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No Complacency Here – We’re Uncomfortable All the Time

Bruce MacLellan

We’ve been talking about the imperative to change and evolve at our agency for almost a decade now.  The message to our team members is to be uncomfortable and push your self to try new things and add new skills.

As we did this, we continued to grow at a healthy rate each year, add exciting new clients, introducing expanded services and winning a good number of industry awards for our work. In 2017, our agency punched through the $20 million mark in annual fee billings.

In short, we managed continuing success by questioning how we needed to change and be better.

Last fall, we began planning another big step in this ongoing evolution – a name change. We’ve enjoyed a prosperous 24-year relationship in the Environics group of companies but all of our businesses have changed dramatically. It was time to secure our destiny by establishing our own brand and underline how much we have changed. On March 6, we became Proof Inc.

During this rebranding process, a news story caught my eye in early January. One of our former clients, Xerox, announced it was being acquired by Fujifilm and would be known as Fuji Xerox. The new leaders warned there were serious challenges ahead and promised to cut 10,000 jobs and $1.7 billion in costs.

As was outlined in a New York Times story Xerox fell into the competency trap — an organization becomes so good at some things, it can’t learn to do anything new.

As a business partner, I had seen Xerox change from being an amazing culture to become slow and inflexible, perhaps a small indicator of the bigger issues in play.

Technology companies are obviously in one of the most important sectors to pursue continuous change. But our agency business sector can’t be complacent either, and this is why we’ve been so committed to change. It’s also a part of my entrepreneur’s DNA that success can be fleeting, and one can never rest on your laurels.

We chose Proof as our name because it speaks directly to what we do. We analyze and find insights, and then develop credible, measurable ways to reach and engage with audiences, with evaluation at every step. Our sister company, Free for All Marketing Inc., which specializes in events and conferences, is also adopting the Proof name and will operate as Proof Experiences Inc.  

Combining our collective talent and services under one brand better tells our story in the marketplace. After decades in business, our companies and services have evolved.  This new shared name better reflects where we’re headed. It also reflects our constant analysis and willingness to change as market conditions evolve.

There will be absolutely no changes to our talented teams or the high calibre of service they provide. Our award-winning workplace culture will continue. We’re excited to keep the best and explore the new as we build a new brand.

As the founding CEO, did I push myself and make myself uncomfortable in the name change exercise? Absolutely! Am I already thinking about our next steps in evolving – you bet!