The story of how Hannah Paramore came to found Paramore, the Digital Agency starts the way a lot of origin stories do: She was fed up. After years of directing regional marketing at companies like CitySearch.com and insurance company Manulife Financial from her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, she found herself a casualty of the dotcom crash, her livelihood suddenly bending to the whims of the once thriving “new economy.” Between the beginning of 2000 and February 2002, she endured bracingly short stints at CountryCool.com, Qwest Media, Weberize, and AOL.
“I worked in dotcom startups in the late ’90s and through the downturn. That was painful for the whole industry, but particularly for those who didn’t live in a major market; the jobs that were left here were often under-funded or under-supported by the corporate office, and didn’t provide the team environment I craved,” she says. “After losing four jobs in two years, I decided I was safer on my own.”
But when she hung her shingle, she wasn’t sure precisely what she was starting. “I didn’t really know at the time that I was creating a digital agency, but that is what it evolved into fairly quickly. The tools to enable digital marketing such as paid search, email service providers, and content management systems were new and beginning to be within reach for even small companies,” she says. “But the people who held the client relationships, traditional ad agencies, didn’t have digital expertise internally. There was an obvious need for somebody who could help clients and their agencies think about digital strategically, then be brave enough to start testing the medium.” Turns out, she was that somebody.
Twelve years later, her full-service marketing firm is still going strong and supporting 30 team members, all crafting creative digital strategies to brand and elevate their clients, which include the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. But it’s her company’s sign that has earned Paramore name recognition outside her industry.
After moving into offices in downtown Nashville in 2013, Paramore was asked to work her magic on her new building. “We were given the opportunity to brand the building with a back-lit, skyline sign, and we wanted to take full advantage of that opportunity. The conversations about the sign progressed like this: ‘Could it be a color? Which color? Could it change colors?’ And I would have stopped there but our developers said: ‘It could change colors from an app,'” she explains. “So we worked on the technology to make that happen.”
Now anyone can control the color of the sign using the Paramore Color app, and they do: People change the color of their sign all day from all over the world. Novel? Yes. Trivial? No way. “It’s been a huge branding boost for us and it does double duty since we built it ourselves. It shows that we are seriously creative and seriously capable,” says Paramore.