Agency Spotlight: Herman-Scheer talks beginnings, business, and branding
Herman-Scheer is a branding agency in Santa Monica, California comprised of a galvanized group of strategists, designers, developers, and writers. They build amazing brands and shape experiences that allow people to fall madly in love with them. I got a chance to talk to one of the agency’s fearless leaders, Chapin Herman, about the Herman-Scheer origin story, how they take on new projects, and branding trends.
How it all began
Chapin Herman and John Scheer met in college through collaborating on several art projects that were met with a very positive response from their university, classmates, and the city of Tucson, Arizona. They realized that they clicked well, loved the work they were doing, and knew how to launch a business from it.
Now with a robust team of 10, Herman-Scheer has taken on clients ranging from a DIY cake decorating studio to a digital optometry company. Although their clients greatly vary, the Herman-Scheer touch is evident in everything they do. The tell-tale sign they’re the orchestrator behind a brand? It’s ridiculously good looking.
“Although we’re versatile in our approach, we definitely have a style. But at the same time, we remain conscious through our processes to remain objective towards our work and the purpose it serves.” -Chapin Herman, Co-founder
There are three imperative steps that Herman-Scheer follows every time they create brand magic:
1. Establish a connection
“Every day, people decide which brands to welcome into their lives. These decisions reflect who they are, what they care about, and how people perceive them. We build brands to connect with an audience who will proudly align with them.”
2. Orchestrate each movement
“From the first impression to referring a friend, every interaction a person has with a brand is an opportunity to create a memorable moment. We carefully craft each of those moments to orchestrate an unforgettable branded experience.”
3. Make it f***in’ cool
“At the end of the day, everything we create to represent a brand has to be unmistakably cool. While we give proper respect to the subjective nature of cool, the awe-inspiring sensation that wows, excites, and blows minds is universal.”
On the other hand, when it comes to approaching a rebrand, Chapin Herman knows it can only be successful by definitively identifying the inflection point that created the need for a rebrand. Looking for a “refresh” simply isn’t enough. Their goal is to drill down to the deepest level and pull out the strategic imperatives for a new branding exercise. From there, they can determine what brand equity is worth holding on to.
The trends that matter
Chapin believes it’s absolutely crucial to invest in your brand (and this isn’t just because he co-founded a branding agency.) Technology has made it incredibly easy to launch new businesses, so the barrier of entry is lower than ever. “Brand is the difference maker in a world where 95 percent of “things” have been commoditized. ”
“Chobani is crushing the game for me. They recently deployed a rebrand that was done so incredibly well. From their changes in product, packaging, identity, and content, every piece was carefully crafted to build a whole new narrative of their company.”
An important branding trend right now is becoming more human. The brands that still feel like ethereal entities that can’t relate to us beings don’t get it. Chapin thinks we pick brands in a very similar way to friends. We want to be around the people/brands that make us feel good, that we respect, and have similarly aligned values and energies. This means that brands also need to be joining important conversations. The brands that take a stance on current issues are the ones that receive notiarity from press and respect from consumers.
Herman-Scheer shaped the Debbie Allen Dance Academy brand to advance their mission, increase their sponsorships, and attract more people to their classes and events.
When asked about companies like “Brandless” who seem to be “anti-brand,” Chapin gives kudos to them, because they aren’t really without a brand. To be means to be perceived, and they’ve created a perception as being a company that people can see, feel, and understand.
If you’re interested in keeping up with the wonderful work of Herman-Scheer, give them a follow on Instagram for some daily inspo.
Whether you’re just starting to build your agency or simply looking to up your game, we’ve got 10 tips that will help you rise above the noise and build a badass design agency. We’ve compiled this FREE guide with the best tips from other agencies like Herman-Scheer. Ready to start, build, and grow your own badass design agency?