akhia at 27.
A lot has changed. One big thing hasn’t.
On November 1, 1996, akhia was founded. Twenty-seven years later a lot has changed. We like to think a few things haven’t. Join us as we look back at how our logo, brand and taglines have evolved, but if you look closely, you’ll see some very familiar tenets that have stuck with us and made us who we are today.
Our CEO and president Ben Brugler will kick us off with a look back at the first tagline in akhia’s history:
Summer was coming to an end in the year 2000.
I was six months into my first full-time job as an account coordinator at Akhia Public Relations. I loved my job. As my dad used to say—we worked when it was time to work. We stopped when it was time to stop. Back then, starting was defined as when you walked through the door. Stopping meant all the fires had been put out.
On this particular day, I was really hoping the day would end at a “normal” time because I had to run home to my apartment to change clothes before a company culture dinner that night.
Our founder and president, Jan Gusich, was treating everyone to dinner at the local Mexican restaurant. Dinner—and drinks—on the boss. I was 23, going to eat and drink for free that night, and couldn’t wait.
Fortunately, I made it out in time to change. And grab a jacket because it was a typical September in Ohio … warm during the day but you better have some long sleeves in your car. And we were going to be on a patio, so I definitely needed to be prepared.
Writing this now I remember that we weren’t on the patio because we enjoyed the outdoors. We were on a patio because the eight of us were so freaking loud. Three of us had the loudest laughs you’ve ever heard. And me, well I have yet to meet someone who has asked me to “talk louder.”
By the way, yes, you did read that right. There were eight of us. I was the last hire—employee number eight on the fresh akhia ledger. Apparently eight was enough for Jan because she decided that the time had come to turn over something very sacred to her employees. So, after a few rounds of Coronas and queso, Jan told us why were all there that night.
“We need to define who we are. Sum up what we do in a way that people get it. And I want you all to have a part in it. You’re the ones living it.”
People say they have lightbulb moments. Are struck by a lightning bolt. An out-of-body experience. Whatever you want to call it—I had it in that moment. I already knew Akhia was a special place. But now I was being asked to play a part in the future of the company.
Jan has always taught me that everyone is motivated by something different—and when you find it, look out. You have unleashed their potential. However, Jan didn’t know that what motivated me was belonging. Inclusion. Allow me to be me while being part of something bigger. You give me that and I will walk through fire for you. And here we were. Being asked by the founder what we thought the company should be going forward.
Things changed that night. I don’t know who came up with it. How we came up with it. But at the end of that dinner, we walked out of the restaurant with a pocket full of star mints, a lot of inspiration and a new tagline: Run fast. But never miss a step.
We used that tagline for a long time. Up through our 10-year-anniversary. Today, we’re celebrating our 27th anniversary. The tagline has changed. Who we are has changed.
One thing that hasn’t is the sense of belonging. We are still a company that believes in everyone—regardless of position or experience—being a part of where we’re going.
I’d like to invite you to stay tuned over the next month as you will get a few more moments in time. Insights into who we are and where we came from. Stories that capture how we’ve evolved. And at the end of the month, a first look at where we’re going.
On behalf of everyone at akhia, believe me when I say you won’t want to miss it.