Current events have us thinking a lot about gratitude lately. We’re grateful for our health, for each other, and for the opportunity we have every day to be creative and helpful.
Gratitude is also on our minds because (shouldn’t it always be, and) we’re reflecting on how, 50 years ago this month, my parents Jim and Nechie Hall founded this agency. We are, and always have been, an agency that believes in brilliant brands. And just like my parents did 50 years ago, we pour ourselves into the work. It’s what we call brand altruism.
Brand altruism is the fuel behind our Brands We Love series, in which we profile brands that intrigue and inspire us. This month we’re focusing on brands started in 1970, like ours.
When we interviewed leaders for our That ’70s Brand set, we heard a few themes on repeat: persistence, collaboration, passion, authenticity. From Nechie Hall, one of our agency’s founders, we heard about kindness, respect, and doing what’s right.
We’re still learning which ingredients are essential and in what quantities. What we know for sure is that we and these other organizations humbly set out to do something bigger than ourselves. And some people just have a never-dry well of passion for their work.
That ’70s Brand Rounder Records is an independent record label with a catalog of more than 3,000 titles. Friends and founders Marian Leighton Levy, Ken Irwin and Bill Nowlin wanted to produce records of artists with roots in traditional musical forms, and by doing so, expand their audiences. Think bluegrass, folk, reggae, Americana, but don’t stop there.
The Rounder catalog and brand is perhaps better defined by what and whom it represents, and to whom it speaks, than how it sounds record to record. A rounder is a person with little money to their name, who drifts, who participates in informal yet very social exchanges of stories and ideas, often through music. Early on, Rounder recorded folk, fiddle and bluegrass artists. It was music that resonated deeply with cultural histories, yet it wasn’t being played on the radio.
And now, though Rounder’s notoriety and distribution has expanded markedly, the company is still committed to its interest and mission to identify, record and promote a broad set of artists whose music carries powerful, timeless messages about the human condition. As a sample, current artists include Katie Pruitt, Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, Indigo Girls, Logan Ledger and Sierra Hull.
Rounder grew and persisted because of its founders’ passion for the music (and the life experience it reflects and informs) that they recorded and promoted. They were also keenly focused on firm yet flexible relationships, which they built at every stage of the process.
In the beginning and today, Rounder’s work is inseparable from the people who run it. The music is part of who they are. We think it’s a brilliant brand, we believe in what it’s doing in the world, and we look forward to seeing it evolve and grow in the next 50 years.
Now in our 50th year of business, Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.