how we got here
Cavanaugh Communications started in 1986 as a consulting service to ad agencies and advertisers in Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore. With expertise in marketing, creative, media and production from both the agency and client perspective, we helped agencies and their clients solve problems and succeed.
Clients were agency CEOs, their boards, and investors — all seeking better performance, productivity, and profitability. Each shop had its own unique internal issues, sacred cows and cultural taboos. Most wanted to improve their internal procedures or upgrade their creative. A couple wanted guidance with new agency compensation models.
As an outside resource, I had a high degree of autonomy with access to talent, management, and clients. Most agencies just wanted to resolve a specific issue. For others, the process was more about aligning culture than addressing details. Some saw my time in their shop as a paid audition for a permanent role in their business. After about a year, I found that being a coach or a fixer in someone else's shop was lucrative but simply not as rewarding as actually doing the work.
There was another issue. Those NDA's and non-competes I had signed meant any option of ever developing my own agency was vanishing as I helped other people grow their shops. So when one agency's banking client called directly to offer me their suddenly fast growing account, I politely turned him down and made the agency's president aware.
When a former client joined American Express and called with a strategic writing assignment for one of their divisions, I chose not to renew the agency consulting contracts as they expired,
Soon after, Alco Standard called with a new branding and packaging project. Then International Paper asked for help on a PR crisis with a mill labor dispute. Next came Campbell's. Then Choice Seating wanted a TV campaign. Kinko's print shops needed merchandising and point of sale for their 900 stores. Over time, we helped clients like Unisource, IBM, xpedx and Corporate Express grow and prosper.
As we grew, my own role became more about general management than creative work. So after 25 years of managing people, process and personalities, it was time to downsize the agency and shift my focus to solo consulting on strategy, branding and creative.
In 2011, a group of investors hired me as a consultant to write the marketing plan for TMM, Inc., a video software company in Vancouver. I became embedded as CEO and wrote the business plan; identified key markets; directed development of new technology and branded our new products.
What began as a one-year gig turned into six years. Eventually, I found new investors with enough resources to bring the company to market — hiring a new board, including my own replacement.
Now I'm ready to help your business prosper with strategy that works, brands that people want, and creative that matters. Now is a great time to start the conversation.