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|Client||Start Year||End Year|
|MJHS (Metropolitan Jewish Health Systems)||2008||Current|
|Miller Value Partners||2016||Current|
|Shentel Telecommunications (Sprint)||2012||Current|
|Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group||2019||Current|
|Constellation (BGE HOME)||2001||Current|
|Blue Shield of California||2013||2017|
GKV is celebrating over 35 years of creating advertising, direct marketing, branding, interactive and public relations campaigns that have succeeded in the marketplace and drawn acclaim from our industry. Our success is rooted in our ability to create and execute breakthrough strategies for companies and organizations that are out-spent in their categories. GKV and its clients succeed by challenging the category status quo.
Tradition labels us an advertising agency. But what we really do is bring our Challenger Brand clients critical thinking, planning and innovative execution to the ever-growing number of ways you have to connect with your stakeholders and customers.
We create thousands of pieces of social and digital content every year in-house. Plus, awarding-winning TV and radio and direct mail.
Working with challenger brands means always challenging ourselves to find new and more effective ways to grow our clients’ businesses and brands.
To shorten the distance between goals and results, we insist on senior-level relationships. A GKV principal holds the partner-in-charge position for every client on our roster. Our mission and our partner-in-charge philosophy have created productive, long-term relationships with our clients for over 35 years.
Every category has a leader. A bellwether brand whose success over time has earned it a unique standing in the minds of consumers and has effectively created the marketing conventions of the category.
Those are not our clients.
Every category has followers. Brands who, despite fewer resources and smaller budgets, attempt to compete with the category leader by emulating it.
Those are not our clients, either.
Our clients are the number twos and threes (and the start-ups and unknown) who are taking share from the category leader by not playing by its rules. They are Challenger Brands, committed to the idea that thought leadership will ultimately achieve sales leadership. For over 35 years, GKV has helped Challenger Brands succeed by facilitating four key brand behaviors.
Symbols Of Reevaluation
The biggest enemy of success in the marketplace is not consumer rejection; it’s consumer indifference. They don’t necessarily dislike your company; they just don’t care about what you’re saying. Challenger brands want to disrupt the autopilot relationship they may have with the consumer by making visible changes, creating what we call symbols of reevaluation. Maybe a new product or a new logo or a new pricing strategy. Usually, it’s a visible change to the advertising. Whatever the symbols of reevaluation are, the intent is to announce to the consumer that it’s no longer business as usual.
Category leaders generally create the expectations of the category with rational benefits…we’re the biggest, we’re the cheapest, we’re the most convenient, etc. So, that territory is taken. Challenger brands need to be thought leaders. They need to create an emotionally-based rather than a rationally-based relationship with the consumer.
This is not about making ill-advised media decisions; it’s about focusing on a powerful primary message. There are so many stories that a brand could tell about itself, but the strongest brands are usually very single-minded and are willing to sacrifice some secondary messages.
There is considerable research indicating that a huge competitive advantage is gained when a company’s culture is visibly aligned with its brand promise. Think about the atmosphere of innovation and forward thinking that you feel in an Apple store. Think about the great customer service and spirit of fun that characterizes your experience on Southwest. In both cases, the culture matches up perfectly with the communications. Unfortunately, this alignment doesn’t occur as often as it should. So, we help challengers live their brand inside by introducing brand-specific goals, policy and training to all employees, which will help them truly understand how the company’s core values translate into specific actions.
Chairman & CEO
President & COO
EVP, Director of Health Care Practice
Cathy Kowalewski Kowalewski
Chief Financial Officer
SVP, Co-Creative Director
SVP, Co-Creative Director
SVP, Director of Media Services
SVP, Director of Account Services
SVP, Director of Public Relations & Social Media
SVP & Chief Strategy Officer