Ai LIVE: Cimone Key Shares her Insight as an Agency Founder
In this episode of Ai LIVE, host E. Vincent Martinez spends a few minutes talking with Cimone Key, founder and CEO of CK Creative Studios, the first Black-owned marketing agency in Dallas, Texas. Key shares her insights on how and why she started her agency and gives advice on dealing with clients.
Key founded her agency in 2015, after spending time at other marketing agencies. One thing she found lacking at the other agencies was that there wasn’t as much diversity as she had hoped for, or wanted. For her, diversity is important because without it, certain audiences can’t be reached authentically or genuinely. A lack of diversity causes a lack of connection, and so Key decided to make her own agency to cover that gap. Now she has over 40 subcontractors internationally, including countries such as Germany and India. She wants to celebrate her entire team’s diversity, and now she gets to do just that.
When the agency takes on a new client, it typically begins with a call or email to CK Studios. From there, they have a discovery call where they get to know a little more about what the business wants. Key describes this step in the process as understanding the clients goals, budget, and timeline. Then there’s a consultation—either over Zoom or in-person—where they conducta deeper dive before accepting them as clients.
Given that she’s worked with so many clients, Key has learned a lot. When she first started out, various high-profile clients liked her work, but weren’t sure if she could handle the volume of work they would need. Now that she’s more established, she has more people to help with the work, and it’s part of her advice to aspiring students: be sure you have the right people and enough people to handle the workload, as well as have the capital.
Key has also learned a lot about branding. Often times, people will combine their branded account with personal ones. Key encourages others to keep business and personal accounts separate. For her, they act as a portfolio, so it’s important to be consistent with the colors, fonts, and filters, as well as include brand identity.
Her last piece of advice for students is to go towards their dreams. Key says that students have permission to rock the boat while pursuing their dreams. It’s important, though, to be patient with yourself, since it does take time. But eventually, accomplishing their goal is possible.
If you want to learn how to be a marketer like Cimone Key, visit the programs at the Art Institutes by clicking here.
Learn more about our programs.Get Brochure