3 Reasons A Creative Agency Should Be Doing Your Digital Marketing

BRIGADE’s Digital Marketing Team explains why hiring a creative agency to manage your digital marketing is a smart idea. Here are three key reasons:



And who creates better content than a creative agency?

It’s what we do. Whether you need a video, photo, infographic, gif, or any other type of visual (hint: your strategy should include all of these types of visual content), a creative design firm has got you covered.

At BRIGADE we have experience managing digital and social media marketing strategies as well as content creation, and take it from us: it is more difficult to produce quality content than it is to strategically distribute that content through digital channels and analyze the resulting metrics.

We aren’t downplaying the importance of digital marketing here. Ideally you would have both quality visual content AND a solid digital strategy, but given a choice between the two we would choose quality content every time. People engage with content. The world’s best digital strategy would be useless without amazing content. It’s content that goes viral, not a strategy document or project plan. Plus, the human attention span has dropped down to 8 seconds on average which means the most eye-catching and interesting content will take the lion’s share of attention.

Think of it this way: does it really make sense to hire a digital marketing agency that is going to outsource most of its creative work to a creative agency anyway? You’re better off just going straight to the source.


Case Study: Kim Crawford Wines

We created award-winning social media content for Kim Crawford Wines that is immediately eye catching and appealing. See more here. 



One of the most important parts of creating a great brand is consistency.

Everything – every advertisement, every press release, every web page, every social media post – needs to reflect the overall brand with its messaging, colors, language, and so on. But many companies forget about their brand identity when they outsource digital marketing or have inexperienced employees handle it in-house, and many digital marketing agencies will not even take it into consideration.

Think of a brand like Starbucks: their photos and videos all have the same vibe, their language is always consistent (from web to social to print), and everything seems to just make sense. We get it – your company probably isn’t Starbucks and probably can’t produce the quality and quantity of content that they produce in-house.

So if you want your brand to have a kick-ass, consistent presence online and off like Starbucks, you’ll need to hire an agency to do it. And no one knows how to create brand consistency online and off better than a creative agency that specializes in doing just that.


Case Study: Ramblewild

With Ramblewild, we made sure the brand was consistent – from high quality custom photographs and text overlay images for social media, to print and other traditional materials. See more here. 



Let’s look into the crystal ball for a moment.

Here is what we see: content continues its reign over digital marketing, and digital channels continue to advance technologically while increasing in popularity.

This will mean two things: 1) companies will be able to more easily share content of varying formats to more people through digital channels; and 2) expectations for high-quality content will skyrocket.

In this day and age, and even more so in the future, you will need high-quality visual content in order to stand out from the pack. If you’re publishing content that isn’t branded and badass, if it’s bland and boring, you might as well not waste your time.

More and more companies are taking to social media and other digital channels like Google AdWords to engage their customers, but those companies that continue to rely on an undermanned, inexperienced in-house digital marketing team (because, let’s face it, you’re not Starbucks) will be left by the wayside. Likewise, those companies that entrust their digital efforts to an agency touting strategy and nothing else will fail to meet their customers’ expectations for outstanding content.


So, what can you do to prepare for the future of digital marketing? Come see us.

At BRIGADE, we understand the importance of creating a kick-ass brand that’s consistent across platforms. That’s why we don’t just focus on building awesome brands and designing standout packaging for products, but also on growing and improving your brand’s presence online using strategic digital marketing. And as a creative agency at heart, we have the advantage of 20+ designers, creatives, photographers and stylists who can create engaging and on-brand content that is sure to get attention.


Check out some of the other work we’ve done in the past, or connect with us on Facebook.

Designed For Creativity: BRIGADE Breaks In Fourth Office In 10 Years

Since 2006, BRIGADE has outgrown three offices and is showing no sign of slowing down.

As our team continues to adjust to the new digs, we can’t help but reflect on the journey of insane growth that got us here. In 2006, our founder and Executive Creative Director, Kirsten Modestow, assembled a small team of motivated designers around her kitchen table. Since then she has grown BRIGADE into a team of nearly 30 humble and hardworking individuals, all of whom bring various skills to the now metaphorical table.

img_4221It wasn’t always roses and butterflies, though. Our recent, almost picturesque, exponential growth has been the result of years of grinding and hard work. For the first six years Kirsten and her band of designers steadily grew, each year producing more and better work for a growing list of clients while slowly adding new talents to the team.

The sink-or-swim moment came in 2012 when we left the humbling comfort of Kirsten’s house and set up camp in a small office space on University Drive in Amherst. Since then we haven’t looked back. In the following years our brigade grew in size and reputation, always keeping the work at the center of everything.

Within three years, much to our surprise, we outgrew our once luxurious office space. With clients like SVEDKA Vodka and Weleda, our work was gaining national attention. That meant new clients and new talented creatives knocking at our door. We had to expand again.

img_4223Naturally, we renovated a vintage car garage on Russell Street in Hadley to suit our needs. It was there that we realized and capitalized on the benefits of an open floor plan. Part of what makes us special is how much, and how well, we collaborate as a team. Kirsten noticed this immediately and made sure to implement a similar environment as we, once again, outgrew our space. This time it took no longer than nine months.

Kirsten made sure the next space we moved into was large enough, and cool enough, to accommodate her growing team without losing sight of the culture of hard work she had been cultivating since 2006.
“I wanted to give my staff a badass creative place to work every day – a place where they are happy, chill, and mad productive,” Kirsten said in a recent interview with The Daily Hampshire Gazette.

img_4224That is exactly what she succeeded in doing. We moved in to 195 Russell Street this March, hung up our hats in our newly renovated office and got comfortable.

“As we’ve done with all our offices, we designed the space to maximize creativity, innovation, and collaboration and we nail it every time – our new location is no exception,” Kirsten also said.

The entire space is designed for creativity. Whether it’s the open floor plan, the couches and comfortable chairs, the bright colors everywhere, the whiteboard walls, the other walls littered with work in progress and fragments of ideas, the trippy zebra-print rugs, the non-stop and extremely unpredictable playlist of music, the kitchen, or the bar, our team is guaranteed to never be bored.

img_4233One of the coolest features in our new space is the on-site photo studio we’ve set up, which will make producing high quality visual digital content (whether for social media, web, or any other purpose) much easier and quicker. This is great for us and even better for our clients.
In the end though, as it was in the beginning, it all comes down to the work we do. An office is only as good as the people who occupy it. And after ten years and four locations our motto remains bold enough for all to see on our conference room wall, “work hard, stay humble”.

We expect the future of BRIGADE to follow a similar trend. We will continue to produce awesome work for our clients and continue to expand – both in size and capabilities. We’re already exploring and experimenting with new ways to help our clients make their brands a little more badass using digital marketing.

Stay tuned to find out what other big things are happening at BRIGADE.

BRIGADE Celebrates A Decade Of Design

BRIGADE is thrilled to celebrate this epic anniversary, and proudly recognizes all that has gone into creating such a successful small town firm with a national reach.

We march into a new decade catapulted by our most successful year to date. The journey Kirsten started in 2006 with an eager group of designers in a garage is now bursting at the seams, with a team of 20+ humble and talented individuals. It is our priceless employees, our incredible range of skills, solid leadership and our renowned client roster that culminates perfectly to form the unique powerhouse that is BRIGADE.

Through ambitious and tactical maneuvers, hard work, four locations and ten admirable years, BRIGADE has created a place for design to thrive and brands to flourish. We look back at the past decade with honor, and look ahead to the future with excitement as we plan to continue building our legacy with dynamic and influential work. We are thankful, we are proud, we are BRIGADE.


Learn more about us here.

BRIGADE Expands Team, Adds Four New Faces

Brigade New Faces

Left to right: David Bohl (Digital Strategist); Kate Fickett (Junior Creative); Ashley Monaco (Project Coordinator); John Silva (Creative).

BRIGADE welcomes four new talented individuals to its award-winning team, including a project coordinator, digital strategist, junior creative, and creative. 


Kate Fickett: Junior Creative

Our newest team member, Kate Fickett, was born, raised and still resides in the Berkshires. Kate fights her lengthy morning commute with black coffee, back roads, and occasionally starting the morning by having waffles with an unreasonable amount of syrup. She might appear quiet and reserved when you meet her, but when her badass Jeep Wrangler roll into the parking lot you see her in a whole new light. She found her career in design after coming to realize her graphic designer mother’s influence was more than just a phase. “I actually never thought I’d end up being a designer like her until I got to college, and I was like…’Wow, I really do like this, and I’m pretty good too!’ I can only hope that one day I am as talented as her.” What else does Kate enjoy?… “good beer, good pizza, good company, and dogs of course.”


John Silva: Creative

John Silva joins the BRIGADE team as another Connecticut commuter, of which there are now four! Though his trek from West Hartford isn’t the longest commute of the team, we were happy to hear that driving is his happy place. John is well traveled beyond the morning commute as well. Originally from Rocky Hill, CT, he spent time in NYC studying design before returning back to CT. We’re happy to have him in Hadley as his design skills are above par on many levels. John finds his inspiration from all over, be it the endless supply of valuable online resources (dribbble, designspiration, etc) or simply “listening to some dope music.” Wait, he’s published too? Yes, one of John’s lettering pieces was published in “The Good Type Book, Vol 1”. His go-to font choice… DIN.


Ashley Monaco: Project Coordinator

A move to BRIGADE also meant a move back to Massachusetts for Ashley Monaco, our newest Project Coordinator. Born and raised in Holyoke, she is a proud Western Massachusetts native. She graduated from Sacred Heart University in 2011 and has built an impressive list of professional work experiences. Positions with The Walt Disney Company and MTV have taken her everywhere from Orlando to New York City. When she isn’t on the go she still finds a way to keep moving. “No matter where I’ve lived, a good spin class has always been my favorite outlet because, as Drake once said, ‘problems hit the gym, they all work out.’” Ashley has a wild love for animals, and is a proud dog mom to Murphy, her two-year-old Yellow Lab/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. Ashley’s happy place?… “football season, a good IPA, and my closest friends.”


David Bohl: Digital Strategist

David Bohl is the third David to enter the BRIGADE team. With no nickname to save him and the same last initial as his desk mate, it’s been a great icebreaker for his first few weeks on staff. Before subtly confusing office conversations, David was hiding just down the street in Amherst, MA, where he grew up. He has a BA in Public Relations from Western New England University, and had previously worked as a Digital Marketing Analyst in Springfield, MA. What makes David more original than his name? He is clearly best dressed in the office; his ideal vacation would be a hike through the countryside in Ireland; and he claims that in his youth he invented chicken fries. “Burger King stole my idea and started selling them first. I’m still mad about it.” Chicken fries, hell yes.



BRIGADE Honored at 2016 Creative Award Show

Hadley firm takes home Best in Show as well as 2 Gold, 12 Silver & 12 Bronze Awards

The AD Club of Western Massachusetts held its annual Creative Award Show May 19 at Open Square in Holyoke. During the event, BRIGADE’s work was recognized with 27 awards that evening.  BRIGADE received awards for its brand development, design and packaging for SVEDKA, JGS Lifecare, Weleda North America, Elli Kai, Ramblewild, Serpents Bite, Vertical Water as well as BEST IN SHOW for the firm’s Identity Campaign.

The Ad Club of Western Mass is a not-for-profit member organization serving all creatives in the region – writers, designers, printers, agencies, photographers, web designers, marketers and media.  It provides networking and social events, hosts professional seminars, recognizes creative excellence through the Creative Awards and hosts the distinguished Pynchon Awards. Above Photo Credit: Stephanie Craig Photography



1. Best in Show

BRIGADE Identity Campaign

Photo Credit: Stephanie Craig Photography

It was an amazing night for all us and we were humbled to be recognized. I’ve never doubted the creativity and genius that our part of the country is capable of – We’ve assembled an amazing team here. BRIGADE turns 10 this summer and we are just getting started! – Kirsten Modestow

2. Gold

BRIGADE Identity Campaign

We ultimately wanted to tell a story about our team and all the components that make us successful working together. Sometimes a simple design can tell a detailed story. – Dave

3. Gold


This was our first time designing for a tetra pak and there were so many obstacles to over come. We learned a lot and were able to create something that looking amazing and accomplished all of our goals for the project. – Joe

4. Silver

SVEDKA Pride Poster Campaign

Inspired by the way in which equality is evolving in the United States, we created a powerful interpretation of the pride flag that envelopes a ‘Pride Edition’ bottle of SVEDKA Vodka. The composition pops off of a stark white background while the abstracted flag shape changes direction to create visual tension and energy. In addition to the visuals of this campaign, we wrote custom copy and headlines.

5. Silver

SVEDKA Summer Recipe Brochure

We created a comprehensive cocktail recipe book for SVEDKA Vodka’s 2015 Summer Program, #HowToSVEDKA. While most cocktail books are a simple index of recipes, the client wanted this book to feel more conceptual. We ultimately created a #HowTo guide meant to draw casual consumers into the world of complex cocktails. In this book, we combine bar and bartender visuals (with extensive Photoshop work), our own original ‘Tips & Tricks’ copy, and an index of simple ‘Required Tools’ iconography to make the consumer feel as though they are actively being instructed by a master mixologist.

6. Silver

 SVEDKA Flow Poster Campaign

The FLOW campaign was a chance to demonstrate BRIGADE’s story telling through flavors, cues and sophistication. The series of images live beautifully together. – Dave

7. Silver


We used the website as an opportunity to bring Vertical Water’s story to life. From celebrating the process, to explaining their positive impact on the environment as well as on the maple industry–there was a lot of information that we wanted to share. We streamlined this information into digestible chunks so that the user can effortlessly take in the pages of new content.

8. Silver

WELEDA Evergreen Campaign

We really leveraged the watercolor and plant imagery for a visually arresting set of web banners. – Kristen

9. Silver


The poster was the initial key image for the POS and was a challenging assignment but extremely rewarding in the end after we had it rendered out and finalized across all the materials. – Dave

10. Silver

WELEDA Holiday Packaging

It’s a rare thing when integrity of your original vision remains intact at the end of a design project. This is one of those times! This project went off without a hitch. Kristen

11. Silver

WELEDA Accordion Borchure

We designed this product-forward piece as a tool for the Weleda sales force – it serves as a colorful introduction to the brand, highlighting key product attributes and emphasizing the company’s commitment to natural ingredients, environmentally-friendly sourcing and fair-trade partnerships.

12. Silver


Like the SERPENT’S BITE 50ml Display Unit, this floor bin is meant to draw as much attention to the new brand as possible. Once constructed, the resulting display maximizes brand impact without requiring a large amount of product.

13. Silver

SERPENT’S BITE Single Counter Unit

This small display has a big role. Because SERPENT’S BITE is a shot brand, 50ml nips are massively important to the brand gaining traction at liquor stores. Made from die-cut cardboard, this display is meant to sit on the counter next to the cash register to encourage new consumers to experiment with the brand. To command as much attention as possible, this piece was constructed and composed to make the serpent feel as though it is lunging off of the display and into view of the consumer.

14. Silver


From concept to sketch to stunning 3D render, we were responsible for developing the artwork that would launch a brand. We created a stunning key image for the all-new whisky brand, SERPENT’S BITE. Since SERPENT’S BITE does not have the historical cache that other whisky brands leverage in-market, we were challenged with defining an entirely unique look and feel for the brand as it launched onto the national stage in 2015. As a ‘bad-ass’ brand centered around shots, the tone of our original imagery was moody, dark, and masculine. We wanted it to feel as though the serpent was protecting the bottle and lashing out at the viewer. With a key concept and sketch in hand, we combined forces with our favorite 3D renderer and spent months studying snake anatomy, rendering apples, and photographing textures to ultimately create a spectacular 3D visual that brings the brand to life in trade ads, point of sale, and digital media.

15. Silver


This was one of our first forays into the world of NOT using stock photography. What a challenge! It was fun to hire a photographer and help art direct a shoot. Certainly an experience to remember. We created unique landing pages that appealed to the many different target audiences of Ramblewild. – Justin

16. Bronze

SVEDKA Holiday Poster

We were asked to create and execute a fun and whimsical national holiday point-of-sale campaign for SVEDKA’s flavor lineup. Updating our concept for the 2015 season, we created a poppy, colorful, and fun interpretation of the holidays. We leveraged the color palette of SVEDKA flavors and rendered playful, somewhat abstracted ornaments that retain the brand’s iconic white band. Rather than placing these ornaments around a tree, we let them pop on a clean, white background dominated by a heroic bottle of SVEDKA’s flagship product – 80 Proof.

17. Bronze

SVEDKA Stars and Stripes Display

Each year, SVEDKA creates a limited ‘Party Edition’ bottle to celebrate summer parties and American holidays. For 2015, we developed a beautiful dimensional display meant to celebrate this bottle and help it stand out in retail stores. We used cardboard construction and strategic use of perspective to emulate depth and create a display that had a larger visual impact than its size would normally allow for.

18. Bronze

SVEDKA Halloween Display

Photo Credit: Stephanie Craig Photography

We wanted to create a fun display that would help SVEDKA Vodka stand out in the crowded Halloween retail environment. The resulting display is large, dimensional, and double-sided to maximize impact and command attention. And if you look carefully, you’ll notice that our ghosts are lushes. – Dave

19. Bronze


We were tasked with creating an identity that celebrated Jewish culture without playing the hand too heavily toward Jewish iconography. Various symbols were explored in a wide gradient of obvious-to-ambiguous – which is a fun challenge. The final mark strikes a nice balance, expressing many parts of the JGS story and mission in a clean, simple logo. – Thom

20. Bronze


How do we create something artful and fresh in the field of eldercare? We tap into the much-loved Jewish tradition of paper cutting to create a website that’s both informative and delightful to navigate. – Cate

21. Bronze


One of the challenges with this design was to construct an overhang to illustrate the “rip” falling below the actual billboard. It was great to see the billboard completed without any issues. And big-ups to Meghan who would snapchat me that billboard every time she passed through to CT! – Steve

22. Bronze

WELEDA Two Minute Trainer

This extensive, all encompassing manual was a huge feat with an amazing outcome. We worked hard to represent their entire product line while also bringing a fresh, fun look into the trainer. – Meghan

23. Bronze

WELEDA Skin Food Campaign

Even though Skin Food looks great (for 90 years old), everybody needs a little refresh from time-to-time. The challenge here was to maintain the integrity of the original packaging while subtly updating the look. A little nip here, a little tuck there…I think we nailed it. – Kristen

24. Bronze


Photo Credit: Stephanie Craig Photography

This was not only a gift card but a great way for customers to get to know the brand. – Meghan

25. Bronze


After months of designing content, wireframes, and pages it’s quite an achievement to see both our vision and EK’s vision come to life in this beautiful and thoughtful website. – Cara

26. Bronze

RAMBLEWILD Summer Camp Poster

This piece made great use of the hand-drawn font and custom illustrations developed for the brand over the previous 2 years and combined them both into an eye catching and fun poster. One of my favorites. – Jess

27. Bronze


Though they are frequently under-valued, shippers often make up the majority of branded displays across the country. Because of this, we wanted to develop a smart and visually dynamic shipper that could grab attention in a variety of settings. We created custom artwork to create a serpent that wrapped around the shipper from panel-to-panel. With this composition, store owners have the ability to turn the shippers into point of sale by aligning different panels to create custom displays that can scale depending on available retail space.


Congratulations to all the award winners!



What’s Buzzing at BRIGADE

A monthly roundup of things that make us go ‘OOOH.’



brigade buzz
Western Mass has its first live escape room @ Eastworks! Picture this: you’re locked in a themed room with your friends and you have one hour to find clues and solve puzzles to escape. Puzzled‘s first room is an occult-themed professor’s study and they have a second room in the works: “Escape from Escobar.” My childhood dream come true 🙂


brigade buzz
Discovered this on a lemony pasta dish at Mezzaluna in NYC and now I want to put it on everything!


Hilarious city-dwelling animals in everyday and not-so-everyday situations, narrated by my favorite comics.


brigade buzz
This book is tremendous.


100+ Filters. 40+ Effects. 20+ Tools. A COLOR STORY provides the most useful editing tools to enhance your composition, including fully functioning curves.


brigade buzz
Not giving up just yet. Pleather maternity leggings for $7…? I will not go gentle into that good night.


brigade buzz
What’s more insufferable: people who really hate Radiohead or people who really like Radiohead? Either way, their strange new album is (if you like them) really, really, really good. If you don’t like ’em, it sucks as much as the others.


Paul Thomas Anderson + Radiohead = PERFECTION


brigade buzz
Painter Claire Basler lives and works in a castle full of flowers. Glad someone out there is living out my childhood fantasies.


brigade buzz


brigade buzz
Beyoncé’s second visual album takes personal issues to the forefront, addressing infidelity, race, and social issues. It is consuming my brain space and I feel great about it.

12. NEW WHIP: 2014 SCION xB

brigade buzz
It’s black, standard and has four doors!

Three BRIGADE Projects Honored in the GDUSA Awards

We’re thrilled to announce that BRIGADE and three of our client partners have been honored in the 2016

American Package Design competition. Vertical Water, SVEDKA Vodka and Weleda North America packaging all took high honors.


A Note from GDUSA:

Makers, sellers and marketers are challenged as never before to convey the message, promote the brand,

close the deal. Think fragmented audiences, information overload, media clutter, global competition,

economic dislocation, changing practices and preferences. Package design and related disciplines are

increasingly the difference makers in advancing the brand and influencing the purchasing decision. The

outstanding work showcased here – from 200 elite design firms, design departments and production

companies – is testimony to this phenomenon. Our annual competition celebrates attractive graphics, of

course, but more importantly the power of design to forge an emotional link with the buyer at the moment

of truth.


Learn more.

What’s Buzzing at BRIGADE

A monthly roundup of things that make us go ‘OOOH.’



[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/258525719″ params=”color=ffcc00&show_artwork=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Comedian Chris Gethard is always pushing the limits. Whether it be creating his own public access show, hitchhiking across the country to perform at Bonaroo or his current podcast creation Beautiful/Anonymous he inevitably delights. Unlike normal interview podcasts, Gethard encourages listeners to call in and tell him anything they choose for a full hour. They can hang up at any time but he cannot. He beautifully coerces the caller to unload endless amounts of personal information so long as it is not their name. Beautiful. Anonymous. Relatable.


cat hell gif
I might be late to this one, but I’m totally addicted. Who doesn’t love virtual cats?


post it matchbooks
I’m an incorrigible note-taker. I have about 5 different notebooks/sketchbooks in various sizes / line styles / colors going at any given moment to keep track of those rare, sustained thought projects; for everything else (shopping lists, 3 A.M. insights, love notes) I keep one of these matchbooks in my handbag, my car, and every available nook and cranny of my apartment.


wtf whale vomit
Already planning my summer walks on the beach.


evelyn bracklow ants
Some really great things rest at the uncomfortable nexus of cute, funny, aesthetically pleasing & gross. These vintage porcelain dishes crawling with hand painted ants fit that category perfectly.


Got a little obsessed. 12 episodes in a week!


pretty much everything book
Contains, well, pretty much everything created by Aaron James Draplin up to now.


st nothing band
Sessy ppl makin sessy music.



Pinot Noir, you’re a star, listen to Tom Beren-gar. Pinot Noir, Roseanne Barr. Pinot Noir.


bexar 7
I’ve had the same wallet for 17 years. Here’s hoping my replacement will last 17 more.


portable toilet seat
Holla in the comments if you know where I can get one of these portable potty seats for my next road trip to the beach! The Squatty Potty ain’t got nothin’ on this sh*t.


hello darkness new phone
When art meets texts from your existential dread.