"One of the reasons we've been around so long is that we've allowed our business model to evolve in terms of what our clients need," said Brian Davies, managing partner at Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Moveo.
The agency was founded in 1987 as DPM, which stood for Davies, Pacheco (for former partner Waldo Pacheco) and Bob Murphy, also managing partner.
"We started out as an advertising agency," Davies said. "When we started the firm, there was a lot of opportunity in the b-to-b space."
Both in their mid-20s at the time, Davies had worked at b-to-b agency Robert Brandt & Associates and Murphy had worked at Marketing Support, both in Chicago.
Started with no clients
The two decided to branch out on their own, but unlike the case with many new agencies, they did not take existing business from their previous agencies.
"We started with no business," Murphy said.
But that soon changed. The agency's first client was Continental X-Ray Corp., a medical diagnostic equipment manufacturer that was acquired by Trex Medical Corp. in 1995. The shop went on to pick up other large b-to-b accounts, including Molex, Motorola Corp., Siemens and U.S. Robotics.
"Particularly in the '90s, we were looking to `niche' ourselves in technology," Murphy said.
By that time, the agency had expanded its services from advertising into broader marketing communications services. It was also trying to figure out how to incorporate Internet services into its marketing efforts.
"The Web was seen as this mysterious, magical thing, especially by b-to-b companies," Davies said. "People didn't want to work with an advertising agency—they wanted to work with a Web shop and someone who brought a skateboard to work."
In response, the agency in 1997 formed a subsidiary called Ideacube, which provided Web development, online advertising and other interactive services.
When the dot-com bubble burst and the technology industry declined in the early part of the current decade, the agency started re-evaluating its business model.
"By 2003, the economy was really down for services businesses and ad agencies," Davies said. "Clients were looking for someone who had a truly integrated offering across branding, strategic planning, interactive and research."
So the agency changed its name to Moveo Integrated Branding (taken from a Latin word that means "to move forward") and added brand strategy and research as core services. It also merged Ideacube into the agency and hired brand experts from ad agencies and brand consultancies.
"Now, our work very often involves brand strategy for the entire global organization," Davies said.
For example, Moveo recently developed a global brand campaign for Molex, a client since 1989 that develops interconnect solutions for industries including telecommunications, computing, industrial and medical.
Moveo worked with Molex's leadership team to launch a campaign with the tagline "One company. A world of innovation." across North America, Europe and the Far East.
More partner than vendor
"The campaign was really driven by the CEO and all senior leadership throughout the organization," Murphy said. "They value us as a partner, not just a vendor."
Moveo also provides brand and strategic consulting for IntercontinentalExchange, an online marketplace for energy trading.
In January, IntercontinentalExchange acquired the New York Board of Trade; in July it bought ChemConnect, an online marketplace for the chemical industry; and in August it announced plans to acquire the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange, a Canadian agricultural exchange.
"Every three to six months, there is an evolution of the brand," Murphy said. "We work with the CEO and the CMO to keep the organization as nimble and relevant as possible."
To raise awareness of IntercontinentalExchange, Moveo developed a brand campaign with the tagline "Trade the world."
Davies said its emphasis on brand strategy has helped Moveo position itself as an important partner to clients.
"The brand is at the core of a company's ability to do everything they want to accomplish their business objectives. The real key to that is capitalizing on their brand power," he said.