Measured in digital years, a decade and a half is an eon. Fifteen years ago, the commercial Internet was just half a dozen years old. Bill Gates was predicting the emergence of something called “social networks.” Cybercrime concerns still were mostly limited to suspicious emails from the Prince of Nigeria. The high-tech bubble was stretched thin with promise, if not profits, and the stock markets topped all-time highs. 2000 seemed a great time for the founders of Airfoil to start up a public relations firm in downtown Detroit.
Then within weeks and months, the tech bubble ruptured, highly touted software proved to be mere vaporware, and 911 became much more than an emergency phone number. The economic, social and technology environment suddenly became an alien landscape, unfamiliar, challenging, and even threatening.
But, more than ever, it remained a great time for a high-tech public relations boutique firm. The Internet was on the verge of becoming more than a shopping mall and library as technology innovators were hard at work creating mobile phones, online banking, new forms of entertainment—all the devices and applications that we take for granted 15 years later. The profession of public relations was undergoing an unprecedented revolution as practitioners tossed out their Finder Binder journalist directories, struggling to invent online media relations, new measurement techniques and global communications practices for online clients who discovered that e-commerce had instantly transformed them into international businesses.
From its origins as a team of five people in the Smart Detroit business accelerator space, Airfoil began building new directions for the high-tech communications profession. Business grew 100 percent in just the first three years. With core clients like Microsoft, eBay and PayPal, the agency rapidly grew to a group of 15 professionals, then 25 and eventually 50, a tenfold increase in talent over 15 of the most significant years in technology.
Today, Airfoil is a full service marketing communications agency. Our future is as bright as the bubble on which we started. With additional offerings including a social and digital practice; a research department; and a full creative and editorial team, Airfoil has been recognized as a leading agency in the industry. Our next 15 years will include a new headquarter location in Royal Oak, Mich.; adding more experts to our already impressive roster of team members; and partnering with some of the brightest clients the industry has seen. We want to thank you for making the past 15 years a fun and vibrant time in the agency’s history and we invite you to join us for what’s to come.