PadillaCRT: Approachable Brands PR Case Study



What is an approachable brand? According to a recent blog post at PadillaCRT, an approachable brand is human, humble and humorous. This is the most refreshing take on presence I have seen among the big PR entities. Almost every communications firm pays lip service to social media and the Web.

Very few exhibit what anyone would consider a “cutting edge”, or even novel engagement of community. Whether this is a function of prioritizing, or simply practical business, how can any company claim to be in the branding business when they do not follow their own advice?

The Padilla Speer Beardsley site, its content, and to a lesser degree its design, convey at least an understanding of where communication is today. I quote from this particular blog entry, the fundamental human nature of self, social media utility and the resultant community, whether it be business centric or personal:

Social media goes beyond marketing and networking. It’s an opportunity to create or amplify an approachable brand. It’s all about opening up and letting people in. Show your personality (even your multiple personalities). Expose yourself and let go a little. That means you’re vulnerable. And with vulnerability comes mistakes. Those, in turn, become opportunities. What great personality isn’t flawed? The approachable brand has a personality that is human, able to show humility and has a sense of humor (even about its own hubris).

To be fair, the PadillaCRT website is far from cutting edge, and certainly not as refined as some others we have visited. But the simple message I quoted reveals a great deal about this company. They may not have invested vast resource for their site, but content wise, the right ideas are in place. The blog has comments too! I find this refreshing, as there were very few on other corporate blogs.

Padilla Speer Beardsley

Not pretty, but it gets the message out.

Judging from what I have seen, from CEO Lynn Casey’s profile image and description to their humorous “fun facts” page, the site reveals just what their philosophy says, humanness. Why does corporate always have to mean “stuffed shirt?” I bet this personable aspect if a reflection of the CEO and other executives. The company is after all, employee owned. I like this site, even though it could use a major face lift. As for the company, they appear imminently approachable, the way a brand should be.


  1. Bob Brin says

    I would just add that we completely agree the Padilla Web site needs a face lift. We hope (our interactive/social media section) shows, if not a “refined” face, that we’re on the scent of the new, untamed online communications.

  2. says

    Thanks for the thoughtful analysis of our site and blog, Phil. Next week I’m celebrating my 20-year anniversary at Padilla Speer Beardsley (I keep trying to get fired but nothing works). I can tell you firsthand that the content of the site is a real reflection of who we are and how we work. It’s a big reason why I’ve passed on many attractive opportunities elsewhere and resisted the urge to “move out to move up” as so many others in our field have. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we take what we do for clients very seriously. Not a bad way to run a business, I think.

    Looking forward to following your posts…

    • Phil Butler says

      Hi Matt, It was my pleasure actually. Not really very difficult to see who and what you guys are about. I actually hate criticizing all these sites, and am not sure who elected me to do it. I guess the 1500 startups and websites I have been associated with, made me a scrutineer of a version of correctness? We do PR as well, and much of our workl deals with branding, so it is a little bit discouraging to see companies with so many resources do a half way job. I can say this, I will remember your brand because it is unique and refreshing. Please come back and give us your take on things from time to time.


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