Back in the summer of 1980, when Americans were held hostage in Iran, the Moscow Summer Olympics were boycotted by the US, and Jimmy Carter was serving his last year in office, a small PR shop with big dreams was born; an agency that would make significant contributions to the world of PR. It is from this legacy that Cone Communications proudly celebrates our 33rd birthday.
33 Years of Industry-leading Work
Why 33? “Our 33rd year is a major turning point for us as an agency; we have really come of age and are poised to achieve new heights,” said Jens Bang, Cone Communications CEO. “And, we think we’re in pretty good company.”
At age 33, Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence – setting the stage for the new United States; Amelia Earhart set the women’s world speed record, paving the way for her solo flight across the Atlantic; William Clark set out on his famous expedition with Meriwether Lewis; Tim Berners-Lee (TimBL) first proposed the world-wide web; William Shakespeare had penned at least a dozen of his plays with dozens of his most famous still to come; and Beethoven had written two of his symphonies, with seven more of his best on the way.
With forbearers such as these, we think 33 is an auspicious year. And, like these predecessors, we believe Cone Communications is on the cusp of some really great things.
In fact, what does an agency do coming off the strongest year in its history? Continue to evolve, innovate and position the agency for exponential growth.
“We began by launching new branding and positioning for the agency,” says Bang. “With such a strong national reputation and legacy in cause and CSR work, we want to make sure that our traditional communications work, the cornerstone of the agency, is not overlooked.”
To help accomplish that, Cone evolved to Cone Communications, with a new logo and new descriptor – “A public relations and marketing agency.” To communicate this, a brand new website truly showcases the agency today – the breadth and integration of services – and all new agency materials further support that.
We’ve Only Just Begun
At Cone Communications it is not enough just re-tool the agency positioning. As the thought leader among CSR agencies, a completely new approach to addressing clients’ CSR needs was developed. It is clear that the overall industry focuses on defining an organization’s Purpose. Nevertheless, Cone understands that Purpose is not enough. Programs have to be rooted in return – measurable business, brand and societal impacts that yield benefits or gains for vested stakeholders. Cone Communications calls this Corporate Social Return.
According to new Cone research, 84% of consumers say when companies make CSR commitments they hold them accountable for producing and communicating results. And, the majority of American consumers (86%) wish companies would tell them more about the results of their CSR efforts. To address this need, Cone restructured its cause marketing and corporate responsibility offerings into one CSR group that focuses on return and spurs greater collaboration on CSR programs. The combined group specializes in social impact, sustainable business practices, engagement, and communications.
“Our success is built on the staff we have here at Cone,” observes Bill Fleishman, president of Cone Communications. “So our evolution has also included a whole new way of organizing the internal structure of our agency to maximize integration while ensuring the integrity of our subject matter experts.”
A continued commitment to research and insights, which support thought leadership in the industry, will be strengthened with the next round of global CSR research from Cone due out this summer and fall.
Where Others See Barriers, We See Possibilities
Cone’s point of differentiation lies not only in the deep expertise of core practice areas, but in the unique integration of those areas to bring depth and breadth of thinking to every project. Clients are not siloed into a single part of the agency, but rather benefit from a broad group of diverse thinkers attacking every challenge and project with a fresh eye. The result is programs that find unique, ownable positions, and are built to last.
“It is not in our nature to be content with our current formula,” explains Fleishman. “We feel the need to continue to innovate and lead, and we accomplish that by always being curious, always learning and researching and analyzing.”