In Focus: Interview with Susan Gates, CEO at Redbird

Jonathan Winbush | Muse Awards
In Focus: Interview with Jonathan Winbush, Founder and Artist at Winbush Immersive
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Christopher Heller | helium creative | Muse Awards
In Focus: Interview with Christopher Heller, President + Creative Director at helium creative
June 9, 2018

Susan Gates | Redbird | Muse Awards

Susan Gates

Susan launched Redbird with her business partner, Amy Rappeport, in 1996 as a custom publishing company, making magazines for big brands. Amy and her came out of the magazine business in New York - Esquire, Newsweek, National Geographic - and were set on helping brands bring national quality editorial to their marketing efforts in order to touch customers in more meaningful ways.

In 2005, with the digital landscape opening wide, they brought in two more partners, Miriam Bookey and Jenna Briand, both from AOL Time Warner, and both experts in digital content, to expand their content offerings across all platforms, from print to websites, mobile apps, social media, to the full range of video services.


Interview with the 2018 Muse Creative Awards Winner - Susan Gates

1Tell us a bit about your business and what you do.
Our name, Redbird, is a from a favorite Wallace Stevens poem describing the appearance of a red bird, boldly standing out against a tangled forest. In today's crowded marketing landscape, it is a reflection of the clarity and quality we value. We help brands stand out, connect deeply with their customers, and deliver value at every turn. Our team consists of 18 full-time employees, together with a network of over 150 independent contractors including filmmakers, magazine editors, strategists, designers and writers. This networked model allows us to customize teams and pull in best-of-breed talent to each project. For example, we brought in colleague and friend Carrie Tuhy, founding editor of Real Simple, to steer the development of Muse winner Ideas of Order, the magazine we created for our client California Closets,
2Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?
In a recent study, marketing intelligence SaaS Beckon found that only 5% of branded content garners 90% of all engagement. There is simply too much noise out there as brands push to fill social streams with layers of daily messaging. We've got to slow down, and I believe we will. I believe that top-tier creative leadership knows that the only way to reach customers in meaningful ways is to develop best-of-breed, editorially-driven content. We're talking about investment pieces that actually break through the noise, forge a meaningful connection and make a difference in peoples' lives - bringing wisdom, or laughter, or a resonate reminder of what it means to be human together.
3What makes your company specifically, unique in the creative industry?
Magazine-making is in our DNA. Redbird's best-of-breed print publishing talent includes the brightest leadership from brands like Conde Nast, Time, Inc., Wenner Media, Livingly Media, Vice, and the Los Angeles Times.
4If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering a career in creative industry, what would it be?
Push the boundaries. Celebrate mistakes. That's where breakthrough happens.

Winning Entries

Ideas of Order Magazine

Ideas of Order Magazine
As a business centered around entering and organizing people’s homes, our client California Closets had a uniquely intimate relationship with its customers... (read more)

Rachel Testimonial

Rachel Testimonial | Muse Awards
Featuring real customers with authentic stories, we created six 30-second on-brand vignettes showing how EO Products’ values are woven into people’s daily lives... (read more)

Crash Course Series

Crash Course Series
Redbird created a number of how-to guides for Staples' small business audience centered around a variety of known pain points... (read more)

Trade Secrets

Trade Secrets | Muse Awards
Redbird created a series for client Staples called Trade Secrets to spotlight small business owners and capture actionable “how to” tips to share with others... (read more)


Anthem | Muse Awards
Redbird told EO Product’s story in a unique, deliberate, and cinematic way to communicate the company’s values, history, and commitment to product quality... (read more)

Random Acts of Health

Random Acts of Health
Redbird conceptualized, launched, and developed the “Random Acts of Health” campaign for Kaiser Permanente. Random Acts of Health Moments are vignettes illustrating UGC-style ways... (read more)

Science of Success...

Science of Success and Working Out
Redbird created a number of highly engaging infographics for Staples to help solve various pain points for their small business audience. All of our content took social media promotion... (read more)

Touch Digital


Redbird is woman-owned and run, creative and strategic agency that helps brands be more human. We are based in Los Angeles, with outposts in Seattle and New York. We make content and experiences that get to the heart of what people care about. Our current clients include Microsoft, Costco, Staples, Banner Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

We've been telling brand stories - through award-winning websites, videos, magazines, apps and social content - for more than 20 years. Our deep experience in journalism, filmmaking, strategy and design makes us naturals at identifying narratives that matter, and bringing them to life at every interaction, on every platform.


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