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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 1, 2018 3 months ago

Brand intervention: Marketer crafts image for tricky business proposition

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A St. Pete startup that helps men impress their significant others requires a subtle, yet simple, marketing strategy.
by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

AGENCY: Evolve & Co., St. Petersburg 

CLIENT: DogHouse For Guys

TASK: Evolve & Co. president Lisa Williams and her team were asked to create a brand identity, brand guide and logo for DogHouse For Guys, a St. Pete-based startup founded by Bryan Wood set to officially launch this summer and in the running to appear on the TV show "Shark Tank." DogHouse For Guys is a custom, online gift shopping mail-order service targeted at millennial men who need to find a last-minute, budget-friendly gift for their significant other.

The brand guide materials that Lisa Williams and her team at Evolve & Co. created for DogHouse for Guys. Courtesy photo.

As such, the brand requires a robust digital and social media presence. Wood sought a design with “sporty, athletic colors that are very rich and will pop on the screen,” says Williams. “He wanted something clean, something modern that would appeal to the 25- to 35-year-old demographic. But he didn’t want a hut or doghouse, specifically, because he thought that would communicate too much of a pet product, visually.”

"The service has to be branded toward men. But really, it’s for women … even though we don’t want women to even know it exists." Lisa Williams, president of Evolve & Co.

HIGHLIGHTS: Even though Wood has already cultivated thousands of leads via Facebook, Williams says the company’s brand identity was a challenge because of the way it’s marketed. “You have to have anonymity when the gift package arrives, but the service has to be branded toward men. But really, it’s for women … even though we don’t want women to even know it exists. So finding the right icon was the hardest part … it’s called DogHouse for Guys, but we’re trying to communicate how to stay out of the doghouse. That, in just a logo itself, is hard to convey.”

OUTCOME: Wood’s startup caught the attention of Mark Cuban, one of the stars of "Shark Tank." According to Williams, Wood met Cuban at a business retreat, and the Dallas Mavericks owner helped come up with a tagline for the service and even invited Wood to audition for "Shark Tank." "Their plan now, in the beginning, is to exhaust the followers that they've already built [via Facebook]. So once those are exhausted, I feel like that's when we'll have the conversation of how to better reach out, and I'm hoping to do their launch press," says Williams. "But this is a great start. It's been a fun project." 

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