It’s hard to wrap my mind around that on January 11, 2000, Rule29 became official. I’m so grateful that from day one we have known our WHY and have been making creative matter® as well as we could with every bump, pivot, and celebration along the way. We do our best to show up every day ready to make an impact.
Since R29’s humble beginning of two cofounders in remote home offices hoping to make it through that first year, using slow internet and coding with flash before there was Zoom, Adobe Creative Suite, or Slack, we’ve grown to 14 full-time teammates that focus on research, strategy, writing, design, and account management. We have been fortunate to have had over 40 interns come through our doors, hopefully leaving better prepared to start their careers. I know they certainly changed all of us at Rule29, and I’m grateful for that.
Given the current situation, it feels strange to be celebrating anything, including this anniversary. Why celebrate this milestone? Does it matter to anyone other than Sarah and me? And although I can’t answer that question in its entirety, I do think it should matter to our team, our future teammates, and our clients—and here’s why: Business longevity and growth is a testament to good management, good solutions, and good service. Let’s break this down:
Good management doesn’t happen in a vacuum: Twenty months after we opened our doors and shortly after moving into our first office, we weathered 9/11 as best we could. It took a great toll on R29, and we had to regroup. In that regrouping, we added an advisory team to help walk with us and meet annually on goals, new business, governance, HR, etc. (To see our current advisory board go here). This accountability helped me take my leadership from a gut thing to one driven by data, SMART goals, great counsel, and my own intuition. Five years of steady growth and evolution, and then 2008 added its own round of challenges with the financial crisis. This time we were better prepared. And now, lessons learned from that experience and changes we have made along the way with technology, service, and forecasting are helping us navigate the current Covid-19 pandemic. When all is said and done, we will be better on the other side of this as well.
You still have to deliver: For 20 years, we have been doing our best to deliver solutions that are not only finely crafted but strategic and created with the purpose of elevating your business. We’re not perfect, of course, and some projects have been more challenging than others or did not perform the way we hoped. But whether we succeeded or fell short of our expectations, we took the time to understand why and figure out how we could do it better. From the creative process to printing and coding, we ask the right questions and look at everything to make sure we continue to produce excellence. Over these 20 years, we have demonstrated our ability to deliver outstanding creative, yearly receiving multiple awards from top outlets in our industry, and being asked to speak nationally and internationally about our approach shows that we will deliver in great ways for you.
It’s all about relationships: We have, from day one, wanted to make creative in a way that matters to our clients and helps them reach or exceed their business goals. And a major part of that is how we serve. We are a creative agency, but we are a service agency first. And that all comes down to how we talk to and treat our clients. It’s about transparency and authenticity. Without great clients, we would never have made it past the five-year mark. Some of our clients have been with us from the beginning. Our relationships last because we believe in treating people right and with respect. Again, we’re not perfect, but those moments are the extreme exception and not our norm. We analyze how we serve just like we do our work. It’s our goal to adjust process, technology, and our approaches to serving better before we “need” to.
We are not afraid to pivot because any change we make comes out of our core WHY. It’s all based around making creative matter. It’s believing that we create in a way that increases business, improves lives, and influences culture. That’s why celebrating our 20 years is of great importance and helps show that we are experts at what we do and are still committed to learning and being better.
As we start our 21st year, it’s exciting to see how both the industry and Rule29 have changed and how it needs to continue to do so with the world seemingly changing daily. Because of this, we have taken another big step in our commitment to serve our clients, community, and team at an even higher level by becoming a Certified B Corporation. Now more than ever, we are wanting to make creative matter® while using our business as a force for good ! Let’s do it together.