After 27 years as MacMillan Communications, one of the leading providers of PR services to the asset and wealth management industries, the firm recently rebranded as Craft & Capital. We caught up with Chris Sullivan, President of Craft & Capital for this partner feature, during the Exchange conference to learn more about what it means for a firm to bring both craft and capital to the PR process…
Congrats on the new name. Tell us how you arrived at Craft & Capital?
Thank you. It was a lengthy process and something we did not go into lightly. When you’ve been known by a specific name for as long as we have, and when that name has come to represent a very specific way of doing business, it’s no small task to go about a rebrand. But we felt the time was right to identify a name and look that captured everything we’ve accomplished to this point as well as what we want to be known as and for going forward.
We spent about nine months on this process start to finish and considered literally dozens of names. My colleagues Hope Lyons, our COO, (pictured) and Julia Stoll, Associate Vice President, Media Relations & Business Development, ran point on everything and did an incredible job managing things from both an internal and external perspective. Their work was crucial and when I say they managed something in the neighbourhood of a million details around this project, I am only slightly exaggerating.
One of the things that they helped spearhead was bringing in voices from outside the firm, including both clients and journalists, so we could capture not just what we think we stand for but also how we’re seen in the marketplace.
Two things quickly emerged… number one: what we do is not a commodity, it is a craft. There is an art to communications, whether that’s in writing, speaking, or any of the other forms our work can take. And number two: we bring a great deal of capital to every engagement, including our relationships, our experience, and the strategic thinking that’s a hallmark of how we operate.
It was a really fun moment to arrive at that point, as we’d never taken a step back to think about our work and what makes us unique in quite those terms.
In addition to the new name, what else is new from you and your colleagues?
We’ve launched a new website, which we’re going to keep adding to in the weeks and months to come. For 27 years our website was always one of those “when we have time”-type projects that we never quite had time for. But we made sure to make time as we worked on the rebrand and we’re really excited about the look and the additional content it’s going to allow us to bring forward to showcase not only our efforts but the unique work being done by our clients.
What isn’t changing is our approach, which remains relationship-driven, client-centric, and creative. Our team is also just so good. I’m a broken record about that, but the level of talent and experience we have as a boutique agency is something that we think really sets us apart.
How has the response been so far?
It’s been incredibly positive. People really seem to get the concept behind the name and it was exciting at Exchange to count the number of people who approached us to tell us they’d heard about the name change, liked the concept, and really liked the new look.
Speaking of Exchange, what were some of the big topics people were discussing this year?
There were a few key threads that I definitely heard come up several times. Some of the big ones included new approaches for generating income, the growing number of options-powered strategies and the roles they can play in a portfolio, the increasing number of mutual fund to ETF conversions, and the emergence of large brands like Morgan Stanley into the ETF space and what that might mean for investors and the industry.
One topic that I’m thinking a lot about post-Exchange though came up a few times during the event, with the first being during a Meet the Press panel on Day 1, and that is the fact that the vast majority of people out there still have no idea what an ETF is.
It’s easy for those of us who work in different parts of the ETF ecosystem to stay focused on what’s going on in our own bubble, but I think there is a huge opportunity for advisers, asset managers, and communications professionals like ourselves to expand the reach of this industry from an educational perspective. That’s a challenge that has me excited as I look towards the rest of 2023 and something that I think we’re well positioned to help drive, especially with our new brand now in place.
Chris Sullivan is the President of Craft & Capital, formerly MacMillan Communications, an award-winning, finance-focused PR firm founded in 1996 that works with leading firms in asset management, wealth management, alternatives, fintech, investment banking, corporate banking, and other key areas of the financial services industry.