So how does Ketchum succeed in conveying its messages to us? Break through.
“We like to think of it as our brand promise and also as a rallying cry,” Doyle said. “Break through is an explicit promise to our clients and to ourselves; it defines who we are and what we do.”
From campaigns to work ethic, Ketchum employees all around the world implement this concept of break through. Ketchum promises that each client will receive high-quality communications in order to reach its audience.
“Every day, break through reminds us that our ideas and executions must shatter the expectations of consumers, clients and competitors,” Doyle said.
Though Ketchum has been leading the public relations industry for years now, the brand promise of break through was not the official brand identity of Ketchum until 2011.
In order to ensure quality work is done in Ketchum’s 74 offices and 56 affiliates in 70 countries, it had to come up with a brand identity that can encompass the new global business world.
Until 2011, Ketchum’s motto was “passion and precision in communication.” However, Ketchum wanted to get perspectives from its global offices and create one unifying brand. It used online brainstorming platforms, such as IDE8, to share perspectives from numerous groups around the world.
“We wanted the new brand to communicate the global emphasis and the importance of our colleagues,” said Brian Keenan, global creative initiative manager for Ketchum. “We wanted to make sure Ketchum is Ketchum all around the world.”
After the brainstorming finished, one brand idea was left standing. The result was break through. According to Doyle, the term “break” was the promise “to disrupt the ordinary and challenge convention" while the term “through” was the promise to create “measurable movement from one place to another.”
“We wanted to make sure that our new brand was very forward facing that focused on where we are as an agency now. We’re a global agency that delivers a high quality of service to our clients,” Keenan said. “We wanted to ensure that people worldwide would also understand that our work changes with the industry.”
“It has always been an innate Ketchum mantra,” Worthington said. “But now we’re excited to be using it externally.”
Ketchum’s culture makes breaking through the media clutter possible. The people of Ketchum always feel challenged when they come to work. This dedication to the brand inspires them to provide break through creative work and thinking for their clients.
“We have this mentality of asking ourselves if that’s the best we can do,” Worthington said. “We are constantly challenging each other to one-up our previous initiatives and ideas.”
To ensure that all workers have this mentality, Ketchum established professional development programs. According to Mike Doyle, “Ketchum University delivered more than 33,000 hours of training, with 85 percent of employees participating.”
The Berlin Tree Concert is a huge example of the success of the break through mentality. Ketchum received the gold PR lion in the charity and non-profit category along with two bronze lions because of this campaign. It is one of many Ketchum’s successes. Ketchum’s drive and “innate mantra” make them a leader of the PR industry.
“Break through is a vital Ketchum differentiator,” Doyle said. “It is our commitment to accept no boundaries when it comes to the ideas that will give our clients competitive advantage and to prove everything.”
And they have.