Tim Riester: Leading the Marketing Rhythm

by Christina Borrego 


For more than 27 years, Tim Riester and his advertising agency, RIESTER, have been successfully creating and revitalizing brands, launching products, changing consumer behaviors and motivating people to care about issues that matter.

If you ask Tim Riester why his company is so successful, he points to the strategic nature of his clients and the talents and work ethic of his staff. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the wisdom of our clients and commitment of our amazing employees,” shares Riester. Years ago, Riester was a drummer in a band. He believes that setting the rhythm for the other band members and showcasing their talents is a lot like running RIESTER. “We set the pace here for innovation and superior performance. That’s the recipe to create the most successful campaigns.”

Riester believes advertising and marketing is a dynamic, constantly evolving, high-pressure industry. Limitless technologies, social networking platforms and innovative devices will forever influence and alter how people consume information and communicate on a daily basis. All of this makes for an industry landscape that is complex but more exciting than ever before. “Agencies have to work harder and smarter,” shares Riester. “Our clients are under a lot of pressure to deliver outcomes and, as a result, need us to help them influence consumer behaviors and preferences.” He likens marketing to being an entrepreneur — believing so deeply in an idea to be willing to work all day, all night, all weekend; and then convincing everyone else involved to do the same. “We appreciate that type of grit in our clients and have built a business on staying in stride with them.”

Staying in stride with clients also means making it a point to know their business almost as well as they do. “Knowledge is power, so you have to do the homework,” Riester says, noting it is critical in his business because they represent clients from a cross-section of industries, from utilities to banks, healthcare to consumer products, tourism to gaming and entertainment. “It means being naturally curious and capable of grasping the workings of a variety of categories,” he adds.

Riester also values clients who view the firm as a partner, not just a vendor. “When clients enlist RIESTER to help them advocate and educate their boards of directors or other departments and divisions in their company, we embrace this role of brand steward. We want nothing more than to help our daily client contacts by supporting their initiatives, and contributing to a vision for the brand’s future.” This commitment to supporting RIESTER’s clients has led to extended client-agency relationships. In fact, many clients who began working with RIESTER as brand managers a decade or two ago are still working with RIESTER today as presidents and CEOs of the companies RIESTER supports.

Anticipating problems before they arise has also helped RIESTER stay ahead of the pack. “Most client-agency relationships go south because of punctuality, processes and staffing changes,” says Riester. “It is known that these common areas cause client-agency partnership tension.” By planning ahead, he says, “relationship deterioration is avoidable.”

Riester’s love for Arizona is as solid as his commitment to his clients. Although RIESTER acquired businesses and expanded its operations across the west, Riester recently made a major real estate investment in his home base of Phoenix to house his expanding headquarters. “Our recent move to 3344 on Camelback is part of ongoing strategy to re-invest in ourselves as a firm. Clients from all over the country visit Phoenix to work with RIESTER, and we continuously relocate talented advertising professionals to work here. Our new headquarters provides them with Arizona’s most majestic views and modern work environment.”

Riester’s approach to business has led his company to being named the fastest-growing, privately held advertising and public relations agency in the country by Inc. Magazine four consecutive years. Advertising Age listed RIESTER among its “20 Ad Agencies to Watch in America,” and RIESTER was listed among Forbes’ “Top 100 Global Agencies that Know Social Media and Google.” RIESTER also received unprecedented recognition from the American Advertising Federation’s Phoenix Chapter, including “Copywriting of the Year,” “Art Direction of the Year” and “Best of Show” out of more than 600 entries at the 2016 Addy Awards. In addition, the firm’s chief strategic officer, Mirja Riester, was awarded “2016 Ad Person of the Year.” Just recently, RIESTER was named one of only a few “Google Elite Partners” in the United States.


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