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VOL. 128 | NO. 190 | Monday, September 30, 2013

Speak Creative Grows With Client Needs

By Andy Meek

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Speak Creative, a Memphis-based Web design and interactive agency, has already added a few people this year to its staff.


And thanks to an influx of requests from local businesses looking to take their digital offerings to a new level, Speak owner and president Jacob Savage expects to add a few more employees by year’s end.

In recent months and weeks, the firm – which Savage describes as a combination creative and technology shop – has helped launch new websites for clients that include Muddy’s Bake Shop, Bellevue Baptist Church and the Central Gardens Association, to name a few.

To get a sense of the design changes and other digital tweaks the firm implemented for one of those clients, the new Muddy’s website now makes a listing of the week’s selection easier to find, bringing it to the home page. Another new component of Muddy’s Speak-designed site is the ability to order products online.

“The website is kind of a home base for a client’s visual presence and still very much a center of what we do,” said Savage, who started Speak in 1999 and built it into a business that serves hundreds of clients in about 40 states. “We’re actually going through a redesign for the Memphis Zoo right now. These things are coming from clients who say, ‘I know the Web could be doing more for my business or organization, so build me a solution that makes that possible.’”

There are a few reasons for the uptick in such requests. Savage said this year has arguably served as an inflection point in digital capabilities available because of the Web, and mobile devices including tablets and handsets continue to proliferate.

“So our expectations around what a website is are different than they’ve been before,” Savage said. “There are more things we can do now that we couldn’t do before.”

He pointed to the frequency with which his firm and others are designing more sites with a view toward so-called responsive Web design. That is achieved by making a site visually adapt no matter what device it’s being viewed on.

Among the firm’s recent work, the Speak creative team helped the Central Gardens Association come up with a site designed to quickly connect visitors with the neighborhood’s history, architecture, beauty and spirit of community.

For Bellevue Baptist Church, the firm undertook the website project with a goal of improving the user experience of site visitors.

“Our typical product output is going to be things like websites, mobile apps and kind of all pieces and parts in between,” Savage said. “The core of what we do is custom client work. And a lot of times that will start around a conversation about just one piece of the puzzle, and then the conversation will open up and touch on things to go with that project.

“It may start with a website, but then we start talking about how we drive traffic to the website and people’s understanding and adoption of the role of Internet marketing into their digital strategies. It’s not all that useful to have a great website that nobody goes to.”

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