Starting as a public relations agency, akhia quickly evolved to offer content, creative and digital services before becoming the communications consultant agency it is today. As akhia communications, the company creates, leads and manages strategic communications programs for its clients’ internal and external audiences.
Founder and former President and CEO Jan Gusich remembers starting the business with two employees and three clients that were on six-month contracts.
“When I started the agency, I had a singular focus — do the right thing,” Gusich said. “From treating employees right to taking the best possible care of clients. If we did that, the rest would take care of itself. I wanted to be known for creating a genuinely unique place where employees and clients felt valued. It’s a simple concept that has successfully seen us through 25 years of growth, including many rewarding and long-lasting client and employee relationships.”
From the company’s mission (to be a client’s most valuable resource) to its vision (to build indestructible relationships), those differentiators drove akhia’s growth through some of the most dynamic years marketers and communicators have ever experienced, including:
In 2018, akhia named a new CEO, Ben Brugler, who is now the company’s primary shareholder and serves in both the CEO and president roles. He joined the company in 2000 and feels a personal, professional and cultural obligation to uphold the spirit in which Gusich founded the company.
“I saw firsthand the deep relationships and meaningful work that can be done when companies trust that their agency is fully invested in doing right by their business,” said Brugler. “Our blueprint of taking care of our clients is one that has allowed us to evolve, diversify and grow over these past 25 years. We realize our clients face new challenges on a regular basis, so it’s our responsibility to stay nimble and committed to their business objectives.”
Gusich is still involved in akhia as a minority shareholder, consultant and global strategist as a member and North American chair of the International Public Relations Network, a worldwide organization with memberships in 39 countries.
When reflecting on 25 years, Gusich has a simple answer for what stands out to her the most. “The people. It’s cliché. It’s true. This business has been rewarding because of the people who gave us their best and became good friends in the process. I’m grateful every day for the opportunities I had to work with such a great group of people. It’s what got us here. It’s what will illuminate the growth yet to come.”
Today, akhia is home to 40 employees and is a strategic partner to nearly 30 clients. It has a formal executive committee, four capabilities groups (client services, content, visual communications and digital & channel) and remote offices and employees beyond Northeast Ohio. According to Brugler, one thing that has stayed the same throughout the company’s growth — and will remain as the company continues to grow — is its focus on the people.
“Our company is better because of those who have shaped it, both internally and externally. We are part of our clients, and they are part of us. Our employees are passionate about what they do for our clients. And our clients are confident in trusting us to help them grow. It’s a formula that will remain strong in the face of constant change,” Brugler said.
akhia communications is based in Hudson, Ohio, and serves large local and national consumer and business-to-business brands. It is a full-service agency with core areas of focus in business communications strategy, digital, content, visual communications and public relations. Visit www.akhia.com.