Brad Klemmer and John R. Kelley Junior created they own agency, Kley, a few months ago. They specialize in “Digital Brand Utility”…or how to make brands more useful through technology. We wanted to give them a shout through the following interview; and wish them luck for the future !
Could you please introduce yourselves ? How did you meet ?
Brad Klemmer and John Kelley. We met while consulting at a multi-cultural agency in Chicago called commonground. We were working on a pitch for General Mills and won the business. From then on we’ve worked together producing some great branding and digital marketing work for a host of global and national clients.
What’s Kley (please explain why you chose such a name too) ?
It just worked on so many levels. It’s actually a combo of our last names. KLEmmer and kelLEY. We had the LE in common, we just played word games after that haha. Kley is one of the most essential building materials in the world. Beyond that, it is has highly absorbent. And it’s been used in art forever as well. So, much like our process, we absorb, we build, we shape…digital brand utility art, if you will.
How did you come up to the idea of creating a brand utility agency ?
Both of us have produced highly successful marketing campagins and the like, from branding to advertising. But we met when working on that first digital project for General Mills. Once we decided to start our own gigs – but together this time – we wanted a niche for our agency, something we were passionate about, and at the end of day, actually does some ‘good’ for consumers…even if it’s marketing-oriented.
Most importantly, DBU is part digital creativity, social, technology, and marketing, all meeting together at this special vortex of convergence.
What are some great examples of brand utility you have seen in the past ? Is there any brand inspiring you ?
There are some good examples, yes. We even like some of our pre-Kley work, that was actually digital brand utility. Other examples we like include My Lowes and The Charmin Sit or Squat App, but Nike has really raised the bar, and show how valuable DBU can be. It is now much more than DBU, the Nike DBU is now a new Nike brand per se.
Are there any books you would recommend on the topic ?
Yes, the one we’re currently writing. It’s more of a handbook if you will…we look forward to sharing more later in the year.
Anything to add ?
Just want to share our bz model. Kley is part service bz, part IP bz. We’re currently incubating an exciting proprietary IP.