Where We Came From
the Bradford Group opened for business on March 1, 2000 in a lovingly renovated school building owned by a former competitor and now occupied by the Church of Scientology. (What a long, strange trip it’s been.) Our approach to marketing turned out to be a hit. Within a month we had a sizable client roster. After several more months of 18 hour days, we had broken even and hired our first employee. We were having fun.
And we still are.
The founders of the Bradford Group, CEO Jeff Bradford and COO Gina Gallup, brought complementary talents to the agency. Jeff, a lifelong writer and incurable entrepreneur, was a former newspaperman with many years experience as a marketing agency executive. Gina, a lifelong musician who understands how to compose success in any venture, was a veteran of the business side of the agency business. It was a perfect combination.
And it still is.
What We Created
Though the first tech bubble burst in 2000, it was obvious that the technology genie was out of the bottle. The speed, ubiquity and virtually unlimited access to customer information made possible by the Internet heralded a new age in marketing. Our timing was perfect to create an agency that merged traditional and digital marketing services to deliver a new level of results.
Here’s how we put it in our original business plan: “Unlike typical web shops or Internet boutiques, which are primarily programming/design firms, the Bradford Group integrates these technical skills with marketing planning – so that new media are used effectively to meet client objectives. Unlike traditional advertising and PR agencies, we place equal emphasis on traditional and new media – and are equally proficient in both.”
This combination of traditional and digital marketing was one of two legs of our brand of marketing. The other was approaching marketing through the lens of public relations, instead of advertising.
Because public relations professionals have to earn the consumer’s attention – versus advertising’s approach of buying it – they have to be quite resourceful and constantly alert to new tactics. For this reason, PR is strategic and holistic, requiring the orchestration of a collection of thoughtfully selected marketing tactics, one of which may be advertising. That is, we see advertising as a tool in our kit – not the entire kit.
Where We Are Going
Of course, the world has changed since 2000. A lot of traditional agencies do digital work now. (And even the way we talk about traditional marketing tactics has changed. It’s now called outbound marketing.) But the Bradford Group has stayed a step ahead.
We were one of the first to see the marketing potential of social media, creating a successful online music showcase for Cricket Wireless on MySpace years ago, for example, and alerting clients to the potential of LinkedIn when it was only months old. Most recently on the digital front, the Bradford Group became Nashville’s first full-service marketing agency to offer inbound marketing tools and expertise.
We embrace change instead of avoid it, and are committed to evolving with the marketing industry. We have been fortunate to serve many dynamic brands and represent a wide cross section of industries. (We don’t specialize in any one industry. We specialize in results.)
What we do is a function of who we are, which is expressed in our core values: Hire SMART people. Generate measurable RESULTS. Be an ACTIVE marketing partner.