Helping brands navigate uncharted waters

Embracing change is the compass for business decisions at Here Be Monsters
The SnapQuote Insurance agency can return three auto insurance quotes in six seconds – the exact amount of time HBM took in this video to show how antiquated “old insurance” is in comparison.

The SnapQuote Insurance agency can return three auto insurance quotes in six seconds – the exact amount of time HBM took in this video to show how antiquated “old insurance” is.

Anyone who has looked at a 16th-century map of the New World knows that wherever explorers had yet to tread, the coastline would abruptly end with the comment “terra incognita,” and uncharted waters would often be labelled with the warning “here be monsters.” Explorers were brave but not unwilling to express their fear of what might await them beyond the edge of the known world.

 To announce the Urgent & Primary Care Centres, Here Be Monsters created a playful poster to promote the right choices of care within the VCH system.

To announce the Urgent & Primary Care Centres, Here Be Monsters created a playful poster to promote the right choices of care within the VCH system.

So when it came time to name their fledgling Vancouver agency in 2017, Matt Bielby, Tony Hird and Chris Raedcher decided that Here Be Monsters would be a great way to define themselves and what they stood for. The firm’s offer includes design, branding and advertising; Bielby and Hird are creative directors, and Raedcher is client services director. Although the three met at Rethink, they have cumulative experience at other agencies including Taxi and Grey Worldwide.

“We are brand explorers,” Bielby explains, “and our name promises potential clients that we will invite them to go somewhere new, somewhere better and explore those uncharted waters together.”

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Animal facts written in a fun, typographic way and an arresting photo are all HBM needed to promote the exhibit Where Weird Is Normal.

Here Be Monsters is relatively small, so it’s natural that they act more like helmsmen than deckhands. For example, they might work with a software company to define its brand, and then use that as the guide for designing the user experience and selecting the right crew members from their network to execute it. HBM might not be UX experts, but they can help lead those decisions from a brand perspective.

HBM built the Brewing August brand around a feeling. The picnic table signals a relaxed outlook on beer and provides an iconic A-shaped monogram for the brewery, while a West Coast sunset provides the inspiration and abstraction for the packaging

HBM built the Brewing August brand around a feeling. The West Coast sunset provides the inspiration and abstraction for the packaging.

Or they can help a client make decisions about what kind of CSR initiatives would best align with its brand. Another area that could benefit is recruitment, especially in competitive markets such as technology, where start-ups have a hard time matching the six-figure offers established outfits make to recent graduates. Having a clearly defined brand can help these smaller companies attract talent that seeks purpose as well as a paycheque.

To demonstrate similarities to cleaning – in other words, recycling – used motor oil, HBM created a DIY YouTube tutorial series providing tips on cleaning your home and your stuff.

To demonstrate similarities to cleaning – in other words, recycling – used motor oil, HBM created a DIY YouTube tutorial series providing tips on cleaning your home and your stuff.

Here Be Monsters builds these brand blueprints for businesses and organizations of varying size and type.

For GUD recovery drinks (from Ezry Foods), it built the brand story, identity system and package design around the idea that sports should be both fun and functional. It hit on the insight that when we’re kids we do sports for fun, but as we age, it’s more like hard work. Instead of resorting to the sweaty aggression associated with other sports recovery drinks, Here Be Monsters kept it light and refreshing, using bright colours on the drink cans and design inspired by race lanes and athletic markings.

Inspired by athletic markings and race lanes, HBM rebranded GUD recovery drinks to be more inclusive and joyful, whereas the previous brand was dark and overly masculine.

Inspired by race lanes, HBM rebranded GUD recovery drinks to be more inclusive and joyful, whereas the previous brand was dark and overly masculine.

For a pair of photographers launching a Vancouver studio rental business, Here Be Monsters came up with the name Elastic Studios to highlight the flexibility and customizability of their creative spaces. The remit included logo, identity system, and a range of applications from print to digital, such as custom water bottles, tote bags, stationery and website.

Prior to engaging Here Be Monsters, the BC Used Oil Management Association saw attempts at building awareness fall on deaf ears. Admittedly, recycling used oil is not a sexy topic. So HBM hit on the notion that just because something is dirty doesn’t mean you should throw it away. To illustrate the point, it drew on intentionally absurd comparisons, including throwing away a perfectly good bike or set of dinner plates. A follow-up campaign included several quirky cleaning tutorial videos on social media.

Elastic Studios is a double-large facility that can be partitioned off for separate projects to meet the needs of any production. HBM came up with the studio’s name and identity system.

Elastic Studios is a double-large facility that can be partitioned off for separate projects to meet the needs of any production. HBM came up with the studio’s name and identity system.

Other clients include Nature’s Fare Markets, Canterbury Coffee, electrical products manufacturer VoltSafe, beer maker Brewing August, Wesgroup Properties, Denny’s Canada, the Vancouver Aquarium, and auto and motorcycle insurance agency SnapQuote.

Here Be Monsters is keen on creating solutions with just the right balance of the familiar present and a future as unknowable as the uncharted waters of those 16th-century maps. Too much future can inspire fear of the unknown, while too much present may not be enough to propel a brand forward. But Here Be Monsters knows how to navigate these waters, taking brands to better places.

 

CONTACT:
Chris Raedcher (he/him)
Client Services Director, Partner
chris@herebemonsters.ca

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