Kenneth Worles Jr. has been passionate about politics since the 2008 election when he got involved in projects for former city Mayor A C Wharton and the congressional campaign of Ricky Wilkins. His friends describe him as an “urban politico.”
“Working alongside these politicians really lit my political match,” he said. “I’ve been glued to local, state and federal politics ever since.”
Worles had seen a gap in opportunities for African-American communication specialists across the country. He noticed that many were not being hired in the political consulting field unless it was for “minority engagement” efforts.
“African-Americans experience the same issues as other groups, have the same skills as other groups, and yet are reduced to only focusing on their core audience – other African-Americans. This isn’t just with politics, this is most industries,” he said. “My goal is to develop a space where great communicators, regardless of color or years spent on Capitol Hill, are helping change societal norms.”
He decided to launch his own company, Three(i) Creative Communications. Three(i) stands for improve, impress and inspire, which he believes is the goal of most of the people, brands and organizations he works with, and what his firm would help these groups achieve.
“The company was originally just a graphic design company supporting small businesses and nonprofits across Memphis,” Worles said. “We worked with publications like the Tri-State Defender and the Red Wing Group. I realized there was an entire market of amazing civic leaders and public officials needing our support – and needing more than just graphic design, so I revamped some things and re-launched the company.”
Presently, services offered by Three(i) include things like logo design, mailers, web design and social media marketing. It has worked with groups and politicians like the Greater Washington Urban League, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the Collective PAC and is currently working with Sen. Lee Harris on his campaign for Shelby County mayor.
“There’s a shortage of reliable, creative and skilled graphic designers. Most of the ones I have worked with, frankly, just don’t deliver,” Harris said. “Worles is the exception. He is innovative and understands how to create and design. His combination of skills is impossible to find.”
Worles attributes his entrepreneurial finesse and marketing experience to the people and culture of Memphis, as well as other communication firms across Tennessee, and his experience working in Washington, D.C. He moved there for a few years to build a strong network with others working in political communications.
“I’m a millennial, so my biggest resource and educator has been the internet; you can learn a lot there,” he said. “A lot of my education has been through trial and error. I think this could’ve been avoided if their were more minority CEOs mentoring younger small business owners.”
Among the many gaps Three(i) Creative fills, the company would like to known as the creative sidekick for “super heroes across the country, who spend hours after hours looking to create a better tomorrow with little to no support.”
As far as its political leanings, he said his company has a progressive focus and primarily supports candidates on the left, but does work with non-partisan government agencies and nonprofits. He said the key to effective and successful marketing and branding is research, research, research.
“We research the candidate’s message and background, their demographics and do the same for their opponent,” he said. “Once you have all of this information, strategy not only becomes easy to develop, but super fun bouncing thoughts around with a group of your peers.”
Worles’ team of five reaches out to other political candidates across the country, but he says the best mechanism for adding business to the pipeline is through word of mouth.
“People remember great designs that work,” he said.
One of his team members, Domenica Ghanem, works on the content and media relations aspect of projects.
“I’m the type of person who prides herself on getting as much done as possible and being able to take on a lot at once, but I have learned the value of slowing down to allow time for creativity and trying out new concepts to see how they work,” says Ghanem, the firm’s content director.
Worles said making time for creative brainstorming is a must, and he schedules it according to the scope of work for a given project.
New goals this year at Three(i) Creative include branching out from mail and web design to e-mail and media outreach.
“I believe making sure our name is at the forefront during these 2018 mid-term elections will be important for our growth,” he said. “We’re also looking to spend more time cultivating relationships with past and current clients. We have some pretty cool ideas in the near future. Not necessarily innovative, but very unique for this market. I’m excited.”