Idea Hall, founded by Rebecca Hall ’96, a full-service branding, marketing and public relations agency, is celebrating the closing of a year full of new business, including seven new clients.
The agency is expanding into new markets beyond the roots of real estate and finance, while continuing to maintain its foundation in those sectors.
Rebecca continues to Think Chapman First by hiring Panthers! Currently, Jeff Cole ’01, Haley London ’13, Bill London ’13 (MBA ’15), Gina Petraglia ’16, Kate Engler ’18 and Haylie Bantle ’21 are part of Idea Hall’s team.
As business booms within the Orange County creative industry, the growth at Idea Hall is especially exciting, both for the agency and the county.
Chapman University: What has been Idea Hall’s evolving role in the expansion of Orange County’s creative industry?
Rebecca Hall: When Idea Hall launched in 2003, we set out to take a leadership position in our industry. While traditional PR agencies focused on services such as reputation management, crisis communications, press releases and etc., we knew we wanted to be different. We created a hybrid model so we could go beyond those foundational services– like creating websites, digital advertisements, video and more.
Since our inception, we said, “Let’s lead with a strategy, not just a tactic.” That’s exactly what we do every day – we lead with strategy and choose from our wide array of service offerings to cater to that strategy.
We kick off each client relationship with a strategic plan, to discover their objectives and what they’re trying to achieve. We ask questions like, “what does success look like?” and “who do you want to reach?” so we can form a strategy that caters to their needs and business objectives. For example, one of our newer clients, came to us with two objectives – bolster lead generation and increase employee engagement. With these insights, we used a combination of our of branding, design and video services to create a powerful theme, messaging and company story that inspired employees and set the vision for the company at their annual meeting.
As the public relations, marketing and advertising disciplines evolve, so do our services. One of our latest offerings is virtual reality (VR) 360-degree video. To stay at the forefront of the industry, we invest in the latest technology and VR is no exception to this. For our travel and tourism and real estate clients this is a breakthrough technology that allows viewers to truly immerse themselves into a location from anywhere in the world. If you visit ideahall.com/vr you can see our latest 360-degree video that takes you through a virtual tour of the City of Anaheim. This is an example of how we started with the client’s objective, which was to drive convention and business meetings at the Anaheim Convention Center, and harnessed the power of VR 360-degree video to achieve those goals. As a result, viewers can watch a dynamic video that allows them to see – and experience – Anaheim’s evolution as a premier destination.
CU: Discuss the progress Idea Hall has made from its founding to the present.
RH: To remain a leader in our field, we’ve made a lot of operational adjustments. Since we opened our doors, we’ve grown our team size, expanded into new office space and added new services to our current offerings. In 2003, social media didn’t exist, but now it’s a huge part of our service offerings. Each year, we commit to evolving, growing and integrating the latest technological advances and appropriate services for our clients. It’s simply part of the job.
A number of clients have been with us for more than 10 years. We’ve continually worked to honor those relationships and update our programs to stay current with their business objectives. We have always been a trusted agency partner, which in turn has allowed us to gain new business through referrals from our web of legacy clients. At our core, we’re continuing to bolster our real estate and financial accounts as we enter new markets such as wine and spirits, tourism and travel and technology.
CU: Why is Idea Hall unique in comparison to other agencies in its field?
RH: It’s very unique to be able to offer the breadth and depth of services we have in a boutique agency. Usually this hybrid “one stop shop” model is only found at global agencies. We’re homegrown, from Orange County, and we stay true to our roots by serving clients in our own backyard. We’re fortunate that these clients also allow us to stretch beyond Southern California and into the West Coast and the nation.
CU: Why is it important to Idea Hall to “Think Chapman First,” meaning Panthers hiring Panthers?
Because Panthers are the best! Supporting fellow alumni is very important to me and our team of Chapman alumni. When I graduated, there was limited alumni support because there just weren’t that many people in the communications industry. Since then, our network has grown, and I’ve served on the alumni board, and as president. I believe that supporting Chapman is walking the walk. If you want to get support, you have to give support. We’ve been very successful in recruiting Chapman alumni. Six out of our 30-person team are alumni.
CU: How did your Chapman experience impact your professional life?
RH: Chapman instilled in me the belief that if you can dream it, you can do it. That was truly embodied by President Doti, who was a new president when I started my Chapman journey. He came in with a big dream and made big things happen. To a young student who was fresh and energetic, that had a huge impact. I saw the power of his vision and the people who came to support it. I saw his vision grow, our rankings rise, and our campus expand and hire best-in-class faculty. Now 20 years later, we have national rankings and are consistently portrayed positively in the news. When I started, Chapman College had just changed its name to Chapman University. Chapman is now a force to be reckoned with and its growth is not yet done.
As a student, alumna and Alumni Association board member, Chapman gave me tremendous support when I started my business. I wish that type of Chapman support system for all of our students and alumni who are pursuing their dreams. In life you get what you give, so in my personal experience, I want to keep giving back. I was just a simple kid born and raised in Orange who went to Chapman on a scholarship. It changed my life. When I started at Chapman, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but by the time I reached my senior year I had a lot of encouragement to get into public relations and advertising, and that’s where I’ve built my career.
My love for PR began after I enrolled in Janell Sheerer’s public relations and industry class during interterm. It took off after Ginger Sherman, alumna, adjunct professor and head of advertising at Taco Bell, at the time, encouraged me to apply to an agency for an internship, which I received. If you nurture the relationships you make at Chapman, whether they’re fellow alumni, professors or students, they will nurture you. The key to my success is the important relationships I’ve built and maintained over the years.