Tag Archives: News

Happy Holidays from the Horse & Cart family!

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We wish you a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year from the Horse & Cart family!

It’s been a fun and eventful year for us at Horse & Cart and we thought what better way to express it than that with a mash up of miscellany.

With no intention of dipping into that dangerous territory called “year in review”, we thought we’d highlight a few. It would be a big year for any company that started with one name, in one office, moved and rebranded. Fortunately, our infrastructure largely constitutes laptop-on-a-table-and-a-chair. We’re also a branding company, so reinventing ourselves as Horse & Cart was squarely in our wheel house. We love this client (Horse & Cart) btw, and they seem to have nothing but glowing things to say!

With the big stuff in play we also had a parade of challenges big, small and enormous including our very first US network TV ad. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, (and it’s the very soul and spirit of Horse & Cart), is that it’s our extended team of colleagues and clients that make the magic happen. None of it would be possible without you, and we tip our hats, hoist our glasses and raise a cheer to you for a fantastic year.

As we look forward to 2015, we hope you all enjoy a warm, wonderful and restful holiday with the people who matter most, and take some time to appreciate yourselves and all your hard work and success.

As a small token of our thanks to everyone in our growing network of clients and partners, we give you this bit of one page love and a little link to our light and lovely holiday card “mini year in review”. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

All the best in 2015!

– The Horse & Cart Family

Brendan & Brendan Re-Branding Redux

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As paradoxical as it may sound, one of the most difficult things for marketers to do is market themselves. Like a psychiatrist performing their own analysis, the marketer marketing their own business presents some problems. Lacking the critical distance to see the big picture, or by corollary, being too close to the subject to get the proper perspective, it doesn’t always work. Add to that the reality of being judged precisely by how good a job you do for your own brand and it’s enough to keep you at home in a fleece onesie. Certainly it’s no different for designers, writers, or any sales person in any interview, and it’s the reason why agents exist.

redux_onesieWhen we decided to take the next big step for our company, we kept these thoughts in mind. With a view to getting past the typical hurdles we applied the same process to our own branding refresh as we have with our clients, or at least for the most part. Some people like to call it eating our own dog food, but we vastly prefer the idea of “getting high on our own pixie dust”. Whatever metaphor your prefer, the deep meta-meta of doing our own marketing was neither lost on us, nor has it failed to entertain, surprise and inspire throughout the experience.

When we started our company, we were so jazzed to get the business up and running and the shingle on the door that we just banged it out. Sometimes just making it happen and not thinking about it too much is the very best thing, especially at the beginning where momentum is key. It certainly paid off for us, and has luckily provided a continuous source of creative direction. Since we both come from an old school aesthetic and love vintage designs of all kinds, it was a natural fit for our brand. While we didn’t want to overplay it, we brought a few elements in that we liked, some more than others. It was a little bit of creative invention that was essential. Even if our messaging was all wrong, as we agreed it was, the branding aspect seemed right.

redux_pillarsThus critical to the next stage was first and foremost, to get the message right. There too we were divided between the laundry list of things we liked and knew how to do, and keeping it simple and providing an opportunity for discovery. The advantage of several intense months working for clients, we gained great insight into the true nature of our business, the processes that were working best, and what we were most proud of. So for example while we began with a focus on helping businesses become more social, we found that in most cases there was a lot of important upfront work to be done getting their messaging, branding and online experience right first before going heavy on the social and PR. Since we have strong, complimentary backgrounds in branding, design, web dev, marketing strategy and content this was a bit of no brainer. We decided thus to focus our message on three easy to understand buckets and our real, actual process. This helped us to verbalize what we are all about in an honest and straightforward way without allowing us to be confused with a web agency.

redux_wireframeOur second big priority was moving our brand to the next level without getting in its way. Since we had already established a lot of the key elements from a feel perspective it was really a matter of letting the brand speak. Within our first brainstorming we had already developed a few solid concepts and variations, but as often happens, we found ourselves continually returning to the first ideas. Part of the problem we were having was about defining the specifics of the feel we had in our heads. The other problem was our tendency to try to do it all at once – the messaging, content, imagery, layout etc. It gets pretty overwhelming pretty fast. At the same time, having all of the puzzle pieces on the table at the same time can help you to find the answers more quickly.

While we were originally going for a clean design anchored with simple victorian lithographs, we wanted to bring more fun to it. Once we were there the Barnum & Bailey circus stuff wasn’t far behind. It not only fit perfectly with the original victorian components, but introduced some nice new warm colours to the palette.

redux_circus

Our third big priority had everything to do with creating the kind of experience online that we ourselves have been finding most compelling. Literally, a day does not go by that we don’t spend some quality time marveling at the latest parallax scolling site. The experiences that are being dreamed up and delivered today go far beyond anything we’ve seen before, and we’re only at the beginning. We are without a doubt in another great golden age of the Internet, and we’re glad to see that design is taking the front seat. That said, aside from aesthetic beauty and liberating user experience of these sites, we see enormous power and potential in these new models for telling stories. As such we felt we needed to start with our own, and so the technology challenge was merely that. “We know exactly what we want, now all we have to do is build it”. No sweat! Not quite.

Parallax Scrolling

Parallax Scrolling

A full mobile experience

A full mobile experience

All in all, our experience refreshing our brand has been rewarding for us individually and as a company. It’s also brought us some new skills and insights that we are excited to share with our clients. While there is no doubt that the first key decisions we made as a company and a brand have made things easier, our relative success in this stage has as much to do with following our own advice to find the right path moving forward.

Here is a final thought for any marketing companies out there. Whatever you do this year, make sure it includes a brand refresh or a complete re-brand. It will not only remind you of the challenges of being a client and expressing your own unique value, but you may well come out of it with some new and fabulous chops that your customers will love you for.

Welcome Home – New Space, New Friends!

It’s been an exciting few weeks at Brendan & Brendan. We’ve boarded a handful of new clients, we’re planning for our official launch party this week, and today we move into our new space!

Community is super important to us so when we made the decision to start looking for “real” office space – coffee shops get annoying after a while – we looked to our community for opportunities.

Luckily for us we have some great friends and without having to try too hard we were approached with an opportunity to share space with an incredible start up here in Montreal “I Can Go Without“.

It wasn’t difficult to say YES! The space is a 4000 sq. ft. loft in Old Montreal shared by a handful of really cool startups including WEROLL.net and D10. doing some very impressive stuff – and of course the guys at I Can Go Without are AWESOME 🙂

Brendan and I are more motivated than we have ever been and we are very optimistic about 2013 – expect BIG things!

We’ll be having a 5 a 7 at our new space soon so stay tuned!

In the meantime enjoy these pics of our new hood.

Grab a “Coffee” with Us and get Free Advice on How to Grow your Business

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We’re in the giving mood, since it’s december and all, so we thought we would spread some holiday cheer and goodwill by offering up 1hr of our time to answer your questions.

We love helping clients overcome challenges, up their game and drive success for their business. As a way to get to know us and get the most value for your time, we’re offering a free introductory coffee break with us. The topic? Anything you choose.

We’re not kidding around! Choose the place and time and coffee and answers are on us – not located in Montreal, no problem, we’ll grab a coffee over skype – you’ll just have to brew your own stuff 🙂

Ready to start? It’s simple, just click on this link and fill out the form.

Indeedly!

Indeed we have a blog!

It’s simple and clean – we will add our own unique flare when we have time – right now working for our clients is more important 🙂

Besides, it’s all about the content …

Like most business blogs we’ll use this space to update everyone on what we’re don=ing and who we’re doing for. We also plan to share our knowledge, experience, insight, and whatever else comes our way with everybody – if you have any suggestions on topics send them our way.

Not sure you can trust us – check out our bios here.