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Member Spotlight | 2TON & Ryan Boylston

on December 7, 2020 / by Nancy Dahlberg ,


Read Time 4 Minutes

Business: 2TON is a full-service creative agency

HQ: West Palm Beach

Year founded: 2011 (formerly called Woo Creative)

Founder and CEO: Ryan Boylston (also Vice Mayor of Delray Beach)

No. on team: 21

Website: 2ton.com

 

It’s not easy for a small business to find a good creative partner for web development and marketing. So about a decade ago, Ryan Boylston began bringing those services in house as part of his consulting firm and kept adding new services as the team grew. Soon his company was a full-service creative agency.

Team board keeps growing.

In 2017 the company (then called Woo Creative) acquired the marketing department of a larger technology firm and rebranded as 2TON. “A lot of agencies say they have a ton of talent — we have 2 tons,” said Boylston, the agency’s founder and CEO.

Today 2TON is a team of 21. It services small to medium businesses as well as large companies. Its main office is in West Palm Beach’s warehouse district and there is a satellite office in Delray Beach. In addition to all the usual creative services – branding, package design, web design, print design, etc. – the company also offers strategy consulting. In fact, more than half its team is on the strategy side of the business.

“A lot of our clients come to us and they’re not looking for just pretty things … At the end of the day no matter how great it looks, if it’s not driving sales, then it doesn’t matter.”

 

FOUNDING THE ANTI-AGENCY

Before founding the agency, Boylston had an eclectic career in the auto industry and then publishing. Since 2018, he’s been serving on the Delray Beach City Commission, where he is Vice Mayor He was a founding board member of Palm Beach Tech Association and a past chairman of Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority, among other roles.

Boylston founded 2TON to be the anti-agency. You won’t find account reps at 2TON. Clients work directly with project managers and project consultants. Also, he said, “we’re not a turn and burn shop, we’re not a one-time project shop. We look for relationships with our clients.”

Customer service sets 2TON apart. “We don’t believe in outsourcing. Period. Everything is done in house — you’re working with our team,” he said.

The key to happy longtime clients is happy employees. 2TON doesn’t pigeon hole team members to one industry, as some agencies do. “My team is constantly dropping in and out of different industries and bringing best practices from one industry to another. It really keeps my team sharp.”

As for hiring, he said, culture fit is key and good people know good people. “So when we go to hire for a new position, we’ll put it out our own network and we’ll post it out to the world, and nine out of 10 times, someone on the team knows someone that is dying to work at 2ton who they will vouch for… and it turns out to be great fit.”

 

KEEPING EVERYONE HAPPY

Chief of Happiness is Lily Myers. “She used to be chief of client happiness but we found out Lily makes everybody’s life better.”

She keeps the office running, takes care of birthdays and fun team activities, and she is also the first touch for new clients and potential clients. “We do not have salespeople so if you call in to 2ton, you’re going to be on a meeting or on a call with the CEO and founder of the company within 48 hours,” Boylston said.

Before the pandemic, the team frequently got together for outings. Lately they get creative with Zoom happy hours.

Early on during the pandemic crisis, 2TON’s team made the strategic decision to stick together and be as flexible as possible with its clients,

“It was a tough summer. But it was really our team deciding that rather than lose clients or lose one or two people we’re all going to get through it together and we are starting to see that was the right decision.”

The company did not have to lay off anyone and its clients that had to pause their marketing are all returning now.

 

LEARNINGS FROM COVID

The office is open for team members who want to use it, but some are still working remotely and that has been a challenge. “Being together brainstorming bouncing ideas off of each other, there’s just a magic that happens when we’re all together in our office.” Indeed, by design, 2TON’s West Palm office is one big room – there are no cubicles or private offices, not even for Boylston.

Knowing the struggles of clients in particularly hard-hit industries during COVID has been particularly difficult, but a silver lining is that the crisis pushed some to make digital moves they had been putting off for years, whether it was a more powerful website, e-commerce capabilities or a home delivery model. “These are going to be tools for their business forever.”

Boylston was pushed, too. Boylston has always been a meet-in-person kind of guy, but COVID pushed the agency to embrace the video conferencing and it has seen incredible efficiency. “It’s been a game changer,” he said. “I’m usually the type that would rather get on the road and drive to 30 or 40 minutes to meet you in person than to  jump on video but I have seen the fruits of embracing video conferencing.”

The West Palm office is quieter now, but open for team members to use. Photo at top of post is Ryan Boylston speaking at a Palm Beach Tech event.

Member Spotlight | 2TON & Ryan Boylston