Empresas Públicas Medellín E.S.P. [popularly known as epm] is a government-owned industrial and commercial enterprise, founded in 1955 by the municipal government of Medellin, Colombia. epm provides three basic services: water, energy, and natural gas. It also provides telecommunications services to 3.3 million people.

epm is today a multi-Latin company with subsidiaries in Panama, Guatemala, and El Salvador. In addition, the company provides telecommunications services in the United States and Spain under the UNE brand.

With internationalization of epm, the company considered delocalizing its brand identity, so not to have growth and market value prospects anchored by assumptive stereotyping and cliché.


epm faced dual challenges. International growth opportunities suggested strategy shift, without alienating epm's home. A new brand-building strategy could not be seen as a distancing from the city.

Away from the conference rooms at company offices, we found an enterprise perceived as cold, arrogant and engineering-focused – wildly at odds with the spirit, character and passion consistently experienced within the organization.

Seen as an enterprise not present in the lives of people despite being present in the lives of people, epm was a company of being without being.

Pushing a button. Flipping a wall switch. Plugging into a socket. Turning a faucet. Each creates an expected result - lights illuminate, a coffee maker makes your first cup, your morning shower is ready. The results are anticipated without thinking. A maternal presence missed only when absent, epm was unappreciated and unrecognized for its day-to-day presence in peoples lives. Yet this problem also offered an opportunity:

With epm, energy, water and other services appear magically, simply because EPM has been and always will be present everyday, offering maternal-like security

This positioning also endows the epm brand with a legitimate promise:

estamos ahí

In English, always there.

Rather than utility company providing energy, water and other needs, epm is an enterprise far more profound with a human face, offering people the independence to enjoy life without need of thinking of these services. Always discreetly and dependably present, epm offers the freedom to celebrate the everyday.

Own The Conversation® Results

Pointing to the presence of epm in the lives of those they serve, estamos ahí honors the importance of daily life by providing freedom from worry, while also offering an easily understood and bankable brand promise drawing upon maternal values.

This promise further serves as easily understood operational standard among epm team members, for each other and in support of their customers, while also framing the brand vision of the company as it continues to grow.

Breathing new brand purpose and organizational vision, the new epm visual identity honors the familiar acronym bestowed over decades upon the company by the people of Medellín, epm's home.

A teaser campaign was created by McCANN Colombia, the client's existing ad agency, supervised and led by our team, to capitalize on the new brand strategy and reputation building opportunity.

A privately held company, epm is experiencing mushrooming market growth.


Published in Work


The City of White Rock, located in Western Canada near the United States border, has all the advantages of geography. The community borders a gorgeous bay, offering miles of magnificent sandy beach. An outsize independent spirit, both in the history of the place and among residents today, epitomizes the personality of the City.

However, White Rock also faced a daunting problem; the city is located in the substantial shadow of two of the world's premier cities. Vancouver is nearby, while Seattle is barely two hours away by car. Other nearby destinations, such as the city of Victoria on Vancouver Island and skiing at Whistler, compete for tourist spending and business investment.

Beyond these tourism destinations, White Rock is also surrounded by a crush of somewhat similar places - communities such as Delta, Surrey, Port Moody and Blaine - each shouting for attention, often desperately.

White Rock needed to distinguish itself, to encourage tourism and business investment over these large and small competitors.


The City of White Rock turned to WHISPER.

We quickly determined the City suffered from a disabling stereotype; nonresidents, and even a number of residents, saw little more than a "charming, sleepy beach town" and "city by the sea." Our task was to challenge this assumption and snap the stereotype, as there are an endless number of "beach towns" and cities "by the sea." Otherwise no one would have reason to stop and invest their time - to learn more about the City and rethink the place beyond the stereotype.

The key to any effective brand asset is to communicate a new and provocative entry point - new as in never heard of before, provocative as in difficult to forget, and entry point as in communicating an arresting blink moment prompting a rethinking - mapping authentically into the soul of the product, in this instance a place.

To accomplish this, we turned the independent spirit of the place on its head, offering a new and authentic way to think of White Rock, while offering an entry-point story mapping into comforting notions of what the City is and why it exists, including an understanding that the landmass on which the City is located had been an island until the last ice age, and that those within the region informally refer to the area as an "island."

Rather than White Rock as City, one lost among others in the region, White Rock is a place far more profound:

White Rock offers the look, the feel, the personality of a getaway island: The Island of White Rock

As Island, this metaphor offers White Rock a context to shift the conversation about itself from that of "charming beach town" to place of "your transformation drawing upon our independent spirit."

As Island of personal transformation, White Rock is a place where tourists may come to refresh and dream, and business interests may invest in further extending those dreams, as well as their own.

This verbal reframing of White Rock needed a visual icon to support and extend this new story.

Interpreting the findings of our on-the-ground team led to:

A symbol drawing on a comforting tradition of decades past, of visitors to exotic destinations applying identifying adhesive-labels to their travel luggage.

For White Rock, a symbol styled as luggage label updated as contemporary icon, ready for use in multiple digital applications.

Own The Conversation® Results

In addition to this reposition of the City and verbal and visual reframing of entry point narrative, outdoor and print applications were created to assist the City in understanding how their new marketing asset would organically go-to-work for them every day, with precision targeting and without large advertising spends with a ready for execution go-to-market plan.

Whether tourist or business developer experiencing the Island of White Rock, Lucky You.

Published in Work


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