A name is not just a name. At best it encapsulates an organization’s mission and essence; at worst it offers no clue what an organization or business is about.
When the Regional Planning Partnership, a planning, research, and advocacy group focused on land use, recently decided to change its name, it had already shed its founding name, the Middlesex Somerset Mercer Regional Study Council. In 1983 it dropped word “Study,” and in 1999 it broadened the name to reflect its expanded involvement in statewide policy, becoming the Regional Planning Partnership.
Finding that this generic-sounding name was frequently confused with other similarly named and missioned organizations, the group decided to find a name that expressed its unique identity. The new name, PlanSmart NJ, just adopted by the membership, also kicks off a new image as the nonprofit approaches its 40th anniversary in 2008, and it coincides with the organization’s release of a new planning strategy for land use in the state.
Carol Beske, chair of PlanSmart NJ’s board of directors and president of ACT Engineers, is excited about the new name. “We believe our new name PlanSmart NJ will help us raise the visibility of our absolutely critical effort to protect the Garden State’s economy and environment by reforming how land use decisions are made,” she says.
The nonprofit brought in branding expert Mara Connolly Taft of the Princeton-based marketing communications firm Taft and Partners to guide its board through the name-change process. J. Robert Hillier, a board member of PlanSmart NJ, volunteered to have his company, RMJM Hillier Architects, design a logo for the new name. The tagline to go along with the logo became “better land use, better lives.”
For Connolly Taft, a name that encapsulates an organization’s essence becomes an effective marketing tool. “A nonprofit has a small window in which to describe its mission,” she says. “If the name doesn’t help them, they have lost a free marketing opportunity every time they use the name.”
Connolly Taft and her husband, Pete Taft, have run the marketing firm since 1983. Until four years ago the firm had offices in both New York City and Princeton, but it consolidated operations in Princeton in 2003.
Connolly Taft started the name-change process that led to PlanSmart NJ by meeting with individual board members to ferret out their joint goals and their opinions on what a new name could accomplish. “We got words from the mouths of all the key players,” observes Connolly Taft.
The 10-month process elicited hundreds of potential names, which they eventually narrowed down to three. Follow-up research designed by Taft and Partners and executed by Ann Brady, vice president of PlanSmart NJ, investigated what each name communicated to PlanSmart NJ’s stakeholders.
“It’s not what name you like, but what each name says,” notes Connolly Taft. “The name that says the most gives you the most value and is the richest.”
Connolly Taft’s discussions with board members yielded three goals, and the name PlanSmart NJ fulfills each of them.
The first was to identify the organization with the state of New Jersey in a way that didn’t sound boring.
The name should also connote planning in its broadest sense, including land and transportation planning, equity and job access, and inner-city access to parks. “Every aspect of the human demographic went into thinking about the name,” she explains.
Finally, the word “smart” became part of the name, says Connolly Taft, because the organization looks ahead and brings people together in very smart ways to solve difficult problems.
Sometimes a name comes to Connolly Taft in an imaginative flash following her first conversation with a client, and it ends up as the name they accept at the end of the process.
Pete Taft describes the scenario. His wife will put the phone down after an initial conversation, then go for walk or have a chocolate bar. “She will have an incredible surge of energy,” says Taft. The name will just come to her, like a lightning strike, he marvels. “Mara has an extraordinary ability to intuit what the answer is going to be.”
The name change process can be longer or shorter, depending on what is being named and on what constituency must be satisfied. It took just a week for Connolly Taft to come up with the name Einstein’s Alley, for example. But then she was only working for one person, Rush Holt. “He was clear on what his direction was,” she says, “and it was easy to convince him.”
The process of developing a name for the no-calorie sweetener Splenda — and its tagline, “it tastes like sugar because it is made from sugar” — extended for three years. Connolly Taft was the creative consultant of record during the new product’s development.
Retained for her combination of imagination and business smarts, she was the third person on the Splenda project, after the director and his assistant. “I helped imagine what the language would be, what color the box should be, and what kind of name it should have,” she recalls.
Eventually Food and Drug Administration and research experts significantly expanded the team. As they began to think about a potential name, a big challenge was that Splenda was really three products with one name: a sweetener for coffee, an ingredient for use in baking and cooking, and an industrial ingredient to sweeten products like Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper. And they also had to imagine other roles Splenda might fill in the future.
When Connolly Taft starts the process of creating or changing a name, she begins by determining what key question needs to be solved or what proposition must be fulfilled. “Once you can identify the problem, the solution, when you come up with it, everyone says of course,” she says.
With Splenda, the problem was to create a sweetener different from the ones already out there that tasted artificial. Once they had the product and were ready to think about colors to be used in advertising and packaging, it was a matter of following deductive reasoning. “We wanted a sweetener that feels natural,” she says, “so we used yellow and blue, the colors of sky and sunshine.”
Connolly Taft has a bachelor of arts in medieval literature from Smith College (Class of 1971). She also studied three-dimensional design for a year at the University of Pennsylvania, which helps her in a variety of work: writing scripts for films, designing logos, creating films and television shows, and developing websites and brand imagery. Her daughter, Molly, is just beginning her own college experience. A freshman at Bowdoin College, she is expected home for Thanksgiving.
At her first job, with Young and Rubicam at age 22, Connolly Taft won a Gold Award for her first commercial and was then able to choose her own projects. She started there as a cub writer and left as a creative supervisor. Her next position was covering the Max Factor account for Wells, Rich, Greene.
Her last job before she and her husband got married and moved to Princeton in 1983 was as creative director on the Clairol account for Foote, Cone, Belding. It was research that helped her come up with some of her best lines, she says. After learning that women with regular blond hair think those with super blond hair have more fun, it was easy to come up with the line: “If blondes have more fun, what do ultra blonds have?” The answer, obviously, is “Ultra fun.”
Before arriving in Princeton and going into business with his wife, Pete Taft had been a freelance journalist, with regular clients that included Reader’s Digest, Lady’s Home Journal, Family Circle, and the New York Times. He eventually quit journalism and started to do public relations.
Once the couple set up their business in Princeton, his first client and in fact the couple’s first client, was MSM Regional Council, the grandfather of PlanSmart NJ. Sam Hamill, at its helm, asked Taft to do a newsletter and slideshow to show how development was affecting the complexion of the community.
Their firm has large corporate clients like Lockheed Martin, Sanofi-Aventis, Raytheon, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, but has recently been doing more nonprofit work. It also has a division called PharmApprove, which helps pharmaceutical companies articulate and present their messaging to the Food and Drug Administration.
Connolly Taft’s father was chief of probation for the Southern District of New York State and was a prison advocate. “He was a wonderful writer and a wonderful man with a huge heart, trained by the Jesuits,” she recalls. “I think that has a lot to do with my love of nonprofits.”
She also attributes to her Irish parents her love of words, which she shares with her siblings. “We all grew up loving words, around articulate people with vivid imaginations,” she says. One brother was a script writer in Hollywood, a sister is an English teacher, and another brother is an attorney for the United States Department of Justice.
Her mother raised four children, but was also a professional volunteer as president of the Westchester PTA, the March of Dimes, and a mental health group. “She had a great commitment to the community,” says Connolly Taft.
This trait may now show in Connolly Taft’s commitment to helping PlanSmart NJ make the most of small window it has to grab attention, describe its mission, and get the country’s most densely populated state moving in the right direction.
— Michele Alperin
PlanSmart NJ, 118 West State Street, Trenton 08608; 609-393-9434; fax, 609-393-9452. Dianne Brake, president. www.plansmartnj.org.
Cytogen’s Stock & CEO News
Cytogen Corporation (CYTO), 650 College Road East, Suite 3100, CN 5308, Princeton 08543-5308; 609-750-8200; fax, 609-452-2476. Home page: www.cytogen.com.
Cytogen, a biotechnology company with a promising new product for cancer patients, is at a crossroads. On October 12 its CEO, Michael D. Becker, resigned, and was replaced by Kevin G. Lokay, a board member who most recently worked as vice president of GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical’s oncology and acute-care business unit. In a conference call, Becker said that he has accepted a post as CEO of a public biotechnology company that he declined to name. He continues his relationship with BioNJ, where he serves as chairman.
William J. Thomas, the company’s general counsel, announced his resignation as well, effective November 16. Cytogen says it has hired Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Philadelphia to assume counsel duties.
These events follow a rough week for the 27-year-old biotech. On November 9, just a few days after releasing its third quarter results, and saying that it has retained San Francisco-based ThinkEquity to assess its future options, Cytogen announced that it received notification from Nasdaq that it was not in compliance with the $1 minimum bid price requirement for continued listing. The closing price of Cytogen’s common stock has been below $1 per share since September 24.
On November 9 the stock was trading at 52 cents per share. At the same time last year, the stock price was about $2.50.
Cytogen emphasized that the Nasdaq notification has no immediate effect on the listing of its common stock, which will not be de-listed if it rises above $1 per share at any time before May 5, 2008.
In a prior announcement, Cytogen reported a net loss of $5.1 million for the third quarter of 2007, an improvement over the net loss of $5.7 million for the same period in 2006.
Cytogen is marketing one diagnostic product, Prostascint, and two therapeutic products, Quadrament, and Caphoshol, its new product, which it began marketing in March. Caphosol is an electrolyte solution for the treatment of the severe dry mouth that affects many cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
The number of doctors prescribing Caphosol is increasing every month Cytogen said in reporting its third quarter results. It increased its sales and marketing expenditures from $4 million to $6.9 million in the third quarter largely to give Caphosol a good start.
As of September 30, Cytogen’s cash and cash equivalents were $17.0 million compared to $32.5 million as of December 31, 2006. The company said that it expects its existing capital resources to be adequate to fund operations and commitments into 2008, with the need to raise additional capital by the end of the first quarter of 2008.
ThinkEquity Partners will help the company to identify business opportunities, which could include licensing products, forming a business alliance, merging, or even the sale of the company.
New CRO in Town
Pharm-Olam International, 101 Morgan Lane, Plainsboro; 609-297-8621. Paresh Patel, Data Manager. Home page: www.pharm-olam.com.
There’s a new CRO in town. Pharm-Olam International, a contract research organization based in Houston, is in the process of opening an office on Morgan Lane.
“We’re just moving the furniture in now,” says company spokesman Eric Rupprath. “We had CRAs (clinical research associates) in the Tri-State area, throughout the Northeast. Due to our growth, we decided to make a hub in the Princeton area. Our people will have better IT support, and they can interact more.” These employees had been “field based,” he says, and another reason for gathering them together in an centralized office is that doing so is expected to be more cost efficient than supporting them in the field.
In addition to the clinical research associates, who monitor clinical trials of drugs of all phases of development, the Pharm-Olam employees who will work from this office are statisticians and data managers. Just a few people are now settled into the office, which is headed by data manager Paresh Patel, but Ruppath says that he expects that the office will be home to about 20 employees soon.
Pharm-Olam, a private company that was founded in 1995, has clients that range from “start-up biotechs to the largest pharmaceutical companies, says Ruppath. The 500-person company specializes in conducting drug trials outside of the United States, and particularly in developing countries. Ruppath says that this is so for a number of reasons.
“There is less competition,” he says. “Look into any magazine here and there are ads for study participants.” It is generally faster and easier to recruit in some other countries — and it’s less expensive, too. “In Sao Paulo, Brazil, there are 15 million people,” he gives as an example.
Not only are there large groups of potential participants in other countries, but there is also the fact that many of these people do not have speedy access to health care. Everyone who takes part in a clinical trial has to be screened. So at the very least there is the attraction of a free physical. Those chosen for a trial could possibly get faster — and better — treatment than would otherwise be the case. For people with few healthcare choices, this can be appealing.
For Pharm-Olam, and for its clients, an appeal of conducting tests in developing countries is that doctors’ fees and hospital charges are generally less than they would be in the United States or in another western country.
Pharm-Olam has conducted trials in 40 countries on several continents. Its trial sites include Russia, Latin America, India, and Eastern Europe. The company does not disclose financials, but Ruppath says that it is in growth mode.
Insurance for VCs
Great American Insurance Group, 103 Carnegie Center, Suite 207, Princeton; 609-936-3281; fax, 609-936-0161. David Garrison, divisional vice president.
The Great American Insurance Group, with headquarters in Illinois, has opened a branch in Carnegie Center. David Garrison heads up this office, which specializes in private equity liability insurance.
This is a relatively new product that offers protection to venture capital firms. Garrison says that policies to cover the risks these funders face have been written since the late 1990s.
“The private equity industry has become more visible,” says Garrison. And companies within the industry, which provide capital to start-ups and new businesses, are thought to have deep pockets. When things go bad, he says, lawsuits tend to follow, and anyone with deep pockets is at risk of being brought in as a defendant.
“Bankruptcy is the biggest exposure,” says Garrison. This is a not uncommon end for a start-up, and when it occurs unsecured creditors, eager to get at least some of their money back, often look to the entities that provided the capital that got the company going.
In addition to providing funding, venture capital firms often have representatives on the boards of their portfolio companies, and face exposure from that angle, too.
Garrison is manning the new office by himself for now, but is looking for a senior underwriter and for a technical underwriting assistant. As the business grows, more employees are likely to be hired.
Garrison, who lives in Lawrenceville, was recruited from Marsh. When an executive recruiter called, he says his response was that he would be willing to leave “if you can find a company that will set me up with an office near home.” The next day the recruiter called to say that Great American would do just that.
A native of Medford Lakes, where his parents still live, Garrison and his wife, Christy, an executive assistant at Faithful and Gould, moved from Jersey City to Lawrenceville to be closer to his parents, and because they thought it would be an easy commute to New York, where both worked at the time.
They soon found out that one hour each way on the train isn’t quite as fast it sounds. “It ended up being four hours when there were no delays — and there were often delays, especially in the winter,” says Garrison.
Garrison, a graduate of Clemson (Class of 1988), says that in his new position he will still have to travel to New York frequently, but not every day. It is a change that he welcomes.
Bracco Diagnostics Inc., 107 College Road East, Box 5225, Princeton 08543-5225; 609-514-2200; fax, 609-514-2424. Carlo Medici, CEO. www.bracco.com.
Bracco Diagnostics, the U.S.-based subsidiary of Bracco Imaging, has entered into an agreement to acquire E-Z-EM Inc. (NASDAQ: EZEM) for a total consideration of about $240 million.
Bracco Imaging sells imaging products in more than 80 countries. Headquartered in Milan, it has some 1,250 employees, about 300 of whom work in R&D, medical, and regulatory Affairs. Bracco Diagnostics, one of six Bracco Group companies, is responsible for developing new clinical agents, filing them with regulatory agencies, and selling and marketing all Bracco products in the U.S.
E-Z-EM manufactures imaging agents for gastrointestinal radiology and works in the area of patient management. The company also manufacturers and markets RSDL, a broad-spectrum liquid chemical warfare agent decontaminant that neutralizes or removes chemical agents from skin on contact, leaving a non-toxic residue that can be rinsed off with water. Customers for this product include the military and first responder organizations.
The transaction is currently expected to close in early 2008.
Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Evercore Partners served as financial advisors to Bracco Diagnostics in the transaction. RBC Capital Markets served as financial advisor to E-Z-EM on the merger and the review of strategic alternatives.
TerraCycle, 121 New York Avenue, Trenton 08638; 609-393-4252; fax, 609-393-4259. Tom Szaky, CEO. www.terracycle.net.
A lawsuit filed in March against “liquid worm poop” plant-food packager TerraCycle by competitor the Scotts Company, of Marysville, Ohio, has been settled. Scotts sells fertilizer products under the well-known label Miracle-Gro. The legal dispute involved Scotts’ claims of false advertising and trade dress infringement. In response, TerraCycle is changing the graphics on its shrink-sleeve-labeled bottles of organic plant food. It packages its products in recycled plastic soda and milk bottles.
In the settlement, TerraCycle has agreed to change certain advertising claims and its package design to avoid possible consumer confusion, and Scotts has agreed to dismiss its false advertising and infringement claims.
The look of TerraCycle’s label is changing in colors and proportion, from a strong yellow with green accents to a strong green with orange accents, Albe Zakes, TerraCycle’s director of public relations, told a packaging trade magazine. “This is a better label for TerraCycle because it has a kind of funky ‘New Age’ look to it. The green part has orange swirls in it like a tie-dye pattern, and it looks kind of ‘hippie earthy.’”
Fortunately for TerraCycle, it didn’t have to remove product from store shelves, Zakes said. Instead, the graphics change will be made across its line of about a dozen products as each product’s supply of preprinted shrink sleeves is exhausted. “Starting in 2008, all of our products will be in the new packaging,” Zakes said. “Our new drain cleaner and bird feeder are both already in the new format.”
Glad that the lawsuit is over, Zakes said that it was draining about one-third of TerraCycle’s monthly revenues.
The Nanny Station, 304 Wall Street, Princeton 08540; 609-688-6838. Mary Wedronek. www.thenannystation.com.
The Nanny Station, a placement service for nannies, has left its Wall Street location. Its website is still up, but gives no information on a new location.
Pelican Analytics LLC, 840 Sherwood Road, Bridgewater 08807; 908-725-2544. John A. Fiorino, director of technology. www.PelicanAnalytics.com.
Pelican Analytics has changed from a laboratory-based business to a consulting firm and moved from 11 Deer Park Drive to Bridgewater in mid-July. Its expertise is in analytical chemistry involving catalysts, petrochemicals, organic and inorganic chemicals, precious metals, and energy.
Princeton Risk Managers Inc., 742 Alexander Road, Princeton. 609-924-9222.
Princeton Risk Managers has been acquired by Delaware Valley Underwriting Agency (www.dvua.com), a division of 50-person, Ohio-based Hull and Company Inc. (www.hull-co.com).
Princeton Risk Managers had been a division of Bollinger Insurance Solutions (www.bollingerinsurance.com), a company with headquarters in Short Hills and an office at 742 Alexander Road. The Bollinger Company also sold its Market Solutions Managers division, which is based in New York City, to Hull. The two divisions have combined revenues of $1.6 million.
While the New York City division will remain in place, Hull has closed the Alexander Road offices of Princeton Risk Managers and has merged its operations with that of its DVUA office in Florham Park. Emmanuella Belizaire, receptionist at Florham Park, says that about five of Princeton Risk Managers’ employees made the move to Florham Park, and that the others were laid off.
Sunshine Chemlab Inc., 7 Deer Park Drive, Princeton Corporate, Suite M-7, Monmouth Junction. 732-274-1553. www.sunshinechemlab.com.
Sunshine Chemlab (www.sunshinechemlab.com), a research firm with headquarters in Thorndale, Pennsylvania, which produces complex organic fine chemicals, opened an office at Princeton Corporate Center in May. That office is now closed.
Tech-Cetera International Inc., 304 Wall Street, Princeton 08540; 609-430-2101; fax, 609-430-2102. Murray Adams, CEO. Home page: www.techcetera.biz.
Tech-Cetera, an IT staffing firm, has left its Wall Street location. The company’s website gives no information on the company’s status.
TransUnion, 101 Interchange Plaza, Cranbury. 609-395-8647. Richard E. Hooper, vice president. Home page: www.transunion.com.
The Exit 8A office of the international credit reporting agency is closed. Its phone number links to a personal voice mail box.
Spherion Workforce (SFN), 3 Independence Way, Suite 103, Princeton 08540; 609-734-0003; fax, 609-734-0013. Gina Ceccolini, managing director. www.spherion.com.
Spherion Corporation, a national recruiting and staffing company with a specialty in placing IT, accounting, and finance professionals, has named Gina Ceccolini as managing director of its Independence Way office. Prior to joining Spherion, Ceccolini worked in sales with Okidata Corporation.
Albright G. Zimmerman, 85, on November 2. An expert on area canals, he was a professor at Rider University, where he was chair of the American Studies Department.
Thomas B. Hartmann, 85, on November 7. A professor of journalism and former assistant director of the New Jersey Office of Economic Development, he helped to develop Livingston College at Rutgers University.
Daniel P. Biko, 66, on November 7. He was retired from the Lawrence campus of Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Claudette Jones-McKnight, 68, on November 8. She was the owner operator of CJM Insurance and Voyager Travel in Hamilton, and was the New Jersey director of ASTA. Services will be held Saturday, November 17, at the Trinity Methodist Church in Ewing.
Lorraine C. Burkhart, 60, on November 9. She recently retired from the Judiciary Tax Court.