It’s always refreshing to come across like-minded individuals. It’s something more to come across those who both inspire and motivate . With Kim Cruickshanks & the team @ Fuze Branding, the latter is true. Here’s our conversation with the founder of a small team, with big dreams.
Breakthrough Marketing Group: Kim, I'm excited to hear some more about yourself and Fuze Branding as a whole. The work you guys are putting out is super inspiring.
Kim Cruickshanks: Well thank you I appreciate that, I’m really looking forward to it myself.
BMG: So with one of the services you offer being Company Naming & Brand Identity I’m interested to hear the story behind Fuze and how that name originated.
KIM: Definitely, great question! It really represents the four major facets of the company. We offer Company Naming & Visual Brand Identity as you mentioned, as well as Product Photography and Website Design. Our goal through these services is to provide a solid foundation of what any business needs to thrive, and mixed into that we in-FUSE high levels of spark & creativity.
BMG: That’s great, I think it aligns perfectly with the humanizing nature of your company. You currently have team of 4 is that right? What are the various roles?
KIM: Right there’s 4 of us, we have Laura who is our Client Coordinator/Copywriter, Marley who is our Web Developer, Kathy who is our Junior Graphic Designer & myself as Creative Director.
BMG: For a relatively small team you guys deliver dynamic work. I’m interested to hear some more about the initial process you take when working with a brand. What are some of the questions you ask when determining their core values & philosophies?
KIM: Absolutely- when we start digging into a brand identity we first figure out who their audience is. More than just simple demographics of how old they are and what their income level is - we go deeper into identifying their core consumer’s psychographics like personality, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.
Beyond that, we also are looking to find what makes them different. Because at the end of the day, the brand, whether it be visually or through a name, is a representation of how you stand apart from your competitors.
BMG: I fully agree, making sure to accentuate those differences is crucial.
KIM: Right, and I think there’s a misconception that your differentiating factors needs to be massive, or that you have to create a completely new invention. That’s just simply not true, you can have slight subtleties that allow you to stand out in a positive way.
BMG: That’s a great point. You guys @ FUZE work with a wide variety of clients through various sectors. Is there a specific type of client that’s ideal for you, or that you prefer working with?
KIM: I definitely have a preference towards product based clients, because I’m a packaging nerd at heart. I love everything that goes into it. Right now we’re working on a cool project with a CBD oil company. We’re really excited about that, they have been awesome partners and we believe through branding we can truly elevate and transform the negative connotations that exist with the industry.
BMG: Awesome, I think well executed branding will certainly help with the perception. Where do you generally draw your creative inspiration from?
KIM: It comes from all over really. I’m a bit of digital hoarder, so anything I see that I really like I’ll save it, Pinterest is really good for that. I’m constantly exposing my brain to new ideas. The thing about being a creative for a living- there are days you really don’tfeel like being creative, but you have to.
BMG: Been there, on those days how are you able to motivate yourself? What are some strategies that have helped- because I struggle with those days as well.
KIM: I create systems around the creative process. A lot of it is having the right environment and having a routine. So I make sure I have no distractions, no phone, no email notifications. I put my shoes on even though I work from home. Having that initial structure helps me to begin, and then generally if I can get the ball rolling, I can end up reaching that unstructured creative state.
BMG: That flow state. That’s a great strategy. I just finished reading a book called “Deep Work” and it discusses similar concepts. There is a lot in there surrounding carving out blocks of time devoted to concentrated work free of distraction, and how that leads to tremendous output of quality work.
KIM: Deep Work, that sounds right up my alley, I definitely will have to check that out.
BMG: We talked a little earlier about how you uncover what your clients do to differentiate themselves. What would you say that you as an agency do differently from your competitors?
KIM: Yes, this is a great question! One of the big things we pride ourselves on is our transparency. Everything is priced in flat rate packages and is ultra clear on whats included - down to how many revision rounds. In the same vein, that transparency trickles down to how we interact with our clients.
We place a high importance on approachability, and that openness makes us different. In addition, we are not here to sit on our high horse and spew all that we know using difficult terms. We understand that many small business owners are unfamiliar with these facets of the business, and that’s why we are here to help them each step of the way and make them feel comfortable.
BMG: That’s huge for clients to know they are being listened to and taken care of rather than sold to. Their needs and goals are understood and your campaigns are tailored around those needs.
KIM: Exactly! We understand small businesses because we are one. We’ve been there, we understand if you’re budget is smaller than expected, we understand the day to day struggles of being a business owner and we work to figure out what’s going to bring you the best value.
BMG: “We understand small businesses because we are one”, I love that. I can’t wait to see your exciting new projects come to life, I’ll definitely be on the lookout. Thanks again for taking the time to chat.
KIM: It was my pleasure, and thanks for bringing such great questions to the table!