The Right Idea

Grafik is a Washington, D.C. based branding and marketing agency helping clients around the globe better understand and engage their audiences in meaningful ways. From strategic positioning and customer experience design to marketing automation and lead generation, we’re here to build and grow your brand. Because your business depends on it.

 
Undisclosed
 
Undisclosed
 
10 - 49
 Founded
1978
Show all +
Alexandria, VA
headquarters
  • 625 North Washington Street, Suite 302
    Alexandria, VA 22314
    United States

Portfolio

Branding A Tech Startup, Capella Space

How do you reach customers from space? That was the challenge facing one of San Francisco’s brightest startups. Grafik helped out by establishing a clear path to prospects.

Led by some of the most brilliant young minds in the space industry, Capella had been carefully considering every facet of their newly designed satellites and running countless tests to ensure their successful launch and deployment. But the startup

hadn’t stopped to think about who they were, what they were enabling, and how they were shaking up the market.

After extensive interviews with Capella leadership, VCs, customers and partners, and competitive positioning exercises, we realized that the story is not in space, but the effect on Earth. This angle allowed Grafik to articulate “a new perspective” for the startup. We developed a new brand and messaging strategy to introduce prospective customers to the myriad commercial, and affordable, uses of space-based technology.

With this in mind, Grafik created a brand and messaging strategy built on Capella’s groundbreaking approach to earth observation. We designed and developed a new website to drive awareness of real-world applications in everything from agriculture to infrastructure to disaster recovery, explicitly addressing the needs of core personas identified during strategy. For the site’s brand video, we let the team’s passion and boldness come through to bring the Capella story to life. The video has received over 6,000 views and counting.

Place Branding to Connect The D.C. Riverfront Image

Place Branding to Connect The D.C. Riverfront

Buzzard Point is a historic Washington, D.C. landmark, the final jewel in the crown of the Capitol Riverfront Community—the District’s fastest growing neighborhood.

With beautiful new residences, retail spaces, open-air markets, and an active shoreline still many months away, Grafik used the grand opening of world-class Audi Field to launch our place branding campaign this summer.

Online, in signage, social

media, and PR, we leveraged its deep history and bright future to bring the inspiring vision of Buzzard Point to life.

Festivities around the inaugural D.C. United game at Audi Field meant plenty of reasons to post invites, reminders, and schedules for fans wanting the latest news. It was also the perfect chance to capture new neighborhood followers. We made certain the Buzzard Point branding was prominent in all of them.

 

Building A Brand Architecture For EYA

Highly esteemed by fellow developers, local civic leaders, and more than 4,000 homeowners, EYA has always been a successful company. But when its leadership came to Grafik, our strategists suggested a major shift in the way EYA was doing business. Rather than marketing each property individually, we believed the key to success in the long term was a powerful overarching brand.

Our research led us to recommend a new

brand architecture that would allow every neighborhood to retain its individuality while delivering on a consistent brand promise. EYA would offer homebuyers more than just a new home—it would offer a one-of-a-kind lifestyle.

Today, when EYA reviews a proposed property site, one question is always asked: Does this site embody the mantra? If it doesn’t offer “Life Within Walking Distance,” then there’s no deal. It’s that simple. Our rebrand has helped EYA become more focused, more thoughtful, and more successful.

Designed to underscore the brand mantra and highlight the newest neighborhoods, the new corporate site serves up the most relevant locations through geo-targeting using mobile GPS or IP data.

Grafik has played a critical role in developing identities for EYA neighborhoods since we began working with them nearly a dozen years ago. 

Driving Awareness For The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Awe-inspiring advances in the treatment of cystic fibrosis have added tomorrows for thousands now living with what was formerly seen as a pediatric disease. Our long-time client, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, plays a major role supporting both patients and the scientific community. CF clinical trials are key to continuing this progress—but with a patient population of fewer than 35,000 people across the country, enrolling

patients in the hundreds of ongoing trials is difficult. 

The Foundation built and hosts a powerful tool on its website—the clinical trial finder. But awareness of the finder, and of the importance of participation in clinical trials, needed a boost. Leveraging the foundation’s unique commitment to a collaborative approach in seeking the ultimate cure, we created the multi-media Trailblazer campaign. Highlighting the importance of trials, it recognized the entire community’s role—from patients to supporters to researchers. We also focused on the surprising number of trials, and the ease of researching them thanks to the trial finder. 

Key performance indicators centered on increased use of the Clinical Trial Finder—more traffic to the finder, greater time spent on the Clinical Trial Finder page, and more “Ask About Participating in This Study” submissions. In just over a month, the campaign shattered the goals.

Reviews

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Full Rebrand for Nonprofit Media Organization

“They’re a company that we highly respect, and we will continue to keep them in our arsenal of companies to work with.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Sept. 2018 - June 2019
Project summary: 

Grafik Marketing Communications led a full rebrand for a national nonprofit media organization, helping to position the brand in the contemporary market. Deliverables included messaging, a video, and logos.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Washington, DC
Peter Kiley & Marty Dominguez
VP Communications & VP Marketing, C-SPAN
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Originally brought on to redo a logo, Grafik Marketing Communications’s deep understanding of the organization and their engagement with the brand exceeded expectations, ultimately supplementing a much broader project. Organized and personable, the team met deadlines despite scope changes.

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We’re the VP of marketing and the VP of communications at C-SPAN, a not-for-profit media organization based in Washington, D.C. We provide the public access to unfiltered government proceedings across multiple platforms. C-SPAN is primarily a television network, and we have three channels—C-SPAN, C-SPAN 2, and C-SPAN 3—that broadcast proceedings uninterrupted, with no commercials, commentary, or analysis. We’re funded through license fees paid by television providers—cable and satellite companies—that put us in people’s homes.

Technology has allowed C-SPAN to move beyond television; we have a very robust presence on the internet, including a website that streams live coverage. We also have an archive of more than 250,000 hours of the American democratic process dating back to 1987, all of which is free and available to anyone in the world. Our radio station is local in DC, but our radio networks and podcasts are also available online and via apps. We have an extensive outreach effort through C-SPAN Classroom, a free membership program that tens of thousands of teachers have joined to utilize C-SPAN resources, such as videos and lesson plans that we create to help teach civics, history, and government.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Grafik Marketing Communications?

We were approaching our 40th anniversary and needed a fresh, clean look for our forward-thinking, multi-platform brand. C-SPAN hadn’t changed its logo in around 30 years, and, as we began preparing for our anniversary and positioning ourselves for the future, we didn’t want to look like a dated company. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Our work with Grafik Marketing Communications has evolved over time. The focus shifted from the logo to the entire brand, as it quickly became apparent to us that we needed to redo our messaging, such as how we talked about and presented ourselves. From there, it evolved even further to be not just our main brand but also all of the brands and networks that fall under C-SPAN, such as the other two C-SPAN channels, our book TV program, C-SPAN radio, c-span.org, etc. What started as a smaller project became widespread across our entire company brand and all of our platforms, evolving into a much larger project.

Grafik Marketing Communications began their work with us by interviewing all of our key constituents, internal team members, and people who were important to our industry. Externally, they talked to people on Capitol Hill and journalists who used our program or were parallel to our program. From all of those conversations, they garnered an understanding of how people viewed C-SPAN. Then, they asked us how we wanted to be viewed, so that they could see the difference between public and internal perception. Beyond the initial interviews that they did, Grafik Marketing Communications participated in some of the research we were doing internally. They used that research to understand how we needed to evolve and in the talking points they created for us.

Once they understood what we needed to change, they built where we needed to go directionally with our brand. They pushed our brand and messaging toward how we wanted to be viewed in the future. Grafik Marketing Communications did multiple logos across all C-SPAN properties and sub-brands. They did messaging and created communication plans. As a non-profit, boasting our brand isn’t in our nature, and they taught us how we could essentially toot our own horn. They proposed a way for us to explain ourselves to young audiences in a way that would resonate with them and help them understand the unique role that C-SPAN plays in the media marketplace. 

At the time, there was so much dissension in media; people were choosing sides. This was a good opportunity for C-SPAN to showcase our position right down the middle as a trusted resource. Grafik Marketing Communications helped us craft the language that we used in promotional campaigns, from five-word taglines to much longer paragraphs and general statements about us. We also had them do a video for one of our campaigns.

How did you come to work with Grafik Marketing Communications?

We put out an RFP to five companies and quickly narrowed that down to three. Those three vendors came in to pitch and present to our chairman, CEOs, and the two of us. Grafik Marketing Communications had the most prepared presentation by far. They presented what they saw for C-SPAN, whereas the two others didn’t do much upfront work; instead, they showed us ideas they’d done for past clients, requiring us to imagine what they could do for C-SPAN. Grafik Marketing Communications even had a video pitch, which wasn’t something we’d asked for. 

From the beginning, Grafik Marketing Communications came in with a clear understanding of who we were. We were impressed that they put in so many hours ahead of time. This spoke to their dedication and willingness to be committed to our goal. 

How much have you invested with them?

Our company spent between $100,000–$250,000. We didn’t do ad buys through them, as we do this internally, but other clients would likely use their services for that.

What is the status of this engagement?

We put out the RFP in the spring of 2018 and began working with Grafik Marketing Communications in September. The bulk of the release came on March 19, 2019, the date of our 40th anniversary, on which we introduced the new logo, messaging, fonts, and color variations. We completed the campaign by June 2019.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

C-SPAN has been around for 40 years, and we’ve always been hesitant to use outside vendors because we operate in a very different sphere than they’re used to. However, Grafik Marketing Communications recognized from the start that C-SPAN was different and unique. They took the time to listen to us and approached us in a way that heightened our comfort level regarding how they’d work with us and ultimately help us with the messaging. They didn’t try to fit us into the same peg that they would for an insurance company, or even another media organization. The team seemed genuinely intrigued and motivated by the fact that we’re different, and we felt good that they were paying us so much attention and adjusting their efforts to match our interests and needs. 

Their work generated a lot of excitement internally. Most of our staff has been at C-SPAN for quite some time, so it was energizing to have a bright, colorful, contemporary, and unified look across the entire company and in all of our products. Our funders and television providers saw their work as a good thing as well. They don’t generate revenue off of us, so they want to find value in supporting a public service such as C-SPAN. We received so much positive media attention from Grafik Marketing Communications’s work, and from that, funders and television providers got credit. One of the spots we created had branding at the end that tagged cable affiliates, and those affiliates ran the spot as free cross-channel promotions. It was a huge gain for us that these funders and affiliates got credit for carrying C-SPAN.

Just recently, C-SPAN was recognized as one of the three finalists in Brandweek’s rebranding category for campaigns. We had no idea how the project would unfold when we started it, so to go from there to being recognized as one of the top rebrandings in the country was a huge positive. Although it wouldn’t be solely attributable to rebranding, we’ve had a banner year in terms of growth. Increased engagement and number of followers on social media platforms has exceeded all of our expectations for growth this year.

How did Grafik Marketing Communications perform from a project management standpoint?

Grafik Marketing Communications was terrific in terms of communication. They also kept to the timeline, even when we made it challenging and continued to add different projects. A six-month time period was a fair timeframe going into the project, since we had just planned to do some modest changes, but it became pretty intense as we continued to expand the scope. We were so excited by the things we were seeing that we expanded the work across all of our platforms and sub-brands; we saw this as a real opportunity to position C-SPAN for a much stronger future by making our brand identity more contemporary. 

The people at Grafik Marketing Communications were our favorite part of the process; they were easy to work with and pleasant, and they engaged with our product in a way that went beyond expectations. We have nothing but positive things to say across the board about their people. While we consider ourselves pretty organized and capable of accepting new challenges, I don’t think we could appreciate the extent of what was going to happen when we began this project. However, Grafik Marketing Communications knew, because they had the experience. Their organizational skills kept us focused on the right things. They helped us make decisions to get things done by March 19th, proving to be efficient and effective guides in working our small group through the process. It was a high-stress period of time, and Grafik Marketing Communications kept us calm, happy, and on track. They gave us lots of options, from the logos to the messaging points. We did various rounds of proposals, during which everyone from our top executives down had a chance to go back-and-forth with Grafik Marketing Communications, expressing what we liked or disliked and what we thought resonated.

The best thing we can say about Grafik Marketing Communications is that we’re continuing to engage them. They’ve helped us with at least two other smaller projects, and they’ll continue to do so. They’re that easy to work with.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We were very impressed by their ability to understand us and our marketplace; they really did their work upfront and got to know who we were. We’re a broad-thinking media organization, driven by our mission to provide the American public with unfiltered access to things. They put themselves in our shoes so that they wouldn’t interfere with our mission or pollute it with partisan messaging. Grafik Marketing Communications was well-rounded in serving both our marketing and communication needs.

Are there any areas they could improve?

There isn’t much we can think of. The toughest challenge for them was probably that they hadn’t done much work with a television company. All of the work they did had to be suitable to several platforms. However, we ultimately got there.

Any advice for potential customers?

Share with them as much as you can about yourselves. Trust them, because they have a really good handle on how to help clients.

5.0
Overall Score They’re a company that we highly respect, and we will continue to keep them in our arsenal of companies to work with.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They were efficient and timely, and they met every deadline, even when we threw challenges at them.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They were slightly below the cost of other companies we looked at, yet they provided more.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They were adaptable and met our expectations.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    We already have and will continue to do so.

Rebranding & Marketing for Home Builder

“They are one of the most thoughtful firms I’ve ever worked with.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
Aug. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Grafik Marketing Communications supports rebranding for a homebuilding firm. The effort included a complete site reboot, with HubSpot marketing, Pimcore CMS, and unique community pages.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Ashburn, Virginia
Glenn Forester
VP of Marketing, Van Metre Homes
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new site is easy to navigate and receives positive feedback. Grafik Marketing Communications was solutions-oriented, forthcoming with reports, and quick to make improvements. Their insight into consumer needs is strong, and they’ve helped differentiate the brand within the market.

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Van Metre is a homebuilder of condos, townhomes, and single-family homes. I am the VP of marketing.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Grafik Marketing Communications?

We started a rebranding effort for the entire company and for each division. We wanted to differentiate ourselves and tell our unique story. I joined the company partway through this initiative, and Grafik came on at the beginning. The project was designed to give a voice to our new homes division and to illuminate our values as a local company that has been in business since 1955.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They did a top-to-bottom reboot of our website design and content, brought HubSpot into our backend to help with marketing, lead flow, and lead generation, and did a lot of independent community branding. The backend content management system is built in Pimcore, and is one of the biggest changes for us. We had thousands of images and content blocks that needed to be structured.

Each community within our network has its own individual page, with its own look and feel, theme, and storyline. Each page is unique, with individualized word marks to match.

What is the team composition?

Our main point of contact is their SVP of client services. We also work with two of their principals: their head of client strategy and a creative director.

How did you come to work with Grafik Marketing Communications?

They were hired before I joined the company, but I know they were selected because of their breadth of experience in other industries. Our leadership wanted an agency that didn’t focus solely on real estate or home building that could bring a different perspective to our brand. Their creativity, strategic ideas, and scope of work were all factors in hiring them.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent $1.5 million–$2 million.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our collaboration started in August 2017 and is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We get great reviews, especially within the real estate community. Agents always comment on how easy our site is to navigate. Information is easy to find, and our SEO is one of the biggest changes they’ve made.

Everything they designed is an improvement upon the old site. People look at us differently, and recognize us as a stable company in our area. The site shows both our longevity and our local presence in the right way. They have an amazing insight into what a consumer wants and needs, and they’ve shown our brand in a very different light.

How did Grafik Marketing Communications perform from a project management standpoint?

Their project management was great, and they were upfront about deliverables and issues they found with our old legacy site. We emailed back and forth quite a bit, met in person all the time, and used Basecamp for part of the project. They were very solutions-oriented, and it was refreshing to get their reports on what they had found and how they planned to fix everything.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They are one of the most thoughtful firms I’ve ever worked with, and they consider both the rational and the emotional sides of the customer journey. Not only do they care about our brand, they care about our community. We’re a very philanthropic organization, and they help with our charity events and attend our grand openings. They’re truly invested in the company and want to make sure our brand is showcased properly. I’ve never seen so many people from an agency attend a grand opening event before.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I would love to see them bring photography and videography in-house. Their creative directors have an amazing eye, and it would be nice to have that level of talent within the agency, without needing to contract a third-party photographer.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Let them go through their discovery process. They’re very thorough, and it’s worth every hour they spend. It was one of the most important things they do, and it will have an impact on the success of your project.

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