Every brand is worthy of a fight

 

At Caffeine, we never back down from obsessively asking WHY, as in “WHY do you matter?” until we discover a brand cause worth fighting for. And then we rally audiences to fight for this cause by waging PR and social media battles that beg to be won.

About

Caffeine is a branding, PR and social media firm that specializes in doing whatever it takes to instill your brand with a cause—a “fight”—that will attract the right people to it, including the right customers and employees. We have offices in Milwaukee and Chicago, and we represent a robust variety of clients ranging from b2b products to consumer services and even celebrities.

We often break the rules because when you truly believe in what your clients are fighting for like we do, the rules don’t apply. After all, boring always fails.

Our agency is not filled with publicists and account executives as much as newsmakers. Though the way we share stories has changed dramatically in the last ten years, what we share is still the same: news. We have proven that every brand can inspire newsworthy stories as long as you’re courageous enough to ask WHY until you reach the final why—the answer to the question: “If you disappeared from the world tomorrow, what would you want the world to be missing?”

This is your Undeniable Truth, and we pledge this much: if you’re ready to fight, we will help you rediscover this truth and share it with the world in ways that will reawaken your brand and ultimately increase sales.

Our Process

We never back down from a fight because, just like any good army, we have a rigid process that we never break:

Desert Meeting

First, we lead each of our clients on a no-holds-barred style mission to establish why their brand matters. Here, we determine your brands “Undeniable Truth”, the answer to the question, “If you disappeared from the world tomorrow, what would the world be missing."

Rally Cry

When we studied how great leaders in history inspired people to fight for a cause, we discovered a common thread between everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Vince Lombardi: rally cries. We pen “Braveheart Speeches” for all of our clients because there’s no better way to rally support, especially from employees. Every great brand is built from the inside out.

Plan

Once we have physical client signatures on the brand position, we will get to work on creating the blueprint for our ongoing work. We are fanatical planners because, as the old saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, you may end up somewhere else.

Go to War

Once the plan has been written and approved, it's time to engage in "story battles" across various mediums. This effort is defined by the agreed upon Pillars of Services outlined in the plan (see our services page for a detailed breakdown of the Pillars of Service we offer).

Report

We report results monthly for every Pillar of Service we perform, even Internal Communications. After all, if it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed.

Our Rally Cry

Finding himself professionally suicidal in the bureaucratic, big agency world, the founder penned a rally cry of how it should be. One day later, he founded Caffeine Communications to go to war for it:

“We believe that every brand has something worth fighting for. And finding this cause always starts with a question: “If you disappeared from the world tomorrow, what would you want the world to be missing?”

The problem is: the marketing world is populated by the walking dead.  Marketers drink corporate Kool-Aid by the gallons and aimlessly pee out messages like drunken, soulless pirates.

Not us. We want to matter. We want to believe.  We want to believe and be inspired by the stories we share on behalf of our clients.  In fact, we want our own lives to be changed by the stories we tell.  We want to turn business endeavors into great human ones, so they can truly live and thrive.  We will never again be an administrator of messages that no one truly believes in.  Instead, we will challenge current beliefs, but only after we’ve listened and been challenged ourselves.

And, after orchestrating insight and causes that beg to be won and developing a sustainable storyline that’s deeply rooted in a brand’s Undeniable Truth, we will back it up with world-class creative and a staff of entrepreneurial storytellers.

Then, in partnership with clients, we will passionately fight for the promise of the brand and ultimately inspire success.  In the end, everyone will be fulfilled and alive again.”

Clients

We believe in our processes because they’ve worked—time and again. From creating long, newsworthy lives for new brands, to resuscitating flatlined brands, we’ve battle-tested these processes in all sorts of scenarios. Here’s a glimpse of the brands that have benefitted from our tireless commitment to creating causes that beg to be won:

 
 

 

Services

We may fight on the same battlegrounds as other agencies, but our tactics are always uniquely inspired.

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Branding

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Our Philosophy:
All great brands start with WHY? Whereas many agencies don’t have the courage to ruffle some feathers and challenge their clients to truly answer this question, we never go to work until we get an answer that truly inspires us to fight. We feel like this is just common sense. Then again, we know that most definitions of “common” have nothing to do with us.
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Strategy

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Our Philosophy:
When you hire us, don’t be surprised when you see these words at the beginning of your plan: “Create a brand that captures more share of voice and ultimately leads to increased sales.” Though the destination is almost always the same, the way we get there is unique for every client. In our experience creating winning strategies for brands from popcorn to motorcycles, we have learned that newsworthy brands and stories are the most efficient because they don’t have to be bought or sold. If you’re looking for “strategic” advice like, “frequency, frequency, frequency,” please call us and we’d be happy to connect you with one of our competitors.
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Creative Concepting

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Our Philosophy:
True creativity concepts are not born from white boards or blue skies. They spawn from narrow thoughts.This is not our theory. It’s an indisputable fact delivered to us from the universe. The Big Bang. The recently discovered Higgs Boson, or “God Particle.” Our own DNA. Everything big and wondrous and complex starts off tiny. We ask WHY (starting to detect a pattern here?) until we discover a narrow thought that’s tasty and newsworthy. After that, coming up with creative ideas is easy.
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Media Relations

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Our Philosophy:
Developing, pitching and placing stories in media from trade publications to The Tonight Show are bread ‘n’ butter services for us. We don’t approach media relations as a “relationship business.” It’s not that we’re opposed to building relationships with writers, producers and influencers, it’s just that we’d rather rely on the strength of our stories to get coverage. We have found that investing the upfront time to develop and write great stories saves us from having to wage endless pitch campaigns that ultimately yield low hit-rates—“dialing for dollars.” Ultimately, this means our placements are higher quality, and our budgets are lower. We believe that’s a relationship everyone can appreciate.
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Internal Comm.

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Our Philosophy:
Great brands are built from the inside out. Consequently, we take internal communications—inspiring your employees from the C-suites to the factory floor—very seriously. Frankly, you can’t afford to have a brand that isn’t living and thriving inside your company. If your employees are uninspired, your external audiences will eventually get wind of this dissension via social channels like Facebook or Twitter. And when they do, you will be exposed. Your employees are your brand’s greatest ambassadors, and they’re also your harshest critics—the quickest to call “bulls**t” on you. That’s why we start by inspiring them with internal events and storytelling efforts. If we can convince them to fight, we know we can win over any audience.
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Advertising

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Our Philosophy:
Though most of our services are geared towards earning media rather than buying it, we often get asked to bring our incessant WHY DOES IT MATTER approach to advertising—including print, radio, television and interactive ads. And who are we to deny our clients what they want? (Actually, we do that all the time too.) For us, the Holy Grail is when we can create an inescapable storytelling ecosystem by combining news coverage and social sharing with a smartly planned advertising campaign.
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Social Media

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Our Philosophy:
We take social media very seriously. Consider our philosophy of speaking in simple, human terms and you’ll understand why we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evolution of PR than ‘social media’—which is by its very definition more casual and human. Social media is more than posting cool stories to Facebook and responding to Twitter mentions. We use social media platforms, including email campaigns and microsites, to aggressively pursue direct relationships with our targets audiences. These relationships are worth thousands—even millions—of dollars because they empower us to communicate directly and regularly with people who are interested in buying our products. This kind of story control used to cost a fortune in advertising dollars. Not anymore.
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Events

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Our Philosophy:
We have always loved planning and executing events, from trade shows to launch parties and internal rallying events. There’s no more impactful way to bring a brand to life than through a full-sensory experience. Now, thanks to social media, an event’s impact is no longer limited to the people who can physically attend it. We were using the phrase “events that beg to be shared” long before social media mattered. It looks like the marketing gods were listening.
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Whatever It Takes

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Our Philosophy:
Literally, whatever it takes.

Our Work

Their stories are our stories. In some ways, we see ourselves as matchmakers – linking brand news stories with specific media, consumers and even other brands. Attention and awareness are definitely priorities, but we think of it as a song instead of a scream. (Just expect that sometimes it’s opera and other times death metal.)

Executive Team

Since our inception, Caffeine has worked tirelessly in trying out and ultimately discovering and securing the truly enlightened talent that can not only orchestrate insight but also put it into action – quickly.

With big and small clients throughout North America, Caffeine has an impressive executive team of seasoned storytellers. Don’t let the background fool you, we may have ideas that take flight, but our feet are planted on the ground:

Bryan LeMonds
Founder & President

bryan@ caffeinecommunications.com

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Sam Hogerton
VP of Strategy and Planning

651.249.4918

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David Larson
Director, Caffeine Studios

262.391.6686

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    Mailing Address

    Milwaukee:
    260 East Highland Ave., Suite 700
    Milwaukee, WI 53202

    Chicago:
    200 East Randolph, Suite 3400
    Chicago, IL 60601

    New Business Inquiries: 414.232.8411
    Employment Opportunities: 651.249.4918

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