The winds of change are blowing through the corridors of American culture, politics, and business. After almost 50 years, Sullivan Higdon & Sink today changed its name to Signal Theory.
The agency is enjoying its highest-ever employee count and profitability – more than 170 employees in its Kansas City and Wichita offices, with capitalized billings of $150 million – thanks to industry-leading clients. Yet, it’s no time to get comfortable, according to Signal Theory co-CEOs Ali Mahaffy and John January.
“We challenge ourselves every day to serve our clients more efficiently and effectively. We need to continuously evolve to best serve our clients’ changing needs,” says Mahaffy.
Constant State of Beta: A Fresh Mindset for the Team
Clients today are juggling everything from consumers’ on-demand expectations to data privacy protocols, and keeping current with the opportunities and threats associated with emerging technologies. In addition to traditional marketing efforts, agencies must be geared to support clients in these and other areas.
“In 2016, we embarked on a mission to add critical talent, services and expertise to further strengthen our organization in this rapidly evolving industry,” says Mahaffy.
Creating Resonance and Building Brands That Resonate
While the agency has worked on enhancing and expanding capabilities in areas such as data science and talent across the digital ecosystem, January says that the firm’s mission of delivering deeper, more powerful strategic insights for clients drove the firm’s rebranding.
“The centerpiece of this transformation is a new, proprietary strategic framework called Resonance Branding. It combines cultural systems analysis with data science, design thinking and methods and principles from the social and behavioral sciences to give us more complete and relevant insights into the way people think, behave and make decisions,” says January.
“These insights are already driving more effective and meaningful solutions for our clients. When we create deeper resonance in the signals that flow between people and brands, both benefit.”
Signal Theory Is for Brands that Feed the Human Spirit.
Last year, the agency announced a narrowed focus on the food value chain and animal wellness.
These practice areas remain the agency’s focus, and Mahaffy says the firm’s new approach is uniquely suited to work with clients who are looking to grow their businesses and brands in the food, animal health
“We work with brands that feed the human spirit — you know, the good stuff in life,” says Mahaffy. “A great meal or an indulgent treat. A family trying a new restaurant together or a snuggle with a furry best friend. Or maybe it’s the satisfaction that comes from caring for a whole herd of creatures. Our new strategic framework enables us to understand more deeply the decision-making process and what those experiences mean to people.”
Preserving Company C
Something that hasn’t changed is the firm’s unique work environment, which was recognized when the Kansas City Business Journal in 2018 named the firm one of the city’s Best Places to Work.
“It was important to retain the values, culture and extraordinary talent that have always defined SHS,” January says. “Now, we have arrived at a new and different place, with new expertise, new practice areas and a radically modern theory that gives us unique insights we can turn into meaningful solutions for our clients.”
Agency’s Focus Provides A Strong Strategic Advantage
Industry veteran Tim Williams, the founder of Ignition Consulting Group, worked with SHS to redefine the company’s offerings.
“The market rewards those who build a niche and offer experts to solve problems,” says Williams. “That’s exactly what SHS – now Signal Theory – has done in narrowing its focus and overhauling its strategic framework, solutions and brand position to lead clients through big challenges, and not only reacting to pressing needs.”
About Signal Theory
Signal Theory exists to create resonance in the signals between people and brands. With offices in Kansas City and Wichita, the firm is focused on animal health and the food value chain, including agriculture, food production