Discovering Our True North
Many of us see life through seasons.
Last year was the start of such a season for me when, having just come through a life-altering battle with cancer, I realized there was a demand for marketing and design services that I was uniquely equipped to fill. I landed my first two clients in February 2020 and I named my fledgling company Northgate.
We’re often asked why we called our company “Northgate”. The name came to my wife and I as we contemplated some of the things that matter most to us in life. Often people go through life navigating through random channels and directions without knowing where they are ultimately headed. After my bout with cancer, I realized how precious life is and how short it can be. I didn’t want to waste any more time. It was time to walk toward my true North. At the same time, we saw that many businesses needing marketing are oftentimes lost and without direction like we were. We wanted to be a gateway through which businesses could come to be directed into their greatest potential and show the world just how great they are. So it was settled: Northgate.
Sometimes in life, nothing can prepare you for what is coming, but this felt different. I still didn’t know what was ahead, but this time, I felt prepared.
I incorporated Northgate Marketing into existence and by the end of March, I hired my first full time employee. COVID-19 had already set its roots, but we were off and flying. I started contacting friends and past colleagues from all over the globe, people I’d mentally shortlisted long ago,and asked them to consider working with me to develop a global agency. Nearly every one of them said yes.
One of the first tasks I had to fulfill, though, was to develop for Northgate what we were already doing so well for our first clients. Northgate needed a brand. We needed a logo and a website, and a style that expressed not only who we were, but what we wanted to become. We wanted to show all the grit and enthusiasm we felt and showcase all the talent we’d gathered. And, of course, we wanted to keep our eyes firmly fixed on our true North. All the years I’d invested while in leadership in the non-profit sector taught me some vivid lessons in bootstrapping just about everything,so I put a brand together that served us pretty well for the first year.
Against all apparent odds, our 2020 client base sprouted and the year became one of both anxiety and hope. As our client base multiplied, our team grew into five full-time employees,bolstered by a stable of hand-picked contractors. And still we continued to grow.
Now, it’s been just over a year since we began this journey, and another new season seems already to be on the horizon. We have clients in over 16 states, 6 countries and 21 different industries! We’ve produced YouTube shows, branded corporations, built websites, taken hundreds of photographs, produced videos, and generated thousands of social media connections all while spreading across the globe from Iowa to California,from China to Africa.
No one at the outset could have imagined a season that would have brought this kind of opportunity and connection. But it happened. We’ve made relationships with businesses around the world, and with the people who run them, that have opened our eyes,broadened our possibilities, and taught us that of all languages, love and laughter are the most universal.
So now it’s time to stand on our foundation and step out into the new season laid before us. Today I’m happy to announce our new logo and rebrand. Our inspiration came from the intrinsic diversity within our organization. Together, we speak a combined 9 different languages and have lived in over 40 countries. The bold colors represent the inherent fun of our collectively vibrant personalities. This global experience and joyful collaboration sets us apart from other agencies. And, of course, our new logo wears the North Star front and center.
That star is there to keep us focused on our true North in all seasons. As we venture ahead, forming relationships with clients on every continent, we work toward bridging the gaps between nations and between customers. In the process, we’re discovering both standout talents and common ground in all the businesses we serve, just as we have done in building Northgate itself. We are on our way. May you find from us inspiration to discover and follow your own true North.
Founder and CEO