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A ‘refresh’ for one of Rhode Island’s top marketing firms

The marketing firm is adapting to the many social, economic, political, and technological shifts that are underway.RDW Group

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of RDW Group, the marketing firm that has been around New England for nearly 40 years. If you haven’t, you’re undoubtedly familiar with their work because they’ve counted some of the biggest brands in the region as clients.

For 2024, the firm just launched what it calls a “refresh” of its brand, so I asked senior account executive and partner Giselle Mahoney to explain what’s changing and what their clients should expect in the new year.

Q: RDW is one of the best-known marketing firms in the region. What made you decide to refresh your brand now?


Mahoney: It’s a great question. Every organization we work with is facing an incredible amount of change right now. And as they adapt, we are also adapting and helping them navigate oftentimes new territory with new capabilities, knowledge, and forms of collaboration. It’s a process that inspires a lot of self-reflection, and from that comes this new expression of our promise to those we serve. In this case, our theme of “Become You” is all about helping organizations truly realize their vision and fulfill their mission, whatever it may be.

Q: You’ve probably helped hundreds of companies with some form of a rebrand over the last 40 years. Does that make it easier or more difficult to turn the tables and essentially become the client?

Mahoney: What’s the saying, “Doctors make the worst patients?” But in all seriousness, this is the same guidance we give to our clients - and we do our best to follow it, too.

In one way, it was fun to “become the client” - diving deeper into the market research and also looking inward and soliciting feedback from our whole team about what motivates each one of us to work at RDW and what we stand for as an agency. Most inspiring were the candid conversations we had with many of our clients - to hear plainly the trust and impact we’ve had working together is exactly why we do what we do.


On the other hand, like all brands, there is an emotional connection to what we’ve built over the years, and change is always a little difficult. Celebrating the past but also letting it go to embrace the future is important for us to lean into as we enter 2024. We’ve diversified in practice areas and perspectives and welcomed in a new cadre of truly talented colleagues who position us well for what’s next.

Q: We should note that you’ve also moved into the CIC building at 225 Dyer St. (Hi, neighbor!). What are the pros and cons of that decision?

Mahoney: Well, clearly the number one “pro” is being right down the hall from a few top-notch reporters. And really everything else is a “pro” too - we love this pocket of Providence (including our walks across the footbridge) and love being in this vibrant space with so many amazing companies, thinkers, and do-ers. The fresh and inclusive culture at CIC aligns with our own culture and aspirations. And the flexibility within the coworking space has really suited our own working model. Coming up here on our one-year CIC anniversary, we couldn’t be happier with the move and have received all positive feedback from clients and our team alike.


Q: Let’s talk big picture about the future of marketing: What’s the number one piece of advice you’re giving to your clients in 2024?

Mahoney: Clients are seeing their competitive landscape shift beneath their feet. There are so many social, economic, political, and technological shifts underway. Our advice is that it is more important than ever to listen to the marketplace and to your audience, to understand how to remain relevant and ahead of the curve, and to stay visible.

We think 2024 (and even beyond) will be a gateway year for marketing, digital, and PR for all the reasons mentioned above. From the accelerated adoption of AI to the evolution of social media to the growth of the media industry (particularly here in RI) - these factors are absolutely challenging and changing the role of communication, how it’s executed, and how we reach people. At the same time, there are also so many exciting opportunities to explore. It’s our role to serve as a strategic partner to our clients in all of these efforts.

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, links to interesting stories, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him @danmcgowan.