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Community Highlights: Meet Jacob Savage of Speak Creative

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacob Savage.

Hi Jacob, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Speak’s story has rather humble beginnings. The summer before I entered college, I started dabbling in graphic design, doing small branding and design projects for friends, family, and my church. Word spread about my work and over the next couple of years, requests continued to grow.

I made the call to hire two employees to help with the demand and made the hard decision to put school on hold to focus on the business full-time. Alongside my team, I continued to grow our reach and services, which led to a focus on website design and later, digital marketing services – the company’s leading services for the past 15 years.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
By far, the most challenging circumstance was the transition from a small owner-led staff to a mid-size organization with a management team. Bumping up against the limits of my own ability to manage a team of 15-20, I quickly understood that a new structure would be necessary, but there were major concerns about the impact on culture and team alignment.

I decided to transition slowly, tapping a few team members to take on peer-leader responsibilities. Over a couple of years, those responsibilities were increased and the leadership was formalized as a management title.

While this new structure was and is more expensive, it has proven critical to the continued scaling of the company which now has nearly 50 employees.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Speak Creative?
Founded in 1999, Speak Creative is a full-service agency with offices in Memphis (headquarters) and Nashville. We work with clients across a broad spectrum of markets, but we have areas of client specialty that include: Cause organizations, foundations, cultural attractions, and community-focused nonprofits.

Our focus is on creating positive outcomes for our clients, primarily online, and our team has been built and shaped in pursuit of this focus. Each of our 50 team members is a specialist and expert in their respective disciplines, and we pride ourselves on assembling the right team of experts for each client engagement we take on. We currently serve clients in 40+ states and Canada.

As mentioned above, Speak is a full-service agency, and we offer a broad suite of services including branding, web design, web development, hosting, creative services, digital marketing, search engine optimization, social media strategy, social media management, paid placement, media buying, public relations, photography, video production, motion graphics, and comprehensive marketing strategy and management.

What sets us apart and what we’re most proud of go hand in hand. Our people and our partnerships are distinctive. While it’s true of almost every company that “without our people, we wouldn’t exist,” we have a deep appreciation of the truly exceptional people that make Speak what it is. Our top two values are “Serve Our Clients” and “Work With Heart.” Everyone on our team embraces these daily as they create, code, consult, support, and sell.

These values are reflected in our partnerships. Years ago, we were like other web companies: transactional. We’d launch a site for a client and hope to hear from them in a few years when it was time to redesign. For the past decade, we’ve been about the partnership: Aligning with and attaching to our clients, making their ongoing success our goal. The launch of your new site with us is really just the beginning of our relationship.

We believe that a website’s purpose is to move people to action–to give, to buy, to respond, to join, to share, to think. To do that, it must be emotionally engaging, empowered by strategy and technically sound. A deficiency in any one of these and success is compromised. That’s why we have strategists, designers, digital marketers, and programmers working together as one on each project, striving for the best possible results for our clients.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
The list is so long, but it starts with my parents who have been behind me crazy ideas my entire life. They didn’t bat an eye when I told them I wanted to step away from school. Next, my wife Jana has been a steady support system through all of the ups and downs that come with owning your own business.

Last, but certainly not least, the very early clients who trusted us with their marketing and digital needs before we had a proven track record of success. I feel fortunate to have had many encouraging and impactful supporters along the way and have no doubt there will be many more than influence Speak Creative’s future success.

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Speak Creative

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