November 1st, 2014 - Brand

Be original

I’ve made a pledge to myself that Blackcoffee will not be typical. So when I sat down with life’s most difficult customer (the husband) to develop a new brand and website for his company, I faced an interesting challenge. How to be remarkable when selling an engineery business guy into corporate Calgary?

It would have been easy to hit the default button and throw up a wordpress site with some stock photos of corporate guys doing their corporate thing. How about a logo with a globe? Let’s be real, he’s a non-paying, pain in the neck client that has more work than he can handle. What more did he need?

Well he needed me to tell his rather remarkable story in a remarkable way. Besides the world doesn’t need another website full of middle-aged guys in loose ties and crisp white shirts gathered around a boardroom table. (Check WIRED “Only You Can Overthrow the Tyranny of Awful Stock Photos“.)

So I set out to tell the story of the corporate cowboy – passionate, determined, and willing to work tirelessly to tackle the big messy files. With help from Blackcoffee’s talented design team, a brand came to life.

And when it came to the website, we wove the cowboy theme through with brilliant images from the stupendously talented Julien McRoberts. And yes, I snuck in a couple of stock photos, and no I didn’t stretch the point too far by putting the husband in a cowboy hat.

The end result is a website that spoke to who Murray is and the value proposition he brings to his clients. And the feedback he’s received from those clients is testament that telling your story in an engaging manner resonates deeply. It engages your audience emotionally and leaves a lasting impression. And isn’t that the goal, to be remembered for who you are and the hard work you do?

The final product:

With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.