Thrive in the new creative age

We’ve streamlined the typical agency processes. No time sheets. No change orders. Rather, a simple and transparent flow based loosely on the principles of Agile development.

We seek exceptional clients that believe in joining a passionate, egoless team that is building something bigger than themselves. We insist on having fun and aspire to create ground-breaking work together.

 
$5,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2008
The Engine is Red
401 Mendocino Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Rombauer Vineyards, Medtronic, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Swinerton Builders, Fetzer Vineyards, United Way, PG&E, Chevron CU

Reviews

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Digital Strategy and Creative for Vineyard

“Their team has been instrumental in determining the direction of our digital strategy.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
July 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

The Engine Is Red established a digital strategy, including ad campaigns, outreach, and guidance on a Google advertising pilot platform. They continue to monitor key metrics of online engagement.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
St. Helena, California
Ingrid Cheng
Digital Marketing Manager, Rombauer Vineyards
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The Engine Is Red created an effective digital strategy, leading to an increase of online engagement and conversion rates. A true partner, their collaborative, forward-thinking approach sets them apart. Their flexibility and responsiveness makes working with their team seamless. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the digital marketing manager for Rombauer Vineyards, a winery based in Napa Valley. We're a medium-sized business, producing about 200,000 cases per year.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with The Engine Is Red?

We had been given an opportunity to take part in one of Google's pilot advertising platforms. As a lean team, we were looking for an outside vendor to help drive our digital strategy and put us on the right track in terms of outreach and how we should use the platform. Since it was a significant investment to try this technology out, we wanted to make sure we were in the best position to succeed.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The Engine Is Red drove our overall digital strategy for our advertising campaign after heavily researching our company and pinpointing the key attributes that would connect to consumers and attract new business.

They coordinated production, developing all of our digital assets in the process. They continue to monitor website performance and key metrics of our overall online engagement.

What is the team composition?

We worked primarily with an account director, a copywriter, and the creative director. We've also been in touch with Chris Denny (Founder and President, The Engine Is Red).

How did you come to work with The Engine Is Red?

We found The Engine Is Red during our RFP process, but I also knew Chris from a conference I had attended where he spoke on a panel I moderated. In addition to having somewhat of an established relationship from that, we were blown away by his team's forward-thinking approach after meeting with them.

How much have you invested with them?

We've invested $40,000–$60,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in July 2017, with our most recent project wrapping up in December. I'm still in touch with our account director on a weekly basis, and we'll likely be working with them on another project soon.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Their team has been instrumental in determining the direction of our digital strategy. Our online engagement and sales conversion rates are on the rise.

How did The Engine Is Red perform from a project management standpoint?

Their team is very accessible; emails are always answered promptly. We have a direct line of communication to them at any time through Slack.

The whole process has been so collaborative and open that their team feels like an extension of our own. With the bigger picture in mind, I appreciate their attention to future opportunities for our business to succeed. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

How they organize and stage their work is really interesting. They build in a lot of flexibility into their workflow, which was helpful for managing any delays on our end. Staying in constant communication with our team helped keep everything on track.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No. Other vendors I've worked with in the past weren't as clear on workflow and the overall timeline of projects, but that's not the case with The Engine Is Red. They also worked really hard to improve on anything we weren't completely happy with.

4.5
Overall Score I enjoyed everyone on their team. They've felt like a true partner and extension of our company.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Any holdups in the schedule were usually on our end.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I think we got what we asked for and we're happy with the outcome.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    They're a great choice for companies willing to entertain forward-thinking ideas.

Branding for Healthcare Nonprofit

"They spent a lot of time developing a deeper connection with our staff. I think that is unique to them."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2015 - Feb. 2017
Project summary: 

The Engine is Red handled several branding, marketing, and web design tasks. Their work included comprehensive rebranding, market analysis, web and logo design, UX, a health initiative campaign, and more.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Santa Rosa, California
Alena Wall
Executive Director, Center for Well-Being
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The Engine excels at developing detailed project frameworks based off of only end-goals and branding visions, showing their dedication to connecting with their work. They’re transparent and have an innovative eye for embodying brand messaging, from newsletters to physical building design.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the executive director for a local healthcare nonprofit, Center for Well-Being. We are committed to defeating chronic disease in the North Bay, so we’re focused on diabetes and heart disease prevention.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with The Engine Is Red?

Our original need was a brand evolution process. We approached The Engine to look at our existing brand, do some market analysis around the healthcare landscape to determine the community and healthcare perceptions of our brand, and to refine our brand messaging.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

In addition to the goals around brand messaging, we redid our whole website and our interface with electronic health records. There were a few other things that came out of that. We’re doing a large-scale community health initiative with them which is just launching. This is a new project. When we started working with them, we weren’t thinking of a large-scale campaign. It was originally just looking at our brand messaging. We ended up redoing our logo, updating our case statement, and embarking on a website project. So, we’ve done a lot of different things with them.

The deliverables were to freshen up our brand. Our organization is now in its 21st year. As the Northern California Center for Well-Being, that means a lot of different things. If a community member didn’t know of our organization, they might think we’re a meditation center or alternative medicine, which we’re not. So, we wanted to do a deep dive on our logo, tagline, and brand messaging to ensure it was very clear to the community that we were focused on heart disease and diabetes prevention. They came up with the framework of how they would do that. We didn’t go to them with a detailed scope; we just told them our needs, and then they developed the framework.

After the initial branding project, with the new logo and tagline, the next project they worked on was our website. We had an existing website, and they took a look at our website evolution. They reviewed our very first website, when the organization was founded in 1996, and reviewed all the different stages. They did a deep analysis of our service area. They had done a lot of that work through the brand evolution process. They had a role in freshening up the look and feel for all our community-facing materials, whether it was our brochure about the organization, the list of courses we offer to the community, or the provider outreach material. So, they updated those things prior to the website update.

Their staff really had a deep knowledge of our core values, our mission, the service scope, and the clinical outcomes. They did a lot of studying to understand the clinical piece of what we do, because that was a big part of the story we wanted to tell. You want to capture the human feeling of that, but yet you’re saving lives through improving these clinical health outcomes, so that was a big piece of what they did.

When they looked at redesigning our website, they tried to carry that same messaging through. They made sure there were consistent images on the website and made it more user-friendly, easier to navigate. We use electronic health records, so they added a patient portal allowing people to access their health information electronically. We have a staff person on our end who was our project lead, who paired up with their project lead.

We did not have the resources to have them do any execution on the marketing. The campaign we’re launching right now is a partnership with United Way of the Wine Country, and they’re investing in that piece. So, that’ll be the next stage, but we have not done that yet. The Engine will be designing the whole campaign messaging, all the images, the guidelines around how to launch it. I’m not the lead on that project, so I don’t have as much information for that one.

We did create a lot of print collateral, and they managed those jobs. They went out to bid, got three to compare, sent it over for approval, and then managed the actual execution of that. We have a case statement now and an organizational brochure, so those were both bulk print jobs that they did. They also managed our newsletter. We had a print newsletter for which they designed the layout and managed the printing and distribution.

During the rebranding, we also moved to a new location. So, they helped us to redesign our building at the same time. We have the main wellness center building, and they helped us determine where to put our tagline, mission statement, and the placement for signage on the exterior part of our building, as well as interior design. This year, we redesigned our cardiac rehab facility with them. That project ended in February of this year. We updated the logo for that site and added healthy messages and inspirational quotes stenciled on the wall. We repainted with the brand colors, because we wanted to have both locations mirror the same look and feel.

How did you come to work with The Engine Is Red?

I was familiar with their work. I had seen some of the stuff they’d done. They’d done a small project with the Santa Rosa Chamber. There’s a young professionals network, and they had pushed out some creative marketing through them, which I thought looked really great, fresh, and innovative. I reached out to their founder, Chris Denny, to see if he would get involved in a project with our organization, and that was several years ago.

How much have you invested with The Engine Is Red?

I’ll have to get back to you. It was a multi-year project, and I don’t have the total.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started with them in 2015. They started doing the audit and focus groups in the first half of that year, and we moved the wellness center in August of 2015. Our big brand project was 2015 and into 2016, and we did the website during that period. Then we rebranded the cardiac rehab facility at the end of 2016, into early 2017. We’re a relatively small organization. The Engine would have been faster, but we didn’t have the staffing. The work has been project-specific, with the most recent one ending in February. Our relationship is ongoing for the new campaign, although that project will actually be funded through the United Way.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our location is more visible, and we have our clean, fresh brand, so there are multiple factors going into our analysis. We’ve had a 12% growth in patient enrollment in our classes for the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year. I feel it’s had a positive impact.

From a relational standpoint, I definitely think it’s easier for me, when I’m out in the community, to tell our story and for people to have a clear message of what we do. I’ve had really positive feedback on the website. People like it, they feel like it’s easy to navigate, and it’s clear. The County of Sonoma just contacted me last week, saying they were on our website and were curious who did it. They felt that it captured the messaging that they’re trying to do for one of their major health initiatives.

When someone comes across our brand messaging, it’s much easier for them to see that we’re healthcare for heart disease and diabetes rather than an alternative medicine facility. We get less of that now with our new material.

How did The Engine Is Red perform from a project management standpoint?

They performed very well. They do a team approach on everything. Internally, their staff becomes your organization for that period of time. When you go to meet with them, it says, ‘We are the Center for Well-Being.’ It’s kind of neat from an executive director perspective, when I go to their meetings and all their material say that. They did a lot of studying on us to understand our purpose, and I felt they did that really well, owning the project and feeling connected to it. They’re enjoyable to work with, a really creative and upbeat team.

What did you find most impressive about The Engine Is Red?

They did a very good job of understanding the feeling of our staff. They did a lot of interviewing our team and our board members. They wanted to ensure the messaging in the community was our voice, so they spent a lot of time developing a deeper connection with our staff. I think that is unique to them. We have a deep appreciation and respect for each other’s work.

Are there any areas The Engine Is Red could improve?

We would have benefited from the same project manager the whole time. Our project was really long, due to our capacity, so they had people whose positions would shift a little bit throughout the two years we’ve worked with them. Just for continuity, it would have been ideal to have the same project manager the whole time. They did a great job, and I don’t know how much of that you can control.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    That just had to do with the staff changing, so the person in charge of scheduling shifted a little.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They donated a percentage of their work for us, but it was a big investment for us.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The quality was high.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve referred them a number of times because they did such a good job for us.

Website Redesign for Renewable Energy Company

"Every time we talk with them, it’s like speaking with a personal friend who’s also a business partner."

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

The Engine is Red has provided a new corporate website and office rebranding to convey the a more personal and holistic view of the brand. The website integrates videos and focuses on user interactions.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Encinitas, California
Ashley McCarthy
Marketing Manager, Swinerton Renewable Energy
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new website has been received positively internally and will launch externally soon. Its depth of content and map function are particular highlights. The Engine Is Red has crafted an open relationship, and feedback is implemented within a day when offered. Their design and ideas are exceptional.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the marketing manager at Swinerton Renewable Energy. I oversee all of our external and internal marketing, branding, PR, and social media, as well as proposals and pursuits. We do large utility-scale projects. We’re part of a bigger company, Swinerton Builders, which is a general contractor. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with The Engine is Red?

The Engine is Red had already been working with other groups at our company for app development and a kiosk. We needed to refresh our website, and I had heard great references for them from our other groups.

We had made a website in the past, but it just fell flat. Our initial project was for a new website, which is about to launch in a couple of weeks. I’m also working with them on rebranding our local office in San Diego. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We started from scratch with the website. We told The Engine is Red what we didn’t like about our current site and listed some key features we wanted, but we went through the full process. We started with three different theme ideas, the message’s look and feel, and the presence we wanted to have.

We wanted a lot more interactions and opted for more video footage, including client, vendor, and employee interviews and personal messages. The old site was pretty basic. We wanted a generated counter of how much energy we were producing throughout all our projects, which was something that never worked out on the last site. Since they had worked with our other two groups previously and had even been to one of our field projects, we knew they were set up to understand our business and who we are as a company. Having that head start was very beneficial for the website, as they had a good feel for who we are.

We have a full-time copywriter on the project who interviewed a lot of our employees and a couple clients before writing the content. There were some areas where we would provide content ourselves like project and resume information. We have a full-time in-house photographer and videographer to produce the videos.

Our industry doesn’t generally rely on website traffic to get clients, although they will find our website through LinkedIn, Twitter, and other links. The site is just as much designed for our internal employees. They wanted to see something that’s a little more personal and better explains what we do for external users. We needed something that shows who we are much better than our previous site did.

The Engine is Red came to our local office in San Diego, which is a large space with mostly white walls. We moved in about five years ago. We had first engaged a different company to do some branding and murals, but it didn’t go as planned. We didn’t really like what they were offering. This task has been on our to-do list since then, but it kept getting pushed to the side. Since we had worked with The Engine on so many other projects and love their team, we decided to ask them to look at this project as well.

We started from scratch, showed them the space, and gave them the plans. We did a walk-through and took photos, and they presented a few different ideas. They told us which walls they thought would be best. We’re now wrapping up this project, which has been going for the last two or three months. There are going to be about 15 spaces total that they’ve designed, including murals, wood walls, neon signs, paintings, some furniture, and all sorts of things.

How did you come to work with The Engine is Red?

We had already used different agencies on the two projects, and both agencies were not what we expected. We knew The Engine is Red was the right choice. Once we went to the second round, we did not reach out for any other proposals from anybody else. We knew they’d do a great job. They were definitely our first choice.

How much have you invested with The Engine is Red?

We’ve invested $150,000–$175,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

The website project began in November 2016, and the branding began in December of that year. They’re both wrapping up in the next week or two. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our employees have reacted positively to the new site. We just sent it to about five people in our division to look at before we launch, and they’re all very excited. They like how deep it goes into our projects and the map function we have. We went more light-hearted in conveying info our key employees, and they liked that. The photography is really great. Our staff members really like that there are dedicated areas for all the different aspects of our market.

How did The Engine is Red perform from a project management standpoint?

We’re in the midst of doing QA testing right now. As we go through the testing, we can comment on the little things we’re finding. We have a very open email relationship with them. We send them information all the time, and they’re very quick to respond. Everything is fixed within hours to maybe a day. There have been no major issues so far. We’ve even added a few last-minute changes, which they incorporated very quickly. So far, everything’s gone very smoothly.

The Engine is Red is very straightforward and quick. They have tight turnarounds and work very quickly. I do too, so I really like that about them. They’re clear about when a sprint starts and ends. They send weekly emails with updates of what they’re wrapping up, what’s going to happen in the following week, and where we are cost-wise. They’re always available. There are multiple people on every team we’re set up with, so there’s always an account manager and a design leader, as well as the copywriters and programmers. We have a weekly video conference that everyone attends. It’s really nice to have that face-to-face interaction. I know that their whole team is fully engaged, no matter what. We’re not wondering what they’re doing and when. Everything is very open and positive, and there haven’t been any red flags.

What did you find most impressive about The Engine is Red?

We’re very impressed with their work—the design and their ideas especially. You can even see it through their identity. I’ve been to their office in Santa Rosa, and that really helped establish our relationship with them. We got to interact with them in person a handful of times. Even their working space is beautiful and really cool. They’re definitely ahead of the curve. They’ve got some really great ideas. Their team members are unique individuals who are really nice and fun. Every time we talk with them, it’s like speaking with a personal friend who’s also a business partner. I really enjoy that part of the relationship that we’ve formed with them over the last couple of months. They’ve been successful time and time again. Our company does a lot of work with them, and everyone just loves them.

Are there any areas The Engine is Red could improve?

I can’t think of anything. At the end of the day, they might be costlier than the competition out there, but we’ve learned the hard way that there’s a reason for that. They’re worth every penny. They’re so good at their job, and they create really beautiful things. They have great communication and great work. They’re also very quick. 

5.0
Overall Score They are awesome. They’re really great at what they do.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They meet all their deadlines, and they’re very good at communicating when the deadlines are and what’s included.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’re definitely on the higher side, but their work and the end product are worth it.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Everything always looks great and is on time.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve already done so a handful of times to others in our company and friends outside the company. We’ve had such great success with them.