What do we do?
We specialize in three things: Positioning, Point-of-Sale and Program Design. Whether you engage us for one or all three, you’ll get a talented team who will work hard to exceed your goals and increase the value of your brand.
We leverage consumer insight, competitive analysis and our own strategic experience to craft a meaningful brand story and position brands for success.
Pairing product inspiration with behavioral information, we design shopper-friendly retail environments and develop smart and effective in-store communications.
Integrated marketing programs that put brands in (the right) peoples’ hands, and at their finger-tips, allow us to use every tool in our creative and strategic toolbox.
We have a simple formula for success (yours and ours) – we question insightfully and listen intently. Our understanding of the issues our clients face motivates us to look for better, smarter ways to deliver results. And if you need another reason to believe, here are three good ones.
We love what we do.
Being inspired is the best way to work and to excite others to be the same way. It’s highly contagious and equally as effective.
We’re always hungry for more. We don’t just live off what we already know, we thrive on what we’ll know tomorrow.
We’re small, by design.
We keep it nimble, fluid, and streamlined so that the ideas have room to grow.
We are storytellers, thinkers, writers, musicians, artists, contrarians and believers. Our pursuits and expertise are far-flung but tight-knit. Put us all together and the melting pot of talent helps us create ideas that are fresh and well rounded. Just like us.
What inspires us to work hard for you?
Opportunity. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. We’re creative thinkers. We want to find ways to add value to your brand. We want to build experiences that generate word-of-mouth. And we believe it’s a privilege to do so as part of this team.
What started in 1992 as one woman and one borrowed laptop atop a mountain of conviction has been carefully guided and cultivated into the agency we are now. The ideas of a better creative shop that our founder Liz Spidell set off with are still humming along: keep it small, keep it honest, and keep it fun. We believe in chemistry. We work hard to create it for ourselves, with our clients, and ultimately, for our clients.
Wake Forest University Schools of Business
The Wake Forest Master of Arts (MA) in Management is a ten-month program specifically designed for recent liberal arts, sciences or engineering graduates. Our assignment was to increase awareness of the program among prospective (non-business) students on six campuses.
The idea? Inspire students to think differently about business with the primary message “Bring Your World to the Business World”, and bring that idea to life by leveraging stories of program graduates who did. From hundreds of 7’ Standees (representing program grads) to soda and chip giveaways to a full size door in the middle of campus, some tactics were hard to miss. Even the smallest elements like coasters and flyers invited participation through a promotional overlay. Though there wasn’t a pre- or post-campaign awareness study, there was a 505% increase in unique visitors to the program website during the campaign period.
Sealy’s new Optimum line is a departure from their well-known innerspring products in terms of the gel memory foam technology and distinctive style. We were asked to create photography, collateral and POS materials that expressed the brand’s unique personality and made it easy to communicate the product story.
The finished retail and collateral pieces featured a consistent look with cool visual cues and our fashion-inspired photography, setting the stage for the coolest mattress story we’ve ever told. We also worked with a production partner to create, engineer and produce thousands of headboard displays that combine powder-coated steel, laminated plexi and LED lighting for a coolly eye-catching presence on the retail floor.
The result? The launch has been a huge success, with Optimum beds quickly outselling competitors in many top retail chains and a positive response from both retailers and consumers.
Stearns & Foster
Our work to relaunch Stearns & Foster was focused on reinforcing the brand’s core values—materials, innovation, and craftsmanship—in a modern world that often prioritizes the temporary over the timeless.
We produced location-based photography and videography, shot simultaneously in a luxurious setting to capture imagery and footage of every product in the line. Using these images as the foundation, we brought the brand story to life in POS materials, headboards, and product videos that are featured in retail stores across the country.
Banner offers several proprietary gelatin-based drug delivery technologies and an extensive selection of dosage forms that are used to deliver everything from ibuprofen to allergy medicine to vitamins.
Working with Banner, we’ve developed photography, print advertising campaigns, trade show environments and materials, packaging, sell-in concepts and materials, as well as the corporate website. And the products themselves have provided inspiration for almost every initiative.
For example, the photography was styled and lit to emphasize their beauty and purity. The redesigned sales brochure has multiple design elements that echo the shape of the softgels. And the packaging we designed for Pharmacaps®, their nutritional supplements brand, lets the all-natural clarity of the product speak for itself.
Our first assignment with TruGreen was consulting on their brand relaunch, when they called us to bring a fresh perspective to their positioning work. Once the strategic foundation was complete, we developed a presentation to “sell” the rebranding initiative internally at their annual meeting, rallying the company around the updated brand and all that it stood for.
Since that first assignment, we’ve done everything from redesigning their extensive collateral portfolio (including retention and acquisition pieces), and relaunching their direct marketing creative (including both a complex direct mail program and a deep inquiry print program), to prototyping retail space for a new inquiry channel and helping every branch in the US refresh their space. From the positioning to the packaging (including actual product boxes) to the programs we’ve deployed, all of our work with TruGreen has focused on a specialty we have in common – promoting growth.
You could say that we started working with NOTION Music before it existed. How? The makers of a new music composition software program engaged us to develop a complete identity for their product – a name, a logo, a tagline, a positioning, and finally, packaging for the unnamed software – which in turn transformed their corporate identity.
As we immersed ourselves in the prototype product, the competitive landscape and the consumer experience in the category, we realized something important. No matter how revolutionary the product might be, the key selling point wasn’t the technology itself (three products simplified to one), it was the emotional impact thereof – the experience of instantaneously hearing the music in your head fully scored and played by the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). We focused on that insight as the driving force behind the brand and our expression of it in every medium.
Going from a blank score to a full brand identity was merely the beginning of our engagement. NOTION Music Composition and Performance Software was recognizably revolutionary but completely unknown. Our “Feel It” campaign launched NOTION into the notation software marketplace. It condensed the entire creative process—of imagining music, scoring it, and then hearing it fully realized and played by the LSO—into an 8-word headline that captures the feeling of those moments and leads directly to the tagline. We created the entire series in a few days of photography using professional musicians, amateur musicians and NOTION employees as our models. As NOTION users, was it easy for them to tap into that emotional experience for our camera? You bet.
The launch program we put together included advertising, guerrilla marketing, trade show collateral and environment development, and an industry-focused PR initiative. NOTION debuted with extensive industry buzz and early credibility, even garnering an Editors Choice award from Electronic Musician for Music Software Product of the Year. The results? The impact of the launch is well represented by a comment made by two-time Emmy-award-winning television and film composer Hummie Mann just 14 months after the brand debut.
After scoring by hand, I then pass it to my assistant to enter into Finale. I do also have Sibelius and Notion on my computer so that I am compatible with all incoming file types.
NOTION was mentioned in the same breath as the two giants in the industry, both of whom had been on the market for ten or more years. This simple quote belies the fact that NOTION surpassed twenty-one competitive notation software programs to be named in the top three in their first year.
Medical Justice was preparing to introduce an online reputation management service focused exclusively on doctors, and designed to help them manage their presence and promote their practice online. They asked us to develop a complete identity package for the service—including the brand name, logo, positioning and tagline—which would allow it to live comfortably under the parent brand while enabling it to stand firmly on its own.
After extensive research and conceptual development, eMerit emerged with a distinctive and compelling personality. We brought the new brand to life in a new website, collateral materials, email communications and online advertising that resulted in rapid membership growth and cross-selling opportunities. In fact, the launch has been so successful that we are now rolling out a relaunch of the parent brand and updating their online and print communications as well.