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Brand, Purpose, Culture: The Triple Threat For Business Right Now

Brand, Purpose, Culture: The Triple Threat For Business Right Now

In Tandem We talk a lot about how businesses today need a strong brand, a clear purpose, and an inspired culture. Each of these brand components are playing a greater role in business success today. Sometimes it appears that if you just have one, you might be able to turn your business around. But this is no longer the case. Without all three – brand, purpose, culture – working together and driving one another, rising to the top is not a possibility. Simply embracing purpose is no longer enough to stand out. Even the most talented people aren’t going to drive you into the future without a...
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Mind the Gap: Bridging Strategy and Design

Mind the Gap: Bridging Strategy and Design

Here’s a simple truth I’ve learned working at both design-led and strategy-focused agencies. Strategy and design work best when they work together – from beginning to end. The problem is that strategy and creative are often regarded as separate instead of complementary disciplines. They have separate teams, separate processes, different skillsets, different client interactions. They approach problems from different angles. They may sit on different floors, different buildings, or even different firms. And, typically, the biggest communication between the teams is a handoff from one to the...
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Want to Grow Your Business? Adopt a Founders’ Mentality

Want to Grow Your Business? Adopt a Founders’ Mentality

Growth Paradox We work with CEOs every day, developing strategy and helping leaders position their businesses to meet their growth goals. From small, young start-ups, to well-established, huge enterprise businesses, CEOs have a tough role – and leading business forward amidst high growth is a challenge we see again and again. Today’s companies are scaling faster than ever before – even in the middle of increased competition, market pressures, and the stress of solving problems faster and faster. It’s no surprise that the average lifecycle of organizations is getting shorter and shorter. The...
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Brand Essence Is the Heart and Soul of Your Business

Brand Essence Is the Heart and Soul of Your Business

The Miracle of Brand Essence To begin, we turn briefly to the world of basketball. The Los Angeles Lakers, a once-beloved franchise, have not won a championship in nearly a decade. This year, they will not make the playoffs for the sixth year in a row, the longest drought in team history. Yet despite this, every year, the Lakers sell more jerseys than just about anybody else in the league. How is this possible? Even though the team is weak, its brand essence is incredibly strong. If branding is the heart of business, then brand essence is the heart of branding. Think of it as a tool, often...
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The Latest, Greatest Thing in Digital Is Print

The Latest, Greatest Thing in Digital Is Print

Print Is Dead, Long Live Print Every year, we hear print is dead. And every year, it proves us dead wrong. The fact is, digital transformation has its upper limits. There are some analog experiences – like the genuine discovery and delight of wandering through a great bookstore – that technology is currently incapable of replicating. Between 2009 and 2015, what’s known as the Amazon-fueled “retail apocalypse,” independent bookstores grew by 35 percent. Perhaps it’s the tenacity and resilience of print that has led many companies to start publishing their own magazines. Uber, Airbnb, Casper,...
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Branding Project: Do You Actually Want Something Bold?



Branding Project: Do You Actually Want Something Bold?



Make it Bold There is a four-letter word that gets said during every branding project. No, not that one. The word is “bold” and no one knows what it actually means. Perhaps it’s the word’s own sense of daring and fearlessness that has allowed it to march undaunted into every creative brief and client meeting, even when it is not requested. Enterprise software companies want to be bold. Insurance adjuster services want to be bold. Startups and law firms and logistic companies want to be bold. But do they really? What it Is and What it Isn’t Here’s what bold is: it’s uncomfortable. It’s...
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How to Successfully Emerge from Stealth Mode

How to Successfully Emerge from Stealth Mode

Can You Keep a Secret? Stealth mode is a business strategy in which your product, service, or entire brand is intentionally hidden from the market until a predefined date. It is the fine art of keeping a secret, especially in highly competitive markets. And in many ways, it goes against every piece of advice entrepreneurs normally give. Educating your users, generating feedback, building product love, cultivating a community – these are all best practices that require some element of exposure. How can people fall in love with your brand if they can’t see it? But under the right conditions,...
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How to Attract and Assemble Top Talent

How to Attract and Assemble Top Talent

What Makes a Real Business? You write for years before you call yourself a writer. You play music for thousands of hours before you call yourself a musician. So, what does it take for a startup to be called a “real business?” Is about funding? Awareness? One definition from Inc. – and one that speaks to just how many moving parts it takes to reach sustained success – is when a company’s founder no longer relies exclusively on his or her own skills to manage the business. It’s the point when a CEO can truly delegate a task without worry. (Or, at least not too much worry.) Faster Alone,...
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The Value of Outside Creativity on In-House Work

The Value of Outside Creativity on In-House Work

As an agency, we have the benefit of outside perspective on client work. Our distance allows us to see situations with a more objective lens. But what happens when we get too close to our own work or get caught in a creative slump? As Design Director Robert Saywitz tells us, sometimes the best solution to in-house problems is outside inspiration. We sat down to discuss how his background in illustration, graphic novels, and mixed-media informs his design thinking. Tell us a bit about your artistic practices. I do a little bit of everything: painting, drawing, ink, mixed-media works on paper,...
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A 5-Step Action Plan for Sales and Marketing Alignment

A 5-Step Action Plan for Sales and Marketing Alignment

B2B Sales and Marketing Alignment 2.0 A former colleague of mine just started a job where she was required to stand up and deliver a sales presentation to the sales leadership team. That wouldn’t be unusual for a new salesperson – but she’s a marketer. And the experience of walking in the sales team’s shoes made her a better one. B2B companies talk a lot about sales and marketing alignment, but talk will only get you so far. Companies need to take action to get their sales and marketing teams empathizing with each other, strategizing together, and working from the same playbook. It’s a...
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Branding Agency, Emotive Brand, Turns 10 Years Old: An Interview with Bella Banbury

Branding Agency, Emotive Brand, Turns 10 Years Old: An Interview with Bella Banbury

Last week, Emotive Brand, Oakland-based branding agency celebrated its ten-year anniversary. To mark the occasion, we sat down with Co-Founder Bella Banbury to discuss her experience starting a business with her best friend, the importance of culture, and what it will take to be successful moving forward. What accomplishments are you most proud of? Ten years ago, Tracy Lloyd and I were working together at another agency that abruptly closed its doors. We found ourselves unexpectedly without jobs and we needed a plan. So, on the first day of our newfound freedom, we met for breakfast at the W...
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What Does the Agency of the Future Look Like?

What Does the Agency of the Future Look Like?

Last week, Emotive Brand celebrated its ten-year anniversary. Naturally, the milestone has led all of us here to reflect on the last decade and ask what it will take to continue to be successful moving forward. Today, Founding Partner and Chief Strategy Officer Tracy Lloyd and Creative Director Thomas Hutchings tackle that very question. What does the agency of the future look like? How does it behave? And how do we continue to push the envelope of what’s possible? How have you seen the agency space shift over time? Thomas Hutchings: Gone are the days of real arrogance, where an agency could...
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A Deep Dive into Designing for Accessibility

A Deep Dive into Designing for Accessibility

Today’s blog is about our recent work with the Galt Foundation, an organization that provides, promotes, and expands employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. You can view our full case study here. The following post is available as both a text and audio experience.   Designing for Accessibility Is a Duty, Not an Option As designers, we have the opportunity to create experiences that bring people together, but we also have a responsibility to create work which can be experienced by everyone, regardless of ability. That’s not to say that everyone will perceive or...
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How to Launch a New Brand Category

How to Launch a New Brand Category

Launching A New Brand Category The decision to join an existing category, or to launch a new brand category is not an easy decision. Evaluating your product maturity, the product roadmap, and overall market maturity is critical. Once the decision is made, the strategy shifts to creating the right budget and plan to launch the new brand category. Building momentum is paramount to both the category’s success, and by proxy, your own brand’s position as the category leader. As we’ve previously discussed, timing is critical for launch. You need to consider factors of competition, messaging,...
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Maintaining Brand Relevance in a Fast-Paced World

Maintaining Brand Relevance in a Fast-Paced World

Brand Relevance Amidst New Expectations In a time of constant change and heightened customer expectations, the greatest danger facing most brands today is loss of brand relevance. People are ultra-connected. Markets constantly shift. New trends emerge. Competitors enter and shake things up. And customers expect more from the brands they buy from. As a result, many businesses struggle to stay relevant – trying to get ahead of competition, adapt fast enough, and maintain their position in the market. In order to survive, brands need to evolve in a way that differentiates them from their...
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