Did you know that less than 25% of businesses survive past 15 years? It’s a statistic I think about often, because MPH Agency is going to turn 19 in 2022! As an Ontario based company we may have to invite you to join us for an event where we have our first beer.
With almost 20 years in our space and a much larger footprint than when we started I find myself telling the MPH Story more and more.
It’s a good one!
Since our founding in 2003 the company has evolved as our market has changed, but let’s go back to the start.
In 2003 MPH Agency was formed for a simple purpose, to provide Members of Parliament and Candidates for Parliament with printing services. If you needed literature printed, leaflets designed, or signs made - we were the call for over 20 campaigns in our first election. We were fast, affordable, and damn good at what we did. We still are!
I remember being a young political staffer one cold Saturday. I was told I had to go to this warehouse in Ottawa, and spend the day putting elastics around literature. It was a common job in those days no matter what your position of authority was in our campaigns. Little did I know this was the MPH print shop and I was helping the person who would someday be my business partner get the last mailer of that election cycle out the door.
In those days MPH specifically serviced candidates for Member of Parliament, MPs. Our little team was very much tied to the political calendar and we were lucky enough to take advantage of what seemed like the endless constant campaign caused by the then minority governments.
But what do we call this company? As mentioned above we serviced MPs and MP candidates. We were a Print House that served MPs and MP candidates. You see where I’m going with this? We had to grab the name MPrinthouse. It made for a great name and a great logo!
Almost instantly our customers and friends kept adding back in the extra “p” referring to us as “MP Printhouse” What became even more common, we were shortened to the acronym MPH. It seems people in government can’t resist a good acronym. While I accepted being called MPH I politely corrected people who used the extra “p”.
From 2003 through 2016 our company grew, expanding its service set to include promotional products, creative services, more and more specialized printing, direct mail, and digital design.
As our team and network grew, we became known amongst the political world for delivering high quality products and services, fast. The fast was the most important thing - The most memorable need for “fast” we ever had was when we were given less than 90 minutes notice for a backdrop display, podium sign, and visual aids for a press conference - on a Sunday. (Please don’t ever do this to me!)
In 2016, we had a major shift in the type of work we did. It was time to update our brand, something we recommend for all organizations! After some self-reflection we were excited to reveal that printing made up less than 35% of our revenue. Most of our work was creative, digital, and mail based.
Yes, we still do the election printing. It's a tradition kept since 2003 that during a major campaign the whole team, from partners to interns, spend a Saturday afternoon bundling literature for one last mail out during the elections. But most of our work now is helping other organizations get their message out. And, we’re still damn good at what we do!
Today our clients are from more diverse backgrounds than directly political. We worked closely with not-for-profit, community groups, associations, and businesses with stories to tell. Those staffers and campaigners we worked with in politics needed similar services in their non volunteer world, or their post-political life. All of this led to us needing a brand update, so we turned our own processes on ourselves, exploring our identity, defining our services better, defining our clients better, and outlining the culture that is our company.
One of my favourite adages is to “lean into the skid”, essentially sometimes you have to go the direction events are taking you, better to capitalize on it then fight it. As I mentioned, most of our friends and clients already called us MPH. So after some research, background checks, testing, and a gut check, MPH Agency became our new brand.
MPH Agency has grown, faced challenges (who hasn’t in these “unprecedented times”), and continued to evolve. Last year we launched STAMPS by MPH Agency, a cause marketing strategy tool that can be used by any organization looking to add structure, planning, and goals to their persuasion and mobilization agendas.
So as MPH prepares to raise a glass during our 19th year, thank you for walking through memory lane. We are excited to discuss more creative ideas and explore creative ideas with you. Cheers!