As we approach the 20-year anniversary celebration of Dittoe PR, I can’t help but reflect on how we got here. And just how much has changed.
I worked in public relations for four years before we started Dittoe PR. I was young, 22. And I looked it. So, with my first paycheck I bought librarian inspired reading glasses, a navy-blue pant suit and a handsome pleather briefcase. Nothing screamed seasoned professional to me more than these three essentials.
It was 1995. We didn’t have cell phones. We connected to the internet by dial-up. And we used fax machines – often. How else could we get press releases to reporters and updates to clients ASAP? It was a time when journalists were gods, print coverage was gold and Comdex was the hottest ticket in town.
My greatest memory is the arrival of Google. It was a mouth to floor moment. We could search anything – “like anything?!” – for free. Today it would’ve been an OMG moment. Then it was a “What you talkin’ about Willis” one. Google would radically enhance how we could locate journalists and their stories. It would speed the time we could share coverage with clients. No more waiting for the postman to arrive with our shipment of PC Magazine and InfoWorld, it was now at our fingertips.
Dittoe PR was born in 1999. We were a high-tech PR firm that began in the basement of our 1926 home. With floor to ceiling painted concrete and unfinished ceilings, we set up a makeshift office in the corner. Chris and I shared a computer and the lion share of our work was done the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper. When we wanted to send an email or search the “world wide web,” we’d simply unplug the phone line and plug in the computer. Voila.
That first year in business was anything but dull. Chris “retired” from the NFL (aka the Detroit Lions didn’t re-sign him after two seasons with NFL Europe in Germany) and we became pregnant with our first child. We also purchased our first cell phones, survived Y2k with minimal impact despite predictions of widespread mayhem and muscled through the dot-com bust that plagued the tech industry. We soon moved into real office space, began expanding our team and client base – and never looked back.
Flash forward 20 years, wow. Here are a few stand outs:
- Gen Xs aren’t the new kids on the block, we welcomed Millennials
- Computers travel home with us
- An easy stroll through The Wall Street Journal has been replaced by a quick scroll of Twitter
- Journalists have been joined by influencers
- Print media has been rivaled by online-only outlets and social media
- Emails rule, voicemails drool
- Cell phones are a lifeline
- The internet reigns as King. There’s rarely a time we’re not communicating with clients, partners and each other through email, Google Drive, Slack and social media. Not to mention all the reporting tools, digital coverage trackers, analytics software, and resources that we have access to.
- Thankfully, the Internet also means that we’re able to send, receive and store documents in a way that’s much kinder to Mother Nature.
In some ways, it seems like twenty years has flown by. But when we look at the company we’ve built, the clients we’ve touched, and the fact that we’ll soon have employees who weren’t even born when we first started the business (hello Gen Z’s!) it’s truly a testament to how far we’ve come.
Thank you to this industry who has afforded us this beautiful business, our team who is truly more family than employee and to the companies who have trusted us to craft their stories. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Dittoe PR in the next twenty years!