First Stop: Next Creative Co.

By Courtney Lang

We warned you that it would get real, real fast.

Advertising Club went all out when we teamed up with Grand Valley’s PRSSA for a night to remember. Starting at 10:30 AM and ending at 4:30 PM, both clubs were able to tour three agencies in Holland, MI: Next Creative Co., Fairly Painless Advertising, and Haworth.

Today, we will be discussing the one, the only, Next Creative Co.

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This agency might be small, but the work they produce definitely isn’t. From working with GVSU rivals, Saginaw Valley State University, to Spring Lake Public Schools, Next Creative Co. is an agency that some students would kill to work at.

Rich Evenhouse and Tim Hackney founded Next Creative Co. only five months ago. With the assistance of Katy Johnson (Content), Amber Gray (Account Manager), Aaron Mccall (Designer), and Lyndsie Post (Account Manager), they have been able to create an agency worth remembering. 

In their words, they are “small, but nimble.”

The Environment (featuring Cheez-Itz)

When we walked in the door, we instantly felt relaxed. Not only did they have a whole living room setup, but they also had a pet cat named Cheeze-Itz. The story of Cheez-Itz is long but fascinating, so you should definitely consider asking one of the members of the crew to grab a coffee and talk more about it. Let’s just say for now that Cheez-Itz isn’t actually a real cat.

The Presentation

When we first arrived, we all sat in front of a tv screen where Tim Hackney shared with us a presentation he put together. He went through several past works his agency has done; showing videos, billboard ads, websites and so much more.

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When it came to their videos, they really knew how to capture the attention of their audience and create an emotional engagement with them. My favorite video was the one they did for Heritage Community of Kalamazoo. This video encompasses all senses of humor, beauty, and wisdom.

While they were showing them to us, they explained the importance of keeping the material authentic and displaying the truth. That’s why they chose to interview real people where they wouldn’t have the control over what they did or said, only the questions being asked.


Whenever they create any type of website, they always use the mobile-first mentality. This is especially important considering we are in a digital age where our phones go with us everywhere we do.

However, while designing websites for their clients, they don’t make it where they have complete control over it all the time. They present their clients with tools that they can use because they have found if they give them just that, they will come back to them. It builds trust between the client and the agency themselves.

Social Media

Almost everyone in this world has at least one social media account and most companies are well aware that they have to appeal to that large demographic. The biggest mistake a company can make though is thinking that social media is where you should sell your product.

Social media is not where you sell anything, but it is where you CONNECT and BUILD your relationship with your consumer base. You build your brand as a whole so that you gain loyal customers for the long haul.

Next Creative Co. will even help their clients establish a social media calendar so that they can remain on top of everything. They want their clients to be able to understand that they have to be on top of everything going on. They should be sharing information that matters in the moment. Not something that mattered a year or two ago, but what matters now.

There is not a secret sauce

While they showcase some of their most proud pieces of work, they explain to us that their process has no secret sauce. They simply follow the four steps: Inquiry, Insight, idea, and implement. Even if the client has done a fantastic job on one of the steps, they won’t ever skip it, but they may scale it. They go through this process for all their clients because they want to help develop a campaign with legs that their clients can implement.

Next Creative Co. is all about storytelling. They are a five-month-old agency, but I can see a bright future ahead of them. They are all about “capturing what’s true” and “being faithful to their work”. 

Grand Valley’s Advertising Club and PRSSA members would like to extend a huge thank you to Next Creative Co. for allowing us to tour their agency.


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