Anthem Branding’s Ted Church (skucon 2017)

3 min read

The word “creative” in our industry has become such a ubiquitous, generalized term that it borders on the point of meaninglessness.

  1. What does it mean to offer creative services as a strategic value for your customers?
  2. How do you develop creativity as a genuine business advantage that drives revenue?
  3. How does creativity, as a pillar value of your company, compel you to do more than you ever imagined?

Meet Ted Church and the folks at Anthem Branding. Companies like Google, MTV, Atlantic Records, lululemon, and many more have sought the services of Anthem for the astonishing way they connect compelling brands with passionate, tactile experiences. Prized for their ingenuity, the folks at Anthem are rule breakers who differentiate by design

(We have developed a series of shortcuts for you -below- to navigate to sections of Ted’s session that might be most relevant to you, but seriously, if you want to challenge and transform the way you do business, we urge you to watch the whole episode).

  • 2:55 – How Ted got his start selling merchandise to the University of Colorado at Boulder
  • 3:46 – A transformation began to occur and Ted combines his personal passions with business …. and begins to find his mojo.
  • 4:55 – Ted begins to seek his tribe, the type of clients he wants to work with.
  • 5:50 – Anthem branding is born, crystallizing a vision to become a best-in-class branding agency who takes a strategic (advertising agency) approach through creative merchandising.
  • 6:11 – Who inspires Ted?
  • 6:35 – A brand as an authentic experience.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten out of a meeting and said, ‘How the hell are we going to pull that off?’

  • 7:00 – Ted calls millennials “the connected consumers” (more on millennials at 10:22).
  • 7:31 – Who are the winners today? Those whose brands breathe relevance and authenticity.
  • 8:31 – The five keys that show you how to attract the client you want to go after, along with secrets to connecting authentically (and thereby living the brand story).  
  • 10:35 – Anthem branding begins to evolve creatively (they currently have 14 designers on staff), they learn how to amplify the client’s brand message using apparel, products, and strategic design.
  • 11:24 – Anthem learns how to take price out of the equation (hint: fashion forward inspiration, global sourcing ambitions).
  • 12:12 – Everything you do tells a story. Ted shares a recent Silicon Valley story about delivering on objectives and how to help brands tell a cohesive story with creative merchandise.
  • 12:40 – (Editor’s note: Everything you thought you knew about self-promotion was wrong). Anthem’s strategic and beautiful collection that they build every quarter to inspire clients and drive sales. These are not products, these are experiences.
  • 13:25 – How to transform any promotional product into a gift (hint: the details matter).
  • 14:20 – Differentiating your brand: “Low-quality promotional products is not where we choose to play.” How anthem curates and designs for customer experiences.
  • 15:05 – Google example of how they work with clients. (1) Understanding the ethos of what makes a brand special. (2) Translating that ethos tactically and in a tactile manner onto a product.
  • 16:28 – The craft beer industry and the skill of building brand experiences to reflect the uniqueness of every customer.
  • 17:05 – “We’re not trying to be all things to all people.” How Anthem uses merchandise to engage rabid fans and inspire a lifestyle brand.  
  • 19:01 – A project collaboration for Wiz Khalifa that resulted in millions of dollars worth of exposure.  
  • 20:22 – Anthem’s growth leads them to consumer packaging, corporate identity development, digital deliverable, product design, catalog development, and more.  
  • 22:40 – Working with lululemon and Simms.  
  • 23:55 – Never say ‘no’ and getting out of your comfort zone: this is where growth happens.

Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to the quality. – Charles Eames

  • 24:43 – “We make friends.” Ted’s primary take-away from his talk: Curating an authentic experience by taking the things you’re passionate about and applying extra-level detail (packaging, message) to the projects while asking: How can I really be an advocate and offer sage advice to my customer?
    25:12 – Anthem Branding’s work with distributors within the industry.