20th Anniversary Q&A with Founder & President David Smith, Envision Creative


Envision Creative is ringing in 20 years of repositioning our clients for the better and couldn’t be more excited to celebrate with our team of envisionaries! We sat down with our Founder and President, David Smith to talk about all things Envision and how he got to where he is today. Check out our anniversary Q&A below!

Q. Tell me about yourself & how you got to where you are today!

I started back in this industry over 30 years ago. I received a degree in Marketing from St. Mary’s University and got my start in the financial technology industry. I worked as the Marketing Director for a financial technology company and in the span of just two weeks in September 2001, I closed on a new house in South Austin; I was let go from the company I worked at for over nine years (the company was bought out for its technology, and everyone was fired), then 9/11 happened, and the entire country was reeling from the horrible events of that day.

Unsurprisingly, no one was hiring after that. So I was left with a new mortgage payment, no job, and no hiring prospects… awesome. I always stayed on top of my graphic design chops and even had several freelance clients I did work for over the years, and after being the client of multiple agencies and seeing that experience firsthand, I decided to start my own agency entirely from the client perspective. From there Envision Creative was born.

Q. When did you found Envision, and why?

I founded Envision Creative at an imperfect time. It was 2001 and the market was unsteady, but I recognized the need for a different kind of agency in Austin. I envisioned one that blurred the lines between deliberate strategy and genius creativity, one where great ideas were always backed by tangible goals and based on strategy rather than conjecture.

I found myself in the unique position of being able to create a branding/marketing/advertising agency from the ground up and entirely from the client’s perspective. Understanding what it’s like to be in the client’s shoes, is the foundational premise for all things Envision… “What would we want if we were the client?”.

Q. Why are you passionate about what we do?

You know I think it honestly goes back to the very beginning of why Envision was started in the first place. It was for a desire to approach creative agency services from a different angle than most other agencies…from the actual client perspective, and to truly make a difference for our clients. As the years have progressed, we’ve found ourselves in great times. But we continue to find new ways to solve client problems, target audiences, launch new products/services, and help our clients succeed on even greater levels. The bottom line is, making a difference for our clients has always been the driving force behind everything we do, and we fully expect to continue providing support for our clients for another 20 years!

Q. When not working, what can you be found doing?

Aside from Envision Creative, I enjoy photography, playing guitar, and watching horror movies with my family and 3 hound dogs. I can also be found grilling a killer ribeye steak and or eating my weight in crab legs and lobster tails.

Q. When you started EC 20 years ago, did you think it would still be here thriving 2 decades later?

Envision was started during a time of adversity and over our 20 years in business, we have had to weather many ups and downs in a market space that is extremely dynamic and competitive as well as the world at large. Whether it was the financial collapse in 2008, the COVID pandemic last year, or any other challenge in between, I’ve always focused on making sure that our team members and our clients were being supported to the best of our ability. So to answer your question, yes, I trusted that Envision would be around for the long haul because I’ve always believed that every challenge has an equal and opposite opportunity if you just look for it.

Q. What makes Envision unique?

Our 5 | E approach to repositioning businesses to achieve their goals is what makes us unique. The process is simple, thorough, and designed to bring you maximum results, and whether you’re engaged on an individual project or with a full-service ongoing retainer, we start with the 5 Es and move forward from there.

Q. What kind of clients does Envision serve?

We serve clients in all forms of B2B and B2C industries. We have worked with Dell, HEB, Hilton Hotel, Make-A-Wish Foundation, AMD, The Global Wildlife Conservation, Grande Communications, Night Hawk Frozen Foods, and The University of Texas at Austin, to name a few. Overall, we work with companies that are looking to grow, increase market share, and collaborate with our team of creatives and marketers.

Q. What is the difference between rebranding and repositioning?

Rebranding is the process of modifying or changing the image and identity of an organization through the change in name, logo, design, offering, etc. Repositioning on the other hand is a much more comprehensive process of reviewing a client’s goals and the challenges they’ve faced in trying to attain those goals. Then backtracking from there, we create a strategy to help them position themselves using various marketing techniques and tactics to achieve those goals.

The result may include a rebrand or a change in messaging or a shift in the target audience to gain more awareness. Ultimately it means looking deeper into solving a business problem and not just updating window dressing for a fresher look (which may or may not have anything to do with addressing the challenges they’ve faced in trying to achieve their goals).

Q. How do you see the company changing in the next 5 years? How do you see yourself creating the change?

Obviously, during the last year and a half, every organization in the world has realized that they absolutely have to have a strategic and robust digital presence in order to engage their audiences and be more agile during unexpected times. The tools being utilized to create this presence are rapidly evolving. AI and machine learning will have a dramatic impact on how all marketers approach the digital space and reach audiences to drive meaningful results.

And, with the ever-changing landscape regarding privacy regulations, marketers will have to stay vigilant and adaptable in their tactics to remain compliant while still driving engagement. This challenge will go hand-in-hand with finding new and better ways to evolve our processes while creating new impactful solutions for niche-based verticals.

Q. If you could go back in time, what’s one piece of advice you would give yourself 20 years ago?

Invest in Google and Facebook once they’re invented…better yet invent Google and Facebook. Also, invest in Hubspot and other marketing automation.

That’s a wrap on our anniversary Q & A with Envision’s Founder and President, David Smith! Did you know we have several ebooks, guides, cheat sheets, and more to help your business grow? Head here to browse our free business and marketing resource library.

To learn more about the services we provide and what we can do for your business, head here. Interested in setting up a consultation to see how we can help take your business to the next level? Contact us today!