We help brands discover & tell their best stories.

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Column Five is a full-service creative agency with offices in Irvine, CA, and Brooklyn, NY. Our mission is to do good work with good people by building and distributing powerful visual content and telling great stories that educate, engage, and inspire. 

In 2008, Ross Crooks, Jason Lankow and Josh Ritchie founded Column Five in a now-defunct coffee shop in Costa Mesa, California. Today, our two-office team consists of about 50 intelligent, diverse and creative individuals who come together each day to produce beautiful and results-driven creative work.

Vision: A world where everyone can live healthy and fulfilled lives.

 
$10,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
50 - 249
 Founded
2009
Show all +
Costa Mesa, CA
headquarters
  • 150 Paularino Ave, Suite D170
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626
    United States
other locations
  • 45 Main St., #1024
    Brooklyn, NY 11201
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 
Zendesk, Dropbox, Dialpad, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Intuit, Pearson, LinkedIn, FigLeaf, AppDynamics, CrossFit, NEC Corporation of America, World Bank, Github, Salesforce.com, Irvine Company, Experian, Guardian Life Insurance, Uber, Schneider Electric, Bill.com, Microsoft, United Capital, SAP, UC Berkeley, TurboTax, Teach For America, Netflix, Kaiser Family Foundation, Zip Recruiter, BetterUp, Blizzard, Code2040, Reuters,
Annual Report - Pacific Life Image

Annual Report - Pacific Life

For the past two years, we’ve partnered with Pacific Life to develop their annual reports. Our goal was to position Pacific Life as a living, breathing, energetic entity and to remind the audience that Pacific Life is more than a life insurance company. It’s long term solutions move and evolve with you in life. To meet this goal, we experimented with hand drawings and gestural compositions that are human-centric, authentic, and

organic. For more, check out our Pacific Life’s case study.
Anatomy of a Breach - Microsoft Image

Anatomy of a Breach - Microsoft

This HTML native site analyses the various stages of a company security breach from the hacker’s POV. Highlighting the systemic weaknesses hackers look for most, the site presents Microsoft’s solutions to avoiding and overcoming such gaps in security. 

Applied Innovation Brand Identity - UC Irvine Image

Applied Innovation Brand Identity - UC Irvine

UCI Applied Innovation is a unit of University of California, Irvine with an exciting mission “to bring campus-based discoveries together with Orange County’s vibrant business community to support job creation and economic growth.” This venture includes The Cove, a workspace hub. We partnered with the team to establish their website and a fresh visual language, including branding elements such as logo, colors, font,

iconography, photography, etc. to be used for all collateral. Visit UCI Applied Innovation’s website and read all about this project on our blog.

Motion Graphics | Stand Up to Cancer

We were honored to work with the amazing folks at Stand Up To Cancer to create a motion graphic that dives into specific cancer treatments, the research about the treatments, and how we can battle cancer together.

Video Direction and Production | Dialpad

We had a blast working with Dialpad to audition for their newest AI tech. As you can see, finding the right robot wasn’t quite as easy as we thought.

10 Year Anniversary Reel | Column Five

From commercials, to data visualizations, to motion graphics, video lets us put our creativity into hyperdrive, helping brands tell their stories in all sorts of unique ways.

Luckily, we’ve been able to collaborate with partners who are game for anything, whether it’s a ‘90s 

viral video for Microsoft/Internet Explorer, a Rube Goldberg machine for Nokia, some Failed VoiceAI auditions for Dialpad, or a documentary about a grandmother eager to see the Cubs win the World Series. Each project posed a unique challenge (and we learned some lessons the hard way), but they also gave us an opportunity to grow and experiment in ways we hadn’t before.

So, to celebrate 10 years of video projects, we’ve put together a fresh reel featuring some of our favorite pieces throughout the years. Whether promoting a new video game or offering a behind-the-scenes look at cancer research, these videos span a variety of industries—and we’re grateful to have had a hand in producing each and every one.

We hope you enjoy taking a look back as much as we do.



Branding - OC United Way Image

Branding - OC United Way

We connected with OC United Way in the Fall of 2017 to hear more about the great work they’re doing on a subject that’s close to our hearts: ending homelessness in Orange County.We learned that their goal is to rally nonprofits, faith-based organizations, the business community, and the general public around a unified solution for ending homelessness. After this meeting, we immediately explored ways we could help them launch a

campaign to get the word out.There are a lot of people and organizations doing good work to try and end homelessness. But one thing we learned from OC United Way is that having more than one solution for a single problem can delay progress and cost a lot of money. OC United Way’s goal is to rally the community to agree on one solution: permanent, supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals.Leveraging findings from a Cost of Homelessness Study conducted in partnership with UCI and Jamboree Housing, OC United Way is equipping the community with detailed insights so that the overall system of care can significantly improve.View the case-study here.

Reviews

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Data Animation for Documentary on Asian Elephants

“Column Five is the best in the business at bringing data to life in a way that is interesting and engaging.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Column Five provided animation services for a documentary on Asian elephants. After providing sketches and a storyboard, they delivered a short data animation that is featured at the beginning of the film.

The Reviewer
 
11-50
 
Irvine, California
John McCarthy
Co-Founder, Change for Balance
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Most compliments that internal stakeholders receive regarding the award-winning film is on the animation, which seamlessly introduces the documentary. Meanwhile, Asian elephant experts have remarked that they’ve never seen the topic covered so succinctly. Column Five led an effortless process.

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 the co-founder of Change for Balance, a commercial production company. We work with agencies like Column Five doing video production services and anything regarding commercial production needs. 

A side of our company is dedicated to creating content that can make the world a better place. Most of these projects entail producing documentaries and docuseries that put forth a good message, such as stories of people trying to make a change in our planet.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Column Five?

My company was producing a documentary on how Asian elephants are going extinct. We went to Thailand and rescued an elephant, which we used to reflect the broader story of what all Asian elephants are going through. 

As we were making the film, we realized that we needed a section to explain what was happening to Asian elephants. We also felt it was important to explain the difference between African and Asian elephants, as most people don’t know that these two species, nor the fact that Asian elephants are going extinct. We wanted an engaging and dynamic data visualization that wouldn’t be too brutal, so we hired Column Five for animation services. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

First, we sent Column Five a script that our writers had written and explained that this was how we wanted to bring our idea to life. We also sent them a few animations that we thought were cool, many of which Column Five had actually done, and a rough cut of the movie so that they could get a feel for it. They started doing sketches, and they sent us a few options to look at. For instance, one was paper craft, so the animation looked like it was made out of paper. Another was Asian-inspired. We ended up choosing another one of their sketches and blending a few designs.

Using the script, Column Five built out a scene for us to see. Once we approved it, they started building out the storyboard of rough sketches before fully designing it, so that we could see how each scene and even line would play out. We’re not Asian elephant experts, and we didn’t expect Column Five to be either, but we were working with scientists to make sure we were phrasing everything correctly. My team went to Column Five’s office and had a meeting with the designer and animator to go over the subtle nuances, such as how an Asian versus an African elephant looks. From there, Column Five built out the final storyboard. They made small motion designs of the way the elephants would move and delivered a two-minute animation.

What is the team composition?

We had a lead producer and a designer/animator. During the strategy meeting, there was a team of 4–5 people.

How did you come to work with Column Five?

We’ve been doing video content with Column Five for a while. When they have video production needs, they call us, and we either direct or produce. We’ve also done spots for some of their clients. They’re our friends, and we know the quality of the people they have working there. They’re the type of people you would want to work with, so it was a no brainer for us to hire them for this project.

How much have you invested with them?

This project cost $25,000–$50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our work with Column Five began in 2017, and we still work with them to this day.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our work experience with them was incredible, and what they did for us was genius. We gave them a lot of data, and they came back with the most brilliant, succinct animation that we’d ever seen. Their animation work is just a few minutes into the documentary, and it sets up a solid foundation for the rest of the film by explaining what an Asian elephant is, how it’s different from an African elephant, and the crisis that they’re facing. Most of the compliments we get on the film are actually on the animation. Asian elephant experts who have worked in this space for a long time have said that they’ve never seen the topic broken down in such a way that is so easy to understand. We wanted to make an argument that a child could understand, and Column Five brought that to life. 

Our documentary has won a ton of awards, including a Humane Society Genesis Award for Best Feature Documentary. It got brilliant reviews in well-known publications and played in over 120 theatres in the US and abroad. The film is also playing on Chinese and South American airlines, and it’s currently available on STARZ.

How did Column Five perform from a project management standpoint?

We’re not animation people and don’t know much about the process, and Column Five guided us through all of it. We communicated via email and phone, and we had two face-to-face meetings to kick off the project and get on the same page. Once they were off and running, they regularly touched base and asked for feedback on their work. They managed the feedback process well; they told us what kind of feedback they were looking for and specified exactly what we should look at, which made our lives extremely easy.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I’ve referred them to so many people because they’re amazing, and Josh (Co-Founder, Column Five) is an incredible guy who was willing to take this project on amid all the other work they had. We felt very lucky that they managed the process extremely well. Their ability to manage a process like this and deliver such high-quality work was impressive. 

We signed them on, and they took it from there. Their project lead knew precisely what to do. They built out the schedule and how they were going to do the work. It’s one thing to have that, but then to back it up with such quality work made our lives so easy. The process was stress-free because we knew we were in the hands of absolute professionals. Column Five is the best in the business at bringing data to life in a way that is interesting and engaging. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

Honestly, there aren’t. There’s a reason they’re so busy and have such a big team, and it’s because they’re amazing at what they do. 

Any advice for potential customers?

Column Five is incredible because they’re interested in being an extremely efficient business and making the most out of their relationships with partners. If you’re thinking about hiring Column Five, don’t think about it anymore; just do it, because it will be the best decision you’ve ever made. They’re going to do everything they can to make the most out of the partnership. They don’t succeed unless you succeed, and they’re not just interested in completing the job and getting paid. They’re invested in their partnerships. Their founders and all of their producers care about the brand.

5.0
Overall Score They made us want to make the movie better because the animation was so good.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Branding and Media Planning for Education Management Company

“The time, effort, and attention to detail they put into this project stood out to us.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Sep. 2018 - Apr. 2019
Project summary: 

Column Five provided branding and media planning services to an education management company. Their team was also responsible for providing reporting and analysis on creative campaigns.

The Reviewer
 
10000+ Employees
 
San Antonio, Texas
Neal Pickle
Campaign Manager, Pearson
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The creative campaign exceeded the client’s expectations, resulting in a high clickthrough rate.  Column Five provides excellent customer service across the board, form their communication to their organization. The team goes above and beyond to deliver results tailored to the client’s needs.

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 am a campaign manager on the inclusive access piece of Pearson North America marketing. This entails B2B markering to higher education faculty. I help facilitate the development and dissemination of strategy into advertising and creative.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Column Five?

We sometimes don’t have enough people from a creative standpoint to help us develop ideas outside of things that are crucial to our business. We sought outside help us with that and to provide us with a level of reporting and analysis on that creative after it had gone into the market.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Column Five came up with creative that was similar to the branding we were creating internally but took it to another level. They had helpful access to outside parties that provided us content or access that we might not have necessarily had on our own. It took our creative further and provides a different level of experience.

We provided Column Five with our internal style guide and past pieces of creative we had done and liked. We provided our overall marketing strategies and what we were looking to deliver on and they ran with that. They created a social media plan focused on Facebook.

Their team put together a channel plan for how we would deliver on our overall strategy for higher education courseware. Column Five provided a level of analysis that my team doesn’t have time to dedicate itself to.

What is the team composition?

Day to day, we worked with 3–5 members of the Column Five team. Overall, there were probably 10 people on the project.

How did you come to work with Column Five?

Column Five had done previous work for Pearson. My content manager had done research in the market about who would be good to work with that had done work in the education sector before and landed on Column Five.

How much have you invested with them?

We have invested between $10,000–$15,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

This particular engagement with Column Five ran from September 2018–April 2019.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The campaign drove a lot of people who wanted to learn about that particular content, which at that point was centered around world languages, to our website. We were specifically focused on engaging with education faculty. It was good to put ourselves out there and provide them with a level of content we thought was relevant.

Our social media plan on Facebook was successful in getting people to click through to our site. We were able to lower our costs while driving up our conversions. Those types of KPIs that we were most interested in went up.

How did Column Five perform from a project management standpoint?

Our teams primarily communicated over email or using PowerPoint or spreadsheet presentations. Column Five is organized. Any feedback we provided them with was well received and they were able to quickly make changes. Their means of communication and providing feedback were stellar.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I come from an agency background, so this type of work is very familiar to me. The time, effort, and attention to detail they put into this project stood out to us. Column Five was willing to work with us and hear us out. The fact that we exceeded our total number of downloads for the kind of asset they developed was beyond what we expected to accomplish. It was a really great experience working with Column Five.

Are there any areas they could improve?

There were a few areas where they could have been more succinct and less wordy, but that’s a pretty minuscule thing. For other people, the detail went a long way. Everything else, from the communication and timeline to their attitude, was excellent.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Be open and honest. Tell them what you’re looking for and don’t hold back. If they put something in front of you and it strikes a chord, provide them with that praise. 

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

Branding & Visual Identity Creation for Internet Company

"Their preparedness was excellent."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
June - Aug. 2019
Project summary: 

Column Five provided logo design, naming, and graphic design services for a company's new conference. Using existing style guidelines, they created a unique name, look, and feel for the conference.

The Reviewer
 
10,000+ Employees
 
New York, New York
Nawal Fakhoury
Senior Manager of Employee Experience Team, Linkedin
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Column Five's work was extremely professional. Their team was very talented and selected high-quality names for the conference. The creative process was detailed and methodical. Their team was always prepared and hit all deadlines without any problems. 

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 a senior manager on LinkedIn’s employee experience team. This team is responsible for fueling LinkedIn’s amazing company culture.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Column Five?

We're in the process of launching a brand-new external program, which is a new experience for our team. Thus far, we’ve things that are strictly internal, but we reached out to Column Five to help us design an identity that represents what we want to showcase externally. We launched a new program that specialized in bringing companies together to have discussions about company culture, a topic that many businesses are interested in.

Throughout its history, LinkedIn has been constantly thinking about how we could build, define, and evolve our culture. By using strategies from LinkedIn’s best practices and information from various companies, we're preparing to launch a one-day conference to bring together talent leaders and think about company culture. We were looking for a tagline and ideas that represent what companies could get out of the program and a visual identity to both bring them in and represent our own company culture.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Column Five helped select a name and tagline for the conference. They also developed a visual identity for the conference, creating a unique look and feel. This centered around the logo, iconography, font choice, and other ways to match our internal brand style guidelines while speaking to a general audience.

We started with a few kickoff calls to share the purpose of the program, our objectives, end goals, and our ethos. Then we worked on a variety of ideas for names. After three iterations—we provided feedback along the way—we landed on Culture Mark, which was something we were really excited about.

They created mockups, visuals, and a new font for us. The designs and colors they created were later used in our marketing materials and email communications.

What is the team composition?

Our main point of contact was Jonathan (Senior Producer, Column Five). Beyond that, we had 3–4 other people on the call. When we moved from the naming and tagline to the visual design, two other team members joined the team.

How did you come to work with Column Five?

Members of the LinkedIn employee experience had used them before and they came as a highly recommended team.

How much have you invested with them?

We invested $18,000 in the first phase (the naming and tagline). The visual identity was $35,000

What is the status of this engagement?

The engagement ran for two months in the summer of 2019.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Everything was extremely professional. It felt like all of the money we were spending was going to a really talented team that also cared about the craft. It was interesting to see the context and meaning behind it. We got to see the literary background behind the naming that helped us see the full picture. They were cutting-edge and creative but knew how to balance something corporate with personality and verve. They also made it very fun. The experience was great; there was a lot of laughing and some singing. They were also very receptive to feedback.  

How did Column 5 perform from a project management standpoint?

It was fantastic. They were always on-time because of their great personality. It was fascinating to go through a detailed, methodical, and thoughtful creative process because I’d never worked with an agency like Column 5. We could see the whole process: deadlines, prioritization, etc. They also pulled in the head of HR from their own company to our meetings and contribute to the discussion. She opined on what would resonate and excite her during the conference, which was a unique experience.

We made sure we hit our deadlines. When there we needed to have another round of iterations or they needed more time, everyone was accommodating. They were very upfront and transparent about why we needed to do something on a specific deadline and how they were using time efficiently.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their preparedness was excellent. They also seemed to work very well together as a team, even as they had different creative styles. Thus, there was some diversity of thought included in what they brought into meetings.

Are there any areas they could improve?

As someone who doesn’t know the technical language quite as well, it would’ve been good if they spent more time breaking the terms down for me and my team. There were a few times where they used words that we didn’t know the meaning of.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

I’d be really clear on what your project is. You want to know who the stakeholders are going to be and they’ll make sure they have an appropriate timeline based on that.

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

Content Marketing for Financial and Accounting Software Company

“We generated over 1,000 leads from the project.” 

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Column Five Media works on content marketing for a financial software company, focusing on engaging visual content and a long-term content strategy to improve lead generation and social engagement.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
San Francisco, Califorinia
Content Marketing Manager, Accounting Software Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The content marketing produced a significant increase in the leads generated and the engagement on social media sites, with many positive comments and interactions. The team manages the project professionally, keeping on track and communicating effectively while producing innovative content.

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 am the SEO and content marketing manager of a financial software company for accountants and businesses.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Column Five Media?

We were looking to develop really strong content for a new site, that is essentially a blog site. We wanted to create some new and engaging additional content that was more visual in nature.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement? 

We didn’t have the internal bandwidth to complete the project. The site is all about content strategy and we are in that for the long haul. We needed something to address a longer-term strategy.

Our site is very new and we were looking for both lead generation and social engagement. We were hoping we would be able to share the content on social to raise awareness of the new site.

What is the team composition?

They are wonderful to work with. We have a producer, who is phenomenal, as well as a few design and coding resources who do the frontend design, backend design, and visual design. We have also had copywriters as well.

How did you come to work with Column Five Media?

I believe they were referred to us by another team. Many different teams at our company work with them.

How much have you invested in them?

We spent between $20,000–$30,000 on the last project.

What is the status of this engagement?

My team began working with them in 2016 and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We generated over 1,000 leads from the project. It might not sound like a lot for many, but for us, most of our leads up to this point have been generated from the content Column Five designed.

Part of the goal was great social engagement and we received such great feedback. People loved it on Facebook and Twitter. One woman commented that the interactive content ( a quiz) was so fun, she wanted to put her quiz results on her business cards. Overall, we had great social engagement, great feedback from our customers, and it was definitely a different take on a typically traditional industry; it really livened up the conversation.

How did Column Five Media perform from a project management standpoint?

They keep us on track and manage us more than we ever have to think about managing them. Deadlines have never been an issue as long as we are talking about what that they can control. We have missed some deadlines, but that’s only when we have changed the scope. More than anything, they are more likely to beat a deadline rather than miss it.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They are true relationship builders. They are wonderful to work with: extremely friendly, creative, and constantly pushing the envelope in a way that gets us thinking outside the box. The team they have built is incredibly talented, they are all experts in their individual worlds, so when they come together they really deliver a stellar product.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I can’t think of anything. They really do a great job of learning your business so that what they are suggesting is out of the box, but not wildly inappropriate. They do a lot of research and pride themselves on knowing your audience, which is something I have not experienced with another design agency.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Read the reviews, and maybe have some budget conversations upfront so that you know that your expectations are aligned. We have worked with other design agencies before and although they might seem cheaper, they're not comparable on the output. It is good to know what you’re going to get for exactly what amount of money, then everything else can be negotiated.

Data visualization is huge in our industry because our audience really values numbers. If your audience cares about really strong data, make sure that your design firm or creative agency that you are going with have a really strong grasp of data visualization as Column Five does.

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

Content Marketing for Customer Service Software Company

"[T]hey’re really friendly… and are proactively reaching out to make things better."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
3.5
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jun. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Column Five was brought on as a partner for marketing content creation. They’ve contributed across the board to long-form pieces, interactive components, advertising and social assets, and much more.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Program Manager, Customer Service Software Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Feedback has been well received across the company. Both the marketing team and the branding teams are excited, and have felt the content work has been significantly helpful. The team is proactive and always trying to stay one step ahead of the curve.

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 am the program manager for our brand team at a customer service software company. We provide better customer relationships, a live chat, help centers, and more.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Column Five.

We were growing pretty fast as a company, and our brand team functions almost an internal agency. Marketing was growing particularly fast, and we were getting a lot of requests, many of which were for content. To produce and design content, it takes a long time and was too much for our internal team to handle. We were looking for a partner to be an extension of our team and help us with content creation and  long-form content production.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The main goal was content creation for marketing purposes. Our content ranges from high-level thought leadership about customer service down to tips and tricks to improve your customer service department. They have acted as a partner to work on creating these content pieces.

They’ll produce content for us and send it back over. Then, we have our content team add it to the website. If it’s a static PDF we’ll post it, but also they’ve created a couple of interactive pieces to our web team specs and we send over the package files and our web team hosts it.

They’re like a big extension of our team. They work on any kind of advertising assets, display banners, and social assets. For the most part our team will help with concept and messaging, but their team is really supportive in building out whole suites of ad sizes. They've been helping us with our asset libraries, sizing a bunch of photos for us, making sure the files are perfect. It’s been really helpful.

What is the team dynamic?

Geoff is our main account director. Then, we have a team of about 3 stable producers that we work with on a consistent basis. We have a dedicated creative director and a couple of designers that frequently work with us, but I also know they do some work on the backend as well.

How did you come to work with Column Five?

A couple years ago, some of our marketing team had worked directly with them for a small one-off project. Then, about a year and a half ago our marketing teams were working with 15 different agencies and we realized this wasn’t the most efficient way to work. Our VP stepped in and we did a full agency audit across the company budget.

We sat down and thought about how we have a lot of really creative, conceptual thinking people in-house and we really needed a production partner who’s great with content. Column Five was on the top of our lists. We really liked their work and their people. Our VP went down to meet with them in person and it felt right. We decided to move forward with them.

How much have you invested with them?

A simple asset will fall in the 2–5k range, but a longer form e-book is around 10k. Then, for the real interactive stuff it’s more like 17–20k.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in June 2016, and the engagement is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They’ve been really great and helpful. They know content well, and they care about the small details in terms of the layout or for some of the interactive components we’ve released. We’ve gotten a lot of really great feedback across our company, and our marketing teams have been really excited about it.

From our brand team perspective, it’s been super helpful having them take up some of the workload. We really appreciate that. On a personal standpoint, they’re really friendly and often are proactively reaching out to make things better. Overall, it’s been a really positive experience.

How did Column Five perform from a project management standpoint?

We’re regularly in communication. They are always proactive every time, even with a scope change or a change in schedule. We meet once a week to talk and discuss what’s coming up next. It’s been good.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Often times our creative time will push the boundaries, and we’ll send them in a certain direction. On occasion, their writers and content hasn’t quite hit the mark – but that’s a hard mark to hit. I can’t fault them too much, but it’s been somewhat of a challenge for a few projects.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

When you’re just starting out working with them, spend as much time as possible up front having them understand your brand, your processes, and simple nuances. It might seem normal for your team, but other teams might not understand.

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

Video Production for Multimedia Nonprofit

"Their graphic designs and animation have the most personality and nuance of any I’ve seen."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Aug. - Oct. 2016 ? check
Project summary: 

Column Five designed custom animations and graphics for a documentary film in order to increase audience investment in an otherwise dense topic.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Irvine, California
Co-Founder, Change For Balance
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Column Five’s extraordinary artistic vision turned data into an immersive and engaging experience for film viewers. Combining technical expertise with excellent project management, the end product wowed.

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Our company is called Change for Balance Productions. I’m the co-founder. We’re a video production company with two components. One part of our business is a nonprofit that provides media resources to individuals and organizations that are working to better humanity. One project we did was a trip to South Africa with Charlize Theron to help her with her HIV/AIDS relief efforts. And we were just in Cambodia with the world’s foremost expert on Asian elephants; that was actually the project we engaged Column Five for. The other aspect of our business is commercial production, so we’ll direct spots for various corporates in fashion, lifestyle, and commerce.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Column Five?

One of the main challenges with film is getting necessary background information across in an interesting way. For this film about Asian elephants, we had a lot of data that we needed the audience to understand so that they would be invested in our story. We engaged Column Five to do it in a fun, engaging way.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Column Five packaged information in a palatable way and communicated it efficiently to the audience. We gave them all these statistics about Asian Elephants and they made animations for the movie. They really provided solutions. I know that’s a generic business term, but I mean it: they really bailed us out.

The project was really pretty intense, and the team at Column Five was incredible because they listened to our somewhat nontraditional ideas, interpreted them, and produced something brilliant that we could never have imagined. They had a fantastic project lead who kept us in the loop on everything all the time. He had a detailed feedback schedule, and we really moved forward on that schedule to a position where we could do our test screenings for our Hollywood team.

How did you come to work with Column Five?

They actually hired us on previous projects; on this one, we came to them. They were the only ones on our mind. We did look into other firms, but Column Five was our top choice. We didn’t know if they’d want to take this on, but we were so excited when they did. Their artists are extremely talented; we were blown away by what they created.

How much have you invested with Column Five?

It was $50,000-$75,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began around August 2016. It took about a month and a half; they’re so efficient, it was incredible.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The movie hasn’t been released yet, so I can’t give any numbers about that. But I can say that from test screenings, audiences and producers who have seen it at this point have all been blown away. It made the information understandable, sweet, and funny. It’s an animation that has so much emotion. We were all terrified that this part of the movie was going to slow down and drag and just be a boring data dump, but they took it to a point where kids and adults all say this is one of their favorite parts.

How did Column Five perform from a project management standpoint?

When it comes to business, you’re talking about people. People have goals and ideas and deadlines, and Column Five has the best people working for them. Their team is incredible. They’ve been working together for a long time and they communicate effectively. I was just impressed. I would highly recommend them. Their whole team, from the co-founder Josh Ritchie, all the way down to their project managers and artists, sat with us and heard us out. They added their own flair to our vision, and it was more than we ever could have imagined.

What did you find most impressive about Column Five?

What they create is beautiful. A lot of people are doing a similar style of work, but I really feel that Column Five’s is the best. Their graphic designs and animation have the most personality and nuance of any I’ve seen.

Are there any areas Column Five could improve?

I really don’t have any criticism. We’re worked with other vendors in a variety of areas, and Column Five was a dream come true. Sometimes you’ll get your deliverable and you’re kind of dreading opening it; with this, we couldn’t wait to open what Column Five would send us because we knew it was going to be incredible. We’d celebrate; we’d send it to everybody we knew; it was an incredible experience.

5.0
Overall Score The best. Incredible.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    That’s one of their strongest things.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Worth every penny.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    On a scale of one to five? 105. Absolutely.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I already have recommended them quite a few times.

Video Production and Branding for Cornell University

"I haven’t worked with another production company that’s provided better quality than Column Five."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2015 - 2016
Project summary: 

Column Five created a logo and video promotional package for a university fundraising campaign. The design team used in-house guidelines for all animations to ensure creative cohesion. 

The Reviewer
 
10,000+ Employees
 
Ithaca, New York
Ashley Budd
Director of Digital Marketing, Cornell University
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The videos generated great social media engagement, attracting praise from alumni and donors. Column Five's streamlined workflow, timely deliverables, and ability to incorporate feedback contributed significantly to the event’s success.

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I am the director of digital marketing at Cornell University in the division of Alumni Affairs and Development.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Column Five?

We were looking for identity assets and video assets for Cornell's first Giving Day. That was in 2015. Column Five created the mark that we used and used Cornell's branding guidelines to build out the identity for Giving Day. Then, we looked for them to do the video assets for that campaign. We ended up using them to do all sorts of animations for us.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

For our logo for Giving Day, Column Five selected the color palette and what colors were going to be primary and secondary. They designed email headers and banners. Then, for the video component of the project, which was the bulk of the work, they did a save the date video, three teaser videos, the actual Giving Day video, and a thank you video after it was over. It was animation – no live action.

They also delivered a video bumper. It was a 10-second animation of the logo that we could share with people who were creating their own Giving Day videos. That was nice. We actually only scoped two teaser videos with them, and they delivered three because they came up with another fun concept that they insisted we use. That was an added bonus.

How did you come to work with Column Five?

We were working with a digital strategy consultant on other aspects of our work, and they referred us to Column Five. After we saw what they could do, we were comfortable just going forward with them.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

We also did this work with them the following year for another Giving Day. Each year, we spent about $40,000 with them, maybe a little bit more last year [2015] – closer to $45,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Last year was the first Giving Day, and then we used them again in 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We got great feedback from our alumni. This was something new that we hadn't done before – using animation as part of an awareness campaign. We asked them to build our videos for social media. The teaser videos we wanted to be short – very little dialogue if any at all – so people could watch them silently. They pushed the concept, especially on the teaser videos, to the next step by making them something that would be really shareable on social media.

When they delivered storyboards for us, the stories that they were building weren't about Giving Day or giving at all. They were more about fun little snapshots of our bear mascot doing silly things. They had a subtle tie to Giving Day so that it was hitting that awareness mark. It was like subliminal messaging about Giving Day to make it more sharable on social media.

How did Column Five perform from a project management standpoint?

They were probably one of the best companies – one of the best vendors – I've worked with as far as project management goes. From the start, we scoped out the whole timeline. We picked dates for review and for delivery. For each review, their project manager gave me exactly what was going to be delivered and exactly what kind of feedback they wanted at that point, which was super helpful for me. Because I knew when the turnaround time was, I could go to my team and say tell them exactly what sort of feedback Column Five needed from us. They had their process down to a science, and they're clear about that upfront so that you know what to expect.

What distinguishes Column Five from other providers?

They do a good job of listening to feedback, trying to capture exactly what you're describing. Especially in video creation, I think many clients will come in with an idea in their head, and they do a good job translating that, but they also present their own ideas. They did all the script writing for us – the writing was fantastic. They're super professional.

I mentioned they gave us an extra teaser video the first year. That was above and beyond, and they ended up going above and beyond the second year, too. They gave us all of the Illustrator files for the animated video assets so that we could use the graphics that they designed in other places in our marketing.

Is there anything Column Five could have improved or done differently?

No – not really. They also have a product called Visage, and they offered to us for free for the amount of time that we were working with them. They've just got a ton going on, and it helps keep us wanting to work with them. They just always keep making things easier for us. They're not very pushy, which is a good thing, but I also don't know if I used their other services to the extent that I would if they had been promoting the sales of that other stuff more aggressively. I'm not someone who would promote aggressive sales, but there are people that I know have a lot going on, and they would probably benefit from being a little bit more persistent with some of their other products.

5.0
Overall Score They listened to our feedback, and we’ve been happy with everything they’ve done.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    If there was any a time when the deadline slipped, it was because of me, not them.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They are expensive. We can’t afford to work with them for live action, which is unfortunate because they’re awesome.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The work that they did we couldn’t have possibly done on our own, and I haven’t worked with another production company that’s provided better quality than Column Five.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I refer them all the time.

Content Marketing for Donors Choose Nonprofit

"They're always on the cutting edge of technology for telling stories."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2011 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Column Five has completed at least 15 different projects for the client since 2011. These projects include informational videos about the organization, infographics, and annual organizational reports.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
New York City, New York
Katie Bisbee
Chief Marketing Officer, Donors Choose
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Column Five's products reach 2 million donors and 500,000 teachers. The company received extremely high praises, especially for its organization, personnel, creativity, and ability to communicate clear and compelling stories.

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

DonorsChoose.org is a charity crowdfunding platform that helps public school teachers across America. I am the chief marketing officer.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Column Five?

The challenge was using data to tell our story. We have a lot of data, but Column Five has pulled that together in a way that tells a clear and descriptive story.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Column Five has helped us with several initiatives. First, Column Five has created a bunch of infographics for us through the years, telling stories for a specific data set. For example, they made an infographic that shows how donors choose classroom projects to fund on our site. Second, they created a video for us that told our organization's story. It's like an explanatory or introductory video about our organization, using data and infographics. Third, they created an annual report that summarized our year, teacher stories, and data trends.

Column Five recently created a report for us about technology and how teachers are using it in classrooms across America. This involved taking a bunch of survey data with teachers plus our own database findings. It also required doing outside research. Column Five pulled all that together to tell a story about what's happening in technology and why it's important. They created this beautiful report for us and have been helping us reach out to the media as well.

How did you come to work with Column Five?

Back in 2011, Column Five was known as the infographics firm. They were known as the best in the business. We were fortunate to have some people in the DonorsChoose community who knew the founders of Column Five [Ross Crooks, Jason Lankow, and Josh Ritchie] and connected us.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in 2011. Column Five helps us with at least a couple of engagements a year. In the past five years, we have probably worked with them on at least 15 different things.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Column Five created a report for us recently, and we've been impressed by the media pickup and the media coverage for that project. We attribute that to the quality of the content that they built and their help with the media outreach. For us, the best measure that something is great is that we want to share it with our community of two million donors and half-million teachers. We've shared with our entire community the infographics, videos, and annual reports that Column Five has created for us. I see that as a measure of success because we're careful about how often we email our donors and our teachers. For us to be emailing them a video is a testament to the excellent quality of Column Five's work.

How did Column Five perform from a project management standpoint?

Column Five is incredibly organized. For example, they did everything with project management for the tech and the classroom report. At the beginning of the project, we had a long in-person meeting with all the players present in the room. Column Five asked us great questions about our goals and what we wanted to get out of the report. They clarified that and nailed it down so that we were on the same page. Then, they set out a three-month timeline for creating, producing, and pitching the report. We're organized, but Column Five was driving the process forward every step of the way. They reminded us about deadlines, kept us organized, and made sure things were happening. Column Five made it so easy for us to do whatever it was they needed. They made it so easy for us to remember when we needed to review something, and they always gave us a lot of warning in advance. Back in the day, Column Five was based in the West Coast so we didn't get to work with them in person. But, now they have an office in Brooklyn [in New York] and that makes it much easier to work with them.

What did you find most impressive about Column Five?

Column Five definitely never sits still. They're always trying to think about the best and newest way to tell a story. They're always on the cutting edge of technology for telling stories. From a year-to-year basis, the projects we've worked with on them have gotten better and have improved a lot. You want an agency that keeps iterating and keeps improving so that the work you're getting out of them is better.

The other thing I would say is Column Five is made up of all these great people. They're the kind of people you want to work with. They're friendly, positive, fun, bright, and every single person on their team is awesome. I haven't worked with anyone that was anything but a great person to work with.

Are there any areas Column Five could improve?

I don't think I have any current feedback that I would share, and I promise that I would if I did.

5.0
Overall Score I absolutely love working with them and always feel like it's a full partnership.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They're more organized than we are, and we set a very high bar for organization.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Every time we've worked with Column Five, they've done a much better job of telling our story than we would have on our own. That's really the reason we keep going back to them.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have done that many times with the marketing peers that I have.

Content Marketing for Internet Explorer

"Column Five thinks differently from other creatives."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
2011 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Column Five provided full-service content marketing for an updated browser campagin, to include audience research, display ads, and social media content. They also built the campaign site, and created an email and CRM campaign.

The Reviewer
 
10,000+ Employees
 
Seattle, Washington
Bryan Saftler
Creative Technologist, Microsoft
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Column Five's campaign products revitalized and re-introduced users to the new Internet Explorer browser. The client commended their unique creativity, collaborative approach, and dedication to understanding the project.

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I'm currently working for Microsoft.

What is your position?

I'm the creative technologist for the Xbox Division.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Column Five?

I've worked with Column Five for a couple years now. Mostly I worked with Column Five when I was part of the Internet Explorer business. We were launching a new version of the Internet Explorer browser, and at the time, there was a perception that Internet Explorer was an old, outdated browser. We needed a way to generate excitement about the brand as well as to the product itself, Internet Explorer 10, to get people to look at it again. The project wasn't really about driving up downloads. It was just about getting people to try it again and shift their perception.

We contacted Column Five, and we worked out a new campaign that was called The Browser You Loved to Hate. It was probably the most successful we've ever had for Internet Explorer. We built out an entire site dedicated to it, TheBrowserYouLovedtoHate.com, which drove a ton of awareness and traffic behind it. We created a fun video that was a retro throwback to all these things generating this nostalgia about Explorer. We had a great SEM [search engine marketing] and CRM [customer relationship management] campaign. That was all part of what Column Five thought up, brainstormed, and then was able to execute.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

Column Five is a full-service agency, so when we approached them, we were looking for a shop that would not only be able to build out the creative aspects that we needed but also could do the implementation from an interactive point of view. We needed to have a website built that leveraged the latest in HTML5 that would look great on our browser. They have a whole team of strategic analysts who went in, understood our audience, understood who we wanted to reach out to, and were able to craft a narrative and story that took advantage of the things that we knew they cared about. They did all the creative work. They built our banner display ads, Facebook, social, and Twitter. They not only built the website but built all the image aspects for it, too. They helped us create an email and CRM campaign that get users to come on board. They built out a couple videos that were associated with the larger video that came out for The Browser You Loved to Hate, which you can see on YouTube, for example.

As the campaign evolved and moved on, we worked closely with them to evolve the campaign to move away from the self-effacing humor and more toward the future of the Internet, which is where IE11 and now Edge are today. We lean heavily upon the team at Column Five to build everything from a creative point of view.

How did you come to work with Column Five?

We vetted a whole bunch of agencies. During the RFP [request for proposal] process we brought in about 15 agencies, and we delivered them a brief, and they responded to that brief through their own pitches. This was a big campaign – a multimillion-dollar campaign globally – not just in the United States. This was a big push for us, and we wanted to make sure that we brought on the right team. When it came down to it, Column Five had the strongest pitch and definitely the pitch that made the most sense for our brand.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

It was more than $1 million.

What is the status of this engagement?

It's gone from 2011 or 2012 to now. I still work with them. I've moved through a few jobs in different sectors of Microsoft. When you make a relationship that has a team that you know you can trust, and they've delivered for you in the past, typically you will bring that relationship forward with you. They are on a short list of agencies that I would call if I had a project for them.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

It was great. People were actually talking about Internet Explorer for the first time positively in a long time.

How did Column Five perform from a project management standpoint?

They're phenomenal. The folks that are in place now in client services and account management are great.

One of the things that makes them so strong as an agency is the fact that they pride themselves on being client-led. They are an extension of your team. There is no ego and no attitude to the way that they work. They want to understand and be part of your brand. When you have a team with an attitude like that, it's difficult to do things wrong. They'll always start by overcommunicating rather than under communicating and, in time, you will find the right balance that works for your team.

I've never seen them come in over budget, and they've never failed to deliver for me. That's a key reason why I continue to go back and hire them.

What distinguishes Column Five from other providers?

Most creatives are pretty much dime a dozen. What separates Column Five is the fact that they are not located in downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York. They are located just outside, in the Newport Beach area, and part of what makes that special is the fact that there is a lot of fashion and a lot of art designers and music-minded creatives, and so Column Five thinks differently from other creatives.

Everybody can build a banner ad, but the way that they build the banner ad fits and gels differently than many of other agencies. It may not work for every client, but it definitely works for Microsoft. We've found more often than not that their creative pitches and their outputs tend to be at a different level and are refreshing, and new. It's been pretty good, and I think that's why we keep them on a very short list. That ability to be continuously renewing and continuously modeled after something that is unlike anything else in that industry, I think that separates them in a space all on their own.

Is there anything Column Five could have improved or done differently?

When we went through the brainstorming process, they had some good ideas, but nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering. If you're looking for a creative agency that's going to knock it out of the park and completely understand your brand from a marketing perspective, Column Five is for you. If you're looking for a team that is going to tell you how to build your product, then you might want to look in another direction.

4.5
Overall Score They’re outstanding, one of the best agencies that I work with. It's tough to get a perfect score on this one, but I absolutely love working with these guys. They are an unbelievable agency.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I’ve never had a single problem with them.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They typically will come in lower than much of our other competition. I think it’s just because they’re hungry as a brand.
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Their deliverables and the quality of execution is flawless. You can’t throw everything to them and expect them to return it. It’s more of a collaborative process.
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I love their work. I think they do a great job. I’ve never been disappointed by them.
Verification

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Verification Level
Silver
VERIFIED
Business Entity
Status
Active
Jurisdiction of Formation
California
ID
C3200045
Date of Formation
Feb 2, 2009
Source
California Secretary of State
Last Updated
Jan 19, 2019
Payment & Legal Filings
Bankruptcy
No
Tax Lien Filings
0
Judgement Filings
0
Collections Count
0
Last Updated
Dec 20, 2018
Client Reviews
VERIFIED CLIENT REVIEWS
9
OVERALL REVIEW RATING
4.9
Source
Clutch
LAST UPDATED
December 6, 2019