Philosophies in agency management and client relationships.

At COHN, we strive for fairness, transparency, and to always provide value to our clients. That is first and foremost. It’s how you create long-term business relationships. It’s who we are. But we also thought you might like to get a little more insight into how we view certain key areas of our business. If you are considering working with us for your business or organization, this will give you a view into how we think and how we operate to ensure we are a good fit to build a working partnership together.

COHN Philosophies

Artificial Intelligence

AI tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E have revolutionized the world. Regarding AI’s role in marketing and within agencies (big content creators), we believe these tools are useful, powerful, and can help us do our jobs more effectively. But, they are not a replacement for brand-centric, human-driven marketing.

Unless explicitly communicated with our client, COHN will never use purely AI-generated marketing content in our client work. AI is a tool—a starting point, a research assistant, not unlike search engines or photography editing software—that helps us achieve the highest quality of work for our clients. We remain committed to the human’s role in making sure anything we create for our clients is accurate, fact-based, on brand and tonally right for their organization. Only a human can effectively gauge this in copy and content.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

At COHN, we cultivate open-mindedness in every interaction—with our people, our clients, and our partners. Diversity fuels creativity, so we intentionally elevate varied voices to connect with all audiences. When we remain committed to fostering diverse and inclusive perspectives in everything we do, there’s no limit to what we can achieve together.

Brand First

Some agencies believe the market opportunity and tactical thinking should dictate the direction of your brand. We believe in building brands from the inside out—meaning the brand must be 100 percent authentic to the legacy, people, and values of the company first and foremost. We will never tell a Toyota to be a Ferrari, for example, even if there’s an opportunity to shift overall business strategy to fill a luxury gap in the market. Authenticity is fundamental to brand strategy. And brand drives everything we do. Whether creating the brand strategy from scratch, or working with an existing brand strategy created elsewhere, we are brand enthusiasts and always look from that perspective when making strategic and tactical recommendations.

Doing Right by Our Clients

With 23 years of business behind us, and a bright future ahead, we have learned that there is only one way to operate an agency: always do right by our clients and partners. Some marketing agencies don’t always have the best reputation in this regard. They recommend programs and initiatives that are internally profitable. They inflate budgets knowing the customer will negotiate. They bill for every single minute of time. We do not operate that way at COHN. Never have and never will.

We take the idea of doing right by our clients seriously. That means fair pricing that is both an investment and provides real value. It means finding and recommending solutions that are right for the client and their business, not what we want to do. It means defined contracts that outline the relationship and fair straightforward scope of work documents. It means living to our word at all times.

COHN is honored to have client relationships that span decades. Whether they are long-term relationships or new-found relationships, we strive to be true partners to and for our clients, always doing what is right for the long-term relationship.

Giving Back

COHN constantly invests in our community, our industry, and in efforts to provide opportunities for marginalized groups. Through partnerships, donations, and pro-bono projects for non-profit organizations, we have always carved out time from our day to ensure we are giving back to the community in which we live and operate. We support our client’s give-back initiatives as much as we can along the way.

Business vs Marketing Strategy

We believe brand strategy is a corporate strategy that should touch all areas of the business. We believe marketing strategy drives that brand to life and forward. We believe the work we do with clients should focus on these important core areas. And yes, there is a consultative nature to this. But we are not management consultants, and we do not believe the marketing strategy should drive the business or corporate strategy. We love having a seat at the strategic table, but rely on our clients and their business/industry knowledge to have clarity about their corporate goals and objectives. Our marketing and brand building efforts should fit like a glove with a company’s business strategy.

Spec Work

In very rare occasions, we will produce spec work as part of the RFP or proposal process. However, as a general philosophy, we do not believe spec work is a productive use of our time, nor does it lead to effective partnerships with our clients. What makes COHN a special agency is the marriage between strategy and creative, and spec work projects tend to be a creative beauty contest—rather than compelling creative built from strategic insights that actually make a difference for your brand.

Strategy and Execution

We talk a lot about strategy. Brand strategy. Marketing strategy. Earned media and content strategy. We believe that focused, thoughtful strategy is the core to marketing effectiveness. Without a clear and strong foundation, there is no road map. So you’ll hear a lot about planning, research, brand development, and creative campaign development from us. Investment in those core strategies will lead to executional excellence that drives your brand and your business forward. The combination of strategy plus executional excellence is what sets us apart and we are committed to providing these services to and for our clients.