About

Wee help organizations and individuals accelerate their growth.

We use contemporary methods, informed by years of firsthand experience working with pioneers of positive system change.

Our services include strategy, coaching, and speaking.

Are you:

  1. An enterprise navigating a major transformation?
  2. A startup with ambitious plans for changing the world?
  3. A social entrepreneur who could use an informed and objective perspective?
  4. An individual looking to break through to new levels of personal and professional performance?

Are you inspired and willing to grow?

We’re here to help.

We believe life and business are not about winning, but about navigating one transformation after another.
Deepening our connections to others unlocks our vitality.

Team

Our network includes some of the world’s best designers, strategists, writers, and researchers. For project work, we can assemble an ideal team whose members all have their names and reputations on the line doing work they love. We find this produces an excellent result without the overhead costs of a traditional agency.

Founder

Mark Gibson

Mark is a strategist and executive coach who for 20 years has worked with well-known global businesses and pioneers of positive system change. As the founder of The Next Us, he has worked directly with the leadership teams of Synopsys, Honor, Zazzle, OfferUp, Too Small to Fail, Mindful Schools, Omidyar Network, Nextag, LeapFrog, Art Center College of Design, Misnomer Dance Theater, and Sundance Channel.

Mark began his career as a grant writer for the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities. After several years at small creative agencies in San Francisco, he eventually became a Director of Program Management at Sapient Corporation, leading large-scale web projects for Walmart.com, Gap, and Cisco Networking Academy.

In 2002, Mark joined Stone Yamashita Partners as a strategist helping CEOs and executive teams articulate visions for change, build cultures of innovation, and create unique customer experiences. Mark’s clients during his four years at SYPartners included Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, NBC Universal, Lifetime Television, Yahoo!, and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

In 2006, Mark started The Next Us to help organizations and individuals achieve breakthrough change.

Outside of work, Mark finds inspiration in the performing arts. He is a daily meditation practitioner and amateur singer. mark@thenext-us.com

Collaborators

Natalie Linden

Natalie will find the heartbeat of your story. With strategic thinking and creative collaboration as her touchstones, she helps organizations build powerful narratives across every touchpoint, from positioning and messaging to naming, taglines, ad campaigns, video, websites, social media, packaging, print collateral, speeches—even the occasional poetic stanza. Her expertise also crosses industries, from technology (Intel, Cisco Systems, Evernote, Healthagen, Nextag, Zazzle) to food, fashion, beauty, and culture (Peet’s Coffee, Cowgirl Creamery, Frito-Lay, JanSport, Quiksilver, Perricone MD, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco). Having worked in San Francisco’s design world since 1999, she thrives at the intersections of the creative process, translating strategy into ideas, and ideas into vibrant customer experiences. She has a particular passion for companies who make it their business to leave the world a little better than they found it. www.wordsforrentorsale.com

Andrea Saveri

Andrea works at the intersection of foresight and strategy helping organizations adapt to a world of unexpected change. For more than 20 years Andrea has worked in Silicon Valley and around the world with businesses, foundations, and public institutions applying insights from futures research and emerging technologies to develop strategy and market opportunities. She currently focuses on the convergence of technologies of cooperation, strategies for collective action and commons building, platforms for enabling resilience, and amplified communities. This nexus of disruption and creativity offers unprecedented opportunity to regenerate community life, flexible institutions, and our capacity for wellbeing. www.andreasaveri.com

Brad Smith

Brad is a partner at Codeless Interactive, LLC, a digital marketing consultancy that builds and optimizes results-driven websites and applications. Codeless helps businesses boost their bottom line through inbound marketing and a unique blend of technical + marketing know-how. Its clients span the software, e-commerce, real estate, financial services, hospitality, healthcare, journalism, and publishing industries worldwide. Brad has been featured in popular online publications including the New York Times, Business Insider, and Social Media Today. He has an MBA in marketing with years of in-house experience leading national online campaigns. www.codelessinteractive.com

Todd Schulte

Todd is an award winning creative director and graphic designer who believes in using the power of design for good. With 20 years of experience in brand identity, web/UI, print, packaging, and environment design, he has worked with nonprofits, educational institutions, and tech innovators alike. His list of clients include Apple, Evernote, Facebook, Google, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Micro-Documentaries, Mindful Schools, and many more. Prior to running his own studio he gained valuable experience working at several prominent Bay Area design and innovation firms such as IDEO, Factor Design, SYPartners, and the in-house design team at Apple. Todd holds a BFA in Graphic Design from The Academy of Art University, where he recently taught a level three Graphic Design class on User Experience Design. www.toddschulte.com

Jennifer Bostic

Jennifer Bostic is Creative Director of Paper Plane Studio. Since founding Paper Plane in 2000, she has worked with La Colombe, Apple, Wize Commerce, Chronicle Books, GlobalGiving, and the New Brooklyn Theatre. She led the Creative Direction of the 2010 TED Conference and design of the 2009 HP interactive space at the Consumer Electronics Show. She developed the worldwide HP event and exhibit design system, and traveled the world training local designers on the new brand. Jennifer’s work was featured at the San Francisco Museum of Design as part of an exhibition of the best designers in the Bay Area. Her work has also been showcased in Communication Arts Magazine, Graphis, AIGA exhibitions, Print Magazine, and the Art Director’s Club Annual. She is featured in the books Women in Graphic Design and Graphic Design America. She was named by HOW Magazine as one of the “5 Hot Designers to Watch”. Prior to Paper Plane, she worked at Landor, Pentagram, and SY Partners. www.paperplanestudio.com

Clients

Our clients include well-known global businesses and pioneers of positive system change. We have deep expertise in e-commerce, education and learning, social and environmental innovation, SaaS, and consumer hardware.
Case studies
  • Interim CMO
  • Brand positioning
  • Creative direction
  • Agency management
  • Marketing strategy
  • Campaign design
  • Messaging
  • Merchandizing
  • Product UX design

Zazzle

The Next Us worked with Zazzle as an embedded team member to help the company navigate a major transformation of its product, external brand, and internal culture.

In 2012, Zazzle was already a one-of-kind maker platform with a stellar track record and a bold vision for the future. The Next Us worked hands-on with the Zazzle leadership team on brand repositioning and served as interim Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for two quarters. As part of this project, The Next Us also led the cross-channel marketing strategy and creative direction for Zazzle's 2012 holiday campaign, its most successful one to date.

  • Brand strategy
  • Innovation methodology
  • Purpose and vision

Leapfrog

The Next Us helped this beloved educational brand articulate a vision as bright as its past, and deliver strongly against that vision.

In 2007, Leapfrog had many successes to celebrate. But the electronic educational toys space the company once pioneered was now rapidly changing, with new technologies, market entrants, and consumer expectations. Over a two-year period, The Next Us worked with the Leapfrog executive team and across business units to revitalize its consumer value proposition. The long-term bets made during this project were re-evaluated three years later, and all were found to be fully correct and successful.

  • Strategic planning
  • Strategic partnerships
  • Buzz marketing
  • Innovation strategy

Sundance Channel

The Next Us helped the Sundance Channel generate significant online buzz for its new environmental content, and smartly test hypotheses about the company's audiences and long-term growth.

The Next Us worked with Sundance Channel over a two-year period on strategic planning and digital media strategy. Highlights of this work included the company’s innovative buzz marketing efforts in Second Life, which were profiled in the Time magazine 2006 Person of the Year issue and the New York Times.

  • Vision
  • Brand strategy
  • Strategic planning
  • Product design
  • Outbound marketing strategy
  • Product development methodology
  • Creative direction
  • Agency management

Wize Commerce

The Next Us worked with Wize Commerce for 4 years as an external brand consultant and embedded team member responsible for all brand strategy and outbound marketing.

Wize Commerce is an e-commerce pioneer with an incredible track record for profitability and resilience. Since its inception as Nextag, Inc. in the late 1990’s, the company has used its data science and lead gen capabilities to help thousands of retailers and content providers maximize their revenue across every device and digital ecosystem. The company also manages a network of over a dozen consumer e-commerce sites worldwide.

Major responsibilities:

  • Brand strategy, brand identity design, and messaging for all the Wize Commerce major consumer brands: Nextag, Wize.com, and Price Machine
  • Positioning, rebranding, site design, and launch for the Wize Commerce corporate parent
  • UX design consulting and ongoing optimization for all the brands above
  • Onsite Brand Director responsible for all aspects of brand strategy and outbound marketing (1-year appointment)
  • Functional manager of all in-house creative resources and outside agencies

  • Positioning
  • Messaging
  • Visual brand strategy
  • Creative direction
  • Agency management
  • Campaign design
  • Website design
  • Product UX design

Synopsys

The Next Us worked with the Synopsys Software Integrity business unit as an embedded team member to help the company position itself successfully in the cybersecurity market over a two-year period of rapid growth and expansion.

We helped Synopsys integrate its storytelling and visual brand across all marketing and sales touch points, and iteratively assimilate the assets of five major acquisitions: Coverity, Codenomicon, Protecode, Seeker, and Cigital.

During this engagement, Synopsys moved from a niche player in the application security space to one of the largest based on revenue, reputation and solution breadth. It also evolved its marketing approach from pure lead gen to a thoughtful mix of demand generation and brand-building at every step of the marketing funnel.

Responsibilities:

  • Onsite marketing lead responsible for all aspects of brand strategy and outbound marketing
  • Functional manager of all in-house creative resources and outside agencies
  • Development and management of all core Synopsys Software Integrity outbound communication tools, including platform and product positioning, messaging architectures, sales decks, tradeshow training materials, visual brand style guides and templates
  • Design of Software Integrity cross-channel brand campaigns
  • Liaison to Synopsys Corporate Marketing for the year-long redesign of the Synopsys.com corporate website, including referring the final selected design agency and representing all Software Integrity technical, marketing, visual design, and information architecture needs and requirements