Keeven White and WhiteSpace Creative build on a legacy of success
President and CEO
Winner of the FirstMerit Legacy Award
For 10 years running, WhiteSpace Creative, headed by President and CEO Keeven White, has been recognized through the Cascade Capital Business Growth Award program for its achievements in the market. This year, the strategic integrated marketing communications agency continues to build on its trend of sales and employee growth that has earned it a legacy of recognition.
Since its inception in 1994, WhiteSpace has been contributing to the Akron economy by courting business from across the U.S. and adding high-growth jobs with above-average salaries to service its growing client base.
The company has expanded its reach to add clients from as far away as the Pacific Northwest. This outward growth has led to the company establishing a sales office in Charlotte, North Carolina, to service high-profile clients there.
Locally, WhiteSpace is contributing to the economy by offering its services to area businesses, some of which include the Akron Zoo, Diebold, Kent State University and The University of Akron. The company also works with local associations, such as the Greater Akron Chamber, the Downtown Akron Partnership and the Advertising Federation of Greater Akron.
WhiteSpace also provides pro bono marketing and communications services to Northeast Ohio nonprofit organizations. The company says it’s annual 24-hour CreateAthon has led to the company partnering with more than 100 organizations, working on more than 250 pro bono projects and production of materials valued at more than $500,000 during the past 13 years.
Keeping up with its expanding client base has meant that the company can continue to provide jobs for residents of Akron and the surrounding communities. Since 2009, WhiteSpace has grown its staff from 28 to 41. The company cites an appealing work environment and encouragement to participate in national award competitions as reasons it’s able to keep local talent in the area. Inherent to its retention efforts are emotional and mental rewards given to employees for their achievements, as well as additional financial compensation.
The company’s growth has been facilitated by acquisitions, namely SmileyHanchulak and Highland PR. The addition of these companies nearly doubled WhiteSpace’s client base and staff, paving the way for the company to enter into the public relations realm.
As it has evolved, so has the company’s approach to services. WhiteSpace has developed a team structure that abandons individual departments in favor of staff groupings in four, client-centric teams. This restructuring allows the company to dedicate a group of staffers to each client, essentially breaking the company into a set of mini agencies that hones each team’s focus on their clients’ needs. Teams can be scaled according to workload and are said to be more responsive.
This rejiggering came with a redefinition of roles and the opportunity to bring on additional talent to ensure each client has all its needs met. The company has also decentralized its leadership structure, broadening its management team to include eight people. Their responsibilities range from business development to talent acquisition and interactive solutions.
Growing its business both organically and strategically has helped the company realize a 120 percent increase in sales since 2009. The company says this, along with its new operating structure and renovations to its headquarters, has put it in a position for a successful future.