One Year In: Delivering on a Promise

February 18, 2015

One Year In: Delivering on a Promise


After speaking to several colleagues about our company one year after we rolled-out our new CLS Strategies brand, playing paintball years ago  came back into view –the feeling of maintaining the edge on the playing field, and doing what it takes to win. If you’ve ever played paintball, you know just how unsettling it is to be pushed from an offensive position to a defensive position in a split second. If you haven’t played, suffice it to say it isn’t pleasant! To win, you must get back and remain on offense and control the playing field at any cost. Last February, at CLS Strategies we decided it was time to give our own look and feel a refresh that reflected our “always stay ahead” approach to our work. We rebranded our company, and shed much more than an old name.

Believe it or not, the paintball strategy is not dissimilar from our work at CLS Strategies. The stakes are high, and to be successful you must outsmart the opponent and have the courage and preparation to implement a new game plan in a moment’s notice. Our rebrand efforts allowed us to start fresh. We moved into a new, more modern office space; we gained some new team members; and, as appropriate, we began to share news and updates about our work against a long-held position that we didn’t want to be perceived as boasting.  

When we worked through our rebrand, we were insistent that it wasn’t just about a new catch phrase.  And fortunately, we found in our colleagues at Siegel + Gale a terrific partner to help us chart a new path true to our team and what we offer.  It was important to all of us that we didn’t rebrand the company in a meaningless way and they challenged us at every point to ensure that we could deliver on our new brand promise. 

I am reminded a year later of what living up to the challenge commands of each and everyone one of us.  In a word, grit. It takes a team not bothered by late nights and weekends. It requires professionals who come to the table with fresh ideas informed by thinking critically about both the immediate and long term challenges facing our clients. And it means we can never be mere observers (that isn’t in our DNA, anyway). We hunker down in the trenches alongside our clients. If that paintball is coming their way, then it’s coming our way too! Our client roster runs the gamut, to be sure, but it also reflects issues and challenges that you won’t necessarily find adequately addressed with a canned, off-the-shelf solution. As we look back over our first year as CLS Strategies, I am proud of some of our accomplishments: 

  1. Grand Prize winners for the PR Daily’s 2014 Media Relations Award, for our part in securing care and benefits for former NFL players 
  2. Helping cast light on a flawed $200 million federal contract award to assist a homeland security contractor client protect its rightful contract
  3. Guiding the launch of the educational campaign, “Know Before You Fly,” a novel partnership between AUVSI, hobbyist groups and the federal government to provide prospective operators the information they need to fly safely and responsibly
  4. Blurring the aim of financial regulators intent on labeling asset managers as too-big-too-fail, with all the new regulation that comes with the moniker 
  5. 2015 Platinum AVA Digital Award winner for our social campaign which supports the mission to protect, promote and spread the message that Champagne only comes from Champagne, France 
  6. Advocating for human rights in Iran and giving human rights defenders a new voice through Impact Iran, the latest coalition aimed at bolstering the UN’s ability to hold Iran accountable to its international obligations  
  7. 2014 Gold MarCom Award  winner for launching a social campaign to help educate millions of Americans on how to file their taxes for free
  8. Protecting intellectual property and innovation by helping to make the case for meaningful patent reform in Congress  
  9. Helping the National Consumers League launch its data security initiative, to fight back against hackers and identity thieves

No time to rest on our laurels.  It’s been a terrific year. We hit a good stride and are excited about what’s ahead.  As always, we thank our clients for putting their trust in us. In the meantime, it’s a busy February in Washington. For our clients, we’re trying to not get pegged by a frozen paintball…   

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