“Life moves pretty fast,” said the great 20th-century philosopher Ferris Bueller. “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
As Bellmont Partners celebrates its 20th anniversary this summer, we’ve been doing quite a bit of looking around – at where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going.
When we opened our doors in 1996, “ER” and “Seinfeld” were the highest-rated TV shows, “Independence Day” topped the box office — and I was the sum total of the Bellmont Partners staff. In fact, when I first moved on from Weber Shandwick and hung out a PR shingle, a few of our future Bellmont Partners team members were still young enough to be playing with Tickle Me Elmo, the must-have toy that year.
Because our agency is so rooted in pop culture (a topic my co-author Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and I happily covered in two books), the Bellmont Partners team felt it was only fitting to pose for an anniversary photo with some of the lost toys, tastes and tech from the ‘90s. To celebrate our big two-oh, we broke out our favorites from the decade, from Big Mouth Billy Bass and Beanie Babies to Dunkaroos and Nintendo 64. Yes, that’s me trying to call Screech on a giant Zach Morris cell phone.
It’s been especially fun for us “old-timers” to help our more junior colleagues look back at and understand the PR tools and technology we used in the mid-‘90s: Bacon’s media directories and Rolodexes, fax machines and phone books. Sure, now those items are all pretty much obsolete, but the PR strategies they helped support are as vibrant and relevant today as they were when Palm Pilots were the latest in cutting-edge technology.
We’re also celebrating where we are today, literally and figuratively. It’s been quite a journey from working out of our basements to moving into our Prior Lake office – in a former workout studio – to our current Edina space, featuring a breathtaking balcony overlooking both downtowns. We often say our agency is like a start-up with two decades of experience: Bellmont Partners is an established firm with a rich history of award-winning work, proven process and numerous clients who have been with us since the agency’s early days. At the same time, we’ve evolved in recent years into what feels like a wholly new company, delivering cutting-edge results, fresh, innovative thinking and enthusiasm with renewed purpose and energy.
We’ve put a lot of effort into cultivating a strong team and culture. Our growing team has become one of the Twin Cities’ most dynamic PR agencies, rooted in a sense of purpose, strategic approach and strong – and shared – values. Over the past few years, we’ve been recognized quite a bit for our work and culture: PR Daily and Ragan’s named us the Public Relations Agency Ace Agency in 2014 and a Business Services Ace Agency in 2015. We’ve made Minnesota Business Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the past two years, and this year, for the first time, we were named one of Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work.” We’re thrilled with the culture we’ve built – we believe that employees who are fulfilled, supported and empowered deliver better and more consistently effective results.
When we look at where we are and where we’re headed, the reason for our current and future success is clear: it’s our people. The firm’s 15 staffers have cut their teeth at a veritable “who’s who” of local and national agencies, companies, nonprofit organizations and media outlets.
Our growing roster of amazing clients is a testament to our team’s service-centric focus. Our experience, expertise and enthusiasm plays out every day in how we help our clients creatively and strategically solve their toughest communications and operational challenges. We’re able to truly partner with our clients, really digging into their businesses, industries and specific needs and building long-term relationships based on mutual trust that benefit everyone involved. And it’s all because of the group of talented PR practitioners I’m proud to come to work with every day.
For a fictional high-school student, Ferris Bueller was pretty sage: It is important to look around. And as we use our anniversary to continue to look at Bellmont Partners’ past, present and future, I’d like to offer a sincere thank-you to all our current and past team members, strategic partners, clients, media and everybody else who has supported our agency for last two decades. We couldn’t have made it this far without you.
Here’s to the next 20 years!