April 19, 2012

Apples & Arrows branding agency: It’s all about trust

The trio behind the new Apples & Arrows branding agency are all turning 30 within a year of one another.

The trio behind the new Apples & Arrows branding agency are all turning 30 within a year of one another.

“Yeah, we came up with this in the nursery at Wesley (Medical Center),” joked Kenton Hansen.

Not quite, but the paths of Hansen, Todd Ramsey and Jenny Wiley have intersected before.

Ramsey and Wiley worked for the Greteman Group, while Ramsey and Hansen collaborated on freelance projects.

The three call their business model leaner and more streamlined than that of traditional branding or advertising agencies.

Their plan is to design and direct branding campaigns, but rely on talented creatives outside the agency for the rest.

“We have designers and writers that we network with that allow us to build the perfect team for our clients’ needs,” Ramsey said. “We can scale up to serve really large clients or build a lean team to serve a really small client.”

They will depart from some agencies’ practices by billing clients by the job rather than by the time spent on it.

“Come up with the best idea you can, however long it takes,” Ramsey said.

And they’re using what they call a “full transparency process” so clients can log on to the agency’s computer workspace to see what’s going on and participate.

“Everything we do is about building trust with the clients,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey and Hansen started the agency in January. Ramsey said it’s his job to attract clients and come up with a brand strategy. Hansen recruits and manages the creative talent, while Wiley, who joined the team this month, “makes sure it’s on time and budget,” Wiley said.

The team seems to be off to a fast start, counting Delta Dental, TECU Credit Union and LED Ventures among their clients. They also have done work for Craig Home Care, Rainbows United and developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey, who is not related to Todd Ramsey.

Ramsey and Hansen are also partners in the Labor Party, a 5,000-square-foot space at 216 N. Mosley that rents space to creative professionals. Apples & Arrows’ offices are located there.

“It is a nice benefit of having creative talent within two feet of us,” Ramsey said.

Their age and experience give them some common frames of reference, whether it’s imitating a character on the TV show “Parks and Recreation” or placing a bottle of scotch on a conference table in seeming homage to “Mad Men.”

And their quick wits might qualify them for stand-up comedy or a talk show if the branding agency thing doesn’t work out. When Ramsey says he and Hansen started their own agency because “there’s incredible satisfaction that comes from – how should I say this? – eating what you kill,” Hansen quickly adds: “But to be clear, we’ve never killed or eaten anyone.”

When Wiley says, “it’s a lot more fun working with your friends,” Ramsey interjects: “And us, too.”

Jokes aside, the three say their approach is best summed up by their agency’s name and the William Tell legend behind it.

“For us, the apple is the goal the client has,” Ramsey said. “The arrow is the strategy to hit that objective. And we recognize that it requires a lot of trust.”

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