In the fall of 2020, The Richards Group founder Stan Richards nearly killed the agency he founded over four decades earlier with racist comments about proposed creative work for longtime client Motel 6.
In an internal meeting, he called the work “too Black” and said it would offend some of the client’s “White supremacist” patrons.
In short order, the firm lost a huge chunk of its customer base, including Motel 6, Home Depot and Dr Pepper and Keurig, among others.
Richards apologized and quickly stepped down to give the agency a chance at survival. The agency dusted itself off and began to pick up the pieces. And, over the past year, it has taken steps to redeem itself and secure its future.
Early last year, it hired a diversity consultant, as well as its first Chief Talent/Culture Officer.
In its latest bid to separate itself from its founder, the agency has shortened its name to TRG.
In sort of a soft launch, it told employees and began using the new name internally late last year.
“Over the past 12 months, we’ve committed to meaningful transformation. We are proud of the progress we’ve made and the results that have come from this shift,” the agency said in a statement. “We look forward to continued growth under our new brand identity.”
The shop added: “We think of this as less of a change and more of a transition. Our goal is to celebrate what makes us successful: creativity, collaboration, inclusivity and innovation. Shortening our name allows us to celebrate our past, our present and our fearless future.”
The agency’s branding makeover remains a work in progress, and the agency said there is no hard deadline for its completion. But it stressed: “It is official that we are different — we are a people-run, nonprofit-owned creativity collective.”