Five years of stoking the fire

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Five years of stoking the fire

Five years ago today, a bunch of ‘April Fools’ picked up their belongings and started a new chapter at Charcoal Marketing. It was a Monday, when Brian, Ben and Riley wandered into our new digs at Oxford & Cork (I missed the weekend move in the rain, as I was out of town at a conference, and boy did I hear about it!).

Yep, we were a startup, looking to take on the world with new ideas, new energy and unbridled enthusiasm. It was fire!

When we first started, our point of differentiation was design, UX and our choice of Content Management Systems. This made a lot of sense at the time, as we had evolved “from the ashes of Headspace Graphic Design.” We made a lot of beautiful (and very functional) websites.

We had partnered with the ExpressionEngine, which had one of the better Content Management System platforms for users that tended to publish regularly. We soon evolved onto the CraftCMS for our own website, as well as a few new clients at the time. CraftCMS was created by some ex-ExpressionEngine developers, and they took ease-of-use to the next level. One could say that we were a little bit snobby about the CMS platform we would deploy, because at the time, this was a really important thing in the web development field.

We dabbled in content development, and the concept of Inbound Marketing was still in its infancy, but we embraced it - to help our clients get more value out of their investment on the web.

Fast forward five years, and our value for clients is now more in the marketing realm, helping them to leverage the power of the Internet to enjoy the advantages of big brand marketers.

Our focus today is more about how marketing can best serve our clients - whether that’s a brand refresh, marketing PR, strategic planning, content development, SEO, photography/ videography, programmatic advertising, or even...a new website.

Why the shift? Well, we quickly discovered that building websites only allowed us to play in the website and technology domain with our clients, not in the marketing domain. As we expanded our discussions to traffic building, social media integration, inbound marketing, lead generation, marketing strategy, and more, we were able to bring forward a different range of services to benefit our clients.

The evolution is particularly satisfying, especially when you help clients win. Marketing is creative, exciting, invigorating, sometimes frustrating, sometimes tedious, but most times an absolute delight. If you don’t believe me, come hang with us sometime!

For the team working here at Charcoal, we’re toasting our five years on April 1st, and then getting back to work, solving problems for our customers.

We’re also toasting the many clients that trusted us over the years, with a special shout out for the ones that have been with us from the start:

Points East Coastal Drive

Canada’s Food Island

Springboard Atlantic

Halifax Seed

Biocomp Instruments

HRM Pension

Elegant Flooring

Rolls Battery

Mattatall Signs

Southport Asset Management

ViveRE Communities

Five years later, we are clawing and scratching our way through a global pandemic, and the business is strong and growing. The promise of ‘fuel for ideas’ burns bright.

"Sparks of inspiration can come from beginnings both subtle and profound. Growth, necessity, meaningful impressions and powerful memories. A flicker of light with the potential to burn brightly and reveal something new."