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It was twenty years ago today

Looking back, 1996 seemed to be a more quaint, unmuddled and innocent time as Sgt. Peppers was meant to conjure. In truth, it was a generation ago, though the changes in that time to our world and to our industry could be more accurately described as an epoch.

There are so many memories going back 20 years, and I won't attempt to recollect them here, or try and thank all the people who deserve it.

But as this anniversary approached, people have been asking two questions:

"Did you think you'd be in business for 20 years?"

The answer is no; you can't even conceive of twenty years when you start a business, and know the odds are greater that you'll be back at your kitchen table within twelve months. It takes a lot of luck, and it takes a lot of great people, like the ones I'm lucky enough to saddle up with every day, and the clients who entrust us with their voice.

And, "What's going through your mind when you think back on 20 years?"

Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of my thoughts have been about the accounts or awards we've won. I recall the zany stories and courageous stories, but mostly it's the stories of being there for each other. Of caring for each other.

Of our current RTers, nearly a quarter of us watched together as the towers came down on 9/11. Another 15% have been with us 10 years or more. We've shared countless laughs, tears, births, deaths, promotions and retirements.

Those aren't measures that define mere employees, personnel or associates; those are milestones you associate with genuine friends, family and relationships you know will last a lifetime.

The winning that mattered was winning over a group of talented people, and even better human beings, to a unifying cause and purpose: Simply to be the very best for our clients and each other, and to care for one another with equal abandon. That's worth getting up for each morning, and helps you sleep soundly at night.

We've put together a brief video that captures glimpses of the blood, sweat and tears expended, spanning most of those twenty years. I wish we could have captured more of the amazing work we've done in DM, social, digital, print and posters, but even in this condensed version, I can see and feel the fingerprints of every RTer who's graced our halls reflected in the work.

And I can tell you that like the last twenty years, if you blink, you'll miss it.

RT Turns 20

How do you like me now?


Social media: selfies, vacation pics, memes-and ads promoting your favorite local café? Yep, 2016 is officially the year that brands are taking over the newsfeed.

Social media marketing generated $16B in revenue last year, and marketers are making it a bigger priority in 2016. 70% of advertisers anticipate spending more this year than last, and total spend is expected to exceed $35B by the end of next year. Even small businesses are getting in on the game: a recent Constant Contact survey reported that 66% of small business owners use social media to acquire and engage customers.

With so many prospective advertisers ready and willing to spend marketing dollars in social media, the platforms are taking notice. Throughout 2016, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube have made it easier than ever for brand managers to play the role of Chief Content Officer, allowing greater access to and connectivity with current and prospective fans. Through enhanced analytics capabilities, lower costs-to-entry and simplified dashboards that make targeting users and boosting posts easier on less-savvy community managers, brands now have a bigger voice in the top social channels.

The upside: as marketers become savvier, using technology to connect with customers, they open the door for new low-cost/high-engagement avenues of communication, driving customers to interact with more branded content across all channels. The downside: the newsfeed becomes noisier and more crowded every day, and every marketer will need to work harder and smarter to stay relevant, stand out and drive engagement.

To make sure you're on top of the latest trends, check out the new offerings from the industry's biggest social media players: