Celebrating 65 Years of Building Brands

Posted on Dec 14, 2020 by

I don’t have many quotes I live by, but there is one from Kirk Vonnegut very appropriate to recognize our 65 years in business. “History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again”. The quote most accurately sums up the exciting journey BrandDirections has been on in all of its visages.

In our 65-year history, we have lived through many changes. When people asked how I would describe the impact of these changes on BrandDirections, I have responded by saying that we have never been afraid to face and embrace change, take risks as much as humanly possible, and recognize the value of our human resources as a part of agency life.

Our roots go back to the ’50s and ‘60s when almost every aspect of agency life was done by hand or in person. Radio and print were the primary forms of marketing communication as the industry lived through the dawn of television and radio working in tandem to connect with the consumer. Since then, communication has sped up exponentially as digital technology has changed the focus from merely selling products to establishing compelling brands and individual identities. Smartphones and social media have totally re-engineered our relationship in how the industry markets products to our fellow human beings and the tools we use to communicate with them.

Through it all, the value of the “brand” has remained paramount in spite of how the evolution of the tools and methodology used to build a brand has changed. What has remained constant is that brand relationships continue to have much more to do with personal values and the relationship the brand builds with us as individuals. What has changed – while consumers of all kinds have access to an almost infinite amount of information on the products they relate to or desire to identify with, the challenge of sifting through information about the brand has expanded. Consumers want a return to a relationship with their brand, seeking a level of altruism from brand owners. It’s as much about a brand’s reflection of their lifestyle as it is about the product.

Perhaps this is looking through the lens of our 65-year history with far too much simplicity.  The tools we work with have changed immensely – from the first telefax machines to cloud-based technology. I remember the days when type houses were constantly delivering galley proofs as creative copy changed – when presenting basically hand-illustrated design concepts that begged a customer to imagine along with the design team – the development time was extensive and the deadlines reflected that. Now the focus is on the present-day demand to expedite creative concepts quickly to leverage speed-to-market capabilities. But through it all, the value of our creative work has continued to rest squarely on keeping the concept strategically on target. Of course, there was the “Mad Men” era with cocktail populated lunches, happy hours, and the powerhouse creative “greats” that emerged from the advertising world. I could go on about the changes and the surprises thrown at this industry and this agency, not the least of which was being in an environment where a surprise announcement was delivered that an account would be moving because women couldn’t understand steel. Did we prove them wrong!

It has been a challenging but very rewarding 65 years, made so by traveling through it with a phenomenal team of people that have shared a commitment to exceeding customer expectations, and who have responded to changes and difficult situations with resilience and optimism. As a part of our living legacy, we continue to look forward to changes coming our way, but first and foremost, we continue to value our clients and the relationships we share with them.

It would be nice to have a party to celebrate this milestone…but right now, we are going to have to make do with a heartfelt thanks to employees, customers, vendor partners, and all those people who in a large or small way have brought us here. Thank you all, and here is to being change partners as we adapt and move forward into 2021!


We’d love to move forward with you to help build your brand. Contact us at 920-886-7727 or info@brand-directions.com to start a discussion.