It’s amazing what can be done in a decade. Please join us as a we take a look back at the first ten years of re:group, as we celebrate ten years in the books:
2003 was a good year—for change. Following years of agency acquisitions by large holding companies, in 2003, the news was, “WPP acquires Cordiant Communications Group, bringing Bates, Fitch, 141 Worldwide and HealthWorld into the Group.”
But it was different for the Ann Arbor office of Fitch. We chose to buy ourselves out and become the re:group that you know today. Janet Muhleman, our CEO, said at the time, “We found being a part of a larger organization doesn’t necessarily get you any added benefits.”
We were fortunate that our clients—University of Michigan Health System, The Auto Club (AAA), Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops, Tapper’s, Duskin, AATA, Children’s Orchard, IHA, Lutron and Pall—chose to stay with us as we transitioned into a privately-held corporation. Most of our team was ”rehired” by the new company, though a few left, uncomfortable with the risks associated with a “start-up.”
But at our core, we couldn’t have been further from a new company! Our leadership team of Janet Muhleman, Tom Hollyer, Liz Conlin, Rhonda Huie, Karyn Kozo, Sharon Costantini, Carey Jernigan and Cheryl Mrakitsch had worked together for years and brought with them “big” agency experience from Ross Roy, Young and Rubicam, Doner, Campbell Ewald and, of course, Jan’s first agency, Group 243. They are all still here today.
Our creative team contributed greatly to awareness of our new name by having an outstanding awards season, winning Gold Addys, Caddy awards, an AdWheel award from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and several others from Healthcare Marketing Association.
Through the ensuing years, with hard work and some good fortune, we were able to get on the radar and secure relationships with national brands like Chevron, Invisible Fence, Vanguard, Pfizer, Owens Corning and The Learning Care Group (Childtime, Tutor Time, LaPetite Academy, Children’s Courtyard, Montessori Unlimited).
The great part of our business is that we enjoy working with new brands as much as with well established ones. On our watch, we defined new brands, brand positions and/or identities for Artrain, Ave Maria, Bagger Dave’s, Domino’s Farms, Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, Dynatek, Fave, Great Plains Burger Co., ProForma, SignMeUp.com and many others. It is meeting and often exceeding our clients’ expectations that keeps us coming to work every day.
All the while, the last ten years have certainly seen marketing communications transform. Communication itself changed at warp speed. In order to remain competitive, we knew we needed to enhance our client offerings. Our advertising offer now consists of digital media, social media, multimedia content generation, multiple screen access and the interdependent nature of the new media landscape.
Think about some of the other changes that have come about in the last ten years:
- 2003 – LinkedIn launched
- 2004 – Facebook launched
- 2006 – 1% of the U.S. population used DVRs; by 2011, it increased to over 42% of viewers, who now determine their viewing schedule.
- 2010 – Pinterest beta-launched; by 2011, it became one of the top ten social networks
Also during that time, tools were developed to allow us to track the integrated advertiser/customer journey, so that work can be optimized, metrics can be tracked and performance evaluated.
So, during these past ten years, we’ve been serving our clients, seeking new ones, not to mention expanding our talent pool and resources. Since 2003, we have tripled our media team and have added many new tools to effectively plan, place and evaluate media performance.
Our social media offer was developed and we now provide a full suite of social media resources and a team that can strategically plan and efficiently execute social media as a part of an integrated marketing effort.
Creatively, we have grown to meet the needs of our current and future clients. More writers, art directors, programmers and producers have been added to traditionally and digitally execute client creative. From websites to banner ads to landing pages to your traditional 30-second spot, we do it all.
So, that’s the view in the rear window. But though we’ve stopped for a moment of reflection, we can’t help but to be excited for what is to come. Over the past decade, we have added some new and very talented people to re:group, people that will ensure that we’re putting forth our best work for years to come.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our success!