San Francisco Theological Seminary: A Vision for the Future.

Founded in 1871 and rooted in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), San Francisco Theological Seminary is a leader and innovator among PCUSA seminaries. It prepares women and men for transformational ministries of justice, peace and healing, which advance the church’s hopeful, loving engagement with the world.

But like many seminaries across denominations, SFTS had been facing declining enrollment and uncertain financial support from key stakeholders for years. The Board approved hiring management consultants to make long term strategic recommendations, of which one was to engage brand consultants to begin repairing their image and shaping their core message for long term sustainability.

Monogram was retained in association with Oakland-based Ashton212 to conduct internal and external market research, develop brand architecture and messaging platform, and ultimately create a new & progressive visual identity system for the institution.

Our scope included three Board of Trustees presentations, and a 36-page brand manual for internal and external usage.

For a detailed review of this engagement, please contact us at 312-726-4300 or email our President, Scott Markman, at smarkman@monogramgroup.com.

 

New Official Seal

New Official Seal

New Brandmark

New Brandmark

Brand and Graphic Standards Manual

Brand and Graphic Standards Manual

Temporarily political, always excellent. We know branding.

Thanks for checking out our website! Either you think Ellen is a great candidate as well, or perhaps you enjoyed the branding work we put together for her. Or both. We like both.

For almost 30 years, Monogram has been reimagining brands from research and planning through creative development and launch. Our clients range from global brands (like LifeFitness, Mintel and Goldwind) to start-ups and mid-market companies.

Our branding is guided by simple but hard to execute concepts. Be grounded in an idea, not just a pretty face. Be handsome but also timeless. And make the viewer smile.

Check out a few of our case studies (from actual clients)

LifeFitness

Mintel

Goldwind

Handy Living

Northstar Capital

为什么中国品牌在西方市场步履蹒跚

          虽然中国企业“走出去”已经取得了很大的进步,如联想、华为的成功,但是无数的企业进军海外收效甚微。我们相信,如果我们仔细分析目前中国国内市场品牌的环境,我们可以收集一些线索——是什么阻碍了中国企业的全球化。

          在过去,中国消费者主要对产品的价格和质量感兴趣。由于这种倾向,大部分中国品牌在营销中仍着重强调其产品的功能。

          多亏了经济的不断增长,收入的提高和产品的多样性,中国消费者变得更加挑剔。他们希望更多的认识品牌,并被品牌所认可。中国品牌的营销仍然停留在产品层面,而不是在心理层面上引起顾客的共鸣。

          为了取得成功,中国企业必须进行从以产品为导向向以品牌为导向的转变。他们必须知道是什么让自己的品牌独一无二,并通过所有渠道灌输这一品牌理念,从而创造独特的品牌体验。 ”

          我们观察到另一种常见的做法是,中国企业的战略决策往往基于直觉,而不是科学的调研。这些缺乏科学依据的战略使得品牌在市场中关联性不强。一个可靠的品牌战略是基于全面的、科学的市场调研以及对解消费者需求(心理共鸣)的深刻理解。这是基于强大的数据分析能力和情感渲染能力。

          抛开这些挑战,也有中国品牌已经掌握了创造独特品牌体验的秘诀:

  • 中国领先的即时通讯工具WeChat提供了令人难以置信的友好的用户体验。不仅拥有强大的产品, WeChat还是一个真正具有内涵的品牌——真正兑现了其品牌的承诺——使顾客开始一种全新的生活方式。
  • 火锅连锁店海底捞的承诺是提供快乐。为了做到这一点,该品牌强调员工之间的和谐关系。其快乐的品牌文化创建了一个和谐的员工大家庭,并激励他们与客户分享这种快乐。
  • 科技公司小米以客户为先的宗旨是“只为粉丝”。小米去除企业的官僚机构,鼓励员工相互协作。它还强调工程师与用户的关系,以确保他们创造的产品以客户(“粉丝”)为中心。

          回顾历史,中国是一个具有发明创造精神的国度,中国企业要克服现在的挑战,重拾那种精神。

          我们相信,中国企业拥有创造独特品牌体验的潜力、能力和文化底蕴,用理性思维创造与顾客的情感联系。已经开始这样做的中国公司让我们对中国品牌的未来充满信心。 (转载纽约时报)

Private equity client list.

Antares Capital
Ampersand Capital
Bridge Street Capital
Brass Ring Capital
Brockway Moran
CHS
Clearlight Partners
CMEA Capital
Golub Capital
Keystone Capital
MFC Capital Funding
Monroe Capital
Northstar Capital
Olympus Partners
Previsio Partners
Resilience Capital
Southstar Capital
TCW/Crescent Mezzanine
TCF Capital Funding
THL Credit
Trivest
Versa Capital
Walton St. Capital
Waud Capital

 

Meet the Zen Master.

Mark McCleary

Mark McCleary

Mark McCleary is nothing if not a breath of fresh air.  His easy going manner and dash of irreverence effortlessly blend with a wealth of insights and experience, forged in a 30+ year career as a corporate marketing executive.

Mark, our former client when he was CMO of Life Fitness, has joined the Monogram team as our Strategy and Planning lead. His career has included senior marketing and brand management positions for household names such as Nabisco, SC Johnson, Brunswick, Manpower and other leading consumer and B2B brands.

“What I love about partnering with Monogram is being able to extend their core expertise with insights and creative for brands into the real top line, financially-driven objectives that CEOs must deliver upon. I don’t know of too many agencies who can seamlessly blend these skills into a powerful service offering for mid market companies.”

Mark lives in Racine, WI with his wife, two sons and wiener dog. He happily commutes to Willis Tower via Amtrak, which he claims is a very East Coast thing to do.

You can reach Mark at mmccleary@monogramgroup.com or 262-989-1418.

Two Investment Strategies, One Purpose.

Headquartered in Boston, with offices in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and New York, THL Credit it the credit affiliate of Thomas H. Lee Partners, one of the largest and most respected private equity firms. Their two divisions (Direct Lending and Tradable Credit) invest across the entire capital structure through public and private vehicles.

But beyond strong financial performance and deep credit expertise, THL Credit’s reputation is as a collaborative, responsible lender born of a strong culture and passionate professionals.

Our work for THL Credit encompassed an integrated set of marketing communications tools, including a visual ID system, PPT library, photography and video, email templates, LinkedIn recommendations, as well as a message platform and widely used tone of voice for the brand.

We also built a second companion site, THL Credit BDC, for consumer investors who hold shares in their publicly traded NASDAQ stock (TCRD). The site is hosted by NASDAQ to manage external data feeds, but contains substantive content we architected, designed and programmed.

 

THL Credit web site 

THL Credit web site 

THL Credit Web Site

THL Credit Web Site

THL Credit PPT decks

THL Credit PPT decks

Let's Build Something Special.

Normandy Remodeling specializes in home remodeling and improvement projects which include room additions, kitchen, bathroom, and basement remodeling, and exterior renovations. Located in Hinsdale, Illinois, they have served the Chicagoland area since 1979.

Our work with Kristina Ferrigan, Normandy’s Director of Marketing, and her management team focused on positioning the brand as the leader in the “design build” segment of home remodeling to affluent homeowners. Their reputation for design excellence, craftsmanship and project management has been instrumental in creating a strong reputation that fuels dynamic word of mouth marketing.

At the same time, the site was architected, designed and programmed to fill lead gen needs for their in-house designers, by making the rich library of content and design ideas easily accessible to consumers who visit the site. 

Throughout the site, it is infused with calls to action that encourage prospects to call or email a specific designer, or attend a seminar onrenovation ideas.

Normandy Remodeling Web Site

Normandy Remodeling Web Site

Ni Hao, Red Apple Reading.

In China, giving your child every advantage in school is a widely-held priority, as education is the best way to guarantee future prosperity, regardless of family circumstances. Yet every parent knows that competition is fierce and unrelenting. As a result, learning English at a young age has become virtually mandatory.

Enter Red Apple Reading, the successful reading skills system for young children that is the creation of Tammy and Jason Bennecke, a couple from Cayucos, CA. They developed their unique content based on Tammy’s many years as a successful teacher of elementary age children.

Seeing a growing and substantial opportunity, the Benneckes engaged Monogram in May, 2015 to develop a comprehensive plan to introduce Red Apple Reading to the vast China market.

Our planning involved online market research in Tier 1 and 2 Chinese cities with 400 targeted households, as well as a deep competitive audit. In addition, we had to give careful thought to how Chinese parents gather information, decide whom to trust and ultimately make buying decisions for their children’s education – which is quite different than the equivalency in the US.

Along the way, our scope of services also increased substantially, expanding to include direct-to-school channels in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In short order we have become trusted advisors to the Benneckes on several legal, technology and contractual decisions.

Our campaign executional work has covered media planning and full creative: banner ads distributed on targeted web sites, Weibo (China’s Twitter) posts, and as collaboration with third party blogs. We also have created significant Mandarin content on the RAR web sites that connects with our placed ads.

In addition, we have built A/B testing into every aspect of our work, to enable immediate analysis and refinement of the campaign. 

 

The Best of Both Worlds.

Associated Financial Group (AFG) is a business unit of Associated Banc-corp, a regional bank with $27 billion in assets. Headquartered in Minneapolis, they serve mid-sized businesses in the bank’s Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois footprint. In fact, they are the third largest employee benefits consultant in the US.

On the upper end they compete against global firms such as Marsh and Aon, but as a mid-tier player they also compete with smaller, local firms in many regional markets.

So the brand positioning question became: how to cast AFG as the best of both worlds, and create a content platform to convey this position through many communications channels?

Our work for AFG included an array of internal and external one-on-one interviews as the basis for the brand position. In addition, we created a completely new web site that also had to conform to the parent bank’s visual branding and messaging standards. Our scope included site mapping, wire framing, design interface, photo and video shoot, as well as collaboration with the client’s internal programming resources.

In addition, we consulted on a longer-term communications strategy to develop and distribute thought leadership content from AFG topic experts in various levels of depth and complexity, to enable distribution through social media, email and other channels beyond quarterly newsletters.

 

Associated Financial Group Web Site

Associated Financial Group Web Site

Associated Financial Group Web Site

Associated Financial Group Web Site

Associated Financial Group Web Site

Associated Financial Group Web Site

The British Invasion: Under the Hood.

Based in Wigan, UK, Hylomar LLC is a leading manufacturer of flexible engine sealants, with strong market share throughout Europe and Asia.  Their products are used in jet engines, and a who’s who of prestige car brands. Monogram was engaged by Hylomar in May to build an impactful US brand in support of quickly growing distribution with professional channels and retailers.

We started our research with Chicagoland mechanics, visiting several shops to get front line perceptions of Hylomar’s flagship product vs. their competitors. Based on those insights, we anchored their brand position on a bold claim of superior efficacy, to counter being outspent 100 to 1 in market.

Our campaign revolves around the tagline “Hylomar. It just ***ing works.” A healthy dose of attitude on top of a great product line.

The integrated campaign featured social media, paid search, outreach to trade journalists, a microsite featuring brand and product demo videos, and a trade show booth design.

We launched the campaign through a promotional tie-in to Hylomar’s presence at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas. Leading up to the show we launched our social media and PR push, featuring a contest to attend the show for two lucky winners, with all expenses paid.  

The early returns? Very impressive. Placements on the front page of EngineBuilder.com and other trade sites. Relationships established with social media stars like Jim Bates. 30,000 targeted FB users, in 40 cities, reached in the first week. 865 likes to one FB sponsored post. 1,100 Twitter followers in a month. And on and on.

 

Hylomar Brand Launch Microsite

Hylomar Brand Launch Microsite

Hylomar Brand Launch Sizzle Video

Hylomar Brand Launch Sizzle Video

Hylomar Brand Launch Product Demo Video Library

Hylomar Brand Launch Product Demo Video Library

After 20 Years, the Band Plays On.

In 1996, 12 partners created a new paradigm in private equity debt financing. Known as Antares Capital, their immediate marketing need was building awareness and articulating their USP: a better way of doing business and a commitment to this niche in M&A financing.

Monogram was engaged to create and grow their brand as a key differentiator in the market. Over the first 10 years of our relationship, we created the most recognized advertising in the category. Over time, Antares rose to become the #1 lender in their market niche, and in 2005 they were acquired by rival GE Capital.

For the next 10 years, GE Antares Capital remained only one of two co-branded entities within all of GE – a testament to the ongoing power of the Antares brand.

In 2015 GE decided to break up GE Capital, and GE Antares was the first business unit sold – to the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board for $12 billion.  The firm’s management (the same 11 partners from 1996) and new ownership announced the Antares brand would be re-established as an independent entity – with Monogram as their agency.

We couldn’t be happier.

Meet The Noob.

Say hi to Sara Hill, the latest member of the Monogram Account Services team. Sara’s responsibilities include day-to-day interface with clients, managing detail, conducting research, overseeing QC on her projects, and collaborating with our partners and creatives on every aspect of our work.

After growing up in Arlington Heights she attended Iowa State, graduating in 2014 with a degree in Psychology and minors in Political Science and French. Her leisure time activities include yoga, taking her dog to the park and cooking.

“What I love about the job so far includes the opportunity to use my creativity to solve everyday problems.  I also really enjoy attending photo and video shoots, and seeing how the process unfolds that leads to the finished work.”

Sara was also an instrumental part of our team that competed in the Culinary Care charitable cookoff in October (she dices a mean brussel sprout).