Happy 3rd Birthday to Ignite Social Media

Back on July 2, 2007, Lisa Braziel and I launched our blog for Ignite Social Media and set out to figure out what a social media agency was, what it did and who it was going to do it for. We realized quickly that neither of us could program, as we kept repeatedly breaking the blog, leaving us to call on friends to bail us out. That’s why we didn’t look for or accept clients until October of that year after we had Gene Smith on board. Finally, a guy who could make a web page do just about anything.

Now, three years later, it’s a bit remarkable the changes. We’ve got 32 employees, including highly technical SEO experts, amazing designers, gifted copywriters, a brilliant development team, slightly crazy number-crunching analytics types, a deeply immersed engagement team, and wickedly organized account managers. We’ve got an office with 7 people in Detroit. Our Seattle office opens on Monday.

And we’ve got a great bunch of clients, particularly the ones like Nature Made who got on board with us really early. They had the ability to see what social media could do for them as a brand even as it was evolving, and they had the confidence to stick with us the whole time, as we developed new strategies together.

Thank You to Our Clients

As we celebrate, I did want to quickly thank each of our clients, in approximate order of them starting with us:

  • Detroit Renaissance: You were the first to say “yes”, and as any business owner with a new product category knows, that’s the hardest yes to get.
  • Comcast: Our first household name brand client. Thanks for overlooking our lack of brand name.
  • The UAW: It was great you saw what social media can do for you, particularly when you have 1m members and retirees.
  • Nature Made: As I mentioned, the first big brand to really engage us in the long-term. We’ve come a long way since and we’re thrilled to supplement your team. Get it?
  • United Way for Southeastern Michigan: Who doesn’t want to Live United?
  • Loobalee: Start-up helping start-up. Look at you now, with your 14,000+ Twitter devotees.
  • Carolina Ballet: I had no idea how hard dancers work to make it look so easy. We took a business lesson from that.
  • Emily K: Helping Coach K help all those kids is an honor.
  • National CineMedia (Fathom Events and Worship Solutions): From podcasts with Ewan McGregor to promoting The Wizard of Oz, we make A Powerful Noise together.
  • Gilbarco Veeder-Root: Our first B2B client, and still among the nicest.
  • The Ad Council: You invented Smokey the Bear. How cool is that?
  • The Body Shop: When fans love your Body Butter as much as they do, and you’ve got strong values people care about, it’s a fun thing to take social
  • Michigan Department of Community Health: You guys got social marketing way before other states; it’s good to see you lead in social media marketing, too.
  • Intel: From the CES Show to Digital Drag Race to launching the Core family of processors, it’s always fun. And quad is the only way to go.
  • The National Endowment for Financial Education: Spendster is the little engine that could. On to phase 2!
  • UNICEF: Carrying those little orange boxes at trick or treat time as a kid was cool and all, but so much more fun to help you in a meaningful way.
  • Windows: Our first Microsoft account and still fun every day. Thanks for always being eager for what’s next.
  • The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (EHP/NIH): You were talking about Bisphenol A in water bottles looonnnggg before anyone else is. Keep it up.
  • PowerPivot for Excel: We love the Piv. Our analytics team feels like they died and went to heaven.
  • Gift of Life Michigan: It’s great when good work can be applied to good causes.
  • Massachusetts Medical Society: Health care reform first. The New England Journal of Medicine. When you guys get into something, you do it right. Thanks for letting us help get you into social.
  • Microsoft SQL Server: The relational database, and it’s all about the relationship, right?
  • Disney Interactive: Are you kidding? I got to play Pirate online games. For work! Skeletons. Jolly Roger. Invasions.
  • Office: Quick personal side note: Loving Office 2010, glad we rode the wave together.
  • MSN: You guys have been creating link bait longer and better than anyone else. Thanks for letting us hang with you.
  • Care: The charity that invented Care Packages during World War II is still battling poverty around the globe.
  • Bing: A decision engine and onomonopia, we’re honored that you searched and decided to use us.
  • Tria Beauty: AdAge called you one of America’s hottest brands, and nobody here in the office has had any body hair or any zits since we got together.
  • BPOS: Real business apps, in the cloud, for $10. Nice.
  • Hotmail: First Windows 7, then Bing, then Hotmail. Three huge product improvements and you’re getting amazing buzz in the tech reviews, which is great to see.
  • Windows Live Messenger: 4.5m Facebook fans (the 8th largest brand Facebook page on the planet) and counting. Thrilled to be a part of it.

Whew. It’s a longer list than I realized when I started typing. No wonder we’ve been too busy to do a 3rd birthday video (although Year 1 and Year 2 were a bit goofy). Thank you for trusting in us.

Of course, I want to say thank you to the Ignite team here. I’ve never seen a more collaborative, creative group of folks, where great ideas come from anywhere. You guys are great. Onward.

Ignite Social Media