Branding: A frog's eye view
Frog Design, a distinguished product-design and branding consultancy, charges as much as $35,000 for a one-day brainstorming session.
by Brian O'Reilly, FSB Magazine

(FORTUNE Small Business Magazine) - With scores of branding consultants out there, why hire an oddly named, 37-year-old industrial-design firm best known for dreaming up sleek consumer gadgets for the likes of Sony (Charts) and Apple (Charts)?

The experts

Palo Alto-based Frog Design (frogdesign.com) has always kept at least one eye focused on helping clients develop strong brands. "In the early days, as product designers, we were approached by companies that wanted to expand their presence in the marketplace," says Frog COO Doreen Lorenzo, 48. "Particularly with electronic devices, we had to deal with the physical aspects, the user interface, the software, manufacturing, and eventually, how it would be marketed."

TurboChef Technologies (Charts), based in Atlanta, manufactures high-speed commercial ovens. The $50-million-a-year company recently asked Frog to help it develop a new oven for the consumer market. "We had to fine-tune their technology for home use," says Lorenzo. "Using focus groups, we determined that the product had to be distinguished from microwave ovens and humanized." Frog's advice: Liken the product to a hearth, color it bronze--not microwave white--and market it as warm and cozy.

Frog's services don't come cheap: as much as $35,000 for a one-day brainstorming session. And of course even the most brilliant marketing strategy can't help a dud product. But if you have relatively deep pockets and a promising business idea, its clients say, Frog's creative consulting could be just the ticket. "We work in many different industries, so we can often make connections that the clients cannot," says Frog consultant Luke Williams. "When people try to do this themselves, they don't know where to start."

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Related: Frog Design helps Bare Necessities take on Victoria's Secret

J.M. Smucker's strong brand identity helps to sweeten profits. Top of page

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.