Last week we launched our new name – Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Even though not much is changing from a corporate identity standpoint in Canada for now, the public announcement did illicit some reaction.

In addition to the global press release, we sent out emails to more than 400 different clients announcing the name change and giving it some context. Many of these clients are very experienced in branding issues and have gone through similar exercises during their careers. I would be exaggerating if I said I was inundated by responses. But, I can tell you that those who got back to me were positive including our largest client who applauded our courage to refresh our brand and to put an emphasis on value-added strategies.

The strategy theme was also a winner with staff. No one objected to the ‘strategies’ addition to our venerable name  and staff applauded it as a continuation of our value squared strategy which we launched in Canada more than four years ago. I see the brand change as validation that Hill & Knowlton Canada has been headed in the right direction. It is one thing to say we need to fight commoditization in our business but another to do something about it. The brand promise is about putting money where our mouth is and it’s up to all of us to behave in a fashion that is consistent with that promise.

Our transition to the new brand will take effect on January 15, 2012. That will be our “lights on moment” when everyone will be expected to change email signatures, business cards, templates and stationary.  Our website will be updated to reflect the new visual identity as will our Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels.  We’re also in the process of thinking about how to mark the transition in our nine offices and to our clients.

In the meantime it’s business as usual.  We will continue to monitor reaction and I welcome your feedback.