Create > Design > Inspire

Branding Blend 
Digital. Traditional. Far From Typical.

Bluestone Creative is a full-service creative boutique that entered the brand-building world at the intersection of Digital and Traditional 13 years ago. Professional accolades are not the benchmark by which the company measures its success, however. Instead, it’s all about honing genuine connections between a client’s audience and the products and services with which they complement their lives.

“People today care about what they are consuming and the companies they are supporting financially,” says Adam Browning, Bluestone founder, creative director and partner. “They’re less concerned about reasons to buy something, and more concerned about authenticity, the process, the mission, the story behind what a particular brand is doing to better the world.”

Jack Conrad is Browning’s partner and marketing director, and has helped establish the company over the years with his rich background in sales and marketing savvy.

“We’re a full-service, digital-born agency, and we do everything from B2B to B2C, from brand and digital architecture to channel strategy, design and measurement,” says Browning. “Our approach to brand building positions us to deliver both a great brand and a digital presence very quickly.”

Case in point: Creating an innovative global brand for local powerhouse data analytics firm 84.51° in just a few short weeks. Bluestone won a Gold ADDY for its 84.51° website work in February at the 2015-16 CincinnADDYs, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation (AAF). They also won Silver Addys for their 84.51° Campaign /Cross Platform > B-to-B Campaign – Local and 84.51° Logo/ Elements of Advertising Logo Design. It was the first time Bluestone attended the annual peer recognition ceremony.

 Bluestone’s brand-building team may run lean – 8 to 10 people – but it’s clearly multi-talented. 

“We don’t just have designers; we have designers who are also programmers and art directors,” says Browning, an art school grad with a wealth of web development experience. “Considering whom we work with and what we produce, we have to be nimble. It’s fun and challenging. The minute it gets comfortable we jump out of our comfort zone. We never want to get to cruise control.”

Speaking of cruises, Bluestone is currently in the seed stages of creating a more accessible brand and streamline website architecture for BB Riverboats. Bluestone was named the Cincinnati icon’s agency of record in April.

“When we got involved with them, it was right on the cusp of their peak season,” Browning says. “We’ve injected a couple things to help organize and positon the brand moving into next year. It’s a new, exciting client. We really plan to do some things drastically different than what you would expect from that brand. BB Riverboats has been a Cincinnati household name for over 30 years. We’re trying to lay a foundation for the next 30.”

No matter the client, Bluestone is adamant about understanding what makes a particular business tick.

“We want to put ourselves into their world to get them traction they need and keep doing that,” says Browning. “We focus on doing great work. We do what we say we will do. And then we take it two levels higher.”

Bluestone Creative is located at 631 Main Street Cincinnati, OH, 45202. For more information, call 513.421.2763 or visit 

Swimming Against the Current

Consider the coho salmon. Picture it swimming tirelessly upstream, against the current, remaining focused and driven until it achieves its natural goal. 

It’s the perfect metaphor for Coho Creative’s professional attitude and approach. 

“We never take the easy path, but we are dedicated to helping our clients choose the best path when it comes to successful brand strategy, innovation and design,” says Jon Shapiro, founding partner and chief creative officer.

In 2002, following many years working in consumer package goods design, Shapiro founded Coho Creative as a design company that combined the best in-class capabilities of a global consultancy with the creative energy of a boutique studio.

Coho’s team of 30-plus includes Julie Knight, partner and chief financial officer; Greg Zimmer, partner and chief strategy and client officer; Mike Skrzelowski, creative director; Trey Smith, director-client service; and Ellen Craven, director-strategy and innovation. Coho’s motivated team exudes expertise in client service, insights, brand strategy, innovation, naming, graphic, fashion and industrial design.. The roster of valued clients includes 3M, Campbell’s Cardinal Health, KAO, Kimberly-Clark, Meijer, Newell Brands and Rhinestahl, Smithfield and Verbatim.

The creative firm has done some rebranding of its own, rolling out its refreshed and rather ambitious mission: to better the world. How? By uniting brands with the people they serve, finding that common ground where business objectives and people’s needs meet to make a better day for all. Coho’s updated brand also includes an increased online presence, complete with a new and improved website.

“A key part of our cultural attitude is, we take a very what I call humble approach to what we do,” says Shapiro. Hence, Coho has – up to now – been swimming below the branding universe radar, if you will, in an effort to build its business in a quiet, organized manner rather than leaping into cold calls and self-promotion.

According to Zimmer, Coho Creative has been successful at building its business simply by quietly helping clients succeed, helping design leaders launch successful projects and initiatives, and delighting consumers. They’ve been able to grow within companies, moving with clients and establishing a strong roster of Fortune 500 companies.

 “We have access to the talent we have here, and we are tapping into that talent, successfully leveraging for our clients nationally and globally,” he says. 

 “The smoke and mirror days of branding are long behind us,” Shapiro adds. “We’ve never liked that approach. We always wanted to help brands be more true to themselves. Help them become better versions of themselves, to improve lives, much to the delight of their audiences. That is what we feel our industry is about.”

Better Brands to Better the World.

Which brings us back to that determined coho salmon.

 “We never lose sight of our goal, continuing every day to not just do a better job for our clients, but we continue to learn and improve so we can help them achieve a better level of success,” Zimmer concludes. “If we are helping our clients succeed, and especially if we are helping them achieve their mission, then we are positively impacting more lives.”

Coho Creative is located at 2331 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45206, For more information, call 513.751.7775, email or visit their website



Creative Crew Keeps Clients Coming Back

Brand challenges that might cause team brain drain for some advertising agencies continue to burst into curiosity-driven campaigns by award-winning Curiosity, a full-service national advertising and marketing agency headquartered in Cincinnati.

“We offer virtually every advertising service you can think of—consumer insights, brand strategy, traditional advertising, digital, social media marketing, website development, media planning and buying, direct and CRM marketing,” says Elizabeth Leugers, Curiosity marketing manager. 

“We help our clients stand out through our creative storytelling process.”

Client case in point: Roto-Rooter.

The challenge: How to help the country’s number-one plumbing and drain cleaning company engage home-owning millennials while simultaneously educating them about services they aren’t familiar with. 

The solution: Make it memorable. Leave ’em laughing. Pushing a message for an industry rife with guffaw-loosening lingo – drip channels, snap-on ballcock covers and hardness leakage, to name just a few intriguing technical plumbing terms – was indeed, a creative’s dream come true.

Example: Behold last year’s Roto-Rooter Thanksgiving Drama video ( 

Results of Curiosity’s campaign helped drive Roto-Rooter’s 2015 company growth:

  • Revenue increased by 13.7 percent during the fourth quarter of 2015
  • Plumbing services increased by 10.3 percent during the fourth quarter of 2015
  • Post impressions by millennial audience increased by 292 percent.
  • Post engagement increased by 156 percent
  • Campaign was awarded Best in Show at the  American Advertising Federation’s CincinnADDY 2016 awards

Included on Curiosity’s impressive roster of national, international and regional clients: Luxottica, Procter & Gamble, Perfetti Van Melle, Dean Foods (TruMoo, DairyPure), Cincinnati Insurance Companies, Gorilla Glue and O’Keeffe’s, MedVet Medical & Cancer Center for Pets, Carmike Theaters, Oatey Supply Chain Services, FIS, The U.S. Navy, Penn State, Cincinnati Bell and The Christ Hospital Health Network.

“What defines us as an agency is our name,” says Leugers. “We have a deep commitment to being curious people. We ask a lot of questions, do a lot of research. We’re always pushing, devoting a lot of time to getting to know our clients and understanding their needs. When we do our homework as we do, we are able to find unique and outstanding solutions.”

 Hence, an HR perk known as Curiosity Days. Staff members are given a full day off with the purpose of experimenting, learning and innovating. Trying new things like trapeze lessons or race-car driving or cave diving. And then they share what they’ve learned from their adventures. Clearly, Curiosity Days have paid off. Since opening its doors in 2010, the company has experienced exponential growth averaging more than 32 percent per year. “Everyone at Curiosity has a voice,” says Matt Fischer, president and chief creative officer. “Everyone is important.” He believes that appreciated employees make for a happy team, rich with longevity and a strong dedication to clients.  

Other recent agency recognitions include two IRI Rising Star Pacesetter awards for the successful billion-dollar launch of Dean Foods’ TruMoo Chocolate Milk and DairyPure brands, C-Suite Awards from LEAD Magazine for both agency partners, a 2015 Fast 55 company, a Cincinnati Chamber USA Business of the Year and a Goering Center Private Business of the Year.

Curiosity is located at 35 East Seventh Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, call 513.744.6000, email     or visit



A Collaborative Catalyst for Change
Helping Clients Shift Their Futures Toward Tremendous Success

Brand integrity is more than their passion. It’s their purpose. Their mantra? Evolve or fade away. 

And then there’s that name.


As in hyper: (adj.) stimulated, excited, continuously active. And quake: (n.) an energetic catalyst for great change, leaving a tremendous impact; a shift, movement

As they celebrate three decades of collaboration in building a brand, their winning approach continues:

  • Think
  • Work collaboratively with passion
  • Have an opinion and do something with it
  • Be inspired, nimble and bold
  • Challenge everything wisely
  • Have a holistic vision to improve a brand and business challenge

“One thing has remained constant over the last 30 years – Hyperquake’s ability to successfully blur the lines between brand and business success,” says Colin Crotty, president and partner. “Acting as a catalyst for our clients’ evolution, we continue to operate as a crucial extension of their teams, bringing a complementary lens to the internal function of their organizations, as well as the brands they take to market. We continue to believe in the ability to inspire and provoke with the unconventional, helping turn our clients’ visions into realities.” 

 “We truly practice what we preach at Hyperquake,” says Jeanne Bruce, partner and CFO. “Our mantra is ‘evolve or fade away,’ and our industry, like our clientele, has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. We have evolved from a design firm to a branding agency.”

And brand strategy and strategic design are at the core of what Hyperquake does for their clients.

“We help them to emotionally connect to their consumers and understand that their brand is a living and breathing story to be told,” says Bruce. 

 Brands and businesses the company has partnered with include AIGA, Bounty, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Zoo, Duracell, First Financial Bank, Gillette, HGTV, Iams, Latisse, New Balance, Pure Romance, Under Armour and Warner Bros. 

Hyperquake’s non-profit work is noteworthy. In December 2013 Caritas Internationalis launched its “One Human Family, Food For All” campaign, hoping to raise awareness of the world hunger crisis and end systemic hunger by 2025. 

 Hyperquake partnered with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and created a concurrent campaign – Food For All – with the goal of collecting one million nonperishable food items. Tackling systemic hunger would require serious strategizing, if not a miracle. What would inspire their target audience more than to fashion an event from the Bible, i.e., the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes with only five loaves of bread and two fish? Hence, the miracle-inspired tagline, “Be Multiplied.” 

 This continuously on-the-move brand evolution agency is proud to call Cincinnati home. The Queen City is in the midst of an entrepreneurial renaissance and Hyperquake is happy – and humbled – to be a part of it.

Hyperquake is located at 205 West Fourth Street, Suite 1010, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, calli 513.563.6555, email or visit