We build citizen brands to engage audiences deeply

Citizen is an award-winning, San Francisco based, full-service advertising/communications, brand, and design agency focused on pro-social or purpose-driven marketing. We work with our clients to build ‘citizen brands’ by shaping values-based strategies and creative initiatives that align with brand and CSR goals, in order to engage audiences more deeply.

 
$10,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2006
Show all +
San Francisco, CA
headquarters
  • Citizen Group
    360 Pine Street
    San Francisco, CA 94104
    United States
    415.321.3440

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Agriculture Capital, Amnesty International, AT&T, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Cisco, Fractal Analytics, McKesson/HealthMart, Mezzetta Foods, NHL,  Super Bowl 50, Sustainable Brands, United Nations, USA Network/NBC Universal, Wal-Mart, World Wildlife Fund.

Reviews

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Multichannel Campaigns for Environmental Nonprofit

"We were able to really amplify our voice."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
3.0
Cost: 
2.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Sept. 2008 - June 2013
Project summary: 

Citizen Group provided two multichannel campaigns. Their chief contribution was a strategic perspective on the promotion of each campaign as well as the production of collateral, including video and print.

The Reviewer
 
1001-5000 Employees
 
Washington, DC
Manager of Private Sector Engagement, Environmental Nonprofit
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The collateral was used to expand the reach of the initiatives, helping increase overall impressions. The work inspired international-level change; since 2013, 200 companies have committed to the initiatives. Citizen Group brought a fresh perspective with experience in big, nonprofit campaigns. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am a manager in the climate change team for an environmental nonprofit. I manage our private sector engagement on climate change and the corporate partnerships we have, with the aim of helping companies reduce their carbon footprint.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Citizen Group?

We have worked with Citizen Group several times, dating back to 2002.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We implemented multichannel campaigns with Citizen Group. Our team developed a lot of the conceptual frameworks for each campaign, and Citizen Group contributed to how we can promote that from a strategic standpoint.

In one campaign, Citizen Group produced different collateral. This included video and print ads from each of the companies involved, with a quote from each CEO. The ads ran in major newspapers and print publications.

Our most recent campaign with Citizen Group was in 2013. The campaign showed how we could exceed what the science is calling for in the inter-governmental panel on climate change—by companies reducing their carbon footprint. Citizen Group developed the logo and brand identity for this campaign. They also did graphics for the report and the video. Citizen Group took the core of the report and turned it into a promotional entity that had its own brand identity.

The deliverables for this campaign included a brand, video, print ads, and a PowerPoint presentation. There was a three-minute spot for the first campaign, which ran on National Geographic television. We also condensed the video for the second campaign into three minutes.

How did you come to work with Citizen Group?

We were introduced to them by an environmental author and thought-leader. He was our connection point, and that brought a lot of credibility to Citizen Group. He had worked with them on campaigns for big companies, and that was what drew us to them. They had experience in big sustainability campaigns with business before.

How much have you invested with Citizen Group?

For the two projects, we spent between $50,000 and $200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in the fall of 2008. The most recent project was completed in June of 2013. We’re not actively engaged at the moment, but we have maintained some regular conversations.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

We were able to really amplify our voice. Citizen Group's collateral was used for banners and promotional material during major events. The print ads were used to raise the business voice on climate change and show that business could de-couple growth from emissions reductions. It’s hard to say how many people that reached. The print ads, in addition to the banners around the climate change talks, were also in major print publications. There were tens of thousands of people filtering through that week, not to mention the people we touched in the months before and after that. There were a lot of impressions.

For the project in 2013, we focused more on the domestic business community. The work we did with Citizen Group inspired an initiative at the international level. That meant that the idea of setting a target consistent with the proposed solution was now viral at a global level. There are now over 200 companies that have committed to setting science-based targets. There are 35 or so who have gotten their targets approved so far. Most of those are US companies that participated in workshops we hosted in 2013–2015, and Citizen Group was a part of those workshops.

How did Citizen Group perform from a project management standpoint?

We did have some challenges with missed deadlines. I think that’s reflective of the fact that they manage a lot of client work and have a relatively small shop, so we understood. Their communication was reasonably good.

What did you find most impressive about Citizen Group?

They bring a fresh, Northern California perspective. Sometimes, it’s nice to work with an agency that’s not in Washington, DC, and can think outside the box. They do a nice job with that. It also helps that they’ve done big campaigns for other large nonprofit organizations.

Are there any areas Citizen Group could improve?

They could improve in terms of meeting deadlines and taking our feedback into account more consistently. We had some trouble with the video. There were also some surprise costs not in the original proposal that got added on. That sort of thing isn’t helpful when we have processes in place in our institution, and we can’t go back and get extra money.

5.0
Overall Score The deliverables were exceptional.
  • 3.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They just weren’t meeting the deadlines on time.
  • 2.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I think it was reasonable, and they gave us a nonprofit discount. However, there were some unexpected fees that came later in the process that weren’t in the original proposal.
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    This is due to some of the inconsistencies I mentioned earlier.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I think the quality of the work, and what we were able to do with the assets, was really extraordinary.

Advertising for Sustainability Partnership Organization

"They are phenomenal presenters, great strategists, reassuring colleagues, great listeners, and wonderful at following through."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
June 2004 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Citizen Group conceptualized a campaign to connect environmental sustainability with non-traditional partners, namely sports associations. Work included video, written collateral, and presentations. 

The Reviewer
 
1–10 Employees
 
New York City, New York
Allen Hershkowitz
Former Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Citizen Group helped to transform the sports industry. With clear messaging and advertising strategy, partnerships have grown from 6 teams to 375. The work is highly professional, and the team is reliable. Moreover, their creative director is genius.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I served for 27 years as a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is a national, environmental, research, and advocacy group. In 2015, I became president of an organization called Green Sports Alliance, which I co-founded.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Citizen Group?

I have a long-standing and wide-ranging relationship with Citizen Group. They helped me conceptualize the idea for Green Sports Alliance. In my prior work with the Natural Resources Defense Council, we had a challenge of reaching non-traditional allies, or people who don’t normally think about the environment. We wanted to diversify our outreach beyond the East and West Coasts, which tend to be more informed and sympathetic about environmental issues. The Green Sports Alliance emerged to address that challenge, and we worked with Citizen Group in creating that organization.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They conceptualized the whole idea of how to leverage the platform of sports with regards to the issue of sustainability. They delivered strategic plans and produced videos, PowerPoint decks, and written materials. They made presentations at meetings with commissioners and senior officials of sports organizations. We worked together to create initiatives related to species preservation, climate change, and recycling. We focused on individual leagues, teams, and sports venues. So, they did creative work and strategy in both traditional and digital media.

Citizen Group also produced videos for major league baseball teams. They were a full partner in my work, and they remain that way.

How did you come to work with Citizen Group?

I met the founder of Citizen Group when I was working on another project in 1989. We reconnected a few years later when we were working on a mutual project. I worked with them on various projects throughout the years, so they were the natural choice for this work.

How much have you invested with Citizen Group?

We’ve spent at least $1 million so far.

What is the status of this engagement?

This project began around June of 2004, and the work is still ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

We literally transformed the sports industry by introducing the whole concept of sustainability into it. When we created the Green Sports Alliance, it started with six teams. It’s now an organization with about 375 teams from 20 leagues. That doesn’t include the international work, which has been an outgrowth of this project.

We reduced millions of pounds of carbon emissions. We’ve instigated the recycling of hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste and helped promote food donations. We also created the sports greening programs now used by major league baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, and tennis organizations. The work really initiated a cultural shift in thinking within the sports industry.

Citizen Group’s work is highly professional. They are among the best people in the world with whom to work. They are phenomenal presenters, great strategists, reassuring colleagues, great listeners, and wonderful at following through. It’s just an excellent organization.

How did Citizen Group perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re extremely responsible and very timely. You can always count on them to follow through in a reliable way. They imbue every project with stature, confidence, and intelligence. They’re a top-shelf organization.

What did you find most impressive about Citizen Group?

I think their creative director is a genius.

Are there any areas Citizen Group could improve?

I can’t think of any.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The quality of their work is outstanding. I paid them $35,000 to produce a video that runs at the World Series, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and is viewed by millions. My message is communicated to millions of baseball fans for $35,000.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I refer them every week.

Branding and Advertising for City Waste Program

"They went beyond what we of asked them as part of their program."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Feb. 2013 - July 2014
Project summary: 

Citizen Group devised a brand and advertising program for a waste reduction program. The team created a tagline, logo, and marketing collateral. Traditional advertising services included print and radio. 

The Reviewer
 
10,001 + Employees
 
Arizona
John Trujillo
Director of Public Works, City of Phoenix
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The program increased the city’s waste diversion rate by 4%, and the brand and collateral are still in use by the city. Citizen Group communicated daily and clearly understood the purpose of the program. The team looked for ways to achieve the goal, even beyond the services they were contract for.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the public works director for the city of Phoenix, Arizona. Part of the program that I manage is related to fleet, facilities, and solid waste services.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Citizen Group?

In 2012, we had set a goal in Phoenix to divert 40% of our waste from the landfill by 2020. We reached out to Citizen Group to help us find a way to message and brand a solid waste program that would relate to our residents here in Phoenix.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Zero waste was a lofty goal set before us. We didn’t have a brand or idea of what this program would look like. Citizen Group met with us and put together a program that our mayor, council, and staff approved, which would help brand our program and move forward. We’re still using that same tagline, graphics, color schemes, and brand since 2012 as part of our program moving forward. They also helped us understand what our program was going to be about and how we can better communicate and tell our story, so our residents understand why it’s important to do what they do, which also lessens the impact on what we do for them.

The collateral they delivered involved logo work and the color scheme of that logo. For the tagline, they came up with “Reimagine Phoenix: Transforming Trash into Resources.” That started our movement and path down to how we were going to communicate. They also helped us with videos and graphics on ways to tell our story. They gave ideas on what our social media program would look like moving forward and ways to better engage our residents in what we’re doing.

Citizen Group also helped us implement our marketing strategy through the social media platform that we have. They helped us measure how we can do media buys, billboards, and radio as part of our program. There was print done for us as well. Based on our logo, they created templates for PowerPoint, for material that we send to our residents, and for our website. They created a lot of stuff for our brand to make sure it’s consistent in how we message everything that we’re doing now and in the future.

How did you come to work with Citizen Group?

We had a request for proposal process, and they partnered with Earth911. We worked with both Earth911 and Citizen Group in moving this platform forward.

How much have you invested with Citizen Group?

It was greater than $350,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

It started in February or March 2013. The work finished in July or August 2014.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

First of all, we increased the city's waste diversion, going from a 16% diversion rate when we first started to 20%, and we’re slowly inching up.

The initiative has increased our followers in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I think everyone was happy with the brand. It’s been received very well, both internally and externally, to the point that we’re still using all the graphics in everything we do; we still have it on our garbage trucks. It has helped us identify, in a roundabout way, programs on what we’re going to be doing in the future. For example, we got a program that we’re moving forward now and will still be implementing new programs for probably the next two or three years.

How did Citizen Group perform from a project management standpoint?

They did excellent in project management. They were always on time. We communicated daily either through email, telephone, or personal meetings onsite. It was a constant communication with their staff. They came in and talked to us about what is it we were looking for and what was our goal, which was nice. They tried to understand our program and what we were trying to achieve. They took that and came back with a plan, a messaging scheme that was different than what we were looking for, but better from our perspective.

What did you find most impressive about Citizen Group?

We’ve worked with several companies throughout our program here in Phoenix, and Citizen Group was very professional, provided great support and services, and provided the materials needed for our program to move forward. The material, from my point of view, doesn’t get old. It can be used, refreshed, and animated to continue the message of what we want to do here in Phoenix. They’re a great group. I would recommend them to anyone, and they helped our program in getting to where we are today.

Robin and David were the two key people that worked with us. They were always looking for ways to help us achieve our goal beyond just what they were providing. They provided key contacts for us within their industry to help us with what we were trying to achieve. That’s what I liked about this company: they went beyond what we of asked them as part of their program.

Are there any areas Citizen Group could improve?

To be honest, they were just a great company to work with and easy to understand.

5.0
Overall Score They were good to work with, and I really enjoyed working with all of them.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They delivered everything within the timeframe they said they would. There might have been a delay of a day or two, but no one’s perfect.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We’ve gotten a lot of value out of their work. We’re still using the graphics, animation, and color scheme. We’ve changed a lot of our collateral based on their color scheme.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    We were 100% happy with the graphics and deliverables they gave us throughout the process.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve been a reference for them in several areas and would always continue to refer them to others.

Web and Mobile Advertising for Retail Re-Use Company

"Citizen Group did a fantastic job."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2013 - 2014
Project summary: 

Citizen Group helped with the messaging of a seasonal campaign. They designed mobile and web-based banner ads, as well as in-app messages to communicate holiday campaign in customers’ contexts.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Andy Ruben
Co-Founder, Yerdle
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Customers were happy with Citizen Group’s outputs. In delivery, they hit every milestone and met all expectation. In creative work, their deliverables were well above average. The team worked to understand the mission and audience of the work, and customized their services based on that. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m CEO and co-founder of Yerdle. We support brands in their re-use efforts by handling all the logistics and technology. We were originally a peer-to-peer network for re-use.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Citizen Group?

We needed help with web and mobile in terms of communicating the seasonal campaigns for our business.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Citizen Group worked on the look of our site and designed banner ads to communicate our brand. Their mobile work included a banner on top of native apps and in-app messages.

The team understood Yerdle deeply and the context from our members’ point of view. They helped us with our messaging, taking the need we had and coming back with a series of options. Citizen Group put different messages in front of us to get feedback, and they arrived at a good outcome.

Their work was focused on our holiday campaigns and reaching customers in contexts. In addition to positioning, marketing, and strategy, they also helped us with visual design and layout. They worked with us to ensure the dimensions of the assets were fit for use.

How did you come to work with Citizen Group?

I had worked with Citizen Group during my time at a previous employer. I didn’t consider other companies at the time.

How much have you invested with Citizen Group?

This information is confidential. 

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in 2013. The project wrapped up in 2014, but I would engage Citizen Group again.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the outcome. I don’t have exact metrics, but I know that the outputs Citizen Group produced were well-received. We got very good response for our seasonal events. From a delivery standpoint, they did everything to a T. They hit every milestone and delivered everything on time. From a creative standpoint, it was better than we imagined—I was blown away by the output they produced. Citizen Group did a fantastic job.

How did Citizen Group perform from a project management standpoint?

They were excellent. They had a project manager who followed up after every discussion. Citizen Group said what they were going to do, and they did it. We didn’t use any tools on our end, we just agreed to the milestones and they kept to them. We communicated every two or three days.

What did you find most impressive about Citizen Group?

I like working with them because they really go deep into the audience and the feel of the mission of the company. They are customizing based on that need, as opposed to doing a generic take on some creative idea.

Are there any areas Citizen Group could improve?

No. I would work with them again in a heartbeat.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They said exactly what they were going to do and they hit every deadline.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They worked with us on our budget and they held to it. Whenever something was going to be outside of the budget, they gave us plenty of notice.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They hit everything on time and the creativity of their work was superb.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer