See and realize what's possible.

KHJ Brand Activation is an independent, full-service brand strategy and activation firm with deep expertise in healthcare, real estate, and B2B services.

Situated in the Seaport district of Boston, KHJ is widely recognized for its ability to bring the ‘heart and soul’ of a brand to life, igniting internal cultures and engaging external stakeholders to achieve a higher level of performance. Explore what’s possible at khj.com.

 
$10,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
1986
Show all +
Boston, MA
headquarters
  • KHJ Brand Activation
    155 Seaport Blvd, 3rd Floor
    Boston, MA 02210
    United States
    (617) 241-8000

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Quest Diagnostics, Franciscan Children's, Circle Health, Commonwealth Care Alliance, Webster Five Bank, Massachusetts Gaming Commission, MassDevelopment, The Davis Companies, Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, Nordblom, Winn Companies, Pembroke, Benchmark Senior Living, Abbott Molecular, Abbott Nutrition, Instrumentation Laboratory, Cynosure, PerkinElmer, Genomind, Boston Municipal Research Bureau, Bulfinch, REFA, Columbia Construction, Cresset Development, Federal Realty Trust, Padgett

Reviews

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Full Re-branding for Copyright & Licensing Company

"They are very proactive and excellent at managing expectations at both the operator and executive levels."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
3.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Aug. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

KHJ Brand Activation is conducting a five-step rebranding process. They are currently determining market perception and creating an initial set of core messages for a target audience.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Massachusetts
Head of Marketing, Copyright & Licensing Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Providing an outside perspective, KHJ provides valuable insights and consumer feedback on current product offerings. Their proactive and adaptable approach to different company cultures eases workflow. This, along with their proven marketing strategies, sets them above the competition.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the head of marketing for a global organization with a vision to create global licensing and content solutions that are copyright compliant.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with KHJ Brand Activation?

We needed a complete company repositioning, rebranding, and renaming.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We are currently nearing the end of phase one of a five-step project. KHJ is working our corporate marketing team to determine how the market perceives our company—with both prospects and customers. Their team is helping create an initial set of core messages that will resonate with our target audience.

During phase two, KHJ will be transforming the data into a roadmap to reposition and rebrand the company. They will be helping us modernize what we offer as a company by highlighting our evolution by acquisition and product developments.

What is the team composition?

We are working with their lead strategist, two senior VPs, and their CEO.

How did you come to work with KHJ Brand Activation?

I knew about KHJ through my history of working in the Boston marketing and sales space. I have connections with their high-level executives and trust their methodology. Others in my community have done similar projects with them and produced very good results.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in August 2017 and the engagement is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Before we started working with KHJ, we just assumed that certain responses from our customers were true. And although we asked our customers for feedback, we wouldn’t receive the clearest answers—just the ones we wanted to hear.

Though phase one is yet to be finished, so far, we have been able to obtain an outsider's view of our customers feedback regarding our current product offerings. 

How did KHJ Brand Activation perform from a project management standpoint?

They are very proactive and excellent at managing expectations at both the operator and executive levels. Their team keeps the whole company in the loop and informed about the important aspects of the project. I can always contact them for any updates or meetings.

What did you find most impressive about them?

During the bidding process, we reviewed many qualified professionals, but they were always trying to sell their workflow to us. They weren't really embracing our company and taking into consideration our workflow.

KHJ, by comparison, embraces our culture, understands it, and can navigate our culture smoothly. They work with us instead of having a “take-it-or-leave-it” approach.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Their listening skills could be improved upon. They could try to understand some functions we can’t change. But in the end, we’ve seen positive results so far—so maybe I'm wrong.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

They have a deep expertise in strategy and you should let go a little bit. Be open to their advice, even though it’s sometimes hard to hear. Have an open mind because these guys have a proven process. If you've given the right information upfront, your project will be a success.

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

Long-term Marketing & Branding for Community Savings Bank

“Our creative has been very consistent and our brand is recognizable because of KHJ.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Dec. 1995 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

KHJ Brand Activation has a long-term collaboration with a savings bank, working on a variety of marketing and branding projects. This includes social media, public relations, website design, and logo design.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Webster, Massachusetts
Holly Deslauriers
Marketing Manager, Webster Five
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Other similar local banks try to imitate the marketing and branding materials the team works on, with the website and logo still receiving positive feedback, several years after the work. They are attentive collaborators who ensure consistency across the brand and are well organized and responsive.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the assistant VP and marketing manager for Webster Five Cents Savings Bank. I oversee the entire marketing department. We offer retail, business and investment products.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with KHJ Brand Activation?

We’ve been working with them for over 20 years, which is before I started. At the time, the bank was much smaller in size, but we saw the need to outsource our marketing in order to elevate our presence and there wasn’t the necessary talent in-house.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

I can’t really speak about the period before my time, but my impression is that they’ve handled much of the strategy, media placement, creative copywriting, and development. They’ve helped us with both our external strategy and with internal marketing, in terms of employee communication and engagement.

In the past few years, the relationship has been shifting more towards digital. We’ve been exploring our media strategy, and they are a great partner to have, since this is not our area of expertise. In 2015, we went through a complete website redesign. They were able to bring in their areas of expertise, and utilize some of the vendors they’d used for other clients.

At the same time, we launched our social media, which they were instrumental in getting off the ground. We’ve since taken social media in-house, since we’ve learned from them and are able to move on. We’re currently focusing on public relations, making sure we are not just responding, but helping contribute content to local papers or in trade publications.

What is the team composition? 

For the creative services we use, we’ve had one main contact, Adam Cramer [Principal, KHJ Brand Activation]. He’s kept everything consistent across the board. On a day-to-day basis, we interact with our account manager. There have been several different ones, and everyone who was brought in was polished, learned quickly, and made sure that everything was coordinated correctly. We consider them a part of the Webster Five family, given how closely we’ve worked together over many years.

How did you come to work with KHJ Brand Activation?

They were found by a predecessor of mine, the head of marketing at the time. He had worked with them at another bank. He was obviously impressed and when he came to Webster Five, he decided to bring them onboard.

How much have you invested with them?

Our spend changes from year to year, depending on the project. As we’ve grown, so has our budget. We typically spend 1% of assets on marketing. The cost so far has been above $2.5 million. We understand that using a local agency would be less expensive, but we’ve gotten what we paid for.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with KHJ Brand 22 years ago, around 1995. We have an ongoing relationship.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We’ve always had an internal struggle to quantify results numerically for any campaign. We don’t engage in too much direct marketing, so it’s more about the broader audience. Our creative has been very consistent and our brand is recognizable because of KHJ. That aspect of our collaboration has been great.

I’ve heard recognition from our lenders and branch managers out in the market. To this day, I still hear compliments on our website, even though it’s almost three years old. Our logo refresh was done in 2013 and it gave us a breath of fresh air. The biggest form of flattery is imitation, and we’ve seen other banks try to use similar look-and-feels or copy. It goes to show that we’re using top-notch resources.

How did KHJ Brand Activation perform from a project management standpoint?

They made sure we felt like their number-one client. We never had the impression that we weren’t getting the right attention or quality levels. I’m sure they have bigger clients, but we still feel like the most important one.

Every year, we go through an iteration of the next big thing. They sit with us and go through our strategy, actively listen, and help us get to the end-point of what to execute in the next year. We work closely on a day-to-day basis, have regular status calls, and the fact that we’re not in Boston has not been a problem. Phone, email and in-person meetings work fine and this is because of the employees on their team. They take things seriously, and, when they see a red flag, they have no problem getting in touch with us. If I’m out of the office, they have no problem finding me on my cell phone. From a project management standpoint, this is one of their strong suits, which is a tremendous help since it’s one we struggle with internally.

A recent example is the website redesign — there’s no way in which we could have juggled all those moving parts, as well as made final decisions. They helped us get to the final point, determining what made the most sense and making sure the project was done within the timeframe. They’re great at managing times and budgets. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

It doesn’t seem that there’s a project for which they won’t have either the in-house resources or know of a resource we can tap into. They have someone who specializes in social media marketing, someone for websites, for digital, and so on. They are structured to ensure they have subject-matter experts in quite a few areas.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We’ve been with them for over 20 years, but I can’t think of anything. Not even the location is an issue.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

I haven’t had the chance to work with another agency to this depth before, but I wouldn’t change anything about our relationship with them. They are great at acting on things they pick up, they’re active listeners, hear what we’re trying to say, and articulate it. 

My advice would be for clients to make sure they communicate clearly what projects to execute. We talk a lot with them in order to make sure things run smoothly.

5.0
Overall Score They deliver quality service and the output helps us stand out in the market.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We’ve had many projects and had hold-ups from our end and theirs. We’ve never missed the mark and they’ve been great at adapting.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Other banks have imitated us because they’re using the local talent and not high-quality agencies like KHJ.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Our part of Massachusetts is heavily over-banked, but we’ve been able to stand out.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    They’re a great team to work with, down-to-earth people who understand the human element.