Working with Brands in Transition

Blackcoffee is a Boston based brand consultancy, partnering with brands in transition to clarify, simplify and amplify brand value. We specialize in brand strategy and brand identity to help brands, big and small solve their most pressing brand and business challenges.

 
$25,000+
 
$200 - $300 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
1994
Show all +
Boston, MA
headquarters
  • 840 Summer Street
    Boston, MA 02127
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

We work with brands, both big and small, to solve their most pressing challenges related to their brand and business. These include: Acura, AdTech, Boloco, Cannondale, Converse, Earth Footwear, First Act, Fox Sports, Hasbro, Kryptonite, MTV, New Balance, Numark, Nuance, Puma, Reebok, Rockport, Salomon, Showtime Networks, Silverrail, Sperry Top-sider, Swarovski, Symmons, Timberland, Tonka, Windpact, Winston Flowers, Zildjian

ohDEER | rebranding

A FRANCHISE LOOKING TO INCREASE OVERALL MARKET SHARE TO BECOME THE PREFERRED CHOICE FOR DEER, TICK, AND MOSQUITO CONTROL.

We began by reassessing the brand's value proposition to develop a strategy backed by a single message. Our goal was to present a clear and compelling proposition that was understood and valued equally by both customers and potential franchisees. This allowed the brand to speak in one voice for

consistent communications, both internally and externally.

We then redesigned the brand identity to align the new brand promise and effectively communicate that promise to better manage expectations. The new unified message and brand look & feel now extends across the franchise base allowing customers to better identify the brand and differentiate the value it provides.

PREMARRA | brand naming

A PROOF OF CONCEPT BRAND GETS A PREMIUM ITALIAN BRAND NAME.

This early-stage startup approached Blackcoffee with only the vision for creating a premium dress shirt brand that would simplify the retail process by removing the middlemen. However, the company needed a name.

While consumers believe the name Premarra to be Italian word for premium, it is, in fact, a fabricated name designed to conjure up such thoughts.

This gives the brand familiarity in the descriptive sense while providing a foreign novelty that underscores the authenticity of manufacturing origin and technique.


Get the full story >

https://www.blackcoffee.com/work/premarra

Reviews

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Brand Strategy for Digital Consultancy Firm

"Thanks to Blackcoffee, our simplified messaging resonates better in the market."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Sep. 2017 — Ongoing
Project summary: 

Blackcoffee leads a 360-degree messaging and rebranding effort, including workshops, client interviews, and brand positioning.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Albany, New York
Ben Elmore
CEO, Twin Technologies, Inc.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The number of qualified leads have increased markedly since Blackcoffee was first engaged. Their expertise, flexibility, and creativity justify the investment and make them a valuable partner. The team’s quality deliverables set them up for a second engagement.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m CEO of a digital consultancy. We focus on helping businesses accelerate their growth by leveraging emerging trends in digital technology.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Blackcoffee?

We wanted help articulating our market position and services in a succinct way. We’ve solved a lot of challenging problems for disparate organizations over the years. We needed help creating a strong, unifying theme.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They led a series of joint workshops. Blackcoffee took our executive team through a series of exercises to hone in on the key attributes of who we are, and the common challenges that we're solving. They also conducted an interview with about 30 customers and employees. They asked customers to articulate why they engage us and what they expect us to do. From an employee perspective, they asked what types of work they do and why they stay with the company.

The process evolved from just a position statement to a branding exercise. The final product was a brand positioning and an overarching brand redesign that we’ll be releasing early next year. We're already planning on continuing with them on a second engagement because brand positioning and messaging is never static. If the first phase was about identity and position, the second phase is about messaging, brand rollout, and execution.

What is the team composition?

We primarily work with Mark (brand expressionist, Blackcoffee) and Laura (brand expressionist, Blackcoffee). They pull in other members of their team for particular needs, such as copy editing or design.

How did you come to work with Blackcoffee?

A mutual friend suggested that we get together. We had several meetings just to get to know each other as professionals. We interviewed several agencies, but felt most comfortable working on this challenge with Blackcoffee.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent between $75,000–$100,000 to date. We’ll probably spend a similar amount on the second engagement.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in September 2017 and the engagement is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We've seen an uptick in the number of clients engaging us in second and third sales conversations. Thanks to Blackcoffee, our simplified messaging resonates better in the market.

How did Blackcoffee perform from a project management standpoint?

Mark and Laura have a fantastic attribute of having strong opinions that are loosely held. That means that they will challenge requests when a client says they need a specific thing done. They’re willing to push back and say that the specified action won’t actually deliver results, or will actually be counterproductive to the mission. They will strongly debate in order to make risks clear to the client. However, they’re also cognizant that sometimes a client just needs an action to be done. They’re open to listening to new information, and willing to move their position.

We use a combination of Trello and Excel for project management. Mark and Laura are open to using whatever tool is most conducive for collaboration.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We've spent a fair amount of marketing dollars with brand and creative agencies over the years, and the results have been highly inconsistent. Mark and Laura have a depth of experience and focus on mastering their craft. We’re very pleased with the pool of expertise—in brand identity, positioning, and messaging—that we can tap into. Also, they're not prescriptive in the way that they approach their work. While consultants often make the worst clients for other consultants, we think working with Blackcoffee made both parties smarter.

Any advice for potential customers?

They use a very collaborative process. You need to participate fully in order to get the most out of the experience. Allow yourself to fully engage in the process, even if you had bad experiences with workshops in the past. The results only get better the more that you engage. If that's not a style that works for you, they're probably not the right fit.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They're good at setting expectations, and accelerating to meet deadlines.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Everything they work on delivers value.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    If any aspect doesn't grab the imagination, they keep working until it does.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve already referred them.

Naming & Branding for Medical Device Company

“Our name and our brands are recognized by the industry, and that's a direct reflection of their work.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2012 — 2017
Project summary: 

Across several engagements, Blackcoffee named and developed brands for multiple products across various verticals.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Concord, Massachusetts
Member, Medical Device Tech Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Blackcoffee’s singular concentration on (and expertise in) branding set them apart from others in the marketing space. Their responsive, customer-centric approach helped them consistently deliver top-quality solutions that have been praised by key players in the industry.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I work for a medical device and drug development technology company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Blackcoffee?

Originally, we needed help naming a consumer product.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We put together a detailed scope of work and outlined key deliverables and deadlines. All of those important metrics were met, so subsequently, we engaged them several times to build out many of our company’s brands. It was a very good relationship.

What is the team composition?

I worked with two of their brand expressionists directly; both were exceptional. That was always the interface I had.

How did you come to work with Blackcoffee?

I first found them online. We interviewed other firms extensively and found them to be the best. Then, we met several times, negotiated, and discovered whether we wanted to work together.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked with them from 2012–2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

I think they've done a spectacular job. Our name and our brands are recognized by the industry, and that's a direct reflection of their work. Others have asked where we’ve gotten our naming and branding done. It’s exceptional work.

How did Blackcoffee perform from a project management standpoint?

Their project management was excellent. We communicated primarily over the phone, and they were extremely responsive.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They're hyper-focused. They don't do PR and they don't do other aspects of marketing or advertising, so they're experts in naming and brand identity—and that’s a rarity. They only do what they know best.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Have a little faith and trust them.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Website Redesign for Luxury Goods Company

"The team had great execution because they paid attention to detail and were always willing to listen to us."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jan. - Mar. 2016
Project summary: 

Blackcoffee redesigned a website. The project focused on the site’s search results, homepage, product pages, and checkout function.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Providence, Rhode Island
Lawrence Davis
VP Marketing, Luxury Brand Holdings
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new design was user-friendly and received positive feedback. The team was efficient and performed in a consistent manner.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I am the VP of Marketing at Luxury Brand Holdings, which includes the Ross-Simons and Sidney Thomas jewelry stores.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Blackcoffee?

We engaged them to redesign our website with a modern and user-friendly interface.

What were your goals for this project?

We wanted a world-class update to our design aesthetic that wouldn’t alienate our customer base who, at 62 years old on average, is not overly receptive to change.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We looked at the great work that Blackcoffee had done for us in the past as well as their current portfolio.

Describe the project in detail.

They did a page by page redesign of the major customer-facing presentations. This included search results, home page, product pages, and checkout.

What was the team composition?

Marc and Laura (Owners, Blackcoffee) led the design process and were involved in the project’s other components.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

The new design was great received favorable customer feedback for its legibility and ease of use. They did a nice job.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

Both Marc and Laura were very efficient.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

The team had great execution because they paid attention to detail and were always willing to listen to us.

Are there any areas for improvement?

No. They should keep up the great work.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer