FIVE YEARS IN THE MAKING


5 YEARS IN THE MAKING

23 MAY 2016

Lightning strikes can happen at the least likely moments - what does it take for a lightning strike? Charged particles collide and create a spark - and boom.

Inspired by a long weekend at Summit at Sea, I couldn’t sit still anymore. Being surrounded by social entrepreneurs who were out to change the world is contagious and within a couple of weeks of the event I knew I had to make it happen. Tim and I had always dreamed of doing our own thing and running an agency together. Over the years we had worked for competitors at times, sometimes even pitching on the same business for different agencies.

Partner and Chief Storyteller, Tim Dyer, at Manifesto Milwaukee's first office in the Grand Ave Mall.

Partner and Chief Storyteller, Tim Dyer, at Manifesto Milwaukee's first office in the Grand Ave Mall.

Art Director, Tyler Sanderson, and Tim Dyer setting up our first Manifesto Milwaukee office.

Art Director, Tyler Sanderson, and Tim Dyer setting up our first Manifesto Milwaukee office.

Manifesto Portland's first office.

Manifesto Portland's first office.

This month, we are celebrating our five year anniversary as an agency. We are blessed, humbled, and honored by making this mile marker in our journey. Five years ago we began with a simple idea - brands have a powerful voice and can be used as changemakers to make the world a better place. We didn’t want to create a cause marketing agency but rather an agency with a cause. To liberate brands everywhere by creating authentic experiences that inspire and disrupt. Thus, with no clients, no capital, and a two-year non-compete we set off on our journey to build an agency that would call on brands to stand for something.

I didn’t want to move to Milwaukee and Tim had no interest in uprooting his family and coming to Portland so we made the logical decision for an uncapitalized scrappy start up agency--two virtual offices in coffee shops 2,000 miles apart.

Manifesto Milwaukee's 2014 Halloween Party

Manifesto Milwaukee's 2014 Halloween Party

Manifesto Portland's 2015 Halloween Party

Manifesto Portland's 2015 Halloween Party

The road hasn’t been easy but it has been rewarding. When you have ultimate trust in your business partner, you can rest easier at night knowing he or she has your back. As identical twins, we collectively make up one whole person… Just enough left and right brain to create some synergy. Certainly we have our battles and tifts - all founders do. But five minutes later we can have a laugh about it.

The last five years have been marked with both trials and triumphs. As I look back, I can still remember holding the first $10,000 check that we received for one of our first projects. Another crowning moment that I will never forget was the day that we were awarded our first Ex Award for the Arby’s Foundation Hungry for Happiness Campaign. As we walked towards the bright lights of the stage, surprised and bewildered that our little shop would be recognized among the experiential and event agency titans of the industry, we were thrilled and petrified with each step. That night, we took home our first national award for a cause-integrated campaign and, for maybe the first time, felt traction taking root.

Tim and Dave Dyer accepting our first Ex Award in 2014 for the Arby's Foundation Hungry for Happiness Campaign.

Tim and Dave Dyer accepting our first Ex Award in 2014 for the Arby's Foundation Hungry for Happiness Campaign.

But there are also those times that are dotted with anxiety & despair. After five years, it’s easier to be more honest about the hustle, the struggles, and pursuit of the dream. One such moment that I recall early on was sitting in my car on a sweaty May afternoon in a Costco parking lot after reviewing our accounts receivable report and realizing that in order to keep the lights on we desperately needed to collect outstanding invoices from some of our clients. I can remember frantically calling anyone I knew to ask for a $12,000 loan - that’s it, just twelve grand to get us by until we could get the much-anticipated collection of cash from clients. Those were the character-building days - the thrill of the pitch, the excitement of the hunt, and sometimes, the despair of defeat.

Milwaukee team visiting the making of the Intel InsideOut Experience containers.

Milwaukee team visiting the making of the Intel InsideOut Experience containers.

Portland team working in the old Milwaukee Office in 2015.

Portland team working in the old Milwaukee Office in 2015.

Fast forward five years and with just under 20 employees, two brand new offices, and a portfolio of work we’re proud of for bold brands including Intel, Amazon, Cisco, Sam Adams, Arby’s and GE Healthcare, we couldn’t be more thankful.

We’re thankful to our community, those who have rooted for us all along, those faithful few who were willing to roll the dice on our little dark horse agency and believe in us. We’re also thankful to our clients who have supported us every step of the way, who were willing to take risks, and entrust us with helping to steward their brand. Finally, we’re thankful to our team who, many of which, believed in our mission and purpose more than making money and who have helped to shape our culture, ambitions, and ethos.

Here’s to another five years as we look toward the future and dream about what Manifesto can become.

DAVE DYER
PARTNER  |  CEO

Snowmobile outing while on our company retreat in Washington.  

Snowmobile outing while on our company retreat in Washington.  

Milwaukee and Portland teams enjoying the great outdoors in Washington during our retreat in 2016.

Milwaukee and Portland teams enjoying the great outdoors in Washington during our retreat in 2016.

New Milwaukee Office

New Milwaukee Office

New Milwaukee Office

New Milwaukee Office

New Milwaukee Office

New Milwaukee Office

Dave Dyer and Josh Eddleman ribbon cutting in the new Portland office.

Dave Dyer and Josh Eddleman ribbon cutting in the new Portland office.

Portland office open house

Portland office open house

New Portland Office

New Portland Office

New Portland Office

New Portland Office

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