Twenty years ago, with two young children at home and hardly a fortune in the bank, I left a big international PR firm to start D+P because I was tired of performance reviews, financial spreadsheets and a corporate bureaucracy. I was betting the house – literally – that this market needed a communications firm that truly understood client needs and then executed relentlessly to get results. I also wanted to do it with a team of committed, caring and fun professionals who I couldn’t wait to see every morning.
And so D+P was born at 1831 Chestnut. We’ve been in five different locations, but our commitment has never wavered. If I liken this to the average 20–year-old, we are still in the learning phase of our development, and there is great promise for the future. But 20 years does offer a good lens through which to reflect on what we have learned and what is yet to come.
First, none of our success could have been possible without the trust of our clients and the hard work of our D+P team. So, that’s lessons one and two – Clients Come First, Always – and second, Hire Great People and Get Out of Their Way. We always aim to delight clients by exceeding their expectations with a team who knows what clients need now and what they’ll need in the future and who are so often both friend and business partner. The true test of this model is whether clients stick with you even as their needs and circumstances change. So, I am very proud of the fact that we have more than a few clients who have trusted us with their success for over 15 years and some have been with us almost since the beginning in 2003.
There are two other important beliefs that are also related – Stick to Your Principles and Reputation is Everything. We founded D+P by turning the typical agency model upside down. Rather than doing the bait-and-switch dance with senior-level professionals doing the sales pitch and more junior staff doing the work, we pioneered an approach that we called Expertise. Every Time. This meant having senior level pros working side by side every day with clients. Sticking to this promise has been the primary reason for our success, and it has allowed us to build and to maintain our reputation as an agency with integrity and one that never compromises that integrity.
Finally, and one of the most important reasons for our success is our culture. It’s a culture that I would describe as Only Clients Get to Have Egos! D+P is a low- to no-ego place. It works because we are all willing to get the job done without politics or posturing. We put the focus on clients and not on ourselves.
Twenty years is also a good time to look to the future.
Just as we turned the typical agency client service model upside down, we have never stopped evolving our strategies and tactics. Two decades ago, few could foresee the magnitude of the collapse of traditional media, nor the way evolving digital mediums would allow clients to create and to control their own content and channels of distribution. Today, we have a robust approach to content development that allows us to become brand journalists for our clients. We will always be innovators, testing new ideas like leveraging artificial intelligence not only in the development of content but also in the evaluation of its effectiveness.
Similarly, the world has changed in the past 20 years. Our clients are facing political, cultural and socio-economic challenges that demand smart, cool-headed and empathetic counsel to develop multiple perspectives on a wide range of issues and circumstances.
So, as I look ahead to the future, I can promise this: We will never stop evolving. We will always look ahead to anticipate and integrate the latest strategies, techniques and technologies. And we will always place a premium on the importance of relationships with you – our clients, friends and colleagues.
Thank you for being part of our story and for allowing us to play a role in yours. Watch this space for more engaging content over the next twelve months. Here’s to the next 20 years!