The 1964 Agency is unlike any other marketing firm that you may have heard of, and Founder Bryan Pierce says that’s the point.
Prior to launching his own company, Pierce says he’s worked alongside some of the biggest companies and names in the industry.
Through it all, he has always been committed to being real.
“It’s all about making those authentic connections in real life,” Pierce told AfroTech. “I worked for Diddy for several years and he always said, ‘Keep your ears to the streets.’ So I always say, make sure your culture insights are from the culture versus what you’re seeing online.”
The 1964 Agency was created by Pierce to be the space he needed early-on in his career.
“I started my agency out of necessity, really,” said Pierce. “I’ve been doing PR for like 20 years, working out of tons of agencies, big and small, predominately white, and oftentimes I felt overlooked. I was turned [down] for positions or more senior roles, always being told, ‘Let’s work on this,’ or ‘Let’s work on that,’ but I was always delivering results.”
After realizing just how undervalued he was at a certain point in his career, Pierce was inspired to create his own agency, which has quickly become not only a home but a safe space for creatives who look like him.
Cultivating A Safe Space For Creatives
“What I love about the team is that they’re so diverse, everyone comes from different places and different experiences,” Pierce shared. “It’s all about how we can really make a home for people. I hated being the only one in the room. That was such a weird feeling for me when I was working in these really cool agencies for these really big brands… that’s a very awkward feeling.”
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In Pierce’s eyes, one shouldn’t have to peel back the layers of what authentically makes them the person that they are once they step outside of the office after a long day’s work.
Instead, he encourages everyone to show up as their most authentic self from the start.
As a full-service cultural marketing agency using storytelling and execution to share the stories of creatives from all backgrounds, the company’s name is a nod to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the law that banned discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
His Most Memorable Project To Date
Working alongside brands such as GAP to uphold the message of his client The Brooklyn Circus, is something Pierce reveals as just one of many success stories led by 1964 Agency that makes his heart smile.
“I always love to work with small businesses because I think everyone deserves the same marketing and team efforts,” the Brooklyn, NY, native said. For the campaign, Pierce worked with longtime friend Ouigi Theodore, who is the owner of the menswear boutique.
He shared: “That campaign was probably my biggest one, not only just because I worked with someone I knew for so long, like, I’ve known him my entire career, but seeing his passion play out. I’d probably say in my whole career, this is the first time I saw such a community-driven response. When I work with music artists, there are music aficionados, people into music. They’ll support, but other people are not always in the same boat. Whereas for this, I had cousins, friends, families, former colleagues I hadn’t talked to in years tagging me and giving me authentic support and shoutout, and it was such a beautiful feeling.”
PR Agency Of The Year
Despite that being his first global campaign, more success was right around the corner for Pierce and company, who also celebrated winning Ad Age’s inaugural 2023 PR Agency of the Year – Silver Award, part of its Small Agency Awards.
“Even thinking about it gets emotional for me,” Pierce recalled. “As a person who has always worked behind the scenes, I’m very, if you know me personally, much an introvert. Like, I’m a people person, still, but I like to keep to myself personally, but professionally, I’m an extrovert, and honestly, I love working behind the scenes. This, actually, is my first interview ever as an entrepreneur. I’ve always led with, ‘I want people to know my work before they see me.’”
He continued: “It’s almost like a restaurant. When you go places and they have really good food, you don’t know who the chef is. It’s like, who’s back there cooking? I always wanted to be the ‘Please tell your chef this is an amazing meal’ type of person. That was the mindset. I applied for this award on a whim, really trying to figure out what we could do more of, so the award was really an honor. I never knew what it felt like to have my flowers up until that moment.”
What’s Next For 1964 Agency?
Looking ahead to what’s next, Pierce says expansion is in the cards for the 1964 Agency, which will celebrate five years in business on Aug. 13.
From more ad campaigns to showcasing the company’s talents outside of public relations, he sees everything coming together, including expanding a commitment to content development through projects such as documentaries and getting into music sync licensing.
“Honestly, I love what I do. I love the people I work with, and sometimes faith is more powerful than anything you can visualize,” Pierce expressed. “So for me, I just want to keep the faith, keep that same energy that I had when I was 19, 20 years old, and push myself. I really want to continue to make a name for myself in this industry.”
The sky is the limit when it comes to Pierce and the 1964 Agency!