Category: News

Meet the amazing Rob Le Bras-Brown.

The former CMO of Nokia Technologies joins Solid as a Strategic Partner and Director of Brand & Marketing Strategy.

Hello. I’m Rob Le Bras-Brown.

MEET ONE OF THE MOST DYNAMIC MARKETERS WE KNOW

We’re very excited to announce that Rob Le Bras-Brown has chosen to join Solid Branding as a Strategic Partner. As Director of Brand & Marketing Strategy, Rob will lead teams of strategists, marketers and designers on the development and implementation of marketing campaigns designed to help our clients move their business forward and achieve their business objectives. Rob met Alfredo when he was the Global Head of Marketing, Digital Experience and Innovation for HP. What started as a client relationship became a friendship – and now it has evolved into a partnership.

We recently sat down with Rob and asked him a few questions about his career. Below are his answers.

QUESTION NO. 1

How did you get your start in the world of brand marketing?

I was very fortunate to work closely with Tanya Mandor, who was the CMO of Revlon Cosmetics when I was running packaging development. Every day, the two of us would riff on packaging ideas that could inspire consideration and purchase intent at the shelf edge. Tanya would walk in with a flash of inspiration and pull me into her conference room to ask what I thought…I would sketch and build on her idea and a few quarters later we would be launching. It was in those brainstorm sessions that she recognized I was a marketer trapped inside an engineer – so one day she invited me to join her team. That 30 second conversation fundamentally changed the trajectory of my life, and I will be forever grateful.

QUESTION NO. 2

What do you consider your biggest career accomplishment?

Re-branding HP at the time of the world’s largest corporate split. We carved off the $50Bn+ printer and PC business from Hewlett-Packard, which became HP Enterprise. Rebranding one of the iconic companies of Silicon Valley was a once in a lifetime opportunity – and I was fortunate to head the global marketing team when the split was announced. Marketing had the honor to help define what HP should keep, eliminate and add in order to prepare the brand for the future. It was a tremendous responsibility given that the brand has 95%+ global brand awareness. We developed the ‘Keep Reinventing’ theme – which became the strategic foundation and rallying cry driving all of our initiatives – from employee engagement all the way to the last three clicks and feet where the products are sold.

QUESTION NO. 3

What has been your favorite / most interesting project to date?

It’s really hard to pick just one. I have had the privilege to work on great global brands for over two decades and there are many, many favorite and interesting moments. I especially enjoyed being a very early adopter of emerging digital platforms and social influencers in the mid 2010’s…HP was one of the first brands to shift their focus to digital-first work. One example is the collaboration with Meghan Trainor, when we produced the world’s first music video for her smash it “My lips are moving” which was made entirely with social influencers! What’s there not to love about that kind of work!? Recently, as the CMO of Nokia I oversaw both our VR and Digital Health businesses. This provided the spark of innovation to make the world’s first VR commercial, which we revealed at Cannes Lions 2017, featuring a family experiencing the benefits of the full range of Nokia Health products. We even introduced the ability to purchase right from the VR experience. I think it is important for marketers to push the envelope with how to bring the brand story to life with content that is delivered where the audience and the cultural momentum is at that time. We will not always be successful but every step is a learning experience and will help brands stay relevant in a world that is constantly changing.

QUESTION NO. 4

Tell us about one of the brands you most admire and why?

I will always admire Virgin America for the consistent and differentiated experience that they delivered in the face of so many regulated guard-rails. They had to adhere to the immutable, such as the airports, the planes, the FAA etc and yet, even with all of that, they thought of every possible customer touch point they could affect and they customized it to make the brand experience inviting and compelling. No detail was left un-touched – aircraft lighting, fun seat back video, pilot speaking personally from the front of the plane…even the aspect ratio of the boarding pass…and my favorite, white leather seats in business class, (how did they get that past operations??). They have been plagiarized since by many other airline brands playing catchup but they led the way and stayed at the front. I am watching closely to see how Alaskan Airlines will integrate the brand and loyal Virgin customers.

QUESTION NO. 5

What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned in your career as a marketer?

Three things come immediately to mind:

First, really, really good ideas are few and far between. Therefore, when the team has a great idea, believe wholly in it and lead the team to execute flawlessly. PepsiCo is great at this and I learned so much by being part of a marketing team that truly loved the brand and galvanized globally to execute, through the line, with perfection. You have to sweat the details and ensure that the idea will manifest cohesively along the entire customer journey.

Secondly, make sure that the marketing function is recognized as a critical investment choice, not a cost centre… the latter will have their budget cut when the going gets tough whilst the former will rightfully be recognized as a key to unlock business growth.

Thirdly, agencies can be a critical unlock to better creative execution and my best work with agencies is when the they feel like they are truly part of the team. There should be no ‘white space’ between the marketing team and the agency, it should be one team and the customer is the brand.

QUESTION NO. 6

Why did you join Solid as a Strategic Partner and what do you hope to accomplish?

I wanted to work with Alfredo again and make a big impact on important brands – it’s really that simple. Some of the best creative and strategic experiences of my career have been with Alfredo and I wanted more of that energy. As him and I discussed how the partnership might work, it quickly became clear that whilst we share some skills we also have very complementary differences. The combination of our individual experience and areas of expertise can be a great value-add for Solid’s growing roster of clients. I have been fortunate to work across CPG and Tech; with large organizations and start-ups; globally and locally – I hope to bring all this ‘area under the curve’ experience to enhance the work that Solid is doing.

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ROB?

See Rob’s Bio

WANT TO SEND ROB A NOTE? HERE IS HIS EMAIL ADDRESS:

rob@solidbranding.com

Solid wins big at the 2019 ADDY Awards.

Solid Branding wins more ADDY Awards in the branding categories than any other agency in Silicon Valley.

Solid Branding wins big at the 2019 ADDY’s

WE RECEIVED THE MOST AWARDS IN THE BRANDING CATEGORIES

The announcement of the winners in the annual ADDY Awards/Silicon Valley
competition is a highly anticipated event for the valley’s marketing and branding
community. We are thrilled to report that this year Solid Branding walked away
with the largest number of awards in the logo design and brand identity
categories, cementing our standing as one of Silicon Valley’s most regarded
brand agencies. “We are honored and humbled” said Alfredo Muccino, the
Founder and Executive Creative Director of Solid Branding.

WE RECEIVED THREE GOLD ADDY AWARDS

One in the Logo Design category, and two in the Brand Identity category

GOLD ADDY AWARD: WAVE LOGO DESIGN
The Wave Computing logo received a Gold ADDY in the logo design category. “We’re very
excited about the rebrand that Solid designed for us, and we’re particularly proud that our new logo is considered one of the best in Silicon Valley”, said Lee Flanagin, SVP and Chief Business Officer at Wave Computing, one of the fastest growing companies in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

GOLD ADDY AWARD: MISSION BRAND IDENTITY
Mission, a managed services and consulting company for Amazon Web Services (AWS) was
born from the merger of Reliam, Stratalux and G2 Tech Group. Andy Jolls, Mission’s CMO
said: “We thank Solid Branding for its superb work in helping debut the Mission brand
identity to such acclaim, and congratulate the agency on its well-deserved award wins
from the American Advertising Federation/Silicon Valley.”

GOLD ADDY AWARD: NECTAR BRAND IDENTITY
Solid received a third Gold ADDY for the Nectar brand identity. Nectar is a Swiss company
revolutionizing the wealth management industry thanks to Artificial Intelligence. The
company was originally called ETOPS and Solid was hired to rename it and develop the
brand strategy and brand identity. We received this note from Peter Spannagle who was
Head of Design for Etops and selected Solid to work on the rebrand: “Working between
Silicon Valley and Switzerland was challenging. But the results speak for themselves.
Kudos to Alfredo and the entire Solid team”

SOLID WINS FOUR SILVER ADDY’S

Three in the Logo Category and two in the Brand Identity category

The logos we designed for Nectar, and Mission were also recognized with Silver ADDY
awards, and so was the brand identity program for Wave Computing. Additionally, Solid
received another Silver ADDY award for the brand identity we designed for Maurice
Outdoors. Based in Chicago, Maurice Outdoors is the largest family-operated distributor of
fishing tackle, shooting sports accessories, and other out-door athletic goods in the world.

SOLID WINS A SILVER ADDY AWARD WITH WEBENERTIA

The Mission website design is also a winner

As part of the comprehensive rebranding program for Mission, Solid was also tasked with
designing their new website. We delivered the work in collaboration with our Strategic
Partners, Webenertia. Steve Ohanians, our Director of Digital Experience has been a
Strategic Partner since we founded Solid, and was the lead behind the development of the
site. “We always enjoy collaborating with the talented folks at Solid. We’re very proud of the work we do together, and we’re excited that the Mission website was singled out for a Silver ADDY in the extremely competitive Website Design Category” said Steve Ohanians, “We also enjoyed collaborating with Lawrence Orleck, who was the Senior Director of Creative at Mission during the project and highly influenced the design solution for the site”.

Solid teams up with Consort Partners.

By combining our services with those of Consort Partners, we can move your brand forward like never before.

Solid teams up with Consort Partners

A PARTNERSHIP THAT MEANS GREAT NEWS FOR OUR CLIENTS

The Solid Strategic Partner Network has been created to offer services that complement our own thanks to a growing number of people and companies who are recognized experts in their respective fields. Working together as partners we deliver comprehensive solutions integrated across multiple channels in ways that are not common with most traditional agencies. Our partnership with Consort Partners, for example, gives our clients access to Kathy Johnson – a highly regarded PR and positioning strategist and her team of senior PR professionals, journalists and entrepreneurs. Based in Silicon Valley with outposts in Austin and London, Consort Partners has worked with established tech brands as well as smaller companies introducing disruptive technologies and business models. This partnership enables us to work on PR and branding efforts in ways that are more agile and collaborative than what you get from agencies that operate in silos. Our ultimate goal is to provide our clients with best-in-class solutions that increase awareness, establish differentiation and create preference for their brands.

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MEET KATHY JOHNSON

Our Strategic Partner / Director of PR Strategy has built quite an impressive career

In 2004 Kathy Johnson co-founded Blinkx, the world’s first video search engine. Her evangelism of disruptive mobile and search technologies garnered global media attention including appearances in international TV, newspapers, online media, radio, and business and lifestyle magazines. In 2006 she co-founded Consort Partners, now a leading technology PR firm with clients such as King.com (Candy Crush Saga), Pinterest, Sprint, FreedomPop, and Dictionary.com, among others. Kathy was voted “2004 Agenda Setter” by silicon.com alongside Steve Jobs, Meg Whitman, and Chinese Premier Hu Jintao. She was also a Finalist for the Stevie Awards for the Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award 2008.

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TOGETHER IS BETTER

By combining our services we can provide our clients with better branding solutions

Consort Partners is comprised of seasoned entrepreneurs, journalists, marketers and PR professionals, and provides public relations, social media, marketing and corporate advisory services to help companies achieve their strategic objectives. The combined skills, experience and resources of Solid Branding and Consort Partners enable us to substantially expand the solutions we can provide to our clients, and help them successfully address a variety of brand challenges, including:

BRAND LAUNCH PROGRAMS
Develop corporate as well as products/service brands.

REBRAND PROGRAMS
Update/refresh existing brands due to M&A activities or changes in business focus.

POSITIONING PLATFORMS
Craft positioning strategies designed to establish positive differentiation, leading to brand preference.

BRAND STORYTELLING
Write compelling and engaging brand stories based on sustainable strategic foundations.

BRAND MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
Produce integrated branding campaigns designed to deliver results.

MEDIA AND INVESTOR RELATIONS
Create newsworthy content designed to influence the media and investor communities.

Most importantly, the two firms know how to work side-by side, leverage each other’s strengths, and offer clients a seamless and reliable experience. To learn more, please drop us a note. We’ll be happy to tell you a bit more about how we can move your brand forward…together.

Wave wins a GOOD DESIGN award.

We’re very proud, and humbled, that the Wave AI System received a coveted GOOD DESIGN award for product design.

Wave wins Good Design Award

we just designed The world’s fastest AI system

We are proud to announce that we just received a GOOD DESIGN award for the Wave AI System we designed for Wave Computing – a leading Artificial Intelligence company based in Silicon Valley. The Wave AI System is considered one of the fastest (if not THE fastest) machine learning computer in the world. The product design was part of a comprehensive rebranding initiative managed by Solid Branding that also included brand identity and website design. To deliver the award-winning industrial design, Alfredo Muccino of Solid Branding worked collaboratively with Scot Herbst, our Strategic Partner / Director of Product Design and his talented team of designers.

ABOUT THE GOOD DESIGN AWARD

One of the world’s most prestigious programs for design excellence

Started in 1950 by architects Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames and Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., the annual GOOD DESIGN awards program recognizes the very best design at a global level. The competition reviews entries based on design and innovation, sustainability, branding, ecologically responsible design, human factors, technology and more. This year, the competition received a record number of submissions representing the most important and critical mass of influential corporations from over 47 countries. The 68th GOOD DESIGN jury met in Los Angeles and New York and selected over 900 product designs and graphics deemed worthy of the GOOD DESIGN Award for Design Excellence.

SHOWCASING neural networking

Exposing the beauty of dataflow technology though visual displays

The WAVE AI System is an extremely powerful computer pioneering a unique patented processing architecture called a Data Processing Unit (DPU) that is 4000x faster than a top of the line computer. Typical machine learning data processors are basic sheet metal boxes that get hidden in a data closet or backroom. We believed that this system deserved to become an object of beauty so, we set out to create a design experience that wouldn’t get stuffed in a data closet or backroom. The visual experience expresses and celebrates the magic and beauty of data. The WAVE AI System is the first computer that shows the fluid movement of the machine learning inside – a process called neural networking – shown in vivid animations on a 9” display…as though you can view the kinetic brain of this beautiful process unfold before your eyes.

INSPIRED BY FLUIDITY AND PRECISION

When form meets function they become beautiful together

The product design is inspired by the mathematical precision and art-meets-science philosophy of artificial intelligence. The physical form of the product recalls the simplicity and elegant minimalism of modern architecture. The 4 DPUs (Data Processors) aren’t hidden inside, rather they’re black boxes stacked vertically on the front for a striking, easily accessible format enabling serviceability and open access. The layout, architecture and surface treatments are all specifically designed to keep the machine running as fast and efficiently as possible, with cooling features and liquid flow that become visible elements of the system. Additionally, the details start to establish a unique design language based on a waveform – a tribute to the company’s name as well as a nod to the fluidity of the technology.

A comprehensive rebrand

Solid completely revamped the Wave brand

Wave Computing is revolutionizing AI and deep learning with its AI-native dataflow-based systems and embedded solutions. The company is dedicated to enabling data scientists to experiment, develop, test, deploy and run AI applications faster than ever before. Due to their recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence technology, the company is experiencing meteoric growth. We were asked to rebrand the company so that the brand would be better aligned with the business focus. We designed a new logo and brand identity language, crafted a new design for their core product, and developed a new website. The new Wave brand language celebrates data scientists as the heroes of a brave new world through heroic portraiture combined with stunning visualizations of complex data analytics patterns.

McAfee wins a Transform Award.

The work Solid delivered for McAfee is recognized as one of the best branding projects in North America.

The Transform Awards

RECOGNIZING THE BEST REBRANDS IN NORTH AMERICA

The Transform Awards North America is an important awards competition designed to recognize the best corporate an product brand development, as well as rebranding programs being done in North America. With categories that focus on strategy, content and design, The Transform Awards creates an opportunity for organizations, agencies and consultancies to benchmark their work and processes, and share best practices for reputational change.

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THE MCAFEE REBRAND IS A WINNER

The McAfee rebrand receives an award for brand identity

All of us at Solid Branding were very excited that our work for McAfee was selected as the winner of the Bronze Award for Best Brand Identity in 2017. The McAfee rebrand won in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications sector. “We worked very closely and collaboratively with the brand team at McAfee to deliver a comprehensive global rebranding program. It is an honor to be recognized as one of the best examples of rebranding work in North America. We are proud of this award and would like to thank the McAfee Brand Team as well as the McAfee Executive Team for their trust and support.” said Alfredo Muccino, the Founder and Executive Creative Director of Solid Branding.

Pictured above are (L-R) Becca Wright and Alfredo Muccino from Solid Branding, Wilkin Ho from McAfee and Matt Olivotti from Solid Branding.

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REBRANDING A CYBERSECURITY PIONEER

The McAfee brand is one of the iconic brands in technology

Redesigning the brand identity for McAfee was a daunting task. “Literally hundreds of millions of people across the globe consider McAfee a symbol of protection and security” said Lawrence Orleck, the Senior Brand Creative Director / Strategic Partner who inspired the global team working on the assignment. After Intel acquired McAfee, the company’s name changed to Intel Security and the logo still featured the old McAfee shield – which scored very high in unaided awareness. So, working alongside McAfee’s Brand Team, Solid decided it was best not to invent a new approach, but instead re-imagine the shield in a fresh and contemporary way. According to Mr. Orleck, “This new logo has been serving McAfee well as the company grows. As of now, McAfee protects well over 450 million people worldwide and almost 85 million corporate endpoints.”

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SOLID DELIVERS STRATEGY AND CREATIVE

We were responsible for McAfee’s entire rebranding program

As the lead agency for all of McAfee’s rebranding initiatives, Solid’s objective was to re-energize employees, customers and partners worldwide. To start, we crafted the company’s new positioning strategy, developed a brand manifesto, and produced a brand anthem video designed to reach internal as well as external audiences. Next, we delivered a comprehensive branding program that included a new brand identity system and visual style, as well as the design and development of the website, packaging systems, corporate interiors, marketing materials, and much, much more. We even produced the company’s first TV, radio and online advertising campaign!

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