Philly Creative Guide

Creative Firm

Nat Gutwirth

Shaping the Brand Experience with One Hand
by Nat Gutwirth, 1 Sep 2010

As founding partner, along with Andrew Geroski, of Left Hand Creative, LLC, Nat Gutwirth has been practicing as a copywriter, producer, creative director and content developer in the Philadelphia area since the advent of movable type. Left Hand currently provides branding and advertising support for Cargill Chocolate, Herr's Snack Foods, Longwood Gardens, The Philadelphia Zoo and World Café Live, among others. Visit to see more examples of their Left Handiwork.

In the too-many-to-mention years that my partner and I served in the cloistered confines of the agency business, there was one—and only one—cardinal rule to which we all adhered with religious fidelity. For a brand to succeed, we would chant in monotonic unison, it must stand for one thing. And one thing only.

In 2006, when we set forth to build our own temple of branding, we remembered this treasured axiom. Considered it closely. Then ignored it completely. Because while our goal in creating Left Hand was singular—to provide "support on the creative side"—the forms that support can take have proven to be as endlessly diverse and weirdly unpredictable as the cast of "Glee."

Yes, we do windows (though we prefer Macs).
In the course of helping our clients to craft a consistent, meaningful brand experience, we have at various times, developed exterior building graphics and way-finding systems; designed vehicles and uniforms; created handbooks for truckers, scripted speeches for CEOs, produced in-store broadcasts for retail chains and in-room video for hospital patients. We've done package design, exhibit design, interior design, sound design, interactive design, game design and sweepstakes design. We've worked in traditional media, interactive media, social media, even once or twice in Media, PA.

All along, of course, we've designed logos, produced TV and radio commercials, developed websites and online ad campaigns and crafted our fair share of good old-fashioned print and collateral.

Shaping the Brand Experience with One Hand

Has the world changed, or is it us?
Of course we'd love to take sole credit for all this diversification in our scope of services. After all, our vision for Left Hand has always been to shape ourselves to the need our clients present. We have sought, and have been fortunate to find, clients who recognize the value of projecting a unified brand across all channels of communication. But in truth, the "New Diversity" just reflects the changing realities of the marketplace. As media have proliferated, messages have become more diffuse and consumers more elusive. Consequently, "branding" is no longer confined to the traditional channels.

Smart marketers (our clients, for example) get that the brand is the basis of a customer relationship; that every point of customer contact is an opportunity to strengthen and enrich that relationship; and that the ultimate point of contact is the product (or service) itself. So it only makes sense that the folks who are engaged in building the brand should have a hand in shaping that product experience. Preferably, a left one.

Shaping the Brand Experience with One Hand

Two for the show: Exhibit Promotion for the Zoo and Longwood Gardens. This past spring, Left Hand was presented with two great opportunities to extend our reach.

For The Philadelphia Zoo, we were first engaged to help craft an identity and positioning for a conservation program called "Footprints." Once a logo and tagline had been approved, the next phase of work was to help the Zoo team develop a memorable and engaging exhibit that would express the conservation mission of "Footprints." The resulting exhibit, "Creatures of Habitat," opened on April 11th and will run through October. Working in close collaboration with Chief Marketing Officer Amy Shearer and the exhibit and animal staff of the Zoo, Left Hand conceived, named, designed an identity and scripted the display panels for this campus-wide exhibit consisting of oversized LEGO-brick sculptures of endangered animals.

Shaping the Brand Experience with One Hand

A TV commercial, theatrical trailer, billboard, poster and online banner campaign, also created by Left Hand, were produced to promote the exhibition. Renowned Philadelphia-based actor David Morse donated his narration talents to the effort, which has resulted in record-setting attendance and an overwhelmingly positive reception.

For Longwood Gardens our charge was more straightforward, though no less challenging. We were Invited by Longwood Chief Marketing Officer Marnie Conley to produce a campaign in visual media for a product that cannot be visualized. "Making Scents: The Art & Passion of Fragrance" is a blockbuster exhibition focused entirely on the sense of smell. The question was how could we convey to the eyes and ears the attraction of an exhibit directed entirely at the nose? The answer, as delivered on TV, in magazine ads, in online banners and a "scratch 'n sniff" direct mailer, took the form of a graphic "fragrance mist," a photographic effect that vividly captured the ineffable essence of aroma.

Shaping the Brand Experience with One Hand

Now in its fourth month on display, Making Scents has attracted record crowds and rave reviews as well as extensive national press coverage. The exhibition continues through November 21st at Longwood Gardens.

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