Full-service branding is our stock in trade

After a merger in 2013, KCG became one of the largest traders of U.S. equities in the world. Their logotype and basic identity were established in preparation for their IPO, and then KCG brought in Thinkso to build it into a robust corporate communications program. Today, we continue to be KCG’s agency of record, collaborating closely with their CMO and marketing team. Our work for them includes high-profile print and digital work — advertising, sales materials, event design, and corporate communications — as well as the company’s day-to-day marketing, which include fast-turnaround, high-volume e-blasts, newsletters, fact sheets, and much more.

BACKGROUND

The leadership of KCG had a bold vision in 2013: to develop a technology-driven trading firm, a company whose cutting-edge tools were better suited to meet the demands and structure of modern financial markets. With this new business model, a unique corporate personality, and a demonstrated commitment to ethics, KCG established from the beginning that they were different from any other company in financial services sector.

APPROACH

Because Thinkso was brought in early on, we were able to help the company’s leadership articulate their brand values, which we then translated into an extensive brand toolkit and institutionalized it with an internal brand vision book.

From the get-go, KCG knew that a different kind of financial company would need a different kind of voice. We established an editorial tone that was informal yet intelligent, easy to understand yet substantive. This personal, jargon-free voice ensured that the company’s focus on technology would not leave clients feeling cold; it also helped KCG stand apart from the straitlaced competition.

Our visual approach brought cohesion to a vast array of communications vehicles across media, while still providing each of their three business lines distinct graphic identities. With the same witty voice — and by sharing visual elements from the corporate toolkit — these offerings are recognizably KCG, yet different enough that clients aren’t numbed by repetitive templates and graphic “sameness” (as happens with so many large, cookie-cutter graphic systems).

“Thinkso acts like a seamless extension of ​our internal marketing and corporate communications team. Because they understand our business, they’re able to develop creative content that is both high-impact and highly effective.” Sophie Sohn, Chief Marketing Officer, KCG

Over the years, Thinkso has built out this communications system to support every corner of KCG’s operations: sales and marketing materials, the website and e-blasts, annual reports and signature investor outreach, interior signage and environmental graphics at their offices, and motion graphics and live video. We have helped KCG develop new recruiting programs and a system for distributing their thought-leadership program, ensuring that their brand fundamentals both guide and gird these efforts. We produce the marketing communications for their events; their flagship annual conference was named by Thinkso, and it now stands as one of the best in the industry. Throughout each of these projects, Thinkso is responsible for strategy, writing, design, and production.

RESULT

KCG’s fresh, high-tech look paired with an unexpected, down-to-earth voice continues to impress today. Their clients thrill to the clarity of KCG’s materials and the engaging and accessible visuals. Employees rally around the strength of their unified identity and values. And KCG competes successfully against big tech companies for the best programmers and analysts.

By working so closely with Thinkso on the full scope of their communications work, KCG has ensured a consistency, depth, and sophistication for their brand that is unrivaled in the financial industry — and that is perfectly situated to help them grow into the future.

We wrote and designed a series of striking image ads that highlight KCG’s differentiating factors. These ads ran in print, outdoor, and digital venues.

Eschewing the typical capabilities brochure content, we developed a marketing piece that crosses over into thought leadership. It demonstrates KCG’s trading prowess, rather than just talking about it.

Thinkso conceptualized KCG’s 2014 annual report, which took the form of a microsite and printed 10-K. We developed “Built to Scale,” an editorial theme that captures the firm’s vast range of services, and bolstered this with energetic and engaging motion graphics that played off the idea of scale.

To support KCG’s recruiting efforts, we developed interactive quizzes, brochures, signs, and giveaways that express the “younger” side of KCG in order to draw in potential new hires.

KCG had a vision for an annual client event that would be nothing like anything else in the industry. To help bring this vision to life, Thinkso created a unique name and identity for it, and each year we help give it a new twist, theming it to the city in which the event is held. Our work for UnCon, as it's now known, includes environmental graphics, invitations, gifts, an app, and much more, including naming each year's custom cocktails.

Thinkso designed branded environments that showcase the firm's distinctive design scheme and editorial voice. They provide a thread of continuity from office to office and reinforce the culture of the brand among employees.