“You do not have to run a cut-throat business to be successful. You can care about people and still create huge success,” says Jonathan Holmes, cofounder and managing partner of Mighty 8th Media, a full-service marketing agency based in Buford with an impressive list of clients and awards. They have been recognized repeatedly as one of the Best Places to Work in Georgia and as one of the top fifty agencies in Atlanta. They have also earned a spot on the coveted Inc. 5000 list, which recognizes the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.
Holmes and his business partner, Bradley Sherwood, founded Mighty 8th Media in 2005 and committed to putting clients first, treating employees like family, and giving back to the community. These core values have paved an admirable path for the agency, which specializes in branding, design, digital marketing, strategic communications, and video creation. They serve clients large and small across diverse industries including names like Emory, the Georgia Peach Pass, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Pond, Pinnacle Bank and more.
“We love sitting down with clients and understanding their goals, vision, and products and then showing them how they can achieve more growth with strategic communications and marketing,” says Holmes. “Marketing used to be primarily transactional. Now it is much more about building relationships, and we show clients how to do that.”
One of his favorite things is when a new client has a real advantage in the marketplace — “a secret sauce” as he calls it — but their customers do not recognize the value due to unclear messaging. “When a company is not telling their story the right way, it can impede their growth. We help them tell their story in an authentic way that resonates with their audience so they can capitalize on their strengths,” explains Holmes.
Refined storytelling is also important in today’s hyper-competitive hiring market. Holmes explains, “A lot of potential employees want to know the ‘why’ behind your business, and they want to see authenticity and the heart of your people.”
Holmes was an early mover in the web marketing space, taking on his first web agency role in the 1990s. He was drawn to Gwinnett by a job opportunity and found a local business culture that fit his DNA. “I immediately saw how people in Gwinnett took a proactive leadership approach and shared a mentality of supporting each other and the community. The culture captured my soul,” he says.
That supportive culture also drew him to the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce where he is a member of the Chairman’s Club. “The Chamber has been a huge part of our success. They do so much to make sure businesses have the resources they need and to connect business leaders to the right people. I want to make sure I give back and help other entrepreneurs thrive, too,” Holmes shared.
Beyond his work in the business community, Holmes is intentional about supporting nonprofits that impact Gwinnett’s culture. He serves on the Board of Directors for Georgia Gwinnett College where he is proud of the work that they are doing to support students, including many first-generation college students. He is also Chair of Artworks, a nonprofit that is working to improve the quality of life in our area through arts while also driving job creation in creative fields like film, fine arts, publishing, and entertainment. This group is developing “Create Gwinnett,” a first-ever, comprehensive plan for Gwinnett’s creative sector. They aim to shape Gwinnett as a regional and eventually national leader in the creative culture and economy. Their vision includes creating a path for children to explore and grow creative talents, much like sports teams have done for athletically inclined kids. “We want to start a little league for creative kids in order to feed their creative spirits and give them more reasons to stay in school,” Holmes explains.
Holmes is excited about Gwinnett’s vibrant future. “I want to continue being part of thoughtful, intentional leadership across the area and make sure that everyone in our diverse, growing community feels welcome,” he adds.