The new year is a time to put it into high gear here at the full-service marketing barn. There are rebrands to kick off and campaigns to launch, a multitude of messaging to craft and videos to spit polish and render. But hang on just a second before we hit the gas pedal once more…
The week between 2017 and 2018 is always my time to reflect and assess. How’d we do? What did we learn? Did we grow? With that in mind, I took a spin through 2017… and oh what a year it was.
We started out of the gate strong by hiring our Marketing Communications Specialist, Laura Lenchitsky. Good marketing copy flows forth from Laura at a stunningly rapid rate – as do pop culture references and irreverent jabs – and she’s an wiz with marketing automation tools. Laura quickly got to work setting up campaigns of the email-drip and pay-per-click variety with longtime Ridge SEO specialist Lynn Carhart, and the two quickly introduced new leads into our clients’ sales pipelines.
We were also lucky enough to onboard Meagan Warner, our Social Media Manager. Along with occasionally taking care of my best buddy (and Team Morale Manager) Finley dog while we’re away, Meagan dramatically upped our social media game here at Ridge. She also helped Andrea launch the Reason Y beauty brand, getting influencers on board to help spread the word, building a social following, and running a focus group in California to test new product concepts. Creative Director Rose Arenas oversaw the brand execution, and it’s one that I’m particularly proud of.
With all of that new energy in the building, we decided it was time to go subterranean, and we dug into a full-on buildout of our office basement, with Basking Ridge-based Brown Dog Builders. Owner Kevin Ligori has helped us navigate the finer points of “industrial farmhouse” chic. We look forward to occupying our additional workspace, lounge and much needed second bathroom soon.
Meanwhile, we began working with Brother International, producing 30- and 60-second video spots for Amazon, Target Channel Red and the Brother website to promote their printers and genuine supplies to online and in-store shoppers. It was a joy working with illustrator Freda Moore to create a custom character – a lovable everyman named Steve – and bringing him to life in animation. It was also a thrill walking into a Target store at the exact moment that our commercial started playing across their wall of widescreen TVs.
Brother also engaged Ridge for product messaging and their online meeting software division, OmniJoin, tapped us to create a new website and demo video.
In June, we began working with toy industry giant Toys“R”Us, thanks to a referral by our longtime friends and partners at Digi-Chrome Studios. The bankruptcy shakeup at the toy giant gave us pause, but the company’s stated plans to focus on digital marketing and proprietary products told us we were in a good position to help this American icon embark on a new era.
We’ve since completed a brand website for their 18-inch doll line, the Journey Girls. This flagship product has a strong following that seemed to be hungering for a place to engage with the brand. Tracy Grace, our longtime account manager and, serendipitously, a former brand manager at Toys“R”Us herself, put her experience to work to guide the project through on a tight timeline. Laura enjoyed writing blog articles in the voice of each of the eight characters in the line in order to build out their backstory. Rose, Freda, lead developer Greg Dubois, and art director Christine Lhowe brought that story to life in one of the most engaging brand sites I’ve seen.
Summer was once again time to focus on Ansell, the world leader in healthcare and industrial protection. After winning a gold Communicator Award and ASTRA Award earlier in the year for producing their corporate video, titled “A Passion for Protection,” we set our sights on their semi-annual strategic conference in September. The event was held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, near one of their manufacturing plants. We spent July and August interviewing, writing and producing a strategic vision video to kick off the event. Alex Williams and our team filmmakers and photographers enjoyed exploring the streets of the Ho Chi Minh for B-roll footage, capturing photos and video at the Ansell factory, and producing a fun closing video on site.
When the conference was over, several of us headed to the Tunnels of Cu Chi to try to comprehend what it was like during the Vietnam War when my father was stationed nearby. It was quite moving shaking the hand of a man just a bit older than I, whose father was a soldier with the Viet Cong. We were both glad our dads made it through and that the country is at peace. We then headed south to the Mekong Delta to explore the floating markets of Cần Thơ. Vietnam is an amazing country with beautiful terrain, sparkling cities and hardworking, welcoming people.
There were also some opportunities to up our knowledge in 2017. Rose and Christine attended Smashing Web Design Conference in June, Laura dove into content marketing e-learning courses and Christine attended the the 2017 XLab conference at The School of Visual Arts. The entire agency also embraced Teamwork, a new project management, time keeping and communications tool that will benefit both us and our clients.
I’m grateful for the exciting opportunities that came our way in 2017, and for a talented team and great clients to share them with. It was certainly a year to remember. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings. Now, back to work…