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about.

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Jeff Bezos, Founder, CEO, Amazon


In a nutshell, a brand is ‘what you are’ (and marketing is what you do).  Our role is to strategically, across all mediums of consumer interface, distill and communicate the ‘what you are’ using four ownable, identifiable, consistent brand expressions that, over time, and with discipline, build trust, evoke feelings, generate equity and create value. These expressions can be categorized as: 1. Verbal. 2. Visual. 3. Behavioral. 4. Aspirational.  Each requires specific skill sets; strategic thinkers, writers, art directors, perhaps illustrators, photographers, architects, alliances, specialists who inform. Like a conductor is to a symphony, we are your CREATIVE LEADERS, the professionals who will ensure your brand “feels” as it should, and delivers its best performance, like a great song that plays over and over again, for generations.   

We imagine the unimagined. For your brand, for your product, for your future, we have a proven track record that demonstrates our capabilities and capacity to push boundaries; to make something from nothing; to see into the future and recognize opportunities others don’t; to make what is, even better; and to revitalize what’s become tired.  End to end, start to finish. Those ‘imaginations’ convert to equity and assets, build value, and today, live in multiple businesses and on shelves across the globe.

We’re selective, too. There is a ‘right’ agency for your  brand, and likewise, a ‘right’ client for us. We know what we know, what we don’t know, and what we can do. We’re as careful about the projects we take on as you should be about the selection of a brand agency.

We’re a ‘layer-free’ zone. A team of senior strategic thinkers, creative talent, and problem solvers work on your business.  We scale up and down, bring in the right expertise at the right time, based on your project’s specific needs, not our overhead.

No, we don’t have an office in Tokyo (and we’re not opening one). We don’t need to. Technology fixed that and we’re state-of-the-art.  That makes conversations and presentations as fluid as being in a room and allows extraneous expenses labeled ‘the cost of doing business’ to go into your project needs versus the kind that evaporate into thin air.  Of course, if the right expertise for your brand is in Tokyo, we’ll hire them. Or if you want us to go to Toyko (or anywhere), we’re in!

Your success is our reward, not the awards.  Ok, awards are nice to have.  We have some.  So what.  We didn’t get an award for being instrumental in a brand selling for over 400 million dollars.  Nor when another was acquired by a Fortune 500 out of the gate, or when a client got all doors and an exclusive deal at their first brand presentation. We are in the game for your successes. 

Timelessness.  We could show you branding we did 15 years ago, and branding we completed last week.  The brands we create, the brands we help grow, the brands we re-brand, the equities and assets we design all have a common thread—they have proven to withstand the test of time. 

We can play many roles.  We come and we go. And we know that.  Let’s wrap this up.  We are a full-service strategic branding agency and we know what we do (and don’t do) and we can take on as much or as little as you want.  We’ve taken on agency searches so once we’re done branding, you’re in good hands for execution; we select photographers, illustrators, negotiate fees, produce shoots; we’ve hired architects that understand and share a brand’s beliefs to ensure proper environmental interpretation; we’ve designed stores; we’ve gone from concept to research, and from concept to full-on execution including package design and store design; we’ve strategically positioned and packaged; we’ve been hired to evaluate another agency’s work so marketers are objectively informed. We will openly and honestly tell you how we can best serve your business needs.  

  1. We have a conversation. We meet and get the download to get our bearings. Who? What? When? Where? (our job is ‘how’).   Nothing is off the table.  We ask you to dream your wildest dream because we actually deliver wildest dreams.
  2. Homework time. New brand, re-brand, tired brand, adding to an established brand, we start with an audit of the category, the consumer and a world perspective.  Yes, the world; what’s he or she want more of, less of, want to escape all together; is there a need, or is there a need no one knows is needed…YET.  This leads us to the BIG Idea.
  3. Brand expression in words.  Naming, taglines, positioning papers, establishing the verbal identity, tone, and manner is the first step in the brand identity.  If you begin anywhere else, you’ll double back, waste time and money.
  4. Brand expression in design. This is the conceptual design phase.  If it sounds like that, it looks like this.  We assess the design attitude options, develop brand architecture and hierarchy; we create domains for each concept.
  5. Time to create.  Now we’re cookin’.  During this phase we revisit the copy and brand vernacular, the brand architecture and hierarchy of messaging, we assess photographic style, illustrations, all variables in total, and adjust and fine tune everything.
  6. Ta-da!  We meet again.

what we are.
strategic experts. complex thinkers.
innovators.
hunter gatherers.
explorers. futurists.
your creative conscience.
devoted partners.
integral. witty. fun.
foodies. tv bingers.
what we do.
create brand opportunity.
solve problems. deliver insights.
write. design (2D, 3D, stores, fixtures…).
give you confidence.
listen. make you laugh.

how we do it.
brand strategy & positioning.
brand identity.
brand architecture.
naming and verbal identity.
packaging.
integrated communications.
experiences and environments.
hire great people.
know great work when we see it.

Like the people you hire.
Most of the projects we take on last nine months to a year (like birthing a baby, human or elephant).  You’re going to interface a lot, so be sure the chemistry is right.

Here’s some food for thought (literally). If you want Italian food, don’t go to a French restaurant.  If an agency you are considering is branding Pep Boys Tires & Auto Parts, and you’re in a high fashion business, umm, well, keep looking.  Hire people who have a track record in your world, or demonstrate the capacity to understand it, or the broad category, i.e., luxury goods is a broad umbrella and can suggest a brander understands multiple categories in that space, like fashion, beauty, hotels, services, residential, etc. even if it’s not in the body of their work. Or, if you’re in the food/drug/mass channel, or a paint brand in Home Depot, or an airline, and you want to behave like a luxury brand, the only route to go is luxury goods experience.  It does NOT work the other way around.

Branding has rights and wrongs. Be a good client.  Listen to the advice you’re getting.   If you went to a lawyer and he/she told you, “If you do that, you’re at risk”, you’d listen because he/she went to school, got a degree in law, and you trust that advice.  Branding is the same.  The most successful CEOs and marketers we work for listen.  We advise start-ups, Fortune 500s, 100s, start-ups acquired by Fortune 500 companies, and when they didn’t listen, it turned out they should have. We haven’t been wrong, yet. Pretend we’re your lawyer.

Brand building is a science and a process.  Nothing happens by accident.  Everything is done with intention.   Ok, you bought some land and you’re about to build a home. You need a clear vision of what you want, you need a plan, a budget, an understanding of where you have to invest, and a proper timeline.  Then you hire professionals; an architect, builders and trades that do quality construction; they design, get permits, pour the concrete, build the foundation, put up the steel beams, get the roof and studs in place, drywall and tape.  The electrician didn’t do the drywall, the roof didn’t go on before the steel beams were in place and you didn’t pour the concrete after you painted (hopefully).  I rest my case.