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Excuse Me, But Can I Get A Little Transformation With My Brand Strategy?

Excuse Me, But Can I Get A Little Transformation With My Brand Strategy?

Change. It’s a bitch. It’s also axiomatic in our industry. Whether you’re a startup emerging from stealth mode, an industry disruptor going public, or an enterprise business in the middle of a merger, every organization is learning to succeed amidst exponentially complex, relentlessly rapid change. We get it. These growth moments force business leaders to rethink everything from value chains to backend technologies. They sometimes require reorganization. And they almost always mean revisiting the brand strategy that got you from where you began to today. More importantly, they force a...
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Too. Many. Choices. Yes, Over-Branding Is a Thing.

Too. Many. Choices. Yes, Over-Branding Is a Thing.

I walked into my favorite hair and body care store last week, looking for my usual hair product — you know, the one that protects hair before you heat-style it. I couldn’t remember the name of the product but I figured I’d easily recognize it once in the store. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As it turns out, the product I use is just one member of a family of products prone to over-branding that all have adjacent but different uses. The family has a common name but each sub-product has a distinct name to indicate its use. Easy, right? No, not easy. A knowledgeable and patient...
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Your Brand’s Competition? The Last Great Brand Experience Your Customer Just Had

Your Brand’s Competition? The Last Great Brand Experience Your Customer Just Had

When creating a brand strategy the competitive landscape audit is an essential part of the process. You must know your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and understand consumer perceptions in order to effectively differentiate your brand and create a compelling brand experience. A competitive audit of your immediate competitors only tells half the story. Your Real Competition Is The Last Best Brand Experience Your Customer Had While your customers will always compare your products and services to your direct competitors, they’re also constantly comparing the experience they’re having...
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Is What You Offer In Evolution? Adopt A Progressive Brand Positioning Strategy

Is What You Offer In Evolution? Adopt A Progressive Brand Positioning Strategy

Brand Positioning, While In Evolution Our studio works with a diversity of clients, but most come to us in evolution: at pivotal points in their growth, maturation, and offering. For instance, we’ve worked with Series A companies that want to go to market with a compelling brand but don’t yet have a fully realized product, companies looking to emerge out of stealth who have a big vision for tomorrow but want to focus on their current product to prove results today, and maturing organizations at pivotal points in their trajectory who are facing existential decisions about how to evolve their...
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Need Purposeful Brand Transformation? Let the Data Be Your Guide

Need Purposeful Brand Transformation? Let the Data Be Your Guide

Re-Imagining and Evolving Your Enterprise Brand for Its Next Phase of Growth There comes a time in most companies’ growth cycle when they realize they’ve evolved from a company into an enterprise—and that the brand positioning and messaging that got them to where they are today isn’t going to allow them to make the transformation to where they need to be tomorrow. In some cases, the ‘1.0 brand’ is actually doing the enterprise a disservice by not accurately representing their new or emerging position in the marketplace. The challenge, of course, is that evolving a successful brand can be...
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From Strategy to Storytelling: Realizing the Bay Area of 2070

From Strategy to Storytelling: Realizing the Bay Area of 2070

In our line of work, we’re constantly thinking about the future. What’s the vision? What’s the ceiling? How does it scale? But seldom do we get the opportunity to engage with the future on a deeply human level. How will the Bay Area — this complex region we call home — actually look, feel, move, and grow over the next 50 years? In the Spring of 2020, SPUR, a non-profit public policy organization based in San Francisco, had just completed their Regional Strategy research. The body of work was a 50-year horizon project that proposed ideas and actions on everything from revamping our...
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Simplicity Does Not Mean Simple: An Outside Perspective on the Art of Simplification

Simplicity Does Not Mean Simple: An Outside Perspective on the Art of Simplification

Legend has it that Hemingway once won a bet for the shortest story ever written by crafting a six-word story, “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” True or not, what resonates from this tale is that simplicity does not necessarily mean simple. ‘Less’ can actually mean ‘more’. When you strip everything away except the most meaningful parts, it forces those remaining parts to tell the whole story. It supposedly took Leonard Cohen five years of rewriting lyrics until—80 draft verses later—he settled on the final version of his song “Hallelujah”. The art of simplification—from words and stories to...
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Move On: The Magic Quadrant Should Not Guide Your Brand

Move On: The Magic Quadrant Should Not Guide Your Brand

If you’re a startup CEO/Founder/Marketer, you might have read that headline and thought, “What do you mean I shouldn’t care about the Magic Quadrant? I’ll take a Vendor Briefing call on vacation if I have to!” Sure, tech companies strive for a mention in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant—or better yet—placement in the top right corner as a “Leader”. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant will tell you who’s product sits on the cutting edge of the technology, identify the ankle biters, show who’s falling behind, and identify the leaders in a category. That recognition matters as you develop your product. But, the...
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Ensuring Our Clients’ Success: Change Management and How We Help

Ensuring Our Clients’ Success: Change Management and How We Help

Helping Our Clients Be Successful As a brand strategy agency, it’s our job to ensure that our clients are successful. The strategy and strategically-informed design we create is meant to position our clients’ business and brand to thrive. But at the end of the day, it’s not just about how smart or groundbreaking the strategy or design is. There’s a lot of planning and change management that goes into making sure the project is successful and followed through from start to finish in the most impactful way possible. Operations and project management are key to any brand strategy project....
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Entering Your Growth Stage: Position Your Brand, Not Your Product

Entering Your Growth Stage: Position Your Brand, Not Your Product

You just closed your Series A and you’re ready to share your story with the world. You built revolutionary technology that will be better, faster, cheaper—or all three—than anything else in the market. Now you need to hire top talent, build brand awareness, and equip your sales team to drive revenue. You know how innovative your technology is and you’re ready to create a new category. With customers in beta and limited clear competitors, you’re likely tempted to focus solely on your product and how much better your product is than anything else on the market. But a strong product vision,...
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Building an Agile Brand

Building an Agile Brand

The notion of ‘business agility’ — the ability to quickly adjust business resources and assets in a way that enables your business to prepare for or react to shifting markets and global conditions has always been important — but the experience of COVID-19 and the past 12 + months have driven that point home relentlessly. As we enter into this next phase of ‘the new normal’ one thing is certain: the world and how we work is forever changed and will keep changing — building a brand that enables your business to respond is the new opportunity. What’s required? The ability to adapt to...
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Investing in Brand: It’s Never Too Early

Investing in Brand: It’s Never Too Early

Many of our clients call us after they’ve got a working product or once they embark on a sales effort in earnest. They see branding as an expensive and time-consuming exercise that they’d rather postpone. In almost every case, we wish they’d reached out sooner. Branding is not a one-time exercise; your brand is a muscle that you strengthen over time. Most high-growth tech companies go through several brand iterations over their life cycle. Knowing that, we believe it’s never too early to invest in your brand. In fact, when you invest in branding early in the life of your company, you’ll tap...
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The Lasting Mark of Black Creatives

The Lasting Mark of Black Creatives

There are endless reasons to celebrate Black History Month. But following last year’s civil unrest due to decades worth of racial inequality and blatant injustices faced by the African-American community on a daily basis, we feel a huge responsibility, especially as an agency based in Oakland, to not only speak out and show up for the Black community but be intentional with our actions at every touchpoint. And for us, this meant celebrating Black History Month was an absolute imperative. This month, we’ve chosen to highlight the careers of Black creatives within branding to not only honor...
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Three Key Advantages of a Strong Brand Strategy

Three Key Advantages of a Strong Brand Strategy

Active Brand Management A brand strategy can take what people know and believe about your business to new levels. Active brand management takes a valuable asset that may now be largely underused and turns it into a powerful competitive weapon. Regardless of how sophisticated your current approach to branding is, your business has a “brand” today, though you may have acquired it by default. Simply by being active in the marketplace, your business will have accrued a reputation, a level of fame, and a degree of notoriety (for better or worse) with your customers, and within your industry. A...
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