For challenger brands

Captains of Industry is a creative agency that works with challenger brands to solve tough communications challenges in unconventional ways. We are dedicated to supporting challenger brands with content designed to move markets and mindsets. We believe that the cornerstone of traditional marketing—the idea of making people want stuff—has become increasingly irrelevant. So the mainstay of our work is just the opposite: make stuff that people want. 

 
$25,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2002
Show all +
Boston, MA
headquarters
  • Captains of Industry
    21 Union St.
    Boston, MA 02108
    United States
    617.715.1959

Portfolio

Key clients: 

MIT, New England Journal of Medicine, Cleco, Recurrent Energy

Reviews

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Branding & Marketing Strategy for Solar Energy Company

“Their entire team was personable and willing to help, even with things outside of the terms of our contract.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
July 2015 - June 2016
Project summary: 

Captains helped transition a solar development company to a facility owner and financier. They built a marketing strategy, created a new brand identity, and constructed a website with a self-service option.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Boston, Massachusetts
Chris Gosline
Principal, BlueWave Solar
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Thanks to the acquisition capabilities of the new website, active users grew from roughly zero to over 3,000 and revenue increased to over $25 million. Captains were receptive to changes and readily available to help or to answer questions.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

BlueWave provides financing for rooftop installations of solar units. We also develop and build community solar plants in Massachusetts. We offer solar solutions and benefits to homeowners and small businesses.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Captains of Industry?

We moved from an early-phase development company to a solar plant owner/operator and financing organization. We used to only build and develop large-scale solar farms before selling them. About three years ago, we decided to pivot to ownership of the facilities we built. At that time, we also hoped to launch our financing product for rooftop solar loans and build a website.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They provided a full-service option for us. They helped us put together our mission and our vision in a discovery phase. Then, we generated a three-year marketing strategy together and translated that into a market opportunity. We wanted to find ways to generate revenue and solidify our expectations of the programs. After we had our strategy in place, they built a website that could highlight our past successes and focus on our solutions for homeowners and small businesses in Massachusetts and other states.

They set up a self-service portal for users to sign up for our products quickly and efficiently. They also helped us with style guides, logos, a tagline, and the look and feel for everything we do.

What is the team composition?

We worked with a team of two to five members. They were always available at a moment’s notice to provide help and guidance.

How did you come to work with Captains of Industry?

I met them through a position at a previous organization. We worked on brand and website development there, so they were in my mind when we started this project.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent about $200,000 on the product and their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from July 2015–June 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

When we started working with them, we had zero customers and no real revenue coming in from either our loan program or the community solar product. Once we had the website and the ability to acquire new customers for those two products, our revenue grew to over $25 million and our customer list expanded to around 3,000 active engagements.

How did Captains of Industry perform from a project management standpoint?

They were very easy to work with; I could call them whenever I needed. Even when we threw new things into the process, they delivered on time. We could change direction and they were always receptive and willing to evolve.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We appreciated their industry expertise and their experience in brand and website design. Their entire team was personable and willing to help, even with things outside of the terms of our contract. Their CEO participated in some of our discovery sessions and checked in with us regularly to make sure we were happy with the process.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I was very happy with the engagement. They followed the contract and usually went above and beyond.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Most line items were delivered on time, some came earlier than expected, and a few were delayed.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We’re always looking for ways to trim the budget. The cost of the website wasn’t out of market, but it felt a little high for us.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They consistently delivered on their promises.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Marketing Collateral for Energy Provider

"It really felt like the Captains of Industry team members were consistently bringing their full selves to the job."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
n/a
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
July 2015 - Feb. 2018
Project summary: 

Captains of Industry expertly developed a new website and created a portfolio of video case studies.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Senior Marketing Associate, Energy Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Captains of Industry redesigned a webpage to reflect an updated brand and developed video case studies to aid in new market penetration. They provided expert marketing strategy training and developed a top-notch video portfolio which piqued the interest of niche stakeholders. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am a senior marketing associate at a U.S. renewable energy company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Captains of Industry?

We wanted to reflect our recently updated brand through our website and showcase compelling visual case studies across our portfolio of renewable energy projects.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Captains of Industry leveraged masterful marketing expertise throughout the process of creating our website. The result was a beautiful, streamlined website that drastically reduced website malfunction. They helped us tease out how to highlight our vision and mission statement, collaborated on how to put our leadership team’s best foot forward, and brainstormed with us on our hiring message. Captains of Industry also storyboarded and produced poignant video case studies.

What is the team composition?

We worked with four to five marketing team members on any given project.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve worked with them since July 2015 and finished our most recent project with them in February 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our video case study portfolio intended for a very niche audience ended up garnering 15,000 views from audiences we deemed high-impact. This was a great success for us.

What did you find most impressive about them?

It really felt like the Captains of Industry team members were consistently bringing their full selves to the job. Shooting on-site with them immersed me in theworld of a creative. We were pleased with theiroverall ability to deliver quality results.

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

Marketing for Medical Journal

“Their energy, creativity, and expertise really stood out.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
June 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Captains created a marketing campaign to accompany a website redesign. They devised integrated communications materials, including print collateral, online landing pages/banners, and two videos.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Waltham, Massachusetts
Product Marketing Manager, Medical Journal
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Captains diligently researched the brand to produce a campaign within industry standards. All deliverables were skillfully crafted and complete within tight deadlines. Their designers were committed to creating imaginative works that functioned within brand messaging. The team was eager to succeed.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the product marketing manager for a scientific medical journal.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Captains of Industry?

We were in the process of relaunching our website to improve usability and design based on customer feedback. This required a marketing campaign to communicate how the site was changing, and also provided an opportunity to reinforce our brand messaging and positioning around technical innovation

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We haven’t worked with Captains before, so there was an initial discovery phase to understand our business and who we are as a brand. They worked extensively to research and define our creative messaging approach. We brainstormed ideas and they scoped out a marketing plan for both a pre-launch and launch campaign. For the pre-launch campaign, they created a landing page, an email, and several banner ads. The launch campaign included two additional landing pages, two emails, and another series of banner ads. They worked with us to provide additional communication materials including two videos. One is a three-minute brand video interviewing our editor-in-chief and three prominent clinician-researchers. The other is a one and a half minute video highlighting core changes to the website. Additionally, Captains also created a print display ad in multiple sizes and a 4p coverwrap for the publication.

What is the team composition?

We had a project manager, a daily contact, and a creative lead who utilized various designers and programmers. Their VP worked on the video production as the creative director. That portion of the project also included a program manager and a producer. They contracted additional resources as needed to deliver the videos.

How did you come to work with Captains of Industry?

We put out an RFP and hired Captains for their strengths in marketing communication and understanding brand identity. Their energy, creativity, and expertise really stood out.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent approximately $200,000 thus far.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in June 2017 and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

It’s too early to accurately evaluate metrics, but I will say Captains brought a vigor to their work that was greatly appreciated. The designers sincerely care about the quality of their output. We had strict design requirements and multiple stakeholders involved. It was a challenge, but they did a wonderful job producing a cohesive theme across all deliverables.

How did Captains of Industry perform from a project management standpoint?

As project manager on our end, I found the various tools and resources they use to be helpful in understanding where they were in the process. This project had a lot of moving parts and they worked to keep everything on schedule.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Our journal is very complex and we market in a subtle industry. They were able to onboard quickly, adapt, and bring a creative voice to our brand.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No. they worked within compressed timeframes and performed remarkably.

5.0
Overall Score They were attentive and wanted to succeed for us.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They were always on time.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’re good value for the price.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They provided high-quality output.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’d be happy to refer them to a colleague.

Marketing Strategy for Utilities Consulting Group

"We couldn’t have achieved the same level of success without them."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
July 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Captains of Industry devised a marketing strategy for an energy consulting firm. In addition to digital strategies (SEO, AdWords, etc.) they also assisted with print media and outside vendor management.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Boston, Massachusetts
Director of Marketing, Consulting Group
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Early results show Captains strategies making a positive impact, generating new lead conversions. Their experienced team works collaboratively, but has the confidence to push back against harmful ideas. They’re flexible enough to work with any preferred project management tools and easy to reach.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the director of marketing for an energy consulting firm. While we’re part of a larger European company, our branch assists clients in the United States on a variety of energy projects.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Captains of Industry?

I was brought on board to get our brand off the ground in the U.S. American firms were unfamiliar with our company, so we needed to launch a full-scale marketing operation from scratch, create a successful go-to-market strategy, and have a defined proposition for our clientele.

Our company has a bolder approach to energy than other American companies. We reached out to Captains of Industry to devise a marketing strategy that articulated our brand clearly without coming across as alienating.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The most important thing Captains provided was strategic consulting. They have a number of clients who operate in the energy space and a robust research team, so they formed a variety of opinions based on their data and experience. They presented these ideas to us and we worked collaboratively to devise a strategy. Eventually, we identified the right language to position ourselves on the market.

They also assisted with print and digital marketing. The U.S. is slightly different than Europe in that the target demographic here is older, so traditional media played a bigger role than we were used to. In terms of digital, they helped with SEO, Google AdWord campaigns, and our analytics.

When we first entered the U.S., we established media relationships on our own. As our marketing plan grew in depth and importance, we realized it made more sense to rely on Captains expertise to manage those relationships, so they perform outside vendor management with various publications and media outlets.

Captains continues to step in and manage any component we request. Our firm is growing quite fast, resulting in natural turnover, so they’re always available to take on additional tasks as needed.

What is the team composition?

We work primarily with their senior team, including their CEO and head of strategy, but we’ve essentially connected with everyone at Captains, as we like to hear a variety of opinions. In total, we work with between 8–10 people.

How did you come to work with Captains of Industry?

Our managing partner conducted a web search and identified four or five firms prior to my arrival. Captains was under consideration, and I was already familiar with their work because of their reputation in the Boston area.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent between $300,000–$500,000 so far.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in July 2017 and our relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We’re just getting to a place where we can evaluate the results of our strategies. We’re running tests to see what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, and we’ve noticed positive results. We’ve built successful sales pipelines and converted leads off of a publication through our CRM system. Thanks to their efforts, we’ve been able to bid on new projects.

How did Captains of Industry perform from a project management standpoint?

We work together seamlessly, laying out clear documentation and deadlines. They’re easy to get in touch with, and while we frequently meet in person, they’re also flexible in terms of the project management tools we use. They typically use Dropbox, for instance, but are willing to use other programs our corporation is more familiar with. The entire process has gone as smoothly as possible.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I consider them friends as much as business partners. That closeness is one of their greatest strengths, as it allows them to challenge their clients in order to devise the most effective solutions. In my experience, agencies can be focussed on their paycheck and satisfying clients, therefore don't challenge ideas on a regular basis. Captains, however, will stand up for an opinion they feel is important. We don’t always agree, but we’ve often trusted them enough to make a directional shift because they were willing to put their reputation on the line.

They select clients carefully and seek out opportunities where that synergy really works. In this way, they’re able to ensure they learn from each project and grow as a company. That kind of mindset, paired with their ability to think strategically, creates a very productive relationship.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Nothing major comes to mind.

5.0
Overall Score I believe every vendor has room for improvement, but they're excellent.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We keep a detailed schedule, but they’re flexible if we need them to be.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They provide a better value than their competitors.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They provide excellent services. Our final deliverables were always up to our standard.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    We couldn’t have achieved the same level of success without them.