We ask the tough, uncomfortable questions. We sweat the details; each and every one of them. We insist on truly knowing our clients, their business, markets, and customers. We do this because we know that even though these things take an investment of time on both of our parts up front, in the end, we're able to produce more effective marketing solutions because of it.Find out more about how we think »
We're all of these things, and at the same time, not just one of them. In the end, we're problem solvers. Marketing, Advertising, Social, Design, Interactive, Business Process; problem solvers, who enjoy nothing more than digging to the root of a problem and pulling out a unique and elegant solution. Taking this holistic approach means we're able to be whatever you need, and think about your business problem from all of these perspectives.
Let's say you want a website. A beautiful new site is great, built with the latest technology and optimized for search — but what good is a website, really, if it doesn't tie in to your specific sales process and the purchasing cycle of those you're trying to reach. Would a web developer know this? Would a graphic designer? Would they know what questions to ask or would they even be willing to spend the time to understand your market and the people you're trying to reach?
First off, thanks for reviewing our website. We're looking forward to hearing from you, and welcome you to call us directly (as long as you're not trying to sell us insurance, who's who awards, or copiers). We generally answer the phone between 8-5 during the week, and we always get back to an email. Or if you prefer, use this form to drop us a quick note, and we'll call you back.
info at trgideas.com
We've found that by first acquiring a high level of knowledge about your business, customers, and market, the solutions we develop are infinitely more effective than something that is just designed to look pretty. But this understanding doesn't happen overnight — it happens over years of working together in meetings, on a flight, over a beer. That's a relationship, not a project.
Getting there takes a level of patience and commitment from both client and agency, and it's not for everyone. The clients we're proud to associate with recognize the value of having an agency with the knowledge and comfort to function as an internal department, without giving up the resources, speed, and diverse perspective of an outside agency.
In April of 1984, Claude Roberts leaves another San Antonio-based ad agency to strike out on his own. Working from his one-bedroom apartment and using his last paycheck from his former position as associate creative director, Claude signs a deal with his very first client, Materials Marketing. Six years later, now out of the apartment and into fancy new digs on Loop 410, Kathy Deiker (aka Kathy Roberts) joins Claude as a partner to handle marketing and account service at the agency. A former client, as Product Manager at KCI, Kathy continues to grow the agency in the medical, tourism, and financial industries. In 2005, Claude, having led the creative department for more than 20 years, brings on Todd Fletcher to handle the day-to-day creative operations.
Over the years, the techniques, mediums, and hair styles have all changed, but the core of what we do hasn't. We're still diving into our client's businesses to solve their marketing problems, and having lots of fun doing it.
The TRG team understands both sides of the business. Most of us cut our teeth on the corporate side, working with and managing agencies, like us, before moving outside ourselves. That unique perspective allows us to understand what real value is, and how to bring it to an organization like yours. It also gives us an appreciation for the little things that really irked us about agencies: billing that didn't align with estimates, poor communication, unclear goals – all of which we try incredibly hard to avoid.
While pursuing a degree in Commercial Art, Claude worked nights as a production artist and editorial cartoonist for the San Antonio Citizen-News. From there he worked as a production artist and designer for small ad shops in the city, until he got his foot in the door at one of the largest agencies in Central Texas. Claude started at Atkins and Associates as a production artist, but was quickly promoted to designer, then to art director, and finally, to associate creative director. After much success in this position, Claude decided to strike out on his own. In April of 1984, Claude started Claude Roberts Design. Then, after a year of long days and countless late nights, Claude built a small support team. And thus The Roberts Group was born. Over the years the agency grew – adding clients, and branching out into new forms of marketing. During that time, Claude garnered over 67 local, district and state ADDY Awards for his work. Claude is an accomplished artist and Creative Director, and after 30 years in the business, he pushes the agency to stay at the forefront of the industry, and actively manages several accounts he is personally passionate about.
Over the years, we've been proud to form wonderful relationships with a select group of clients. Whereas many other shops focus on picking up projects wherever they can get them, we prefer to work with fewer clients, and become more tightly integrated with them. We believe it allows us to produce better work and overall value.
While the work shown is in no way comprehensive, it does represent a good cross section of the types of solutions we've been most pleased with. Each column contains a category of work and each row contains a featured client. Use the literal sitemap to the left to select something individually, the down button to view clients or the right button to view the categories of work we do perform.
A brand is more than a logo. It's the overall look, feel, personality, and promise of your company. Every touchpoint a potential customer interacts with – from the look of an office to the tone of the copy on your website – has a direct effect on how your brand is perceived, and how they feel about you.
We like to think about brands as people – that person you just met, standing in line next to you at the coffee shop. How is the person dressed, groomed, put together? How do they carry themselves? Are they intelligent and hardworking or vapid and flaky? Do you like them? Do you trust them? Will you remember them? Customers look for the same things in a brand. So what's your brand saying about you?
While new mediums continue to evolve and gain prominence, we believe there is still a strong case for printed collateral and advertising. Just as there will never be a substitute for a face-to-face interaction, the tactile and physical characteristics that printed materials provide will never truly be replaced by purely digital means. What becomes interesting, and of ultimately the most value to customers, is the integration of printed material with other mediums, to create a campaign that takes advantage of the best parts of each. Each piece has a place in the sales process; the key is to present the right information, at the right time, in the optimum format to absorb the message.
A successful web site is more than a pretty design or fancy code. While those aspects are good, it also needs to consider architecture, usability, your audience profiles, the desired actions, search, maintenance, and most importantly (we believe) content. We love content, and because of the deep relationships and level of understanding we attain with our clients, creating it is typically fairly easy for us to do. We already know your story, your target, your unique value proposition (or we're in the process of developing it for you), so when it comes time to write about you, we've got it. Having this understanding, and ability to develop a message ahead of any design work, allows the design portion of our sites to be that much more unified, on-target, and effective. Not to discount the pretty design, since without that, the user will rarely take the brand seriously enough to allow the message to be absorbed.
No, we're not talking about our environmentally considerate business practices, recycling, or global warming. We're talking about allowing a brand to be physically experienced in a space. Allowing your customers to physically interact with your product and your people in a retail, office, or trade show environment. Environmental marketing (also called experiential) is powerful because it captures so many of the senses all at once and allows for a true experience and memory to be formed. Our role in the process is to make sure that the memory is a good one and is representative of your brand.
The tight relationships and understanding of our client's businesses often means we're called upon to help with anything and everything that comes up. Because of our broad skill base, we can often handle these requests in-house, or we can call in any outside expertise needed and manage it seamlessly. We'll often plug–in at many different parts of an organization: HR, training, IT, sales, or marketing, to provide a solution. And as a 3rd party, we skip through many of the inter-departmental issues that often plague internal resources – offering continuity and reduced startup time because of the existing relationship.
In 2009, Orthodontix LTD was beginning a period of rapid expansion, and had outgrown their previous one-man agency. Like many growing companies, their internal support structure had not quite kept pace with their needs, especially in marketing. On top of managing organizational growth, they also had the imperative to begin increasing their private pay patient populations. We began with research; visiting their offices, meeting their staff, and talking to their patients. After the research phase, we established a new brand position and value proposition. We began by recommending a name change, away from Orthodontix LTD, which held no transferable meaning for customers. Renaming, along with the rebranding gave us even more credibility to reposition the brand. We also created a new tagline, The brighter way to a better smile, that captured their unique position.
Sun provides high-quality orthodontic services at a significantly lower price than their competitors. Their business model represents a sea change in the industry that would ultimately benefit customers, if only it could be explained — "how can I really get a high-quality outcome for that much less than everyone else?". The Sun brand answers that question.
The Sun logo embodies two qualities a patient wants most in a medical treatment: clean precision. We didn't want these to come at the expense of the personality, approachability, and warm relationship we all hope for with our medical professionals. The warm colors, transparency, and humanist font helps provide visual balance to these competing goals.
The geometric pattern that forms the logo also adds depth and a sense of transparency.
With every color palette, we also include a guide to the general amount of emphasis each color should receive in the brand.
Sun's print collateral and advertising continues the clean look of the brand, with ample whitespace, personable copy, and authentic photography. A collateral system was developed that allowed each office to have a customized message with minimum effort, by customizing the content of the folder and with a location specific back to each brochure.
The Sun collateral system features the logo bug prominently, balanced with plenty of white space.
Folders were produced for each office with individual sheets for each orthodontist, allowing cost-effective customization.
Collateral pieces were customized for markets, using local photography reflecting the terrain and demographics.
Sponsorships are a key part of the Sun strategy.
The Sun website was designed to convey the Sun personality, while maintaining the authenticity and localization we worked so hard to establish in each office. To achieve that, we used location detection to show appropriate imagery (representing the diverse landscapes and ethnicities of the cities), and to make finding a location easier. The end result? New patient appointments. Although true online scheduling was not achievable with their existing internal systems, we developed a simple lead generation and distribution system that made it easy for patients to request an appointment.
We continually work to keep the site optimized for search, and manage local Google and Yahoo pages for each office.
The Sun site detects the user's approximate location and displays local photography.
Navigation is straightforward and simple, featuring an action to call their local office or schedule a free appointment.
Videos are interspersed throughout the site, and instantly appear upon hovering on the link, to visually explain the topic.
Each page features the locations nearest to the user, to streamline the selection process.
Environmental design in Sun's case meant applying the brand experience to their offices. For our inspiration, we turned to an example that our patients were already familiar with: retail. Starting with the new set Sun locations, we worked with an interior designer who took our color and surface direction and turned it into actual materials and floor plans. We then applied our location-specific custom photography to personalize each office and bring some life to ordinarily bare walls.
Knowing that most new patients come from referrals, we decided to integrate meaningful talking points on stretched canvases in the waiting rooms. These messages act as an important confirmation step for patients who have selected Sun for their braces, and help the new messaging take hold when those same patients tell their friends about the benefits of getting braces from Sun.
Our interior branding initiative began with a slide deck of inspiration – drawing from retail, where their audience was most comfortable.
In addition to colors, we recommended surfaces and materials that were appropriate to the brand.
We worked with an interior designer and construction company to translate our concept into the finished office.
Our local photography infused life into the offices in a way that stock paintings never could.
We produced a series of five canvases for the offices that told the Sun story, providing reinforcement and talking points for patients.
Sun has maintained a long-standing relationship between their Corpus office and the local minor league baseball team, the Hooks. In 2011, we renegotiated the sponsorship, and gained a series of local events that would help Sun make the most of its current advertising budget there. We produced an event celebrating the Month of the Military Child, where we gave away tickets to military families and provided special recognition of military youth during the game.
Sun's Hooks sponsorship targeted the military community in Corpus Christi, earning exposure and goodwill.
With the rebranding, refocused the outdoor campaign in Corpus Christi.
We began working with ENTrigue Surgical in 2006. With only a single product to sell and a first round of venture funding in hand, they faced fierce competition. Their field was dominated by big companies and mature product lines, so ENTrigue set out to differentiate itself by actually listening to physicians and tackling the problems that had long been ignored. With their existing brand refreshed, we actively embraced the start-up role and set out to help ENTrigue make some noise in the industry.
Having now made an impact and increased awareness in the industry, we're playing it a bit safer these days, but still holding true to our core differentiators.
When we began working with ENTrigue, they had an existing logo in place, which was only a few years old. To avoid confusion in the marketplace, we recommended keeping the logo but updating the color palette, tagline, typography, and overall visual brand. In addition to general layout guidelines, we also developed a visual style for their product photography that made their surgical instruments look dramatic and interesting.
The ENTrigue brand is centered on bold colors, interesting photography, and plenty of white space.
By showing their products in an interesting way, we're able to turn something that could be mundane into something visually interesting.
ENTrigue's print collateral and advertising was designed to stand out in a crowd of established medical players and showcased them in a way that got instant attention. We embraced the roots and inherent benefit of their small company – innovation and approachability. Whether that was by dropping a real cocktail napkin into a typically boring physician bag at a conference, or by making typically bland products look beautiful, the cocktail napkin has a special place in the ENTrigue story. It represents that moment of inspiration that every surgeon has, to make something better – for the surgeon and the patient. It also represents ENTrigue's desire and willingness to listen to the ideas, to act on them and to improve them.
A conference bag insert that really stood out, printed directly on cocktail napkins
Striking photography livens up the standard sales sheet
A simple takeaway for booth attendees
General awareness and product–specific trade advertising
In 2011, ENTrigue Surgical needed a new site to better capture their transition from startup to established company. Our visual strategy has been to make surgical products look fresh and beautiful. A new photography set for the website really put the emphasis where it needed to be: on the products.
To show off the beautiful images, we designed a hybrid CSS framework that scales down to 4:3 screen widths when needed, but also stretches to take advantage of wide screens. As a result, the rich photos fill the screen, on most any size screen.
Since so much emphasis is put on the images of their products, we wanted the navigation to allow users to visually identify products and pages. Thumbnailed navigation tabs and a darkened screen for focus did the trick.
The ENTrigue website represents the next step in the evolution of the brand. Big and bold products are still the focus, but with a richer feel.
The feature area on the home page allows photos and text to mix, providing more context on each product.
Playing off the branded imagery, we added it to the site navigation as well to aid in product selection.
The site uses a modified 1140 grid, to allow imagery to fill the frame on a majority of browsers, but still fit in smaller ones.
When the opportunity came to create a booth design for ENTrigue's flagship tradeshow, we suggested a vendor that had a tried and true booth system that had been refined down to a science. We customized the overall aesthetic to be in line with the brand, came up with the lead capture system, developed an iPad-based product demo system, produced the graphics, and created a looping video highlighting their products. As a result, the show went off without a hitch with record attendance, and ENTrigue won the 2010 best booth award, giving them a prime location at the 2011 show.
In 2010, ENTrigue won the best booth award at this show.
TRG worked with The Trade Group to produce this 20x30 booth for ENTrigue's largest event of the year.
We identified early on that the iPad would be a great platform for presenting clinical footage to surgeons and for capturing leads at tradeshows. In the first iteration of our concept, the demo was a big hit, except for the physical syncing. After exploring html5 video (too much data to cache) and developing a custom app (too expensive), we located an existing app that had great video caching support, remote syncing, and an unobtrusive interface that we could easily repurpose. We didn't build it, but it was affordable and effective, proving that not all solutions are custom or expensive.
The result of an internal brainstorming meeting, we identified the need to provide a more structured sales support process and tools to support the process. The first result was a whiteboard map, which was then distilled into this process. It allowed everyone to be on the same page and to visualize every touchpoint and deliverable.
A key requirement of the demo was for it to be invisible to the customer.
Clinical footage plays back instantly, even without a reliable connection, as is often the case at trade shows.
We worked closely with ENTrigue marketing to modify and document the sales process in preparation of a key product launch
After identifying a unique selling proposition, many of our clients find a rebrand in order to visually reflect that message. Whether starting from scratch on a logotype or just refining and reshaping the elements that are already in place, we know the process well.
While we do take on the occasional pure design job or pro-bono project, most of the print work we do is part of a larger project or campaign. The work shown here is just a visual sampling of some of the pieces that were especially effective, or that we still enjoy looking at.
Plain and simple, we love the web. Specifically, we love its ability to constantly evolve as a medium and the challenge it presents to us, as communicators, to use it to its fullest potential.
While we don't have the opportunity to do environmental design for all our clients, it's often one of the most interesting aspects of a project. We certainly know our way around the tradeshow floor with our B2B clients, but we've also been lucky enough to be involved in some retail environmental branding.
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