We’re Central Station. We’re a different kind of agency. As a collective, we bring together conceptual and physical branding. Our ability to do so is driven by our understanding of how brands thrive today, supported by a unique set of capabilities. How we work (Arrive Together) sets us apart.
We’re 48 people and growing. We’re 100% Canadian owned by five senior partners from different disciplines who came together because they believed there was a better way to work, a better way to “get there.”
We take our work seriously. Ourselves, not so much. We work hard but we like to have fun. We think our clients do too. We believe this to be central to both their success and ours.
We do a lot of things. All of them rooted in our ability to create, build and manage brands — to bring them to life in innovative and engaging ways. From developing insight-driven brand positionings, to naming and identity creation and design, to state of the art 3-D modelling, through to producing compelling communications and experiences (off- and on-line), we really do it all.
We have a talented team of in-house strategists, writers and art directors, account managers, digital specialists and production people who work together (and with carefully chosen specialty partners when required) to help our clients make their brands irresistible.
We develop brand positioning from scratch for new products, as well as evolving older brands that need a polish. We build custom processes involving research and Strategy You Can Use to discover the right mental real estate for a product — distinct from competitors, compelling to users and built on product truths. We like to position brands like Mad Jack (Molson Coors) before working on brand identity, campaigns etc.
If you can think of it, we’ve designed it — from logos, packaging (new and evolved), corporate collateral and business cards to event identities, product innovations and complete brand identities. We also design physical spaces, like when we turned a whole floor of Saint Elizabeth Healthcare’s offices into an interactive historical brand exhibit.
We provide campaign strategy, tactical recommendations, creative development and production. Effective campaigns are built on strong central ideas that can travel easily and coherently into different channels. See Thee Rise was the central idea we used to launch Nike’s new “Team Canada” hockey jersey. It flowed naturally into the launch PR event, promotion on social media and various retail environments.
Content is central in a world where brands are always “on”. We create and produce written copy for photography, filmed video, animation, 3D rendered content, and social posts, all in-house. For Miller Genuine Draft that meant creating audio content that lived on your phone to augment a limited time promotional offer.
We love developing high impact creative concepts for retailers like The Bay and Lindt, but the real value lies in our ability to 3D render those spaces as part of development / approval, plan, produce, install and uninstall in any kind of retail environment you can think of. Our House Of Hoops store takeover for Nike during the NBA All-Star Weekend was so impressive we got a compliment from LeBron James when he dropped by, plus that was for a pop-up experience that was gone a few days later.
Before we build a site we do our homework with clients, using our own User Stories process to ensure we are creating the right experience and utility for end users. Then we take sites from basic wireframes to design, coding, launch and hosting / maintenance (if required).
Effective search starts with intelligent strategy. We have SEO & SEM experts who work through business needs and marketing goals related to search. All of the tactics which flow from that – optimizing and organizing content to maximize rankings, paid search advertising, monitoring, reporting and reacting – are handled in-house.
We manage all aspects of social for clients. We handle creative development to make sure tone and character are just right. We create content calendars that balance the need to be organized with the desire to be fresh and react to events. We produce content (videos, photography, animation, written copy etc.) and manage posting for clients who don’t want to keep those capabilities in-house. Our social work for Belgian Moon and Mad Jack has been identified by Facebook as “best practice” within the beer category.
Given the strength and depth of our technology team, we develop apps in-house instead of outsourcing them. Ideation, coding, design, testing and implementation are all done on the 3rd floor. The app we developed for IKO automates parts of their relationship with distributors and contractors. It streamlines the process of ordering marketing material, allowing distributors to manage it from the palm of their hand. Our own Christmas message in 2016 was an app you could download through Google Play or Apple’s App Store to your phone.
We work on aspects of e-commerce businesses, but we also create actual e-commerce platforms ourselves. For Virtual brokers we built their trading platform from scratch – the same award-winning platform their customers use for trading today. We even created an automated e-commerce solution for organizing golf tournaments if you’re looking to run a great event next summer.
At the heart of Arrive Together is a spirit of working with versus for our clients. It’s about a relationship, a way of working, a journey that is engaging, fun and at the end of the day takes the work we do in the right direction.
We’re in the business of creativity, and creative doesn’t come from computers or old, leatherbound books, it comes from people. Crazy, outspoken, opinionated and open-minded people that make Central Station a one-of-a-kind place to work. Maybe that’s why we have things like “Hoodie Days” and “Food for Thought” forums to present whatever is on your mind. Rarely a week goes by where there isn’t some form of contest or challenge to keep you on your game. It’s all part of the planned chaos that is Central Station.