We have a lot on our minds…

Inside Look at BrandJuice’s Senior Strategist, Lori Reifert

Lori Reifert, BrandJuice Senior Strategist, is the spotlight of our October’s employee profile. We sat down for a Q&A to deep dive into her refreshing way of thinking and insightful vision that drives our team every day.

Tell us about where you grew up?

I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky – the land of bourbon, bluegrass, basketball and Thoroughbreds. It’s full of tradition and holds a special place in my heart. I’ll never stop getting homesick around the time of March Madness and the Kentucky Derby.

What brand is your personality most aligned with?

Rifle Paper Co. is a brand that definitely gets me. It’s colorful, intentional, and has just the right amount of playful whimsy.

What led you to choosing this profession?

I like to think that brand strategy is the perfect intersection between my skills and my passions. I love to communicate, I love to evoke feelings and inspire people to act, and I am very aesthetically driven. I honestly knew that I wanted to work in this field in some capacity when I was about 13 years old.

Who inspires you? Who do you aspire to be like?

Strong businesswomen who lead with courage, conviction and compassion. Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” had a profound effect on me.

What’s your most irrational fear?

Getting trapped in an elevator. I’ve had one very brief experience where I was trapped for about 5 minutes, but it felt like an eternity. If I have the option, I prefer the stairs.

If you could keep only 5 possessions, what would they be?

iPhone, iMac, my passport, backpack, and Paul Smith sunglasses. I figure I can go anywhere in the world with that list.

What are you drinking come five o’clock?

Wine. Italian reds, Provence-style Rosé, or whatever new and esoteric varietal the guy at the wine shop is touting.

Best restaurant in Denver?

So hard to choose. It’s easier to go by genre – and for my money I’ll take Blue Pan Detroit-style pizza over any other kind.

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

I’m currently reading the Pulitzer Prize winner “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. I love to read, so all-time favorite is hard, but the Hemingway memoir “A Moveable Feast” about his early years in Paris is at the top of the list.

When you’re in need of creative inspiration, where do you go? What do you do?

I’m a high intensity person, so creative inspiration comes for me when I unwind – cooking, taking a yoga class, playing golf, or simply walking outside in nature. Colorado is a great influence on my wellbeing.

What was the last picture you took with your phone?

A landscape of Buena Vista, Colorado from my recent trip there.

If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?  

Whether or not it is clear to you, there’s no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should. Just trust your intuition and don’t fear the unknown.

What’s the best part about working at BrandJuice?

Being able to practice brand strategy on a high level with really talented, thoughtful people who bring smart perspectives to the table at every meeting. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people you work with, and the people here are genuine.

Follow along on our social media over the coming weeks to find out more about wha Lori’s life is like when she’s not cultivating creative genius at BrandJuice.

Igniting Your Purpose

I find it interesting that there are people, especially artists, with a passion so pure, so intense that they spend their life trying to conquer it. Where art is their work. In fact, maybe I don’t find it interesting. I find it enviable. I am jealous of these people’s driving force of passion—a realization I came to while watching television.

In Netflix’s documentary, SkyLadder—Cai Guo Qiang’s art and life are explored—the pinnacle of his career, and the documentary, is the execution of a successful sky ladder connecting “earth to heaven”.

What drives these passions? For Cai, it started with gunpowder and explosions to fireworks to entertainment. A chain of things that ignited into a piece of artwork that did not even last a day—but took over two decades to create. I’m in awe. However, it feels too late for me to find and explore and pursue a passion of such great scale—because this level of passion or obsession seems inherent. But it might not be too late to try to understand these people’s passions–and their origins. The core thought that started it all—and apply it to my work.

In branding there must be a driving force for companies to keep going, keep creating. If we as a company, or branding artists, can get to the core origin of where our client’s brand started, why it started—can we harness it, and leverage it for externalizing? Would the buyers or consumers of these brands be attracted to it?

Take Artifact Uprising for example. A company whose origin is as important, if not more so, than who the brand is today—because while growth and evolution are inevitable, roots remain the same (https://www.artifactuprising.com/our-story). Artifact Uprising’s origin doesn’t boil down to a single instance or moment in time, but was built from a larger core passion. And carefully nurtured overtime, that passion transformed into an all-encompassing purpose that its customers share.

Staying the course requires a core driver. Achievement of which relies on the ability to answer the following: how do you cultivate and harness the power of passion overtime…to inject your brand with this type of unmistakably pure force?

Inside Look at BrandJuice’s Designer, DJ Field

DJ Field, BrandJuice Designer, is the spotlight of our September employee profile. We sat down for a Q&A to deep dive into his refreshing way of thinking and insightful vision that drives our team every day.

Tell us about where you grew up?

I’m a Hoosier and a Michigander. I grew up in an area, condescendingly referred to as “The Region.” It’s just over the Illinois border, about 45 minutes from Chicago. So most of us identify more with Chicagoans than our fellow Hoosiers to the South & East. Unmistakably rejected by both, we are the Bastards of the Midwest. I’m thankful to have also spent some formative years on the Sleeping Bear Dunes of Northern Michigan. 

What brand is your personality most aligned with?

Not That Kind Of DJ™. I even have my own logo.

What led you to choosing this profession?

It probably sounds obnoxious, but this profession chose me. And thank goodness it’s worked out, because I’ve broken up with and / or friend-zoned damn near every other professional endeavor. Honestly, I’m made to do what I do. And–turns out it’s true–it is profoundly satisfying to make a living, just being who you are and doing what you love.

Who inspires you? Who do you aspire to be like?

@joanie_bier. No need to explain.

What’s your most irrational fear?

Being chased by poisonous snakes. I know, in my mind, that they’re reclusive and only aggressive if threatened. But my heart tells me a very different story.

If you could keep only 5 possessions, what would they be?

  1. Rupert Field (a Chocolate Labrador whom I possess)
  2. Maybelle Field (a Golden Retriever / Skunk whom I possess)
  3. My computer w/ internet–to keep learning and creating
  4. My Vitamix
  5. My Epiphone Casino

What are you drinking come five o’clock?

Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Kentucky Bourbon, compliments of my dear friends & colleagues at BrandJuice.

Best restaurant in Denver?

City O’ City.

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

This Year: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson
Ever: How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger

When you’re in need of creative inspiration, where do you go? What do you do?

I spend time with my Wife. She’s legitimately the most inspiring person I’ve ever known. Even more than @joanie_bier.

What was the last picture you took with your phone?

I took a quick snap of Kimberly D.W. McDonald’s French Bulldog puppy, ‘Tonks’, asleep on top of her desk. It was the right thing to do.

If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?  

Oh man, that kid and I would not get along. He almost certainly wouldn’t listen, but I’d try to break the news that, “No one is coming to ‘discover’ you. Maybe quit waiting for the Universe to ring your doorbell with some oversized check and get to work.”

What’s the best part about working at BrandJuice?

Our people. The best culture I’ve ever experienced. 

Follow along on our social media over the coming weeks to find out more about what DJ’s life is like when he’s not cultivating creative genius at BrandJuice.

Inside Look at BrandJuice’s Senior Strategist, Emmy West

Emmy West, BrandJuice Senior Strategist, is the spotlight of our May employee profile. We sat down for a Q&A to deep dive into her refreshing way of thinking and insightful vision that drives our team every day.

Tell us about where you grew up?

I grew up in a beautiful little town on the border of Iowa and Illinois called Bettendorf. As a fourth generation Iowan, it was one of those places where everyone knows you and people leave their cars and homes unlocked. Fun fact: Abraham Lincoln won his first court case in my hometown!

What brand is your personality most aligned with?

This is a tough one! But my friends here at the office are suggesting I’m like those little oranges – Cuties! Because I’m accessible and sweet!

What led you to choosing this profession?

It’s always been about what I can do, not what I can be. My curiosity and ability to persuasively communicate complex ideas in simple terms and get teams to consensus has led me to BrandJuice.

Who inspires you? Who do you aspire to be like?

My best self inspires me to try make every day great. Other people and things that inspire me include my colleagues at BrandJuice, ah hem, Oprah, my spiritualist, Cate Gersperger, my family, friends, and all the children in my life. They remind me to look at the world with new eyes and remind me to ask myself, “What kind of world do we want to these kids to grow up in?”


What’s your most irrational fear?

Government spying. Not to say I’m a prepper, but my goodness, our location tracking on our phones, internet tracking, even the spying Elf on the Shelf, plus acres and acres of warehouses in Utah that house government databases, gives me some discomfort!

If you could keep only 5 possessions, what would they be?

Are dogs possessions? If so, then I’d definetely keep my two dogs Dakota West and Grady Glancy! Then my chacos, my water bottle, my phone, a prayer card from my Grandma Glancy, and my wedding ring.

What are you drinking come five o’clock?

Water or White wine!

Best restaurant in Denver?

I’m old school, I still love Root Down, Watercourse and the Cherry Creek Grille.

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

The Brand Gap. Hands down, it made me think differently about the work to be done to seamlessly connect design and strategy. Ever? The Power of Now by Ekhardt Tolle.

When you’re in need of creative inspiration, where do you go? What do you do?

Head outside. Fresh air always helps me clear the noise.

What was the last picture you took with your phone?

I went to brunch this weekend and took some pictures of my crew. Before that, it was two moose I saw in my neighborhood! They were so big and beautiful.

If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?  

Do you – and everything else will fall in to place.

What’s the best part about working at BrandJuice?

The culture: great things happen when everyone sincerely wants to work hard and have fun together. I learn something new everyday and we push each other to think and ask the tough questions.

Follow along on our social media over the coming weeks to find out more about what Emmys’s life is like when she’s not cultivating creative genius at BrandJuice.

Front End of Innovation // Disruptive Trends & Tech and Growth Strategy


The immersion that is FEI (Front End Innovation) will again take BrandJuice to Boston this spring, a city pulsating with innovative thinkers. We’ll gather at FEI to learn, collaborate, and enhance how organizations approach innovation.

Across the sessions we moderated last year we heard how company lifecycles are becoming shorter and the pace of disruption is moving faster than ever. We also saw many examples of how many organizations are evolving their stage-gate innovation process to create more dynamic and fast-moving innovation ecosystems. Environments where ideas can be quickly sourced and accelerated into commercialization through increasing reliance on technology brokerage, rapid in-market testing and commercialization partnerships.

This year, we’ll be taking a closer look at the landscape that is chronic innovation—where speed has become an ante and a strong vision, leadership and healthy funding may also be table stakes.

So join us on May 9th and 10th as BrandJuice CEO, Peter Murane, hosts the Disruptive Trends & Tech and Growth Strategy tracks with in-depth focus on trends coming down the line, hot tech sectors to be aware of, and a thoughtful approach on how to link them all to innovation growth strategy. Presentations for the track capture an inspirational depth of versatility and perspectives delivered by innovation gurus from Zipcar, Mars Inc., Lululemon, Hershey’s and more.

We are also extending a special discount for event attendance. When registering, simply reference the code FEI17BrandJuice to save 25%.  Hope to see you there.

Inside Look at BrandJuice’s Brand Coordinator, Brooke Gunzelman

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Brooke Gunzelman, BrandJuice Brand Coordinator, is the spotlight of our February employee profile. We sat down for a Q&A to deep dive into her refreshing way of thinking and insightful vision that drives our team every day.

Tell us about where you grew up?

I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas and lived in the same house throughout my childhood. Some describe Ft. Worth as “Cowtown” or “Where the West Begins”, but I would describe it as the perfectly sized biggest small town/ smallest big city to grow up in. Now that I’m moved away I appreciate the Texas way of life more and more.

What brand is your personality most aligned with?

Tribe Alive. Reflective, feminine, simple upfront with a world of complexities behind. (It’s also a FW based company with a global mission)

What led you to choosing this profession?

From when I was little, I always remember being lost in my thoughts. The element of storytelling in everyday life is fascinating to me, and the world of design in different aspects of life has always hooked me. I’ve been lucky to work with several nonprofit campaigns, which allowed me to see the purest version of a story and get to work hands-on with spreading messages I really believed in.

Who inspires you? Who do you aspire to be like?

The women in my family endlessly inspire me. The simple joy of children inspires me. Creatively, I’m also inspired by the way people’s minds work—especially in this realm. To peak into the way people think is intriguing, especially if they are breaking the mold and are passionate, from the smallest things to the biggest.

Party 4 (1 of 1)

What’s your most irrational fear?

Watching crime shows, scary movies, too much news can give me rational fears, irrationally interpreted as always around the corner.

If you could keep only 5 possessions, what would they be?

Surprisingly, when it comes down to it there aren’t many things I truly, truly couldn’t live without, but:

  1. One digital: either my iPhone, because I can’t resist or my DVR, because… I can’t resist.
  2. My closest friend (possession?)
  3. My family’s chocolate lab Coco, or cat, Penelope
  4. A piece of jewelry passed down from my Gran
  5. Maybe some wine to pass the time, if this is an island situation?

What are you drinking come five o’clock?

Anything from some bougie Trader Joe’s $3 wine to a fresh marg with Mexican food to getting more into the brewery scene in CO—but throw fruit in a cocktail and I’m pretty sold.


Best restaurant in Denver?

Izakaya Den or Work + Class, followed closely by Butcher Block Café. I can never turn down a huge homemade breakfast deal, plus I live down the street.

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

This Year: Big Little Lies. (Can’t wait for Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman on HBO)

Ever: It’s hard to narrow it down to best book ever, but Hector and the Search for Happiness was purposely simply written, but a thought provoking read. A psychiatrist begins to realize he’s continuously seeing his patients, but none of them seem to be getting any happier, so he travels the world to observe what makes me people happy. Taking a break from the mundane everyday to peak into what instills the basic human emotion of happiness, or lack there of, into individuals in different cultures is compelling. Also, F. Scott Fitzgerald for classics.

When you’re in need of creative inspiration, where do you go? What do you do?

Being able to exercise usually clears and calms my mind, but for creative stimulation traveling and exploring a new place can always kick-start an expansion of the mind into a rabbit hole of creativity.

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What was the last picture you took with your phone?

Beautiful picture of some cupcakes.

If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?  

Still gathering advice, but a couple would be:

Your plans—big or small—will rarely work out the way you think they will, so spend less time thinking and more time in the moment. Try to apply this quote in your life: “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn

What’s the best part about working at BrandJuice?

It may sound overdone, but there’s a reason that everyone here harps on the fact that we are opened to a vast variety of industries. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be in a place of such massive, unexpected growth everyday. I love the challenge of getting to know a topic, industry or brand that I never would have anticipated or sought out otherwise in my life.

Follow along on our social media over the coming weeks to find out more about what Brooke’s life is like when she’s not cultivating creative genius at BrandJuice.


We compiled office-wide opinions to gather a diverse list of what caught each pair of BrandJuice eyes this past year. From humorous campaigns to political revolutions, ideas that struck an emotional chord to everything in-between, here’s the BrandJuice list of brands who brought their A-game in 2016.


1. Airbnb

The “Don’t go there. Live there.” campaign went further than word of a mouth and digital with a big idea—an emotional vs. transactional idea. A media agnostic vs. digital idea. They convinced consumers to like more than the apartments, houses and vacation properties of Airbnb, they convinced people to connect emotionally with the organization itself. Well done, Airbnb. Well done indeed.

Watch one of our favorites here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AtjOKph7-k



2. Yeti

The Texas-based lifestyle brand launched branded content videos to show they haven’t lost the values associated with their original outdoorsmen audience by featuring authentic storytelling in a series of short films. The homegrown stories delve into American values to show consumers they remember where it all started, with people.

To watch: https://stories.yeti.com



3. Netflix

Redefining how we consume content, Netflix continues to lead the streaming game—even providing an alternative for those looking to cut the cord with their traditional cable companies. This year, the streaming service upped their game with new—and very noteworthy—original content including the unexpected hit Stranger Things.

Read more about their growth: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/18/netflix-fourth-quarter-2016-earnings.html




We know, we know… the explosive phones were a major issue. But prior to that, Samsung’s marketing was actually able to compete with the monopoly-like nature of Apple in the world of smart phones. The ads were a funny peak into real-life, but also strategically made consumers realize a missing feature from previous smart phone capabilities, which happened to be Samsung’s new point of difference.

Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el9D3bjmx50


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5. Sonos

This tech underdog, a home sound system, opens consumers’ eyes to the inconveniences around most services in the market through sarcastic tonality and clean, simplified design.

Rethink your listening habits here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR8KFXaE1sw



6. Rio Paralympics 2016

The “We’re the Superhumans” video pushed the envelope in an industry that is often forced to tread lightly to be sensitive to disabilities and remain politically correct. It evoked feelings of “what can I be?” and “how can I be better?” to inspire confidence and generate empowerment.

Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IocLkk3aYlk



7. Maltesers

A Mars candy company creatively followed suit with a humorous storytelling approach in their new ad series. Taking all audiences by surprise, Maltesers made light of the challenges that face the challenged. Maltesers took a risk–some consumers judged them, others loved it, but those in the ad world praised them for their courage and creativity.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgUqmKQ9Lrg


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8. The Kardashians

The Kardashians are old news. But the way they refreshed their public image in 2016 is not. Whether it was through refining their approach or reframing perspectives entirely however, is up to you to decide.

You may remember our take on this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/04/fashion/kim-kardashian-west-family-video.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0



9. Donald Trump

Albeit controversial, Donald Trump created an uproar of conversation through a truly one-of-a-kind brand—one that amassed an unexpectedly powerful following. 2016 saw Trump uproot the way politics have traditionally been done in America.



10. Artifact Uprising

A master in the art of storytelling, Artifact Uprising continues to cultivate a brand built around capturing and showcasing simple human moments in their purest form. That, and they are making a new name for print in a now digital era.
See more: https://www.artifactuprising.com/



Nothing’s better than gaining recognition for your work from the industry’s most creative minds. Well, maybe world peace and a cloak of invisibility. Maybe. But still, for us winning awards holds immense meaning. Beyond the internal excitement and positive vibes boost, they acknowledge that the work we do—the work that occupies 99% of our daily mindshare and contains not only our heart, but a decent amount of our blood, sweat and tears as well—is helping our clients rise above the high tide of competitor content.

2016, both in and out of the proverbial four walls of the BrandJuice office, was spent collaborating with several clients across a segment of diverse industries to execute projects in the realms of strategy, innovation and design. As a result, our portfolio of purposeful brand work and inspiring creative expanded to include some of our most compelling work yet. And Ad Club seemed to agree. Two client projects we completed this year were submitted in the tenth annual Ad Club Fifty Awards, both winning highly coveted spots among Colorado’s top 50 ideas of 2016. Below is a closer look at our two winning submissions.

Shout-out to both of these amazing clients for allowing us to collaborate, push their boundaries, and take them on the unconventional, yet wonderful journey that constitutes our branding and creative process. We’re excited to see what 2017 has in store.






Quickie was a pioneer and industry innovator in the performance wheelchair category, but new competitive brands were stealing share by mimicking product features. The clients asked for a way to reinvigorate the brand externally and empower their sales force with a competitive sense of identity.


Real consumer juries led to a new positioning around “The Human Endeavor.” The goal was to forget the serious tone of wheelchairs and limited function and think of Quickie as “the vehicle of choice” for fun and social maneuverability.

To boost energy, the campaign was scheduled to unveil between the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic games. All 25O Quickie reps attended a torch lighting ceremony at the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs. The campaign presentation that followed was met with applause. Quickie’s sales team enthusiastically engaged the shift from product features to a more human and authentic user focus.


Agency:  BrandJuice
Design Director: Heather Thill
Creative Director: John Bellina
Senior Designer: Kim McDonald
Account Director: Amanda Cook
Strategist: Lizzy Bakhaus
Photographer: Dave Lehl
Client: Sunrise Medical; Teresa Adkins,Vice President of Marketing







In a fast growing industry saturated with pot leaves and pun, BlueKudu, a chocolate edibles brand, decided to earn premium status and price point in category by repositioning their product line with a standout naming structure, elegant packaging and a more user-friendly form factor.


The goal of the design was to move beyond just premium taste or a quality cannabis experience by connecting each flavor with a relevant location and mood. The location-based design supported the overall brand strategy and tagline of “Unwind Anytime.”

BlueKudu revealed their new brand at the Cannabis Cup in Denver. The design shattered all industry norms and the consumer response was immediate. Dispensaries reported a 35% increase in sales in the first two months, regardless of price increase, proving a more sophisticated and inviting look and feel could earn a higher share of wallet and establish a differentiated and premium position.


Agency: BrandJuice
Design Director: Heather Thill
Designer: Avi Kommel
Account Director: Erin Blood
Strategists: Lizzy Bakhaus, Joanie Bier
Product Photographer: Will Rutledge
Client: BlueKudu;
Andrew Schrot, CEO




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