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In the Spotlight Q2 | Stephens & Associates

by Danni Hammontree | Jun 26, 2020

After 40 years of building animal health brands, a virus reminded S&A that relationships and adaptability matter most

Stephens & AssociatesWith 2020 marking the 40th anniversary for Stephens & Associates (S&A), agency founder Chuck Stephens and his team had planned to reflect. To take a look back at insights gained by helping build remarkable brands in the animal health industry (as well as healthcare, agriculturand financial services). To highlight what they’ve learned through working partnerships with stellar clients. To share some of the many changes they’ve witnessed over four decades of collaborating with animal health organizations.

Then a novel virus turned life upside down. On March 17, the S&A team left the office for home armed with the equipment and technology needed to continue advancing clients’ brands and keep their communications on course. That has been S&A’s mission since Stephens opened the doors in 1980 and it remains the mission now.

With an even greater sense of dedication, S&A realized this wasn’t the time to look back. It was time to meet change head on, revise plans and go forward. S&A refocused to help clients effectively navigate the situation by:

  • Evaluating brand positioning to suss out whether customers need the same brand benefits they did just months ago
  • Offering reassurance the brand is taking health and well-being seriously
  • Being where customers are, whether online or in person, to create lasting one-to-one connections
  • Paying attention to tone with relevant messages based on empathy, helpfulness and gratitude

Of course, nuanced work like this isn’t plucked from the ether. It’s born of a 40-year history of listening, learning and leading in the animal health industry. From guiding the way for Bayer Animal Health’s iconic launch of Advantage® flea control in 1996 to devising an unforgettable 360-degree launch of Aratana Therapeutics® in 2016, S&A has built a foundation of generating entrepreneurial strategies and innovative thinking. That foundation shapes S&A’s current work, such as partnering with Morris Animal Foundation to create a video news release announcing its $1 million Australian wildfire research grant, and orchestrating marketing and PR with American Regent Animal Health to relaunch a storied product.

It’s relationships with companies like these that have made S&A what it is. And it’s these same relationships that S&A will carry into the future – no matter the changing circumstances. “The partnerships we build have propelled our business from the beginning,” says Stephens, S&A president and chief executive officer. “While much has changed over the last 40 years, our overall focus on partnering has remained. By becoming part of the fabric of our partners’ businesses, we’re better equipped to help them accomplish their goals with insightful strategy and engaging creative ideas.”

Engagement and connection are the cornerstones of marketing, but for S&A the pandemic is a reminder there’s more to it than that. We are all profoundly interconnected. S&A intends to honor 40 years of working with amazing people and organizations by renewing the team’s commitment of partnering – and, yes, adapting – to help build and fortify brands that improve the lives of animals, people and the planet.

For S&A, that’s something worth celebrating.

To learn more about Stephens & Associates please visit, http://thebrandwhisperers.com.

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