We help brands speak human

 

We help brands "speak human" through branding, demand generation, and strategy. Speak! provides strategic marketing support, branding development and design, digital campaigns and creative production resources to startups through fortune 500s. 

 

Shape how the world thinks about your business:

  • Visual identity
  • Positioning
  • Messaging
  • Naming
  • Tone of voice
  • Brand guidelines

Reach your revenue goals with innovative campaigns:

  • Advertising
  • Inbound marketing
  • Interactive + motion
  • Direct response
  • Public relations
  • Sales enablement

Discover the one thing that makes you better than the rest:

  • Market analysis
  • Persona development
  • Buyers’ journey
  • Audience discovery
  • Product launch
  • Content strategy
 
Undisclosed
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2007
Show all +
Hillsboro, OR
headquarters
  • Speak!
    205 East Main Street, Suite 3
    Hillsboro, OR 97123
    United States
    503.946.6463

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Dell, ProKarma, Tektronix, Volvo, EMC, Intel, Mashery, Sage, SDL, TIBCO, Prysm, Cvent, Klamath Basin Brewing, Open Sesame 

Reviews

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Marketing Rework for Cloud Startup

"They’re a good fit for anyone in the software space, especially those who need a lot of creativity."

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

Speak! leads rebranding and remarketing, including video and content creation, various campaigns, market research, and messaging for a B2B brand.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Portland, Oregon
Sunil Pande
CEO, VersAccounts
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Even before full market rollout, the collateral Speak! has generated has received positive feedback and is accomplishing preliminary goals. They understand big-picture visions easily, can recommend trustworthy agencies for any work they can’t directly do, and are incredibly creative and flexible.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO of VersAccounts, which is a cloud ERP [enterprise resource planning] system helping businesses upgrade their management solutions. This includes anything from entry-level accounting products to mid-tier legacy ERP systems. We help businesses automate and optimize all their operations, and help them scale to reach their growth and impact goals.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Speak!?

The industry is going through an upheaval. Most industries are. Our customers are small and medium sized businesses who are going to behave and operate very differently in the future than they did in the past. Companies that are small and regional are thinking internationally and globally. Their aspirations are very big, but the tools they have to get them there are still 30 years old.

Clearly a new generation of products are required for these customers as they look to the future. The industry is changing and existing players are no longer going to be the leaders. In 5 or 10 years, there will be a whole brand of new companies coming on board. We needed to communicate to our customers that, as they are looking at their future and discovering their needs, they need to partner up with and buy tools from vendors that are also looking to the future and not people who’ve been around for 30 years and are selling you the same tools.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They’ve done some good videos for us. They will be rolling out a national campaign for us in 6 weeks. They’re involved in many projects with us. They start with defining what our messages are going to be. Then they work on what the brand will stand for and how we’ll communicate those messages to targets like our investors, analysts, media, and customers. Each of them respond to totally different messages. The investor responds to the message of the world is changing and a new generation of companies is coming on board. The customer is more focused on the problems they have that are not being addressed by the products in the market. They are looking for something that addresses their problems.

How did you come to work with Speak!?

We were looking for an understanding of our market. Domain knowledge was important. We also wanted someone who would think out of the box. We didn’t want the same old formulas applied. We wanted them to be able to say what we wanted in a simple way, in a way that would make sense to people, something they’d remember.

We also needed breadth of capabilities because we were not just going to do one thing. We needed them to help or recommend people they’d worked with in the past. They don’t do PR but they recommended a PR agency to us. They work closely so that nothing falls through the cracks. As a startup, they also had to be affordable and flexible. Usually a larger agency will say, “We are $30,000 a month and if you can’t afford that, that’s too bad.” We wanted them to ramp up slowly and eventually get to the $30,000. They’re a good fit for anyone in the software space, especially startups who need a lot of creativity and flexibility.

How much have you invested with Speak!?

We spend $100,000 per quarter on the project, and Speak! was a fraction of that cost over the last few months.

What is the status of this engagement?

We been working with them for a year, and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The videos and collateral they’ve worked on definitely accomplish our goals. When customers download them, they come to us and talk in the language that we want them talking in. They read the material and discover that we understand what they’re feeling and thinking. They repeat that back to us and we know we’re communicating successfully. We haven’t spent a lot of money in getting the word out. We’ll do that in the next 6-8 weeks. We are a startup and need to wait for the funds before we begin marketing.

They understand the big picture and know where they fit and what their strengths are. They’re able to find people to fill other holes for us. As a startup, there isn’t a huge marketing department to do all of those things.

How did Speak! perform from a project management standpoint?

We were in contact once a week for a project meeting. They published schedules and identified budgets. We met in person sometimes, but most times we met remotely. Our team is spread out all over the world, so we used Join.me and GoToMeeting. We record all the meetings so that if someone can’t be there, they can watch it later.

What did you find most impressive about Speak!?

You have to have a team that can do the work. There are a lot of teams that can do the work but then you need them to actually do the work. Speak!’s execution is really good. They’re fast and we’re usually surprised with what they come back with. We’re usually happy with the results.

What happens when dealing with companies like Speak! and PR agencies, is you usually don’t know what you want, but you know what you don’t want when you see it. They will come back with things we didn’t think of, but it was exactly right for us. In the end, it comes down to execution, and what makes execution easier is flexibility.

There’s not much we have to tell them. They’ve worked with software companies and come from software companies. Most of them were at a software company called Sage before they started Speak!, so they have inside experience as well. They’re able to translate what we want into a very crisp strategy. We didn’t have to manage them. We just need to tell them what our budget is and who our market is and they’re able to tell us what we should do next, given our budget. They prioritize for us what we should do in the future as our budget grows. They will tell us for the first 3 months, we’ll do an e-book and an AdWords campaign, then spend X dollars on PR and social to supplement it.

Are there any areas Speak! could improve?

I can’t think of anything.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Speak!?

You have to spend time to lay out your vision. They’ll do independent research to figure it out too. The other thing is you have to outline your limitations. For two years, we didn’t have a very large budget. We tell them our budget and ask what they can do with that, and they came back with certain things. The biggest issue with other companies is they come in and say you’ve got to spend $20,000 every month and there’s a minimum retainer. We haven’t had that problem with Speak! They start with your budget and tell you what they can do for that. That’s how we deal with our customers, so it was a good fit. This is important for smaller startups where you have to keep on adjusting and it’s a bumpy ride. If you have a partner, they’re subject to that ride. They feel the bumps too. Not many agencies are geared to deal with that because they have fixed costs that they have to address. You need a different kind of company to deal with a startup, because we’re not very reliable or predictable. I suppose they went through an evaluation of our company and saw that we would do well and wanted to work with us. They were very flexible. I doubt they made any money on us initially. Hopefully they will in the future.

5.0
Overall Score I really don’t have much to complain about. People ask if they have something to improve on. I’m sure there is, but I’m not smart enough to know what it is.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They haven’t missed a deadline.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Very good. I haven’t come across anyone who is better in terms of figuring out what do with our money.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    We haven’t sent anything back yet.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    They’re the only team we’d recommend. Once you find a partner that works really well, there’s no reason to go anywhere else.

Branding & Logo Design for Microbrewery

"They're [Speak!] very methodical in scoping out their work. They will offer us different approaches for each step."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
2012 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

The client partnered with Speak! with the goal of expanding their distribution domain and improving their branding, which included work on their logo.

The Reviewer
 
2-10 Employees
 
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Terrel Wagstaff
VP of Board, KB Brewing
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client is very satisfied with their new logo, which they feel is cleaner and represents their product better. Speak! Understands the client’s brand and the client praises the agency for their receptivity, professionalism, and enthusiasm.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are a pub and microbrewery in southern Oregon.

What is your position?

I am the vice president of the board.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Speak!?

We were looking to expand our distribution domain and improve our branding, for which we'd had a local, home-grown approach up to that point.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

We had a couple of meetings with them to discuss how we perceived ourselves, who our clients were and who the competition was. From this, they ran a few ideas past us.

We had a logo that was impossible to work with on our products' labels. We wanted to clean it up, and Speak! produced several versions for alternate logos.

How did you come to work with Speak!?

We had conversations with one or two other firms. We knew Jason because he grew up in our town, and decided to work with Speak!. It was very convenient and serendipitous.

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

Our initial costs were between $7,000 and $8,000. At this time, we are spending around $1,000 per year on their services. By their standards, we're a small project.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them at the end of 2012. It's an ongoing relationship.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Speak! did terrific work on the logo design. It's very strong, and it carries our product much better. It took a while for local customers to get used to it, but it's much cleaner.

Our beer labeling has been great. We didn't have the budget for making a fancy design for each beer type. We opted for a design that would work across a line and would still be interesting. They came up with something that does this fairly well. Our seasonal products are going into slightly different directions.

How did Speak! perform from a project management standpoint?

They're very methodical in scoping out their work. They will offer us different approaches for each step.  Also they will let us know how much each of them will cost. This was a little hard to get used to, but it's ultimately necessary for doing business, otherwise the talking would never finish.

They're receptive, and have worked well with our label printers.

What distinguishes Speak! from other providers?

They understand our brand. They're also very professional.

Jason stops by our pub periodically. It's nice to see that he shows an interest in our community project.

Is there anything Speak! could have improved or done differently?

This is more just of a wishful thought.  They don't provide any trademarking services and we had hoped that they had knowledge of that to help us with our beer naming.  But that's obviously not their fault.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They're very good at keeping schedules. It would help if we were better at that.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They've been very reasonable.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I do recommend them to others.

Custom Development for Cloud Company

"We [Speak!] secured a second project with them simply because of how well they performed on the first one."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
Project summary: 

The client partnered with Speak! for the purposes of creating several news templates that could be internally edited and creating an e-book, as well.

The Reviewer
 
10,001+ Employees
 
Hopkinton, MA
Consultant, Cloud Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Speak!’s contributions were useful and of high quality. Their templates facilitated more efficient internal communication. The client praises the agency for their ability to deliver excellent work within budget and on time.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

My company is located in the United States. We're centered on enterprise cloud storage.

What is your position?

I work in the customer reference group. When somebody has deployed our solution, and want to share their experience, especially if it's in an interesting industry, or one with global impact, we will tell their story on paper, in a video, in the press, or however they want to tell it. This is done so that people in the same industry, who might have the same challenges, can see how they can be resolved; it’s also for internal needs, so we may improve our solutions.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Speak!?

We wanted to work on a project called E-Story. We had an in-house web team, but they were unavailable, so we needed to find an outside vendor.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

One of their first projects for us was creating news templates: a big one, a global one, and more of an ad-hoc one. They were created in a way that was editable by our team. They provided the training for that initiative as well.

Another project they worked on was creating an e-book for the company. That was larger in scope. We had to work with our web team and meet certain criteria, so that the technology would work on our website, including mobile.

How did you come to work with Speak!?

A friend of mine worked at Speak!, and she recommended them. We spoke, and they proved to have the capacity to deliver the project.

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

The first project cost a total of $7,000, and the second, $15,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in June of 2014. We don't work together anymore. We were asked by corporate marketing to consolidate, so we chose a global agency, instead of multiple vendors, to help us with all of our theaters, locally and abroad.

If a project came up that had the right parameters, I would still contact Speak!

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

The templates allowed our team to have much more concise and organized internal communication, and it allowed us to use images and links in a corporate-looking design. It allowed us to communicate easier than through email, and it was a more dynamic piece of content.

With the e-book, we wanted to test out a new piece of content, in terms of what it would do, how much it would cost, and what it would take to build. They helped us figure that out, and as a result, with our new agency, we have a base for service-level agreements and cost. They delivered a beautiful piece of content that is still on the website today, because it had a very long shelf life.

What distinguishes Speak! from other providers?

Speak! delivered on time, within the budget, and their work was great. We secured a second project with them simply because of how well they performed on the first one. Had we not moved to the global agency, I'd probably still be using them for projects.

Is there anything Speak! could have improved or done differently?

Not that I remember.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The quality was great.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have recommended them.