A brand strategy and activation firm that works with organizations that believe their destiny is, or should be, “brand led.”

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Our belief is that strong brands transcend individual products, services or communications channels and that brands, not products, remain the primary means of engagement between an organization and its customers. We believe brands are built on ideas and that you need a lot of them to get the right few to sustain your brand.

Marketing and Branding Agency in Charlotte, NC

candescence is a firm with a lot of tools. In other words, techniques which are used to get work done. One of the first things our clients notice is that we have ways to do things. Simply put, with the right tools, it goes faster and costs less.

branding workshops

Branding Workshops

Branding workshops are highly efficient, facilitated sessions designed to address branding opportunity. Consumer need-state, competitive profiling and brand inventory building are typical exercises conducted in a brand workshop.  candescence workshops are also effective ways to build consensus around marketing strategies, brand strategies and new ideas.

ideation sessions

Ideation Sessions

Ideation sessions are about solving problems and identifying opportunities. Through use of a set of projective techniques, we harness the energy and intellectual capital within your organization to generate, evaluate and develop business building strategies and tactics. candescence ideations sessions are collaborative, consensus building, actionable and fun.

planning frameworks

Planning Frameworks

A planning framework is a paradigm…a method of understanding a particular phenomenon. We use them to shorten the time and energy often used to gain consensus. The good news is, we aren’t starting from scratch…we’ve already done some of the work. candescence planning frameworks are often used to kick-start a planning engagement.

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You may recognize some of these brands

candescence isn’t about industry specialization…it is about a set of processes that lead to improved use of brand as a business growth strategy. Our thinking is informed by our breadth of experience across industries and business models. If you see a past client that interests you, ask us about our experience and how our processes and thinking might apply to your situation.


How Healthy is Your Brand?

Here’s a quick way to find out. Take this short “Brand Health Quiz.” Find out if you are doing ok, you’ve grown a little crusty around the edges, or maybe the business is totally toast.
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See Our Experience

White Papers

The post-modern culture is impacting EVERYTHING…including how we communicate and relate to our marketplaces. It’s complex, nuanced and changing more rapidly than ever. You may find some “light at the end of the tunnel” in one of these white papers.

Patience and Persistence

For many professional service organizations, the creation and marketing of content over the internet is a highly effective way to improve organizational reputation and build brand. The problem is, it creates both patience and persistence…two commodities that are often to come by.

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Business Practices During the Great Depression

The first one that is…the one that occurred right before WWII. This white paper includes lessons learned from many venerable brands of the last century. Lesson One: never give up, never give up, never give up. Maintain your spending and market presence and emerge with greater marketshare.

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Marketing to Millennials

It can be puzzling…how do you market to people who often seem to resent marketing? The Millennial cohort is the largest and most empowered group since the fabled Baby-boom generation. And, they are nothing like boomers. Begin with the fact that as a group they were absolutely cherished by their parents and grandparents, were born “digital natives” and are the most tech savvy population group in history (obviously). But they are also cynical, fiercely individualized and generally post-modern in their musings.

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Use of Projective Techniques in Marketing

We live in a “surplus economy.” There are more products and service than there are humans. And, most of them aren’t that different from one other (the products…the people are pretty different).

This white paper is about projective techniques, ideation and the use of our “triangulation methodology” to uncover business opportunity.

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The Business of Insight

That “kernel of insight” can be more difficult to come by than ever. It often seems as though the marketing world has been taken over by “oddvertising,” “crowd-sourcing” and an obsession with social media marketing. And, while all of these tactics have their place, none of them is a replacement for the kind of insight that defines a marketplace and creates strategic advantage for the brand in possession of it.

This white paper is a historical perspective of the insight business and an overview of some of the processes and techniques at candescence to get and exploit market insight.

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Getting Traction at Retail

All marketers are not evenly skilled across the skill-sets that define success at retail. If you are a manufacturer, you know that retailers expect more and more of you. if you are a retailer, you are overwhelmed by me-too, parity and under-supported products.

This white paper outlines the “Traction II” framework and its four skill-sets: brand meaning, traffic building, in-store experience and post-sale relationship-building. We suggest the specific criteria you will need to master to compete more effectively.

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The Diffusion of Innovation

Why do some new ideas proliferate more rapidly than others? It turns out there is a well-documented set of empirical factors that control the way products move through a population and through a culture. In other words, there are specific characteristics that can improve your chances and become the strategies that support a product launch.

This white paper overviews everything from the invention of the plow to the introduction of Pringles in an attempt to understand product diffusion. Read this and begin thinking how you can accelerate the adoption of your product or service.

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The Rise of Post-Modernism

We all have at least a fuzzy notion that the world has changed, is changing and is changing at an increasing rate. And, it is a little scary. But how, exactly, has it change and why? Post-modernism is the mother of all trends; we believe it is foundational to so many other trends, including the shifts with which marketing executives constantly grapple.

This white paper is about the iconic and seismic shifts in the culture that change everything. Begin with Allen Ginsburg’s “The Howl” and leading right up to The Big Short, this trend is responsible for the importance of social media, the demise of the marketing spokesperson and the success of personal devices.

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The History of Shopping: Part One

Shopping is deeply embedded in our DNA. Shopping is part of being human. In one way, the fundamentals are unchanged...we want to be informed, entertained, enjoy a social experience, get a good deal. But Obviously in other ways, everything has changed. This white paper is about what is fundamental to retail success...including navigating the changes.

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Enlighten (it’s a blog)

Sinister Psychographics

October 12th, 2017|0 Comments

Leslie Stahl, I’ve always liked you.  And good for 60 Minutes keeping people of a certain age working when the rest of the world is youth-crazed.  But the segment you […]

The NFL Versus Donald Trump

September 25th, 2017|0 Comments

What we have here, from the perspective of a communications professional, is a new narrative.  Actually, depending on how you look at things (and how long you’ve been looking at […]

How To Be Attractive

September 13th, 2017|0 Comments

I’m blessed with a client who is a conceptual thinker and providing a lot of food for thought.  The “opportunity” facing us is that he is in an industry sorely […]