Why Us

We are experts in marketing, business strategy, leadership development, and organizational transformation.

Unlike a traditional, outsourced agency that fosters ongoing dependency, we increase your agency to acquire new skills, build enduring systems, and manage change. Our flexible partnership model allows us to work as an external advisor or embedded onsite team member.

All our work is principled, data-driven, and heartfelt.

Who We Serve:

  • CEOs and marketers embracing new challenges
  • Organizations navigating changes in their leadership, board, systems, and business models
  • Teams seeking to optimize short-term vs. long-term revenue and impact
  • Anyone passionate about inclusive social progress in unstable times
  • Any entity actively leading or challenged by today’s most disruptive technology trends

Typical Roles:

  • Consulting CMO responsible for full-funnel relationships and revenue
  • Leader of complex, large-scale business and culture transformation initiatives
  • Brand strategist responsible for all aspects of brand identity, storytelling, and experience design
  • Coach for CEOs, high-potential employees, and motivated self-starters

Team

Our network includes some of the world’s best designers, channel marketers, 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 consulting CMO, 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, Omidyar Network, Honeycomb.io, Linux Foundation Energy, OfferUp, eBay, Zazzle, Clinton Foundation, Mindful Schools, LeapFrog, Art Center College of Design, Misnomer Dance Theater, Remix, Community Youth Center San Francisco, 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.

Mark is a former Board President for BAY Positives, former Board Member for San Francisco Suicide Prevention, and current Board Member and Development co-Chair for Felton Institute.

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

Collaborators

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.

B2B / B2G SOFTWARE
FullContact
Honeycomb.io
Synopsys Software Integrity
Terrain Data
Remix

CONSUMER HARDWARE
[Three of the world’s most-recognized brands… that we’re not allowed to name]

E-COMMERCE & RETAIL
MacPherson’s
Nextag
Tea Collection
Tindie
Title Nine

EDUCATION & LEARNING
Art Center College of Design
Children’s Day School
Clinton Foundation
Chromatik
Community Youth Center San Francisco
Global Kids
KnowledgeWorks
Leapfrog
Mindful Schools
New Tech Network
Prospect Sierra

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
Apollo Alliance
Linux Foundation Energy
San Jose Project
Ulupono

FINANCIAL SERVICES
Bankrate Insurance
Mortgage Cadence
Visa

MEDIA & ARTS
Sundance Channel
kontentreal
Misnomer Dance Theater

P2P
eBay
Context Partners
Honor
OfferUp
Omidyar Network
Zazzle

Case Studies

Synopsys Software Integrity

The Next Us worked with the Software Integrity business unit as an embedded team member to help the company position itself successfully in the application security 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 Software Integrity 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

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 consulted on brand identity redesign and product experience redesign, and led the cross-channel marketing strategy and creative direction for Zazzle’s 2012 holiday campaign, which exceeded revenue and profitability benchmarks.

Nextag

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

Nextag was an early e-commerce pioneer with an incredible track record for profitability and resilience. Since its inception in the late 1990’s, the company 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. During our engagement, the company also managed a network of over a dozen consumer e-commerce sites worldwide.

Major responsibilities:

  • Brand strategy, brand identity design, and messaging for all Nextag 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 B2C / B2B outbound marketing (1-year appointment)
  • Functional manager of all in-house creative resources and outside agencies

Leapfrog Toys

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.

OfferUp

The Next Us led positioning, messaging, brand voice development, and cross-channel content and editorial guidelines for this fast-growing, mobile-first P2P marketplace. OfferUp was named by Forbes to be one of the Top 5 Hottest Startups of 2015, and the company reached a $1B valuation in September 2016.

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