It never fails that when I attend a conference or trade show and meet a new friend the question always comes, “so where is your agency?” It’s a fair question. Over the past two decades I have developed a response that seems to work.
I begin by explaining that our agency is located in the Smoky Mountains. Most of those I meet have either visited or heard of the majestic mountain area. Then, I ask if they have ever visited or heard of Asheville, NC. Most have and say that they love Asheville. I explain that we maintain an office there. Lastly, I explain that our corporate office is in Johnson City, TN. Their response is typically, “where’s that?”
With some of our primary competitors located in larger metropolitan areas, growing a nationally recognized ad agency in a city most have never heard of has been a challenge. It’s a challenge that I welcome.
I lived for a while in Nashville while I was in college and loved the city. In fact, I love many of the cities I visit as part of my job or via vacation. The awe of the Golden Gate. The vibe of Austin. The vineyards of Napa. The architecture of Chicago. Yet, the truth is there are few places that hold a candle to the natural beauty of Northeast Tennessee.
Teresa and I recently floated down one of the most extraordinary rivers east of the Mississippi, the Watauga. Aided by our guide, Brownie Liles, we snagged more than 20 rainbow and brown trout among beauty that those in New York City pay thousands of dollars to experience. In fact, there are more exceptional trout and smallmouth bass fishing rivers and lakes in my neighborhood than anywhere in the eastern half of America.
As a young boy, I played along the Appalachian Trail. Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone lived here and our city was once a fledgling new state, called Franklin. That was until the North Carolina militia convinced then-governor John Sevier that dissolving the constitution of the young state was a better idea than a hangman’s noose. So, our region is a wellspring of natural beauty – but wait, there’s more.
Ever heard of getting to work in eight minutes, or trotting through the TSA line at Tri-Cities airport in less than five? That’s the drill at Creative Energy. It’s where you can be a big fish in a smaller pond, with most of the amenities of a larger city, just fewer of them (really, do you need a Starbucks on every corner?).
We can more easily see the fruits of our labors here, in the pride we take in representing clients in larger cities. Also, through the lessons that we have learned, our pro bono work for charities here is more effective in raising money for them. We’re proud to be part of a force for economic development for this region that is paying off with higher paying jobs and more of them here.
Lastly, it is about the talent that moved or grew up here. Our staff is dedicated to great work and inspired, as I, to create world-class marketing and advertising campaigns and enjoy the lifestyle of a smaller metropolitan area. No matter where we travel on behalf of our clients, there is truly no place like here. Thanks to all of our clients who respect our commitment to the mountains and to those who prefer to travel to Chicago, Minneapolis or elsewhere – I’m sorry you never had a chance to visit with us here in the best part of Tennessee.