They say you can learn a lot about the life of a tree by studying the rings produced from each year of growth. We think the same can be said for a marketing agency. This year, Green Apple celebrates ten years as a full-service marketing agency in Nashville.
As in any business, the past decade has been filled with innumerable highs and some difficult lows. There have been pleasant surprises and unexpected challenges. The marketing world has evolved dramatically over the past ten years. COVID-19 drastically changed our world. All of these realities have shaped and impacted the way Green Apple has grown.
Recently, I had a moment to sit down and reflect on some of the most meaningful moments we’ve experienced since starting Green Apple Strategy. Here are ten of the most significant highlights and milestones from the past decade.
1. Creating an agency based on a long-term, strategic partnership approach.
I worked in multiple marketing and PR agencies throughout my career — all of which had a specific niche for supporting clients. When I started Green Apple in 2012, I wanted to build something different. I wanted our agency to be a strategic partner for clients, not simply helping with their immediate needs. This approach has shaped everything we’ve done – from client onboarding to staffing — and has made a tremendous difference for both Green Apple and our clients.
2. Helping clients find their “story” and tell it effectively in the digital age.
Storytelling has always been an important part of marketing and advertising. When Green Apple was founded in 2012, businesses were trying to navigate the new digital landscape. It was incredible to walk alongside our clients as they navigated how to tell their stories more effectively — creating dynamic websites, leveraging the power of social media, investing in content marketing as a way to draw potential customers into the brand.
3. Being able to constantly optimize our efforts and prove marketing’s impact on the bottom line.
As marketing evolved, so did our ability to measure it. We were able to define key performance indicators that would make a tangible difference in our client’s bottom line and then make data-driven decisions. It is still an incredible feeling when we can sit down with a client and see the direct impact we had on their growth or work alongside them to evolve our strategy based on what we’re learning.
4. Developing and evolving our partnerships with clients.
The longevity we’ve had with clients is one of the accomplishments I’m most proud of. Because of our partnership approach, we’ve adapted our services for clients as their businesses evolve. Because of this, we have several clients that started with Green Apple when we were a young company.
5. Working alongside a team of good people.
It’s almost impossible to say what’s made the most difference between our approach and our team. From the beginning, I wanted to create a stable agency for our employees. I wanted to provide and give our team as much as we did to our employees. I’m incredibly grateful for all the team members, past and current, who partnered to help make Green Apple a great place to work for the past ten years. I always believed that hiring good people who want to help will make a tremendous difference. After ten years, I’m more convinced of that than ever before.
6. Starting the Green Apple Orchard.
From the beginning, I wanted to create “the Orchard” as a team of freelance specialists that could serve our clients by doing what they do best. The Orchard has transformed our ability to work with top talent and provide clients with a team built just for them based on their needs and goals.
7. Partnering, learning, and growing from an incredible network.
You don’t grow a business by yourself. As I reflect on the past ten years, I’m incredibly grateful for all of the valuable connections and meaningful connections I’ve had. Grabbing lunch with a potential client after being recommended by a mutual friend is still one of my favorite activities. But it’s more than referrals – it’s also milestones like contributing to the national Business Journal network and joining an entrepreneurial coaching group, which have helped me grow and learn.
8. Evolving our agency into a hybrid office model.
Staying connected has always been an important value for our team. While we began testing a “hybrid” office model in 2019, COVID completely changed the game when everyone was asked to work remotely. It was a difficult decision at the moment, but shifting to a hybrid office has been one of the biggest game-changers for our agency. This has opened up our ability to hire really great talent from anywhere. Right now, we have full-time employees based in Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina.
9. Joining EO Nashville in 2019 & winning Best in Business in 2020.
One of my personal goals was to achieve $1 million in revenue before our 10th anniversary. We were able to hit that milestone in 2019 — which has created an incredible opportunity to join EO Nashville. While Nashville has become an “it city” for big businesses, joining the EO has opened up an opportunity to connect and learn from other Nashville-based business owners who care about making a difference in our city. The following year we were honored as one of the best marketing agencies in Nashville. Both of these milestones are markers of many of the highlights from the rest of this list.
10. Navigating all of the challenges and complexities of the past two years.
The pandemic has changed our lives — personally and professionally. Almost every business suffered somehow, and navigating the challenges with our clients was no easy task. While several clients had to pause their marketing efforts because of the pandemic, we’ve started working with them to regain their footing. While most agencies were forced to furlough or lay off staff, our team has actually grown. As I look back over the past two years, I’m incredibly grateful and proud of the way our team has navigated the challenges of the past two years.
As I “study the rings” from Green Apple’s ten years in business, the overwhelming emotion is gratitude.
I want to thank all of my team members, Orchard contractors, clients, networking connections, and friends who have worked with or simply mentioned Green Apple over the past ten years. You have all carved your initials in our tree.