As we prepared to relaunch our Company’s brand to the market, and change our name from Howard-Sloan-Koller Group to Koller Search Partners, I was concurrently brainstorming my first blog post for our new site. A consistent theme emerged, and it’s one that has impacted me both personally and professionally as of late. This is the theme of “Change.”
I have experienced many positive changes in my life over the past two months, two of significant note for this post. The first was getting married and permanently removing myself from NYC’s single scene. The second is our Company’s rebrand, which I am excited to announce now. As of December 7th 2015, we are Koller Search Partners. I couldn’t be more excited about it and want to share some thoughts around the significance of it all with you.
To date, our firm has played a key role in helping our clients transform their businesses, scale revenue, increase profitability, streamline operations, and make acquisitions. A number of our clients have sold for big premiums, even some revenue exit multiples of five to 10 times. We have had a first-hand look at their businesses before and after,and here are some trends we’ve witnessed:
- A concerted effort by traditional multi-platform content publishers to hire key digital executives to lead a digital first strategy and content everywhere distribution across all platforms, and realign their organizations to maximize efficiency.
- The demand from VC-driven marketing technology and entrepreneurial digital businesses for operational and revenue leadership to help scale quickly.
- Explosive digital video growth, the demand for leaders of video businesses and content studios at publishers, the formation of digital “new fronts” and the move towards a “TV Everywhere”model, with video content distributed across all platforms.
- The rise and rapid growth inprogrammatic buying and new skill sets needed to succeedin today’s media and ad-tech marketplace. Programmatic is embracedas an efficient, transparent, targeted way to transact media rather than being competitive.
- Advertising technology and marketing technology firms who have transformed from a managed services model to a platform-driven, software-as-a-service recurring revenue model. This transformation is in large part due to the premium valuations of SaaS-driven revenue models.
- Growth in spending controlled by the CMO and as a result, the entrance of large global enterprise technology/SaaS/B2B Analytics making a big push into marketing tech through acquisition(Salesforce, Oracle, IBM, Salesforce, Adobe to name a few).
- There is red-hot demand for leaders of Insights and Analytics functions within marketing tech and media businesses, in addition to the push in the last two years for heads of Video Content Studios and Chief Content Officers.
- The lines between publisher, technology company and agency continue to blur at a rapid pace.
- Agencies have formed big marketing/ad-tech businesses through their trading desk, and those are HUGE revenue drivers for the holding companies. Agencies have also formed their own newsrooms and content marketing practices.
- Publishers who have great content built on strong platform technology are winning and are seen as technology companies,and have built in-house creative studios/creative agencies.
- B2B media and marketing services have enhanced focus on growing digital and custom content revenue, and diversifying revenue into data, information, and analytics to offer must-have information and build market share and recurring revenues.
With all this change among our clients, we, as an influencer and as advisors to clients and candidates felt it was about time that we took a play out of our clients’ and candidates’ playbook and make some changes ourselves.
We realized we had to do a better job at marketing the work we have doneand the value we bring; we needed to tell a concise and consistent story to the market. We knew who we are and what we stand for, but were surprised to learn that number of key people around the industry didn’t know how our capabilities had changed over the years(more than 75% of our firm’s revenue comes from digital, content marketing, technology and analytics). We hired an external marketing consultant to help us repositionand bring a fresh perspective, while ensuring the market that our core values remain unchanged.
Change is hard, and it takes time, focus, flexibility and commitment. We have been very collaborative with our team throughout the process, and we have gotten great ideas and suggestions from them. When we first announced internally that we were changing the logo (after 25 years), repositioning ourselves and launching a new site and marketing effort, I could see the excitement around the office. We gathered feedback at each stage and everyone felt invested in our new branding.
To start the process, we thought about why we are different, what really sets us apart, why do clients and candidates work with us, what have we done right over the last 25 years, what can we improve upon, and what are we going to change to help us take the business to the next level. We collected feedback from a number of clients and candidates who know our firm well, and they gave us valuable insight.
We also looked at our Core Values, including who we are as a firm and the principles that drive how we work with our clients and candidates. We wanted to bring these front and center, and they are:
- Trust, Integrity, Honesty
- Commitment to Helping Clients’ Businesses
- Commitment to Representing Clients’ Brands to the Highest Standards, and being Counted On as a True Partner
- Commitment to Our Team
The wheels are in motion and change has begun – and December 7, 2015 is a redefining moment in our firm’s history and in our future success. Both revolutionary and evolutionary, we will continue to refine our messaging as well as everything that we do as a firm to ensure that we are consistently on brand. Just like the clients, whom we respect and value.
I would like to present to you – Koller Search Partners – new name, logo, positioning and enhanced industry focus, with the same core values and principles!