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Ketchum: Breaking Through the Clutter

Posted At: October 24, 2013 8:50 a.m.
by Benjamin Ladrillono

ketchum break through logo
Image Provided by Ketchum

the clutter

In this new digital era, businesses surround us with media clutter. Everywhere we turn, another brand appears in front of us. From logos on shirts to promoted tweets, marketers are always trying to reach us. However, for the most part, we don’t even realize that we are bombarded by these messages. We are immune. We go about our day without thinking twice about the 20 polo logos we passed in the past 10 minutes.

So how does Ketchum succeed in conveying its messages to us? Break through.


tree concert

In the past few years, Berlin has lost 15,000 trees in the city. “Friends of the Earth Germany” needed to find a way to reach out to the people of Berlin to stop the tree loss in the city. In September of 2012, Ketchum and “Friends of the Earth Germany” launched the Tree Concert campaign.

The campaign produced break through results. The Tree Concert produced a huge wave of media coverage from major media outlets in Berlin. Furthermore, the reach of the campaign did not stay within the limits of Berlin. The campaign was seen nationwide through social media sites and blogs. But most importantly, the “Friends of the Earth Germany” saw an increase of donations by 800 percent. With the help of Ketchum, “Friends of the Earth Germany” was able to break through the media clutter and make a difference in the Berlin and worldwide community.


break through

Mike Doyle Partner & Director of Ketchum NY Image Provided by Ketchum
Mike Doyle
Partner & Director of Ketchum NY
Image Provided by Ketchum

According to Ketchum’s website, “Two words remind us that great ideas shatter expectations. Two simple words set Ketchum apart.” Those two words: break through. Mike Doyle, partner and director of Ketchum New York, believes that break through is truly what makes Ketchum one of the best agencies in the industry.

“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.


the history

In the past few years, we have seen the business world globalize. With major companies accessing the now reachable global community, communication agencies must be able to evolve as well.

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.”


inside ketchum

The people of Ketchum wanted unity and consistency through all of its firms globally. During its 90 years of existence, Ketchum has always ensured quality work. Myles Worthington, an account executive at Ketchum, believes that break through simply amplified the culture to the outside world.

“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.”


shattering expectations

The break through mentality has truly launched Ketchum to the top. From being the first agency to join the UN Global Compact to being the agency with the most Silver Anvils, its work ethics and promise to shatter expectations keep this innovative agency on the top.

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 of Ketchum’s successes. Ketchum’s drive and “innate mantra” makes it 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.


To learn more about break through, watch the video below.

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