Natalia Pérez, Marketing & Communications Intern
After the pandemic sent the Text Request team home from their Southside office in 2020, it prompted — as it did for many companies — a shift in priorities, needs and values. To compliment the culture they're trying to build, Text Request leadership invested in brand new downtown digs in Jack's Alley, opening its new headquarters last Friday, June 4.
The company, named a Best Place to Work by the Chattanooga Times Free Press and Tech Company of the Year in 2020, needed a space with places to work independently, spaces to work together, common areas, downtown quick access to lunch and a good location for walking.
Kenneth Burke, Vice President of marketing at Text Request, shared some more details about the company's direction and vision.
Trend: Most teams have permanently moved out of or downsized their office spaces. What does this new space mean for Text Request?
Burke: It means we're as committed as ever to building a company in Chattanooga where people love to work, which is part of our mission statement. The pandemic has shown us and many others that quality work can be done from anywhere, but also that teams and relationships are best cultivated in person. A physical space to gather (and to get out of the house) is crucial for this. We've already seen a renewed energy and improved conversations since bringing everyone back.
Trend: Tell us about your growth in the past year – has your team also grown?
Burke: We were pretty fortunate to be a virtual communications provider when everyone had to go fully virtual, and that helped us grow 400% in 2020. Businesses, nonprofits and political campaigns all needed to be able to connect with their audiences without seeing them in person. Text Request is the perfect tool to do that, and we were well positioned as a top provider to be found and to scale with those needs. It's also created a huge shift for consumers, who've gotten used to communicating with businesses by text, and they will not unlearn this convenience. We expect our growth to keep going, and yes, we've been growing the team too. We hired 25% more throughout 2020, and we've already been hiring more in 2021 as well.
Trend: Tell us about your office culture (you were recently named a best place to work) and how this new space will represent it?
Burke: We do serious work without taking ourselves too seriously, we're intentional to take care of each other and we create space to hang out and relax together. In practice that looks like a team who makes sure each person is heard, who looks for opportunities to spend time together outside of the office and who's able to work well enough together to be very efficient. The new office, which we're loving, has a bit of flair that matches our personality, and it's also designed to balance individual work with group work with those water cooler conversations that turn into golden ideas.
Trend: How does this new location make it easier for you to connect with your clients?
Burke: We serve customers internationally, but Chattanooga is the city we love, where we live, the place we want to nurture and help grow. We're fully committed to building up Chattanooga businesses, contributing to our community and building relationships with all the other great people who live here. Having a physical place in the heart of downtown with a beautiful marquee over Market Street is in line with that aim. It creates a shared understanding between us and everyone else in town that this is where Text Request and our employees call home. And plus, it's so easy to grab coffee or lunch in person with clients and prospective clients, whether that's for a product demo or just great conversation.
Trend: What else would you like our readers to know?
Burke: We exist to help businesses and other organizations better connect with their audiences. Text messaging is the way to do it, and we would love to work with you personally to make it happen so that you can take back your time, money and sanity. Just connect with me on LinkedIn, or reach out to us through textrequest.com. We're here for you!
Trend: You have a mascot you often post about on social media – can you tell us about him?
Burke: Yes! Frank the French bulldog belongs to two of our co-founders, Brian and Jamey Elrod. He's rambunctious to say the least, and certainly helps us keep from taking ourselves too seriously. Who doesn't want a work break to play with a dog?