Meet Clean Design

When asked about their relationship with Worldwide Partners, Natalie Perkins, CEO of Clean Design a WPI shareholder since 2015 explained it this way. “It is our intent to remain a strong independent, woman-owned agency that succeeds due to its culture. WPI is attractive to us because it allows us to preserve our culture while giving us the ability to tap into a network of like-minded individuals with similar agency perspectives, committed to giving clients the same love and work we deliver on a daily basis. Having access to the knowledge base and global reach of the collective agency partners is key as we continue to grow bigger and better!”

Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, the North Carolina-headquartered Clean Design just landed Affordable Care Inc. the largest dentures and implant-services provider in the U.S., with more than 200 affiliated practices in 40 states. They also recently became the advertising agency of record for Hyster, the leading provider of materials handling equipment and solutions in more than 130 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

And now, for the fourth year in a row, Clean Design’s work for the Carolina Ballet has won creative accolades—the shop was just chosen as a winner in the prestigious Communication Arts Magazine 7th Annual Typography Competition for its unique artistry and creative work involving the 2016-2017 advertising season of Carolina Ballet. The shop was named a “best place to work” for three years in a row by the Triangle Business Journal. And last but not least, for the seventh year in a row, the agency ranked #1 for design in 2016 Triangle Business Journal’s Annual List. 

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What’s behind this clean sweep of wins and awards? We caught up Clean Design’s own Natalie Perkins to find out.

“As a full-service agency, we have the capability to deliver a complete array of services under one roof to develop cohesive multichannel marketing programs. Everything we do is rooted in strategy, and our approach to business is pretty simple. Each pillar of our organization—creative, strategy, account management, media, and public relations—is woven into every phase of work we do. With an eight-member leadership team having decades of experience in leadership roles in some of the most well-known agencies in the country, we leverage that into working with brands big and small across multiple categories—from tourism to technology, consumer packaged goods to higher education, and economic development to financial services.

“Now let’s talk clients. Since we started 20 years ago, we have had John Deere as a client. Today they are still on our roster, which speaks to how we conduct business. Other multinational clients we work with include tech giant Lenovo (some of you may have seen our client at the panel at last month’s WPI North America summit); Hyster, with material handling equipment operations on five continents; RBC Bank, the U.S. arm of Royal Bank of Canada; and open source software powerhouse Red Hat. We are also agency of record for the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, always ranked as one of the best business schools in the world. We are equally at home dealing with future Fortune 1000 companies as well, and we are especially proud to have at least 10-12 nonprofits on our client roster at any one time, as we believe 100 percent in giving back to the community that has been so good to us. Take time to look through some of their case studies: Lenovo Worldwide Industry Solutions, Personify & Durham Distillery.

“You can’t talk about Clean Design without discussing our culture. Most mission statements and core values usually end up on a bulletin board or thrown into a PowerPoint slide. For us, the words we live by needed to be shared in a unique way—it needed to be a work of art, a labor of love, and a symbol of collaboration. Enter our famous 8-by-8-foot crayon wall in our brand new office space. It took 53 staffers, 10 interns, 720 non-billable hours, and 26,000 unwrapped crayons to create what has become the centerpiece of our office. And none of us will ever forget these words we live by: Keep it simple; Work together; Follow the golden rule; Give back; Hate drama; and Love what we do. I am the biggest advocate of these mantras and truly believe it’s what makes us a unique place to work and do business with.”

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