As we gear up to celebrate our 25th anniversary, we can’t help but reflect on the wild ride that got us here. Established in 1999, our homegrown company stands as one of the Okanagan’s longest-standing marketing agencies in the region. We have not only lived through the technology revolution but have also been trailblazers in the industry (a bit of birthday boasting never hurt, right?).
Turning 25 is a big milestone for any business, so we decided to make some noise about it with the Csek Creative rebrand. Our name and values will stay, but our look and feel has been revamped to reflect who we have grown into.
We are so good at watering our partners’ gardens, that sometimes we neglect to water our own. We finally got around to giving ourselves the love and attention we deserve, and we’re pretty proud of the results. With that said, we thought it was only right to launch the Csek Creative rebrand with some memories about the journey that led to this moment.
“Csek started as a home-based business 25 years ago, while juggling the challenges of children and family life,” says Jim Csek, COO & CFO. Jim and Nikki Csek have been lifelong partners in both their personal life and business endeavors, and Jim attributes much of Csek’s success to Nikki. “Our people have played a pivotal role in our success, and it all starts with Nikki and the individuals that she surrounds herself with.”
Jim and Nikki started Csek Creative when the world of technology was just emerging, when websites were thought of as a novelty. “When I was running radio stations in town before the internet became mainstream, Nikki and Jim reached out about getting a website for Sun FM,” says Jason Mann, VP of Operations. “They helped me build the station’s first website making it one of the first radio stations in the world with streaming capabilities.” What seems ordinary today, was a proud moment for Jim and Nikki back then.
In addition, Csek Creative pioneered some of the oldest websites in the Okanagan. “We built the very first website for the Kelowna RCMP, which stood as one of the first websites in Canada,” shares Nikki Csek, CEO. We were early advocates for businesses embracing the digital frontier by creating websites, despite facing pushback from those who couldn’t see the immediate benefits and future potential at that time – imagine that!
During our time in business, we have witnessed countless changes and challenges including the 2008 recession, the impact of COVID, and more recently, Bill-C18, which led to outlets losing their voice on Meta platforms.
“COVID has fundamentally altered our business. It’s disheartening to invest 25 years of hard work only to feel a loss of control,” shares Jim. Despite facing these challenges, Csek Creative has not only persevered but has also emerged as a guiding force for other businesses in the community, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.
We know that our ability to navigate challenges has set us apart, which is evident in landmark events like the Level Up conference held in 2019. This conference featured prominent political speakers, including Jean Chretien and Steven Harper, among others. Given the diverse lineup that included leaders from opposing parties, the event overcame many hurdles including mixed community feedback before the event took place. Despite the initial challenges, the event saw remarkable success and stands as one of our proudest moments.
In addition, an ongoing challenge we face is the conception that larger agencies are the better choice. “We deal with clients who want to work with agencies in larger centers, as they think that’s where the experts are. I think it’s the opposite; we have more experts in our agency than a big one,” says Rob Cupello, Chief Marketing Officer.
Rob attributes the evolution of Csek Creative to the team that lays the groundwork “The team, the services we offer, and the variety of skills under our roof allows us to not only grow but thrive.”
Through the years, our primary goal has always been to establish long-lasting and meaningful partnerships, and even though the Csek Creative rebrand brought on new changes, this is something that will never change.
Nikki explains how a focus on client retention vs. client acquisition has been a key factor in our success. “One of the very first things I said was, ‘when we get a client, let’s service that client, take care of their needs, build a relationship with trust, and always earn the next part of the business,’ we will never become arrogant or conceited to think that we deserve their business.”
On the other hand, knowing when a client might not be a good match is just as important, but can be harder to recognise early on. “We retain a majority of our clients, but we aren’t always a match for everyone. We are getting better at realizing that,” explains Nikki.
In 2017, Rob Cupello joined the team as Chief Marketing Officer and merged his marketing agency with Csek Creative. Rob’s agency was strategy and media focused with Csek Creative being website focused, resulting in the full-service marketing agency you know today. This merger was a big milestone and allowed us to look at the bigger picture and get to the nitty-gritty details on the ‘why’ behind our actions.
The Csek Creative Rebrand
The idea to undergo a makeover stemmed from the recognition that we had outgrown who we once were in 1999, and we deserved to have a brand that reflected that.
The Csek Creative rebrand was a long time coming according to Rob. “When we merged our two companies, we both brought a little of our own identity and we needed something that reflected our new services.” He described the new rebrand as “sexy” and expressed excitement about the direction we are heading – and we all agree with him on that.
The new website embodies a contemporary era that blends sophistication with a playful spirit. Now known as ‘The House of More,’ we have crafted a virtual space that mirrors a welcoming ‘home’ inviting the community to knock on our door anytime. With playful language, technical UX design and testimonials from satisfied clients, we have positioned ourselves as a powerful player in the modern world of marketing while showcasing our years of experience. The Csek Creative rebrand showcases us in all our glory!
With the Csek Creative rebrand in full swing, our future looks promising, but that’s not to say there isn’t uncertainty in the world we live in today. “I think there is such an enormous amount of uncertainty in the world, and I believe that it will take businesses in certain sectors to help lead the way and be trailblazers through this uncertainty,” says Nikki. Even though our appearance has changed, we will continue to do what we have always done: give a side-eye to the norm while maintaining long-lasting partnerships within our community.
Although our plans for rapid expansion have subsided, this shift has allowed us to slow down and smell the roses. “ I love that I can drive around here and say ‘we did that brand, we did that logo, we did that website, we helped that client get funding.’ it’s a legacy that makes me so unbelievably proud,” says Nikki when reflecting on the journey of Csek Creative.