A full-service creative agency in Baltimore

At our heart, we work best with brands that are passionate about their industry, excited about their solution, and relentless in their pursuit of quality. We make things loud, we make things pretty, and we make things – at the end of the day – interesting.

In the current market of data first, we want to bring back the glory days of storytelling in advertising. While data is important, it can’t be the only tool. People respond to stories.

 
$5,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2015
Show all +
Baltimore, MD
headquarters
  • 3600 O'Donnell Street, Suite 240
    Baltimore, MD 21224
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

WhiteBox

ETC

Notice & Comment

Maryland Venture Fund

FilterBuy

Baltimore Angels

ClassTracks

Point 3

Reviews

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Branding for a Data Analytics Company

“They always quickly accommodate us and turn work around very fast at a high level of quality.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
July 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Kapowza’s end-to-end marketing solution includes print and graphic design, social media marketing consultation, and conference presentation guidance. They also create marketing collateral and branded assets.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland
Brit Keller
COO, Yet Analytics
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Kapowza reworked a conference presentation to attract many more prospective clients from attendees who visited the booth. Their efforts increased the quality of leads by between 15%–20%. Social media engagement notably improved. The team is accommodating, efficient, knowledgeable, and skilled.  

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the CEO of Yet Analytics, a staff learning analytics technology provider in Baltimore, MD. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Kapowza?

We started this engagement to augment our marketing efforts significantly. Our three target markets are corporate learning and development (L&D), the defense community, and education. At the point we had reached in our company's growth, we needed to supplement our marketing with professional services. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Kapowza provides a full-service solution for all of our organization’s marketing, design, and branding elements. They've also created excellent content and guidelines for our copy. As a web consultant, they offered useful guidance to ensure all of those elements are cohesive in our website as well via a review.

The social media marketing support was consulting-based at our request. Kapowza had offered other services for campaign design and related assets, but we prioritized the conference at the time. We sat down to walk them through our current approach, and they gave us helpful tips we could immediately implement on our own. 

Kapowza worked hands-on to rebrand the way we present at conferences fully. Specifically, they've revamped some of the booth assets we use. Back in October 2018, they revamped our presentation for the largest conference we attend annually. We collaborated in depth to redevelop physical brand elements. They made sure everything like our booth backdrop and business cards matched and looked great together. Print materials we hand out to visitors include slick and professional looking packets of information, postcards, and stickers. 

What is the team composition? 

Sean (Director of Accounts, Kapowza) is our primary account manager and point of contact. Their CEO has been on all of the meetings we've had. He's been a fantastic part of the team and has provided excellent consultative feedback and guidance around some of the trickier things we were trying to solve. 

How did you come to work with Kapowza?

Both of our companies started at an incubator in the Baltimore technology area. We knew Kapowza from crossing paths in the community. When we decided to hire a marketing agency, we talked to a couple of people who provided positive referrals for Kapowza. We set up some time to chat and decided to start working with them. 

How much have you invested with them?

We have Kapowza on a retainer of $2,500 a month. 

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been working together since July 2018. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

As the least digitized way to engage prospects and customers, metrics from conference work are hard to track. That said, we did see an uptick of about 15–20 percent in the quality of leads from people we met at conferences. 

Along with that quantifiable data, we had fantastic anecdotal feedback from conference attendees on our presentation, materials, and the look and feel of our brand, booth, and space relative to our competitors. We also saw a significant increase in engagement from our social media marketing efforts. 

How did Kapowza perform from a project management standpoint?

He's extremely responsive, knowledgeable, and friendly. Kapowza has delivered everything on time, despite last-minute requests. They always quickly accommodate us and turn work around very fast at a high level of quality. We've been very pleased with the account management, delivery and productivity aspects of our relationship. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

This is the first marketing agreement we’ve entered into before. We've always done everything in-house, so I don't have much for comparison. We've been really pleased with the quality of Kapowza’s output and all the ways that they've helped us rapidly improve as an organization. The relationship management they have in place is excellent.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Honestly, nothing comes to mind. I think Kapowza has been a great partner to us. 

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

This advice is likely true of any similar engagement. We've found that upfront preparation and having specific requirements, parameters, and boundaries on a campaign shortens the turnaround time and makes Kapowza’s job easier. My recommendation is to do your homework upfront. Providing as clear guidelines and ideas as possible will help them perform faster and better.

4.5
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

Video Production for Disability Support Organization

“They’re really easy to work with… There was no drama.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Oct. - Dec. 2017
Project summary: 

Kapowza provided videography services, recording a six-hour workshop and editing content into short videos for marketing purposes.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland
Jeff Dubnow
VP of Communications, Chimes International
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The video products have received good feedback. Kapowza applied skills and creativity to transform a large quantity of video into engaging highlight reels. They delivered on time and on budget.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the VP of Development and Communications for Chimes International, a service provider for people with developmental disabilities, behavioral health, substance abuse, and mental health issues. We provide day programs, supported employment, vocational training, and residential options in the mid-Atlantic region.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Kapowza?

We hosted a continuing education workshop for people with a board-certified behavioral analyst designation who need to accrue continuing education units every year. We wanted to record that workshop and repurpose those recordings for various types of media outreach.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Two videographers recorded the entire six-hour workshop. They used various camera angles to capture different views of the instructors delivering information and the participants absorbing it. They edited those recordings to develop it into bite-sized viewing formats.

What is the team composition?

We worked with the two videographers on the project.

How did you come to work with Kapowza?

My Director of Communications at the time met a Kapowza account executive at an event. He was a personable guy. When we had the need, we decided to give them a try. We’ve been delighted with the service.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent less than $10,000. They were very reasonable.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked with them from October to December 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We’ve received good feedback. People thought the video did a good job of tempting people to engage. For example, they created a short video reel that we were particularly thrilled with. They took six hours of video and created one-minute highlight reels to tease people with content, get them interested in watching more and engaging with us in different ways. It was very creative of them.

How did Kapowza perform from a project management standpoint?

It was a pretty simple project. There weren’t a lot of moving parts.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re really easy to work with. The account executive is delightful. There was no drama.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I don’t know them well enough to say. But we’ve hired them to film another upcoming workshop that we’re hosting.

5.0
Overall Score I look forward to continuing to work with them and perhaps testing them on some additional capabilities.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    If anything was delayed, it was because we were slow to answer their questions.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They weren’t the least expensive.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They did everything that we asked, within the timeframe and budget we required.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve recommended them already.

TV Commercial Creation for Real Estate Firm

 “They found ways to get the unthinkable done.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Feb. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Kapowza produced two commercials promoting real estate services, from concept development and scriptwriting to casting and actual filming.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Clarksville, Maryland
Jennifer Swink
Director of Marketing, Northrop Realty
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Both commercials received favorable reviews, thanks to Kapowza’s creativity. Their team was meticulous, responsive, and friendly, qualities that have led to additional projects.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I work for Northrop Realty, which has evolved from the Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate. We represent buyers and sellers of residential real estate in the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan regions. Creig Northrop has more than 25 years of experience in real estate and leads a team of more than 100 licensed real estate professionals.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Kapowza?

Northrop Realty hired Kapowza under Creig Northrop Team to help develop, direct, and produce two commercials.

What were your goals for this project?

We wanted to develop commercials that elevated the Creig Northrop Team brand by telling an evocative story.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

Kapowza was referred by one of our vendors.

Describe the scope of their work in detail.

The creative team at Kapowza developed the content of our commercials. During the scriptwriting process, they came up with funny and emotional scenarios that highlighted the brand in fresh ways. After two scripts were selected, Kapowza selected the cast and crew, searched for locations, and managed call sheets and set details. The commercials were titled Club Bed and Blue Box internally. Since then, Kapowza has continued to partner with our team.

What was the team composition?

Northrop Realty’s executives and the marketing team worked directly with Dan, (President and Creative Director, Kapowza) and Sean (Director of Accounts, Kapowza).

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

It was a true pleasure working with Kapowza. They looked at each detail to ensure they exceeded our overall goal. As a result, both commercials were recognized in an article by Adweek.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

The process was easy and quite effective, as their team was attentive to the project at hand.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Dan and Sean were innovative and constantly looked after our best interests. They found ways to get the unthinkable done.

Are there any areas for improvement?

So far, we’ve liked all of their work.

5.0
Overall Score Not only were they innovative and professional, they were fun to work with.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Their team was always available. They thought proactively, which helped keep the project on schedule.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They provided exceptional service.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I highly recommend Kapowza.

Creative Services for Fire Protection Company

"[T]hat they understand what I want [and] they somehow make it happen."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Jan. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Kapowza augmented several branding efforts. Their work included logo implementation, letterhead and presentation designs, a customer onboarding packet, and they continue to assist internal marketing teams.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland
Trish Kallis
Marketing Coordinator, Reliance Fire Protection
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Kapowza is responsive and understanding of branding needs, even when working with undefined concepts. Their work has helped change customers' understanding of the brand, meeting project goals. They’re highly efficient, can deliver with minimal direction, and are simply a fun team to work with.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the marketing coordinator of Reliance Fire Protection. We’ve been in business for 30 years. We take care of all things fire protection, including installations for sprinkler systems, inspections, and we just recently added a SHAD department [special hazard, alarm, and detection] so we can take care of alarm and monitoring as well. We cover the entire mid-Atlantic region and have customers north of Baltimore all the way to Northern Virginia.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Kapowza?

I’ve been here for two years; there was no marketing before me. It was a lot of word of mouth. The website was not a focus, it was just maintained at a basic level, and they were using several different logos. We didn’t have a real plan, so I focused my attention first on the website and getting everyone to use the same logo, then on making sure that all of our services were on there, that everything was up to date, and that the design was appealing to our customers.

I just felt like we didn’t really have a brand. We had the company and our customers know who we are, but we wanted to reach a wider market. Before we went out and tried to get all of those new customers, I wanted to make sure that, when we reached out to people, they would be able to understand and recognize us and our brand.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They have provided us with many things and are still working on a few things for us. They helped start our new logo but our in-house graphic designer actually came up with it ultimately. Kapowza has done everything as far as implementing the logo. They’ve designed and created our style guide, our new letterhead, and our presentation template. We did a customer onboarding packet and a handout to explain our services to our new customers. I’m working with Yellow Pages to send out mailers for potential new customers and businesses. Kapowza designed all of those.

Reliance is owned by a large parent company based out of Minneapolis. It’s called API Group and they are largely construction-based. It’s about 70% fire protection and the rest is specialized construction. We have a third party that we use for SEO and she handled all of our banner ads. Kapowza has helped us with everything offline. They’re working on our business cards right now.

The style guide includes logo colors, fonts we should use, when to use which logo, email signatures, business cards, and many other things. It will continue to grow as we develop more marketing material.

How did you come to work with Kapowza?

I have no graphic design background. I met Sean [account manager] about a year ago and wasn’t ready to work on it yet, but for our 30th year, it just made sense. We had new services that we didn’t previously offer. We needed to make sure that our current and future customers knew that we weren’t only working on sprinkler systems; we could do other things now. The idea to rebrand and drop our sprinkler logo and focus on a new, consistent brand was something I didn’t think I could do myself.

I talked with Sean and it just seemed like a very good fit; I didn’t consider other companies.

How much have you invested with Kapowza?

We have spent more than $10,000 with them.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in January 2017, and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They have been great so far, and I’ve had a lot of good feedback from everyone. They’re very understanding of our concerns and what we were looking for.

The brand and some of the collateral has launched. I’ve been working with our web development team, and we’ve got the new logo up. We’ve sent out a bunch of our customer onboarding packets, and we’re almost done with our business cards. Several customers have mentioned that they didn’t know we did alarms. They had associated us with sprinklers before because it would be right next to our name in our logo.

How did Kapowza perform from a project management standpoint?

Everything is timely and efficient. They always send multiple options for me to choose from. I’m not the easiest customer, but they’ve been great so far. They always provide me with options and work with the changes I request. They do things in order of importance. Sometimes I need something the next day and they always get it done. They’re happy to answer any calls. They’re great.

What did you find most impressive about Kapowza?

I think just the fact that they understand what I want. I’m not always the best at explaining things and they will ask questions to figure out what I want. They somehow make it happen.

Are there any areas Kapowza could improve?

I don’t think so.

5.0
Overall Score They’re very fun. Our meetings don’t really feel like work. They’re more just conversations about how we can improve our brand. They make everything very easy. They give me some tough decisions, but obviously that’s part of the process.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I don’t think they’ve been late on one thing, and it’s usually us rescheduling.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They are a little expensive, but they do great work. I didn’t really shop around so I’m not sure if that’s the norm or if they’re right on point for pricing. I have been told they’re a little bit expensive, but they do a great job, so it’s worth it to me.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They’re always on time and they understand what type of material I would like provided.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Definitely. I’ve mentioned them in conversation but I haven’t formally recommended them.

Branding & Video Production for Teaching Cert Program

"I believe in their work ethic and results, and I want others to know that."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Nov. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Kapowza provides ongoing digital ad creation and video production for an educational certification program, turning creative briefs into marketable media.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland
Tiffany Mack
Assistant Director of Digital Marketing, Urban Teachers
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team’s rebranding creations have already attracted better feedback from industry partners. Their constant responsiveness, audience awareness, and flexibility in meeting content goals continue to support a strong collaboration.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Urban Teachers is an alternative certification program for people seeking to get into the teaching profession. We primarily work in urban school districts.

What is your position?

I’m the assistant director of digital marketing. I’m a part of the small marketing team inside the group. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Kapowza?

Our organization was experiencing a lot of growth. I had only been working here for seven or eight months, and this was our first fiscal year engaging in advertising. There was a greater demand for graphic design. We did have one person whom we were contracting out, but the turnaround time wasn't fast enough. We needed someone more responsive to our growing demands. 

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

Some of the work done by Kapowza involved creating digital ads, helping us to undergo a mini rebranding. We now have a bit more of an icon to go along with our logo. We're in the process of updating our collateral, both offline and online. Kapowza has also provided video services, recording and also delivered edits and graphic treatments for the material. Kapowza has created multiple videos for us between 30 seconds and three minutes in length. We have different digital needs, so the longer ones are posted on our website, while the short ones are used for Facebook and other advertising. Kapowza has even come up with more advertorial videos to let us inform people of what we do in an ad-like fashion.

We develop our own creative brief and present that vision to Kapowza. They will come back to us with a result that keeps our overall goal in mind but also perform edits for shooting the concept in the best way. We will receive a couple of proposals for online advertising, including different calls to action and ways of looking at what we're trying to accomplish. We work together, deciding what’s best for the audience we're trying to reach.

Our website work primarily has to do with our logo and things of that nature. We've had a back-and-forth within the organization, through no fault of Kapowza's, but they've been responsive in reorganizing the navigation on our site and making some suggestions about what would be best for users in terms of UI and UX. There hasn't been anything too intense, but we are making an effort to keep the site in-tune with our new look.

How did you come to work with Kapowza?

We interviewed three different designers, and Kapowza came out on top. They seemed to be the most engaged in our organization and asked questions that made us realize that Kapowza was not only looking out for what we were currently trying to do, but they also had plans for our future growth. Designers and creative professionals tend to be more playful and relaxed, but Kapowza's team is also knowledgeable, and they have an extensive breadth of work. We saw ourselves being able to grow with them and having them continually take on our workloads.

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

I believe that our rate was initially $2,000 per month at $50 per hour, but we're moving up to $75 per hour. Our workload has often exceeded the hours set aside by Kapowza, but they've done a great job of keeping us up-to-date with how much time we have left and suggesting how to utilize the time we have, either focusing on smaller tasks immediately or pushing others until the following month to not accrue any additional hours. After working with other contractors and organizations that didn't keep us up-to-date on this issue, it's refreshing to have Kapowza.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Kapowza in November 2016. We have an ongoing relationship. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We could call it a 100% increase in views on the video side since we didn't have anything in place before working with Kapowza. We have seen a response to our new media, especially with millennials, as we've posted them on our Facebook page or within emails. Kapowza has maintained a consistency across our videos but also increased the value with each one in telling our story. Everyone from the CEO and COO downwards has given them high marks.

Kapowza's work in rebranding our collateral is not really tangible, but we can see and feel results in terms of better feedback from our partners.

How did Kapowza perform from a project management standpoint?

Kapowza provides us with an inventory of our current ongoing jobs, along with their progress, what the next steps are, and their due dates. We have a weekly call discussing our work, and Kapowza has been on time in 99% of cases. When they're not, it's usually because we gave them something extra or threw a wrench into the work.

Kapowza has always been responsive and politely pushed back when we requested something that was not doable. They often deliver sooner, but I appreciate having our expectations managed, instead of being made to think that something will be done sooner when it won't.

What distinguishes Kapowza from other providers?

I simply enjoy working with Kapowza and plan to take them with me to any other organization I may work for. There are certain contacts we hold on to because of how valuable they are as resources. Kapowza has never made us feel like a burden, even though we may be one after going through so many changes so quickly. I was happy to give this review, given how stellar Kapowza's work is. I believe in their work ethic and results, and I want others to know that.

Is there anything Kapowza could have improved or done differently?

I'm not trying to say that Kapowza is perfect, but we're completely satisfied. Whenever we do have a concern, Kapowza will have a spot-on response. If the relationship continues in the same way, we'll be completely fine. 

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Kapowza has met every deadline which we didn't switch-up on them.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I feel like we're getting away with murder.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    There's always room for growth. Kapowza may not be absolutely perfect, but they are very good and up-to-date with industry trends that may affect what we are putting out.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Branding Ideation for Communications Utility

"They did an excellent job of communicating."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Kapowza was hired to plan a branding and style guide along with a logo.

The Reviewer
 
Baltimore, Maryland
John Davis
CEO, N&C
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client received excellent reviews of the logo that was created for them. Because of the design of the logo, Kapowza received more work. The particularly appreciated the agency's ability to communicate well and make deadlines.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Notice and Comment is an analytics regulatory intelligence platform built on IBM Watson technology. It provides insight into the data being used by the federal government to make regulations. I’m the CEO.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Kapowza?

We have a very complicated process in the regulatory system. It’s not an easy concept to summarize, and we wanted a way to simplify the message for the public. Kapowza is our creative firm that helped us, together with Dan to think through that challenge.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We started with scoping out the messaging sessions. We worked on the aesthetics of the system because we’re using federal open data in a public portal and wanted to match the users that are typically in this space. They also did our logo.

How did you come to work with Kapowza?

They’re one of the companies at the Emerging Technology Center where my company is located. They have a very quirky guy on the team that gave an opinion on the project instead of a pitch, and I appreciated that.

How much have you invested with Kapowza?

We have them on a monthly retainer, and they’re our lead creative experts.

What is the status of this engagement?

We are currently working with them. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Distinguishing the results from the words and the design is hard. We have rave reviews on the logo, and he’s gotten other clients because of our logo. He developed a style and branding guide that brought our products into branding synergy and is doing that with our outbound sales efforts. I can’t quantify that, though. 

How did Kapowza perform from a project management standpoint?

They did an excellent job of communicating. Any time we miss a deadline, it’s because we changed things at the last minute.

What did you find most impressive about Kapowza?

Kapowza looks at things in a way that challenges the status quo. We come from opposite sides and end up getting to the right place. That’s been very important to me.

Are there any areas Kapowza could improve?

Our companies have grown together, so I’ve seen the challenges they face. They adjust to changes as needed.

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

Wordpress Development for Venture Fund

"It was all very well laid out at the beginning. They kept to expectations."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Aug. 2016 - Sept. 2016
Project summary: 

Kapowza was hired to develop a website provide identity services.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland
Moss Amer
Analyst, Maryland Venture Fund
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client is currently seeing a 30% bounce rate from their site which they are happy about. They really appreciated that the team at Kapowza was always available to speak and always met the timeframes that were set for them.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Maryland Venture Fund is a $100-million early stage fund dedicated to investing in and helping build the next generation of high-growth companies in Maryland. We don’t have a big operational staff, just a team of 4 and 1 part-time individual. We all do quite a bit of heavy lifting on the op side as well. I’ve been taking some of the lead on the marketing side and was the lead on this rebranding project. I’m an analyst for the organization.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Kapowza?

We’ve been around in one form or another for over a decade. It used to be housed within the department of business and economic development in the state, which is now the department of commerce. It had a mixed reputation and was not seen as entrepreneur-friendly or proactive. It always had its hands tied behind its back in terms of who could hire in the track to work in the government for the fund. We’d done a lot in bringing on some new team members and changing the organizational culture and attitude. We’re trying to be more proactive, helpful and entrepreneur-friendly. We really need a website that reflected all of that. Having moved from the department of commerce outside into this organization called Tedco, we didn’t have any web presence at all for a few months. We wanted to be intentional about it and take some time to tell the world who we were after we made these changes.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We needed them to help with web development. It started with some wireframes and IA spec’ing things out. Then we moved into some mockups a few weeks after that. We were giving them feedback this whole time. We had about 2 rounds of revisions for every deliverable they gave us—for the IA mockups, for the wireframes, and the logo before all that. We wound up going with WordPress. We were CMS-agnostic at the beginning, but we wanted something that we could edit on the backend. Kapowza convinced us that WordPress would be the right choice, especially since we had a tight timeframe. That was a great choice and we’re happy we went with that. There’s more stuff we want to do on the identity side and a little more on the website. It’s always a work in progress.

How did you come to work with Kapowza?

We gave them a brief that was also sent out to a few different firms. Of those, 5 to 10 responded with reasonable proposals. After running them through, Kapowza looked really good right off the bat. I think they did a really good job in their response to our brief. They made everything clear, which was very true throughout the whole process. They had a lot of rigor in thinking through and hearing what we were saying and then translating that into every element of the design. Kapowza was exceptionally responsive. They got our customer in a way that a lot of other firms didn’t. They’ve also been working with a lot of startup companies, which was helpful. We decided to engage with them.

How much have you invested with Kapowza?

We’ve spent $10,000 to $50,000, at the lower end of that range. That included some great custom photography work that they did as well.

What is the status of this engagement?

We aren’t working with them right now.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We’ve gotten exceptional feedback across the board. With a brand-new site, it’s hard to measure anything specific. But one thing that’s stuck out for sure on Google Analytics is the 30% bounce rate. We’re excited about that as a venture fund. People go to the home page and we want them to engage with our portfolio, look at our team bios, and potentially shoot us a pitch deck or business plan. So, a 30% bounce rate is really good for us. We’ll have more measurements as we start working on the SEO as well.

The mark we wanted could be used in a flexible way throughout the entire brand. Kapowza did an exceptional job. Another good example was when we asked them to come up with a mockup of the home page that was very focused on us. They turned it around and said, “Your brief was so entrepreneur-friendly and entrepreneur-centric, and now you’ve turned this on your head. You need to tell people what you do, not just say, ‘We are entrepreneur focused,’ and then have a big picture of your team on the website.” They were really critical with our brief and did a really good job of keeping us on task.

How did Kapowza perform from a project management standpoint?

They handled things super well. We were worried about that because of the tight project timeframe. We did want things to be off the ground by the end of September and we thought there was no way it would happen. There were times they were throwing work so quickly at us that we were bottlenecking the process, which was amazing. They worked really fast from a project management perspective. It was very clear what our deliverables needed to be and what they were going to deliver to us: 2 revisions for every deliverable. It was all very well laid out at the beginning. They kept to expectations. We finished pretty far ahead of schedule. That was probably one of the better parts of the engagement. It was really professional and crisp.

The website was up and running by the end of September, which was a really impressive timeframe. It was a super condensed timeline and I don’t think a lot of firms could’ve done that.

What did you find most impressive about Kapowza?

I was impressed by their very professional output with a really scrappy style. Dan and Sean were always available. There were times I would call them at 6 AM or 8 PM and they were around to take calls. Sometimes during the business day, I was working on some venture deals or helping to manage the portfolio and they were able to be flexible outside of those hours. The rigor that they brought to the design process was super helpful. They weren’t afraid to challenge us on a lot of things. There were little choices we were making about the website that they felt seemed good at the time, but really conflicted with what we said we wanted in the brief. I think a lot of firms would’ve rolled over and just made the client happy. It didn’t feel like they were challenging us, but they definitely were. They wanted to focus on what we really wanted to do and accomplish those goals. It was excellent all around.

Are there any areas Kapowza could improve?

No. I think they were exceptional all around. They were great communicators. Nothing was outside of what we expected.

5.0
Overall Score They hit the nail on the head. They gave us exactly what we wanted at a very reasonable price.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They worked with our unrealistic deadline. They exceeded that timeline and that was out of this world. I know they worked nights and weekends to do it.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It would be hard to get something that looks that good for less money, especially in the timeframe that we asked for it in. People say pick 2 out of 3—quick, fast and cheap—and I feel like we got 3 out of 3.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They are great. We were really happy with everything they did. For most companies, it’s exceptional work.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve already referred them to some of our portfolio companies. VCs live in a skeptical world and I would always say have a few firms bid it, but they would always be on that list.

Print & Digital Design for Tech Startup Incubator

"Dan is very creative and really easy to work with."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Jan. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Kapowza was hired to provide branding services and logo design for a few events.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland
Jackie Albright
Assistant Director, ETC
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client has been happy with the metrics it has seen. On one 30-day campaign, they saw 100,000 impressions. They have received very pleased feedback with the ad they put out. They are particularly happy with Kapowza's ability to turn around work quickly.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the assistant director of ETC [Emerging Technology Centers], a non-profit venture of the Baltimore Development Corporation. We’re the technology and innovation center of the city of Baltimore. We provide a series of programs to entrepreneurs and startup such as a vibrant coworking space, a tech-focused incubator and once a year, we run a lean startup accelerator called Accelerate Baltimore. That program awards 6 companies $25,000 in seed funding and an intensive 13-week program to help move startups forward.  

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Kapowza?

We do a lot of community outreach. It’s important to make sure we’re well represented from a visual standpoint since we are such a large community. We work with over 100 member companies and want to make sure our branding is reflective of them as well. However, we don’t have a design team on staff. We needed to fill this skill gap, particularly for digital and print advertising.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

One of the first projects we did together was a brand refresh. We updated our primary logos and they came up with the current concept for all three of our programs. They were able to solidify and improve brand consistency throughout our initiatives. Kapowza modified the design for all the digital and print assets that we distribute. They also designed an expo banner with our new branding that we use everywhere.

With the logo refresh, we redid our business cards and updated everything on the website. It really triggered a huge overhaul. That was key for us, and they were very helpful with the different opportunities that came our way.

Kapowza also helped us with a digital ad for Baltimore Innovation Week, which is a big event here in early fall. Also, we’re just about to launch another digital campaign with Kapowza for Accelerate Baltimore on a media site- Technically Baltimore, targeting different markets. In addition to the digital ads, they have produced print marketing cards for Accelerate Baltimore that have been used at expos and information sessions. 

How did you come to work with Kapowza?

I knew Dan, their founder, when he was working as a designer with a previous organization. When he started Kapowza, he conveniently located the business at our co-working space. I saw some of the work that he was doing with a few of our startups and we got to talking. Dan is very creative and really easy to work with. Building off of our community and seeing some of the work they were doing with their other clients, it was a no-brainer to work with them.

How did you come to work with Kapowza?

We’ve paid $6,000 to $8,000 for their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started with them in January 2016 and we’re currently working with them on projects. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I’d say that was the most memorable was a digital ad for Baltimore Innovation Week. We did a 30-day campaign and we got nearly 100,000 impressions. We got about 45 click-throughs on that and people really thought it was a great ad. A lot of our member companies complemented us on it and that was a great moment for us as an organization.

Since we started using Kapowza, people have really noticed the shift. We’ve been putting out consistent, concise, and organized content, both digital and print. Now, you can see that all our brands are being operated by the same organization. It goes back to our desire to best represent the companies that we’re working with. From a creative standpoint, Kapowza was able to present strong and interesting concepts. Plus, they really understand what is needed in print and digital media. All of it has been spot on and they consistently utilize our brand colors throughout the content they produce.

Our collaboration is a good next step for us as an organization since we don’t have those creative assets in-house. Kapowza is really in tune to what we’re doing, which helps. Since they’re one of our members, they have a stake in this as well. Our organization and theirs are in sync and working with them has been ultimately a great experience.

How did Kapowza perform from a project management standpoint?

I’ve seen their team grow over the past year. They meet our deadlines and it’s easy to do revisions and updates. They’re able to quickly turn things around. It’s really easy to work with them.​

What did you find most impressive about Kapowza?

They definitely go above and beyond. For example, one of our digital ads needed to be updated over the weekend. Dan turned it in within 24 hours, and I knew he was out of town for a wedding. Kapowza gets it done and they’re really attentive to timeline and deadlines. They really understand how fast things move with our organization as well as startups in general.​

Are there any areas Kapowza could improve?

I don’t have anything. 

5.0
Overall Score I have used them for the past year and have a lot of big projects planned with them for the coming year.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    - They’ve quickly turned things around and met any deadlines we had, from print or digital. They go above and beyond to make sure things are getting done.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Given what we have them do, the cost is extremely reasonable.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I’ve never had an issue with something being incorrect post-production. That goes for all of the hard components of the assets.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve recommended them to tons of people.