BlueHive President Paul Hanlon, embracing forward thinking is standard
operating procedure when it comes to growing his company. To illustrate
this point, Hanlon, in response to the financial recession of 2009, acquired
Continental Woodcraft, a high-end custom milling company. The ability to
physically build customized booths onsite and on demand allowed BlueHive
to streamline their work process and leverage an economy of scale that
remains unmatched in its industry. Building on the success of this model,
in 2016, Hanlon brought in video and social media services to support its
trade and exhibit clients. Although no one knew it at the time, this decision
would form the basis for the future acquisition of Paris Marketing. In
2017, Paul Hanlon was formally recognized for these achievements and was
awarded the Worcester Business Journal’s 2017 Business Leader: Innovator
of the Year Award.
BlueHive As Hanlon considered how to best support “physical” trade and exhibit clients in a “digital” environment, he saw a trend wherein more clients were turning to BlueHive for services he considered outside the realm of traditional event activities. The reasoning made sense; BlueHive intimately knew the client’s brand and its industry, and because trade shows make up a significant investment of a company’s annual marketing budget – there is no room for error. For clients working with outside creative agencies, there was always an additional layer of communication and time needed for both parties to get in alignment. If an agency could be brought in sooner, or be a more integral part of the pre- and post-exhibit process, then customers would naturally enjoy a deeper, more seamless experience with the company’s brand at every touch point.
“When our clients came looking for marketing services, we either had to turn them away or refer them to other agencies, it wasn’t our strong suit at the time. Now, clients from any industry can receive top-level marketing and brand services in a more cohesive and, we believe, effective way. It’s very exciting to be able to offer consumers an alternative solution to a creative challenge that didn’t exist before.” - Paul Hanlon
Once the decision was made, Hanlon started his search for a marketing agency that shared BlueHive’s ability to balance form and function from beginning to end. He soon landed on Paris Marketing, a Worcester-based digital agency focused in professional service industries. The organizations began what would become a yearlong strategic partnership before deciding to merge into one holistic company.
Prior to launching Paris Marketing in 2012, Lisa Woodford was the Director of Marketing for a national litigation firm and was at the peak of her career in the legal marketing industry. Building and managing brands in highly-regulated and risk averse industries taught Lisa the value of developing variable scenarios and outcomes to help her clients successfully navigate their complex marketing landscapes. This experience also gave Lisa the resilience and agility to see opportunity, where many others saw barriers.
It was this well-balanced perspective that Lisa drew upon when two Achilles tendon injuries forced her to consider a transition in her career. Rather than seeing her injury as a setback, she used it as creative inspiration to name her endeavor Paris Marketing after the Trojan prince of the same name who fatally wounded the Greek hero Achilles. Lisa believed there was something very honest about the idea that even the strongest warrior could be overthrown by something as small as an arrow. She wove this theme into the organizational culture, which ultimately led to the agency’s “Creative Brand Warrior” philosophy. The belief in creative accountability means that everyone at the agency is responsible for bringing good ideas to the table, empowering them to become a champion for their clients.
Lisa attributed the agency’s value-based approach to client service and high creative standards as a main driver of the significant growth that enabled the agency to get on the radar of the larger BlueHive company.
“As I see it, our companies each bring something different, but equally valuable to the table. Combining our strengths and resources was a very natural way for us to continue to provide our clients with the best-in-class services they have come to expect from each of us and to deliver those services in ways that are deeper and more valuable at every touch point." - Lisa Woodford
Whatever the reason, both Paul Hanlon and Lisa Woodford quickly recognized that the vision, culture, and values of their respective organizations were almost perfectly aligned. And what originally presented itself as a serendipitous opportunity to collaborate, rapidly evolved into what BlueHive and its new affiliates saw as another way to deliver an industry game changer.