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January 13, 2015

Kemp Goldberg changes name to reflect agency's values, growth ambitions

Photo / Courtesy of Matt Robbins From left to right: Industrium partners Dan Ventura, Derek LaVallee, Don Fibich and Dave Goldberg.
The logo for the agency's new name, Industrium.

It was an unusual assignment for Kemp Goldberg Partners.

But after the Portland-based advertising and public relations agency lost two of its founding partners last summer, the work had to be done: Finding a new name.

The task came just as the agency was in the middle of transitioning to larger clients, including a presidential commission and an entire country. But it was important task nevertheless.

The agency was originally named after its three founding partners: Dave Goldberg, Alex Kemp and Pam Kemp, so when the Kemps left in July to pursue new opportunities, Goldberg and his three remaining partners came together for a job they typically perform for clients.

Six months and nearly 1,000 ideas later, Goldberg and partners landed on a name that would be considered a radical departure from its previous one, but reflecting what they consider to be the company's values of resourcefulness and diligence. The name, they revealed this week, is Industrium.

“It's a pretty big leap,” Derek LaVallee, a partner, told Mainebiz. “So it's going to surprise a lot of people, but we couldn't be more excited about it.”

Don Fibich, another partner and the agency’s creative director, said that the new name's meaning is twofold. For one, it's the Latin root of "industry," upholding the agency's belief that it serves as a "factory of ideas" with a "roll-up-your-sleeves" work culture. But the name is also seen as an element on the agency's own periodic table for success.

“It's an essential element in our process,” Fibich said. “This notion of being industrious, being resourceful, being diligent [and] constantly turning stones over to find the best solution and not settling for anything less than that, it's what we are. It's what we do.”

Expanding beyond borders

While the agency was in the middle of developing the new name, it also was working for a client that had higher stakes than usual: a Middle Eastern country.

Through its connection with Washington, D.C., firm The Harbour Group, Industrium scored a contract to create a multimedia campaign for the United Arab Emirates, with the goal of promoting its economic, diplomatic and military partnerships with the United States.

“My background is in larger agencies and a lot of corporate advertising, but this is an entire country,” Fibich said. “That's a whole different thing.”

“And the fact is that U.A.E. has a unique problem,” he added.”They're in a very difficult part of the world. Every time something heats up in that part of the world, they get painted with that brush and almost uniformly incorrectly. They have been a staunch ally and stalwart partner of the [U.S.] for since the day they've become a country more than 40 years ago.”

The campaign, called “United for a Better Future,”  consists of a website that showcases the various partnerships between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates through video, image and text. One of the showcased partnerships is the Middle Eastern country’s $150 million investment in a new pediatric center at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

The campaign kicked off on Dec. 2, at the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington, D.C., where a video written by Industrium was played for the first time. The country celebrates Dec. 2 as National Day, the day of its founding in 1971.

Story continues after video.

And if the stakes weren’t high enough for Industrium, consider this: All campaign material had to approved by the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States

“The margin for error is definitely smaller,” Fibich said, comparing the agency’s work for the United Arab Emirates to its work for actual companies. “If you make a mistake, things can happen, more than just 'we didn't sell enough cans of beer.'

Growing, but staying rooted in Maine

LaVallee said the agency’s continued strategy is to seek out larger clients on a regional, national and international level. Another client Industrium represents is the Presidential Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, which was launched in 2013 and for which the agency does communications and marketing work.

“We are a big fish in a relatively small pond right now,” he said, “and we've transitioned in the last six months to a year to become a medium-to-small fish in a large pond.”

Goldberg said despite the agency’s growth strategy, Industrium will remain a Maine-based company and continue to value its work with Maine-based companies and organizations. In fact, the company just signed another five-year lease for its Portland office on Fore Street.

“We gain our strength from being here,” he said. “We are a national agency in that we work nationally and internationally, but our strength really is right here.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Industrium's campaign materials for the United Arab Emirates had to be approved by the president's office.

Read more

Two founding partners at Kemp Goldberg leaving next week, say they're 'ready for a change'

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