Concrete

is a creative brand agency.

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Positive brand recognition is the gold standard for any retailer, but familiarity can ultimately limit a company’s ability to grow and innovate. Long-time customers come to expect a repeat performance of their past shopping experiences, while potential new customers, familiar with the brand but lacking actual buying experience with its products, may bypass the retailer altogether.

The management of Mountain Equipment Co-op, an iconic Canadian retailer of outdoor recreation clothing and gear, faced these and other challenges as it sought to increase its market share, and share of wallet. Founded in Vancouver in 1971 by a small group of mountaineering enthusiasts, the co-op had grown to a national retailer serving…

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ING Direct Canada, an online retail bank, won over many consumers by offering an innovative and progressive alternative for Canadians who value simplicity, flexibility and accessibility in their banking. When Scotiabank acquired ING Direct in 2012, the purchase agreement stipulated a name change. The new parent company would have to take this familiar challenger brand back to market with an equally compelling brand message to set ING apart in the highly competitive Canadian banking market.

In November 2013, after working in partnership with John St. Advertising and Lexicon, ING Direct announced their new name: Tangerine. The unconventional name reflected the company’s unique, fresh approach to banking, attributes that were further emphasized by the…

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Dr. Nicholas Perricone knows what he’s talking about. Ask him about the benefits of watercress and he will deliver an encyclopedic soliloquy about the detoxifying powers of this often overlooked salad green. A board-certified dermatologist and the author of the landmark Wrinkle Cure and other New York Times bestsellers, Dr. Perricone launched a line of skincare products in 1997 based on his extensive research. The line quickly defined the “Doctor Brand” category, rejecting the prevailing hope-in-a-jar ethos. A dedicated following was born.

After steadily climbing sales, the brand launched a new look in 2008. Glass jars and bottles yielded to plastic containers, and the brand’s signature brown colour was replaced by a myriad of fashion-inspired pastels. Sales immediately sagged and Concrete was…

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Keilhauer, a leading manufacturer of high-end, design-savvy office furniture, has been a client for over 20 years. Concrete has produced numerous innovative marketing campaigns to differentiate the company’s products in a crowded North American market.

For 2014, the marketing focus was Keilhauer’s 15-year relationship with EOOS. Keilhauer was the first North American manufacturer to recognize the potential of the Viennese industrial design team and engaged them to create the innovative task chair Sguig in 1997. Since then the two companies have collaborated on…

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BITE Beauty is a line of lip products made from entirely natural, food-grade ingredients, including resveratrol, the health-boosting, antioxidant component found in red wine. Each application of BITE delivers a micro-dose of antioxidants that assist the body in the fight against free radicals. In fact, Bite is so healthy, you can eat it.

Unfortunately, organic lipstick and makeup brands have become associated with poor colours, reduced wearability, and a distinct lack of sex appeal. When Concrete was brought in by long-time client Susanne Lang Fragrance (SLF) to brand and launch this new beauty venture, we felt that the “organic” or “natural” angle was getting tired and wouldn’t work as a driver  for a new lip brand. Because SLF was able to achieve vibrant reds and plums with BITE, we positioned the brand…

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Vitamin and supplement manufacturers present consumers with a dizzying array of product choices and price points. Vitamins and minerals are mixed and matched in a single tablet, dosages vary and multiple health benefits are cited. In such a crowded market place, health-conscious consumers are forced to make an educated guess and hope for the best—or pursue a degree in nutrition studies.

The founders of Koge devised a simple alternative: replace the hassles of traditional supplement shopping with a fully curated online buying experience. Koge offers four core vitamin collections, each of which addresses key health and nutrition concerns, and delivers them through an online subscription model that ensures a substantially lower price point. Just choose the product that…

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Canadian fashion designer Lida Baday discovered her passion for luxurious fabrics, old world craftsmanship and fine detailing in childhood, when she spent many an hour watching her mother, a custom dressmaker, at work. In 1987 she launched Lida Baday, a fashion label renowned for its beautiful, meticulously tailored clothing that captures the essence of the discerning, modern women. Lida’s collections are sold in luxury boutiques and retailers around the world, including Saks Fifth Avenue…

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AZURE is Canada’s leading contemporary design magazine and one of a handful of influential design magazines worldwide. The independent magazine had enjoyed a nearly 20-year relationship with Concrete for its creative direction and design, beginning when AZURE was still a stapled, black and white publication with local advertisers.

AZURE returned to Concrete in 2010. The challenge: make a great magazine even better. “AZURE wasn’t broken – we didn’t have to fix it,” says editor Nelda Rodger. “The magazine was beautiful and successful and we were still in love with our old logo, also designed by Concrete back in 1993. The decision to shake things up was a vote of confidence in the future for both our print and digital expressions.”

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Mark McEwan is no ordinary chef. He’s got four bustling restaurants, a high-end catering business, a thriving reality-TV career and a 20,000-foot gourmet food store. Renowned as Toronto’s preeminent chef, he is an equally adept entrepreneur.

When McEwan announced he was planning his take on rustic Italian food, he approached Concrete to create the visual identity. Located in a non-descript, beige box of a space in a newly built open mall, the visual brand was vital in imparting a sense of lively authenticity to the new restaurant.

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No one would describe the corporate office as a “fashion-forward” environment. Workplace uniforms for men and women reign unchallenged for decades, while outside the office fashion trends respond to changing cultural mores from season to season.

Ryan Donahue, one of the original PayPal team, recognized an exception to this rule: the Silicon Valley-based class of creative knowledge workers, whose wardrobes had shifted toward a more casual, yet refined workplace aesthetic. Consisting of a crisp T-shirt and perfectly worn denim, this “modern workwear uniform” replaced the more formal attire of years past, a trend that was picked up on by other knowledge workers across the globe.

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In 2010, Unitron, a global producer of hearing aids, tasked Concrete with launching a new product line. However, in the process of planning the launch, Concrete identified a strategic brand issue and recommended an overall brand analysis, with the aim of strengthening Unitron’s position in the marketplace.

After a comprehensive research and exploration process, Concrete isolated a core brand problem…

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