Denny is the founder and creative director of Rayvn, one of the top-rated branding agencies in Toronto in Canada.
They previously provided brand design services but extended their offering to brand strategy which allowed them to increase their rates from $4,000 to $60,000.
With their very first strategy client, they multiplied their project revenue and the work they produced has now been nominated for multiple awards.
Denny talks about his journey from design to strategy, working with next-level clients and how incisive questions are the key to high-impact strategies.
So if you’re interested in extending your services from design to strategy, and you want to hear from somebody who has made the successful transition, then don’t miss this article.
Journey To Creating A Branding Agency
Denny, you’ve been a student of Brand Master Academy for probably a couple of years now. I think you are probably the first cohort of students that came through.
I remember talking to you probably in early 2020, or something like that.
Tell me about your journey to where you are today in terms of your branding strategy and agency.
How has that journey been for you from coming from university to setting up your own, talk to us about that journey for us?
I went to university to study graphic design and I graduated from my BFA and MFA in design.
Worked in the agency world for a couple of years as an art director. Well, it started as a designer and moved on to art director and then a creative director after that.
Then in 2018, me and my wife, we started our own little boutique branding and design studio here in Toronto called Rayvn.
When we start for this we didn’t really deal much in, we were purely designed and that too, we would take on any work that came our way.
We allow our usual design which was not really based on strategy. It was more of filling out the questionnaire like
What is your favorite logo?
What is your favorite website look like?
And it was noticed that the design we came up with was all based on personal preference.
It was all about looking and seeing what is the top trendiest logo styles are up in 2010, 2020, 2018, what are the top trending kinds of logo styles that, that are on YouTube and that’s what we would basically base our designs on.
It’s like is it on-trend? is it trendy? not necessarily what was right for the client or the client’s customer.
We were charging like $3000, $4,000 for a whole brand identity package and for us, we thought, okay, that was kind of the standard market rate, really.
Then I saw a YouTube video, I think it was Chris Do, talking about how much they charge for strategy.
I tried to get into the whole like his whole pro group because they have a pro program as well, and it didn’t quite resonate with me and then that was when I came across at
Brand Master Academy where you were talking teaching strategy.
It really simplified the way in which you taught strategy and kind of clicked for me and then we started using basically all the kinds of work that we did.
The work that you speak off that just recently won, got nominated for the Webby award, which is a law firm branding that we did called a for Normand. It’s a law firm out in Orlando, Florida.
They were the first clients that we applied the whole brand strategy principle and it was funny because initially, you would never have thought of charging like anywhere.
The kind of stuff that we charged like close to 25K, 30K for a brand identity design project where usually we would be charging the same, like $3000, $5,000.
Thanks to the strategy and thanks to a lot of the things that were discussed in the Facebook group in Brand Masters Academy.
So it was extremely helpful and we delivered a really good product at the end and got accolades the cause of it.
Challenges About Brand Strategy
We’ll jump into that.
It’s beautiful work and we can talk about the industry that they’re in and the thinkin