By Kevin White, CEO and President, Whitehardt, Inc.
On July 12th of this year it will have been 10 years since Felix, Billy and I opened up Whitehardt, Inc. We began Whitehardt with a desire to do business in a different way than other agencies in our niche. Our pledge to ourselves and our clients: be straight-up to a fault, deliver on time every time, and work continuously to make better ads, place better buys and get our clients better results. We were excited back in 2002 that our new name, Whitehardt (which is a conglomeration of White & Eckhardt), embodied that chivalrous notion of how to do business.
Ad agencies are notorious for smoke and mirror, bullshit tactics. We decided we would not play the game that way. At times it made our jobs much harder, but I attribute much of our long-term success to that very decision. Today we have a great reputation as a rock-solid agency that can be counted on to deliver results and give honest, straightforward advice – even if it’s not the easy answer.
As we approach our 10th anniversary, it’s fun to look back at the journey. We started with 3 employees in Jackson, MS, and a handful of clients. We got a loan and bought all the equipment we needed to shoot and edit the commercials before we were 1 year old. Will Fox was with us by that time. He was the only one from the Jackson era to make the trip to Nashville with us in January 2005. His eye for production value continues to keep our ads the best in the country. I hate to admit what a dinosaur I can be sometimes, but I must confess that without Will’s insistence I’m not sure we ever would have let go of sending ad approval copies on VHS. Thanks Will! He must be proud to see Old Man White blogging right now.
The Nashville era began with Jessica Miller joining our family as Director of Operations. She and I worked together at an ad agency in Dallas in the ’90s. Her first order of business was to find us Brad Wormer. He took an entry level position and has since gotten himself promoted through the ranks to head of the media department. His innovations in research and negotiating techniques have turned media buying for this niche on its ear. It’s far more sophisticated and effective for our clients than any I’ve ever seen or could have imagined.
Now we’re up to 19 employees and I’d brag about each and every one of them except that I’ve already reached my assigned 400 words for my first blog. It wasn’t the chore I assumed it would be. I’m going to start posting on a regular basis. First because the kids say it’s going to help our SEO and also because I kind of enjoyed the reverie.
Ciao, for now.