danhof’s own background is vast, having developed expertise in many industries.

“I have experience in just about any category you could name,” he said. “Before coming to Hanon McKendry, I was in New York and Chicago with a large global agency. So I worked on consumer products, health care, education, manufacturing — you name it, I’ve pretty much had experience.”

Danhof said his years of experience have given him the ability to not only identify a marketing solution for a client but also find a solution from within the budgetary standpoint to get clients the desired results.

“I’m bringing a different level of expertise,” he said.

Authenticity Marketing Group can be found on the fifth floor of the GRid70 building in downtown Grand Rapids.

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