Introducing Run by Rosie, a new agency model Learn More

Founder Blog: How I built the ad agency of the future

by | May 14, 2020

I built the agency of the future, and I can help you get there.
Spread the love


Last October on the stage of the 3% Conference in Chicago, Cindy Gallop called We Are Rosie “the future of advertising” in her annual Keynote presentation. Full disclosure, Cindy is on our Board of Advisors, but she’s right. I never designed We Are Rosie to exist comfortably in the old system. Frankly, building for the old system would never be satisfactory enough for me. I started this company because I was frustrated (and still am) by the outdated and inequitable talent dynamics of our industry. During my career, I tried to change the system from within and failed, so I decided to build anew. I was driven to act on what most diversity panels discuss. I was driven to create something that was as modern and unique as the consumers we’re here to connect with. I was driven to create a new marketing services practice- one that unleashes the true potential of all types of available talent, and where everyone truly feels welcome.  

We Are Rosie is the future, and the future is now. We didn’t just decide that we’re the future with bravado. We have spent the last six months conducting an exhaustive research study to prove our mission about the future of work in advertising and marketing. We heard from industry visionaries, our own clients, and of course our community of talent. The results of the study prove that our vision and model is what they want the future to look like. While the study itself will be unveiled Summer 2020, a few data points stand out:  

– Only 1% of marketers say they must have a traditional office

– Only 14% of marketers say they must have full-time employment

– 69% of marketers say they must have the ability to work remotely

– 56% of marketers say they must have non-traditional or flexible work hours

From Day 1, our model has removed geographic barriers to accessing work. We’ve also removed hierarchical, outdated career trajectory ideas from how work is allocated. We’ve built teams that are so uniquely suited for each challenge they solve, that our clients come back for more 100% of the time. What’s unique about us is we don’t just serve brands, we serve agencies too. We’ve tossed out assumptions about how creatives need to work together. We’ve listened to the people doing the work and given them more of what they want and need and less of the bullshit. We’ve ignored the status quo by ensuring independent talent gets paid weekly and gets access to full benefits. We’ve built a business with 4,500 adults, ready to chart this course with us. 

We Are Rosie’s business model is a blueprint for the future of business in advertising. Here’s how:  

The future is resilient. 

The business model of the future is able to withstand just about anything, like total economic shut-down caused by a global pandemic. Because we’ve been built with low overhead, a fully distributed team, and processes to allow us to thrive in a remote work environment, our model is well suited for just about anything you can throw at it. We sell the idea of flexible work, and we operate as the epitome of flexibility. This is more important than ever as marketers look at the viability of their partner’s business model. We are like wildflowers. We will grow wherever you plant us. 

The future is no bullshit. 

This can be filed under the innovation category, as we’ve basically extracted anything that wasn’t working for any of us. The things we chuckle about in the hallway, as we wonder why our industry has been operating like this for decades. You won’t find a 200 page PowerPoint here. We’re not going to give you strategy without execution. We’re not going to tell you we can’t find the perfect (and I mean, perfect) talent because of geo-restrictions we’ve arbitrarily placed on our business model. We don’t have bureaucratic layers. No smoke and mirrors. We don’t have a yacht at Cannes. Just 4,500 marketing pros, hand-picked for each client’s objectives and ready to get to work when you are.

The future is nimble. 

It’s safe to say no one knows what tomorrow will bring, so how can you make long term decisions about your marketing services strategy? Having a grow-with-you bench of talent (thousands of experts deep in our case) is the answer to your worries. Need change within 48 hours? No problem. Need a different skill-set than we talked about last week? We’ve got you covered.  

The future is exactly what you need when you need it. 

Gone are the days of opulent waste, spending, and overhead. Marketers need a solution that provides ultimate flexibility in ways to engage. Whether they need one person for a project or thirty. Our model enables clients to get what they need within a moment’s notice. We get briefed and deliver experts within 3 days of said brief. 

The future is transparent. 

Ever wonder what happens to those awesome people who pitched your business once you signed on the dotted line? Our new model removes this nonsense and ensures you know exactly who is working on your business and perhaps even more importantly, why they are there. You see, when you get to create bespoke teams from a pool of talent that is 4,500 highly talented and diverse people deep, you get to be incredibly prescriptive with who gets a seat at the table. Diversity becomes the fabric of our industry. And the best part- they aren’t going anywhere. We have a .05% attrition rate.

The future is sustainable. 

By building a remote-first business and community, we’ve made a massive reduction in the carbon footprint of a traditional business this size. We never built a business reliant on planes, commuting into an office, and a butts-in-seats mentality. Our business was designed before COVID, and we plan on beating the remote work drum into the future. 

The future is inclusive.

The trouble with D&I initiatives is that they’re predicated on strategies to retrofit into a paradigm that was never meant to welcome diversity. Criteria for bringing on talent that excludes remote options is never going to be diverse. From day one, we have always believed remote work is a form of inclusion. Excluding talent because they thrive working outside of an office, or because they had to leave a major market for personal reasons is not inclusive. Our model has proven that a flexible mindset in terms of bringing on talent beyond office walls or city limits is diverse and inclusive, no strategy needed. 

The future of work is now. 

All of our wildest hopes and dreams for this industry are represented in what we’ve built at We Are Rosie. I don’t want to keep it to myself. Our mission is to put as many people as possible to work in a way that gives them both the life and the career they want. By helping others realize that this is the path forward, we will do that. If you would like help joining us here in the future, we’re here for you.


We Are Rosie’s community of talent is a beautiful tapestry of age, race, gender, education, religion, neuro-diversity, and beyond. By tearing down the walls of the traditional work paradigm, we’ve created a space where arbitrary rules don’t limit the access to meaningful work and contribution for so many groups of people. The revolution has begun and the future of work is upon the entire advertising industry now.

We Are Rosie is publishing our first study on the future of work in advertising in May 2020.

Sign up here to receive updates



Topic: Innovation
Founder of We Are Rosie | Follow Steph on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Welcome to The Write-Up, a space for conversations about the future of work and flexible careers.

Whether you’re a CMO or an independent marketer (or both), we’re here to bring you bold perspectives, inspiring stories, and helpful advice from We Are Rosie's community of experts and thought leaders. Together, we're building a more inclusive, human future of work.

Sign up for our newsletter