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Agrimarketing : May 2008
38 AgriMarketing ¦ May 2008 part of the client evaluation process. This is largely true because clients are so busy that they need an outside consultant to make the process the least disruptive for their company as possible while keeping the agency evaluation process on schedule. “But what hasn’t changed,” he says, “is that relationships — people we know in the industry — are just as important as ever to identifying and winning business as it was 30 years ago.” RE-BRANDING Not one to rest on its history of suc- cess, the agency has recently launched a new initiative that it believes will take it forward in the years to come. Rhea reports, “Approximately two years ago, we developed an internal agency task force and con- ducted a thorough analysis of who we were and where we needed to go in the future to remain viable to our clients, our prospects and ourselves. We saw the opportunity — perhaps even the need — to stretch beyond our established comfort zone, pursue new opportunities and evolve into an agency that continues to be a key- stone for our clients’ success.” After holding numerous internal discussions, internal focus groups and speaking to friends and clients externally to determine the personal- ity of R+K, the partners set the course of where it needed to focus the agency for future growth. “Our research showed that our approach and values all roll up into a client value proposition that we call ‘Uncommon Sense,’” Rhea says. “We are driven, disciplined, and above all, curious. We ask questions, chal- lenge assumptions, and are singu- larly focused on helping our clients achieve their goals. “Our goal is that ‘Uncommon Sense’ will ultimately mean different things to each of our clients, because no two programs we create for clients are the same. It also reflects our under- standing of our clients’ customers — and our ability to reach those audi- ences with relevance and impact.” Elements of the new initiative include the agency’s new logo, a re- designed Web site, brochures and other communication elements. Overall, the identity change is about enunciating a more accurate and compelling vision about R+K and its value offering to clients. As Rhea puts it, “Form follows function, with simplicity and surprise. The new identity stays true to R+K’s core values while offering a vision for moving the agency forward. It positions R+K for the rapidly evolving world where relevance, transparency and consumer con- trol reign supreme.” LOOKING AHEAD Rhea says he sees the ag mar- ket continuing to consolidate on both the grower and the client side. “However, I think larger clients will not be able to consolidate as eas- ily as they have in the past due to government antitrust laws. “Companies with a global per- spective that allows new research due to its global critical mass will continue to create new products. Generic products that allow the growers to lower the cost of crop production will restrict new innova- tive product development.” That said, he feels innovative small entrepreneur companies will continue to create innovations that big companies will purchase to com- plete their product portfolios. “I also see more unique corporate partnerships on the horizon of com- peting companies who are marketing in the same categories,” Rhea says. “These partnerships will surprise us but will make complete sense when we evaluate the advantages for the two companies in sharing revenue opportunities as compared to com- panies conducting original new product research.” He also believes there is a tremendous opportunity for young people to enter agriculture and find new job opportunities. However, these young people will need more technical training to qualify to receive these job opportunities. “While young people who come from our farms and ranches will be important,” Rhea says, “I believe there will be more people coming into agriculture from the non-farm sector who will make a tremendous contribution to the workforce. To accomplish these opportunities, we must invest in our future by pro- viding more job internships and scholarships.” About the marketing communica- tions agency business, Rhea says he thinks there will always be start-up agencies founded by young entrepre- neurs who identify specific opportuni- ties. “However, I believe the estab- lished larger integrated communications agencies will con- tinue to concentrate on designing their business model to meet the oppor- tunistic needs of their clients,” he says. “Technology, innovation, com- munication services and geographic and worldwide representation will continue to differentiate agencies. To meet the continuing need for talent, we will see agencies with key per- sonnel working from offices throughout the county, rather than out of the headquarters office.” BEST OF TIMES Rhea concludes, “The future of agri- culture is the most interesting time that I can recall in my career. I wish I was just leaving college today and could start all over.” AM AGENCY UPDATE /Rhea + Kaiser Turns 30 continued from page 37 Rhea + Kaiser co-founders Van Kaiser (l) and Steve Rhea. This year the agency unveiled its new brand identity built around the theme of “Uncommon Sense” and is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
May 2008 Supplement
Canadian Agribusiness Employer Guide 08