A brand can't be all things to all people. And like a person, it can only walk in one direction at a time.
Some brands need a little direction. Some brands need a whole new one. Some brands are well-oriented, and just need a guide who can take them to their destination. Adam Ritchie Brand Direction is an award-winning independent brand communications agency which helps them do just that — and enjoy the process of getting there.
Our capabilities are marketing, media outreach, crisis management and creative development, to an international client base on four continents.
Our specialty is work people never believe could come from a shop run by a sole proprietor.
Our mission is to bring out the best in brands by helping them grow, communicate and do the right thing.
Our purpose is to live to our potential as an unstoppable source of transformation and invention.
In the news
We've been covered by business media from MarketWatch to the New York Times, earning a reputation for undeniable, cutting edge work.
"A novel direction" (NPR)
"A new strategy" (MarketWatch)
"A masterpiece" (Campaign US)
"An outstanding achievement" (HOW)
"A creative integration" (The Holmes Report)
"An attention-grabbing innovation" (PR Daily)
"Takes co-branding to the next level" (ADWEEK)
"Turning the digital into the physical" (O'Dwyer's)
"Ingenious, bold and inspiring" (Strategies & Tactics)
"Innovative and multidimensional" (Bulldog Reporter)
"Original and clever, the taste of success" (MediaPost)
"Blurring the lines between pixels and print" (The Dieline)
"Working tirelessly through one of the toughest media climates" (PR News)
"Assembles nimble teams that continue to exceed client expectations" (PRWeek)
Everything is a brand. Even you. And everything is a branding opportunity — from the way you dressed today to the content of your company's email signature.
Brand communication doesn't mean pushing out a hard-to-swallow press release that can't get out of the way of its own messaging. Successful communication begins with listening, and providing useful, timely information that respects the intelligence of your consumers and the media who help inform them.
We were founded at a time when digital and traditional media collided. Our first two clients were a social network and a brick-and-mortar retailer. We know things about digital that many firms haven't yet learned, and we maintain an understanding of the physical that digital firms have already forgotten. As true media specialists, we're equally comfortable navigating both worlds.
If you ever hear us use the word, "leverage," or if we draft a sentence you need to read more than twice, you have the right to end our relationship. A wise colleague once said, "If you don't speak like that, don't write like that."
Marketing and PR
Not all marketers are publicists, but all publicists need to be marketers. Hiring a team of seasoned publicists is like getting two specialties rolled into one.
Many agencies present you with a team of senior managers, creating the impression they're the ones overseeing your business. What often follows is a bait and switch, where your account supervisors begin fluctuating before the ink is dry on the contract. Here, who you see is who you get: an internationally-recognized PR professional with a lifetime of experience and a reputation for earning top-shelf results. The person whose name is on the front door is heavily involved on your account. You have the principal's email and mobile number, 24/7.
In a world where nothing seems to happen on time (phone calls, appointments, launch dates...), our team bends over backwards to meet deadlines.
We're here to provide an outside perspective. If we believe something is off-strategy or a waste of time, we'll be the first to tell you. And we’ll never recommend a program element that doesn't contribute to your end goal.
We're not afraid to tackle criticism of a client if the facts are being misrepresented or if the client is making an honest commitment to change. We're also not afraid to turn down projects that don’t pass our industry's code of ethics, or simply don't feel right.
Big budget ideas are not always the most effective ideas. We’ve driven national media coverage with a hunk of metal and a plastic bag by using them creatively.
At larger agencies, silos and internal politics can distract your team from the job at hand. Those obstacles don’t exist here, and we only focus on your work.
In-house PR managers confide in us, “We’re always in meetings. We need someone out there doing the work.” Here, we don’t have internal meetings. Unless we’re checking in with you, we’re out there doing the work.
If you're only looking for a cheerleader, we may not be your agency. We proudly shout from the rooftops the great things our clients do every day. But we don't do it at the cost of ignoring where they're being critiqued. We're your first line of skeptics. And when necessary, we're your look in the mirror before you take a risky step in front of the crowd.
In a crisis, we walk the line between respecting the media’s need for timely information, not saying more than needed and putting them in a position to treat you fairly.
Social media removes your power to control a message. People talk about what your company. Crafting brand messages used to be easier. Crafting brand messages that hold water when held up to stakeholder scrutiny on- and offline takes skill and experience.
Creativity and organization
The two are not mutually exclusive. Those who can apply structure to their creative process while using their creativity to better-organize information are dangerously effective people.
Every client is unique. We have a proprietary process, and its first step is to scrap everything we’ve ever done and approach each project with a blank sheet of paper, a ton of experience and the relationships needed to make it go bang on impact.
We keep an ongoing file of ideas for each client that grows organically every day. Over time, the best ideas float to the top. Meanwhile, you have access to all of them on request.
A beautiful thing about journalism and PR is their timelessness. Even as roles evolve, building mindshare and exchanging information remains messy. Hustle isn’t replaced with an algorithm.
Many agencies rely on credentials from the past lives of senior team members. Here, every case study we share and every industry award we display was run and won independently under our own banner, by people who work here now.
Hiring in-house gives you a marketing communications capability, but only for a time. When people leave their jobs, their institutional knowledge walks out the door with them. We’ve become an external hard drive/cloud backup of brand history and knowledge retention that for many of our clients, has outlasted multiple changes in the C-Suite. We’ve been doing this forever, and we aren’t going anywhere.
Few things are more annoying than having to redo your agency partner’s work or chase them down for easily-preventable mistakes. We’re not perfect, but we always aim for perfection.
Some brands make the same mistake with influencers as they made with press. There's "influencers" and there's influencers. There's "press" and there's press. We can see who matters, and help clients focus on quality/impact/relationships with the right ones.
A good agency respects a client's inbox. It anticipates every question a client may ask about an opportunity, lays it out logically, ends with a recommendation and leaves the client in a position where they only need to respond with a "yes" or a "no." We minimize back-and-forth.
The best stories aren’t about products or services. They’re about people, and how those people are using those offerings in an interesting way. We help shape that narrative.
We don’t require a lot of hand-holding or take up as much time as we save you.
Many shops take on any brand who knocks on their door with a budget. They bite off more than they can chew, and existing clients suffer. We only work with a handful of clients at a time. Every client should feel like they're our only client.
Skin in the game
Because we only work with a few clients at a time, the health of this business is inextricably tied to the health of yours. You're not just another account, and this is not just another job. We break down doors to help you succeed.
We bring our clients’ products into our lives to a surprising degree. A treadmill desk made by one client was used to walk across the country at our office. If we’re promoting something, we take great pains to understand how it works inside and out, and live by the message points we’re creating.
We don't participate in RFPs or get caught up chasing new accounts. Instead, we dedicate that time to earning great results for the clients we already have, turning them into advocates who refer our next client to us. Every new client we take on is a direct result of having knocked an existing client's socks off.
We'll never be a big company. That was never the point. We're in it for reputation: yours and ours. Honing a reputation is an exciting lifelong work in progress. Every move we make is aimed at creating work to further a reputation.
We’re also in it to invent. Our purpose for existing is to use PR as an unstoppable source of transformation and invention. Ask us for a fresh idea and you’ll know what that means.
Firepower is not always proportional to size, especially when it comes to strategic communications. We've been recognized for outperforming the world's largest agencies.
Some agencies bill their clients for every $5 magazine or $10 cab ride. We don't sweat the small stuff.
The Scouts taught us to leave everything a little better than the way we found it. If we see an opportunity to streamline or improve something, we'll take it — sometimes forgetting to ask first. For this, we beg your forgiveness in advance.
This is a hard business. The ability to laugh — especially at yourself — is critical to survival.
An agency is only as good as the people on your account. The defining edge is who’s doing the work. Do they give more than lip service dedication to your goals? Do they wake up like you wake up, thinking about the brand? Do they sweat when you sweat? Do you have the best writers, the most aggressive, assertive people out there telling your story? This is the only agency in the world that will assign Adam Ritchie to your team. That’s said with a smile, but it’s also true! Beyond Adam, you could see any member of our team potentially running their own agency one day. Those are the people you want on your account.
This company was started in an apartment, with a laptop and a cellphone, at the beginning of the largest economic crisis since the Great Depression. In two months, a client roster was built, the first employee was hired and a downtown office was opened. We approach our client work the same way. Once we set the right course, there's no holding back.
We've created a business that turns our interests into our work. We balance that work with rich personal lives. There's nothing we'd rather be doing than what we're doing right now. Our interactions, and the interactions we initiate on your behalf, will reflect this.