Hilary Kaye

Executive PRspective

The Evolution of Brand

HKA recently went through a comprehensive core values exercise – identifying, discussing, sometimes debating and ultimately codifying the enduring beliefs that steer the agency in its daily activities. HKA is more than three decades old, so you wouldn’t be wrong to ask: Why now? Why not earlier? Did HKA not have core values before? What will be different? All good questions!

True, HKA has been around for quite a while. We just never got around to cementing the values that have underpinned our business endeavors. Nevertheless, our values have existed and served us well – guiding both internal and external behaviors.

So, why now? Perhaps this is best answered by reversing the well-worn phrase, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” At the risk of calling myself an old dog, I submit that yes, you CAN. HKA has undergone quite a few changes in the past few years: Process improvements, adoption of newer technologies, growth in leadership, expansion of original services, etc. We refer to this new bag of tricks as HKA 2.0. New tricks or not, I was not terribly surprised to discover that our previously unstated core values are remarkably similar to what emerged from this recent, and more substantial, exercise. And while the outcome did not surprise me, the value in just doing the exercise did.

First, HKA President Kevin Twer and I selected about a dozen values we felt best represented our professional and life philosophies. Fortunately, we were mostly in sync, always a good sign with a business partner! Next, we gathered with our agency team to discuss what each value meant, and we all lobbied for our favorites. It was challenging to narrow the list to five, but we did it. Again, our team suggestions were pretty darn close to ours. The conversation was engaging, and I think we all learned a little more about each other as the afternoon unfolded.

Without further ado, our core values are Integrity, Quality, Accountability, Achievement and Professional Growth. In this letter, we are proud to be sharing these values for the first time outside the company. And, in the months to come, we are excited to fold them into the fabric of our culture. Whether visually through art, or through spoken words and meaningful deeds, we intend on making these core values just as much of an identifiable part of HKA as top-notch client service, impactful communications programs – and of course, cats!

We’ve already started to notice and comment when someone is “living our values” and perhaps the same will occur if the opposite should come to pass, keeping us on the correct side of the ledger. Of course, if you interact with me, Kevin or any of our terrific team members, you will see our core values in action. You will see HKA 2.0.