Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Just McKim now

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Less is now more for McKim Cringan George.

Manitoba's largest and oldest advertising agency, which counts Manitoba Hydro and the University of Manitoba as clients, has rebranded itself as McKim.

The move has been in the works for a couple of years, said Peter George, president and CEO, and coincides with the retirement of longtime chairman and senior partner, Drew Cringan.

"Our old name was hard to say," George said. "In this business, when you've got three names, people call you by your first name. (Changing to a single name) is what I would have advised us to do if I were my own client."

George said removing his and Cringan's names from the corporate moniker makes it sound more iconic.

"In the old days, everybody wanted their name on the door. It's not about me anymore, it's about the company," he said.

McKim has been in Winnipeg's advertising business, in various forms, since 1911. The firm was originally founded in Montreal in 1889. The current incarnation was formed in November 2006 when McKim Cringan merged with Taylor George.

The company has 40 employees today, up from 28 at the time of the merger.

George said when he first got into the business more than 20 years ago, he was the "chief cook and bottle washer." But now he works much more in a hands-off executive capacity.

"We have a great senior team of leaders who do the work. It's about hiring the company, not hiring me," he said.

Derrick Coupland, a partner at Blacksheep Strategy, a Winnipeg branding consulting firm, said the trend toward simplifying corporate names has been building in recent years in many industries, including law and accounting.

"This is evolutionary. It might be a subtle change but for a firm as large as McKim, with the presence they've had for many years in the province, the market will take note," he said.

The trend toward corporate moniker simplification likely won't be permanent, Coupland said.

"It's almost certain that we'll see that pendulum swing the other way at another time. It will vacillate like it always has. We'll probably see extensions on names as firms merge and partners come on board," he said.

Rebranding firms often have to go through the minutia of changing things such as email addresses, but not McKim. Its email suffix, mckimcg.ca, will stay the same because the firm's legal name is now McKim Communications Group. George said he has the option of changing it to mckim.ca in the future because he owns the domain name.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 9, 2014 B8

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