- Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2012
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- SAN FRANCISCO
Venables Bell & Partners has formed vbp orange, a brand innovation consultancy. Housed within Venables Bell & Partners' San Francisco quarters, orange will apply design-thinking principles to real-world business challenges, offering brand strategy, concept and experiential design, as well as new product development and ideation solutions to existing VB&P as well as new clients. Orange will be led by Venables Bell vets Harlan Kennedy, director of strategy, Blake Bäkken, design director, and Colleen McGee, director of brand development.
"Strategy and design are complementary disciplines. There is a real value in the two disciplines coming together to solve complex contemporary business problems," said Bäkken. "Together, they represent an increasingly crucial differentiator for both businesses and consumers. This is really the impetus behind orange."
Orange has already begun working with a growing roster of clients including Audi of America, The March of Dimes, Media X at Stanford University, Zero1 and Fineco. Audi, a five-year VB&P client, is partnering with orange to maximize the momentum generated by recent model launches and marketing. Orange is designing the distinctive Audi customer experience that will serve as an introduction to the growing luxury brand and a reason for customers to stay.
Kennedy, a seven-year VB&P veteran, has spent 17 years as a strategist and brings experience in positioning, new product development and brand strategy across a range of clients and categories. At VB&P he's served as the strategic lead on Barclays, iShares, ConocoPhillips, Nestea, PG&E, Siebel Systems and Russell Investments. Additional brands he's strategically led during his career include Xbox, Dentyne Ice, Bass Ale, Agilent Technologies, Sony and Powerade. He has been part of new product development teams for Coca-Cola, Cadbury Adams, Sony and Labatt.
An eight-year veteran of VB&P, Bäkken's 19 years of experience consistently brings unexpectedly fresh visual voices to intelligent strategies for clients. Starting his career designing for Target, he has worked with an array of clients including Audi, Intel, HBO, eBay, Barclays, ConocoPhillips, Google, PG&E, 24 Hour Fitness, The North Face, Expedia.com, iShares, 3M, Sub-Zero, Coca-Cola, Siebel Systems, Robert Mondavi and the Montana Meth Project. Bäkken's projects have ranged from extensive experiential installations to traditional brand and marketing development; from product innovation to immersive interactive experiences.
McGee will be responsible for driving the business of orange forward with an eye on attracting clients and projects that will not only shape the world, but also shape the culture of orange. McGee brings to orange more than 12 years of agency experience at VB&P and Arnold Worldwide. At VB&P, she has worked on HBO and has been a key leader on the Audi account since the agency won the business in 2006. During this time, she has overseen every major launch for the car brand and pioneered a lead agency model to steer Audi's brand holistically. Prior to VB&P, McGee worked at Arnold on the award-winning Volkswagen "Drivers Wanted" account, where she led major initiatives across all car lines and touch points including website redesigns, auto shows, partnerships, loyalty programs and dealership efforts.