We are crazy about great design — but only if it’s being applied strategically to grow your business. We understand growth is the real reason businesses hire firms like ours: to focus branding through the lens of business goals; whether those goals are increasing revenue and profits, or finding the most talented new staff. Or something else entirely. We’re great listeners.
We’ve specialized in working with architectural, engineering, construction and manufacturing clients, as well as other professional service firms. This means we know a lot about B2B needs and requirements. Our case studies highlight the businesses and results we’ve achieved in these areas.
Brand strategy and naming expertise is a large part of our service offering and we often work with organizations long term to build their brands. We are always open to finding out how we can push your firm to the next stage with smaller projects too.
Clients tell us we deliver. They also say they like working with us, and more importantly, that we’ve helped them meet (and even identify) their business goals. Many of our clients come to us as referrals and repeat business. Don’t take our word for it: we have case studies on our website and you are welcome to talk to our client directly. We also have a few videos of clients talking about their experiences working with us.
We use six criteria to evaluate potential clients and projects: positioning, people, purpose, potential, profit, and perception. We do this to ensure a good fit for the projects and people involved so that together we can make a positive impact for our clients’ businesses. We also like to have fun collaborating with our clients. Check out our article “Do Clients Choose Us, or Do We Choose Clients?”
Fully understanding your situation and needs is our first step. Always. After that, we have a very comprehensive list of service offerings including brand strategy, naming, identity, communication design, marketing communications, web design, and SEO. Need something extra special or unique? We have great connections who can help us with a video project, an infographic, illustration, neon sign, parade float and anything else we can envision.
Absolutely. The longer answer is that we have trusted print and web partners we work with. This way we can find the best fit for any job requirements. With print, working together early on allows us to set the standard for quality and create a solid production relationship for those clients who eventually take on managing their print work directly.
Our studio is in Vancouver, British Columbia and we work with clients all over North America, Europe and Asia. We love visiting our clients in their own offices because that’s where we learn the most about them, their culture and how their organization works.
Our team members have some seriously creative interests; from baking bread, to judging barbecue, to knitting sweaters.
Our collective main interest outside of work? Food. We founded a fun little side project called Foodists.ca, a collective of more than 50 food obsessed fanatics from around the world with a passion for eating and culinary adventuring.
There are obvious triggers such as ownership changes, mergers or struggling corporate cultures. Beyond these, the question of when is it is time to address brand and identity is really tied to the financial and other growth goals of the company.
Data can be an important piece in helping convince leadership or partners it’s time to address the brand. Start with our Brand Strength Assessment Worksheet to assist you in self-assessing your company’s brand. Gather as many facts as possible from internal or client surveys and feedback about the brand. Analyze what is needed within your brand to drive the company forward in terms profitability or other success markers.
Branding is a long term initiative and the ROI can usually be tied to specific organizational goals. Our experience has shown that a well conceived and communicated brand brings client and staff loyalty, revenue, repeat business, referrals and talent retention.
We believe in preserving as much brand equity as possible, not tearing everything apart simply for the sake of making something new.
We get this question a lot because it’s so important. Consensus isn’t easy, especially when there are a lot of decision makers in the approval process. We rely on research and rationale, breaking down the process into incremental steps, and collaborating with stakeholders early and frequently to build momentum. We don’t believe in “ta-da” moments in which we present finished artwork or brand strategy without ongoing client input. Instead, we build a path everyone can follow so a conclusion seems logical. Despite this, sometimes things still get stuck. We’ve developed some tricks to get the team moving forward, which you can read about in this article on consensus building.
Brands, staff and technology evolve. While we try to anticipate long term needs for collateral and the web, the true responsibility for championing the brand and consistency ultimately resides with you. There are tools that can help control your brand, including our Managed Brand system, a secure online resource tool that houses brand templates, rules and messaging. With Managed Brand and ongoing relationships with our clients, we can help keep the brand consistent.
A living brand is dynamic and requires tracking and diligence. We offer ongoing brand consulting services to our clients. This can include brand audits to review brand application and usage or working with our clients to design a new piece of collateral or key message.
We help our clients launch their brands externally and internally, educating staff along the way. Our goal is to help current and future staff understand and support the brand so everyone can serve as ambassadors.
Once a brand is launched and living, it requires tracking and diligence. If a brand touch-point no longer communicates the right message, we help our clients understand how to adjust and adapt. We also offer ongoing brand consulting services to our clients on an as-needed basis. This can include bi-yearly brand audits to review brand application and usage, or simply one-time recommendations. Some of the other specific expertise we provide are: social media strategy and execution, website maintenance and performance updates, and competitive marketing audits.
In addition, to protect their investment, we highly recommend our clients consult a trademark specialist to ensure they can retain ownership of trademark elements.
Almost all design firms claim to have a creative process, but the truth is they are all rather similar. It’s when a tested methodology combined with experience and abilities is applied to a client’s unique situation that magic happens. We’ve tried to give an easy to understand overview of our methodology here.
It really depends on the nature of the project. Small, design or marketing engagements may take as little as a couple of weeks, website projects can take two or more months.
With more involved branding and identity engagements, our initial Phase Zero diagnostic consultation kicks things off relatively quickly and helps plan and structure what often will take several months—typically, we expect to be working with clients for up to six months.
While we often help smaller firms grow through branding and marketing, having a marketing manager, communications director, or marketing and HR departments helps streamline the process. No matter the size of the team, our goal is to create a compelling brand story and identity delivered in a way that is useable by everyone. Our online, centralized brand asset management tool Managed Brand plays a key part in our clients’ brand success.
You do. Once a project is fully paid, all remaining working files for approved design work are handed over to you. We never hold onto anything we’ve done for clients after we’ve been paid in full. Every final deliverable we create is yours to keep and use. Here’s an article outlining some of the dos and don’ts surrounding trademarking the assets we create.
It’s important for you to have a clear vision of your company’s goals, objectives, and milestones. Also, a knowledge of your audience and their priorities and preferences can be tremendously useful to our team. If you haven’t set these goals, we will work with you to determine what success will look like. It enables us all to stay focussed on solutions that produce results. New clients should read this article before engaging us, and take a moment to read or fill out our Jumpstart page. It covers the initial questions we’re likely to ask.
We can usually get things going quickly as we assess fit, set goals and determine what’s needed. We’ll then schedule the project over a time period that makes sense and is realistic. Give us a call or email us and we can discuss your upcoming project.