Frequently asked questions from prospects
From our pricing to our people to our process. You ask, we answer.
Choosing a strategic branding partner is a big decision. We aim to empower and educate you with open, honest, and reliable information to help you plan for your project. We candidly address FAQs to eliminate the guesswork and make the buying process smoother.
Motto® has worked with over 1,200+ companies in over 40 countries. About 80% of our clients are fast-growing tech companies. These include SaaS, tech hardware, and tech-enabled companies finding ways to build tech into their products. We’ve worked across Fintech, Medtech, Healthtech, Agritech, Cleantech, Climatetech, and Foodtech, many of which are multinationals. The other 20% of our clients are DTC consumer brands.
Driven by the desire to do well by doing good. “Buy-in” at the top; full leadership support. Operates with a sense of purpose. Believes “brand is everything.” Values diversity and inclusion. Open-minded to new ideas. Active decision-makers. Accepts our fees. Allows us to define the problems and provide the right solutions.
On average, between 7-10 Motto® people work on a project. Typically, the following roles are involved: Account Manager, Project Manager, Workshop Facilitator, 1-2 Brand Strategists, Namer, Copywriter, Creative Director, Art Director, and 1-2 Designers. Other talent is brought in if we need expertise in a certain area or are creating activation assets.
Sunny and Ashleigh spend most of their time nurturing our culture, coaching the team, setting the pace, building the business, authoring new books, and giving keynotes. They keep a pulse on client work and contribute ideas to help steer it. If one or both of them are requested at the start of a project, we can discuss options.
A comprehensive, soup-to-nuts rebranding project takes 6-8 months.
A fast-track startup branding project takes 3-4 months.
For a comprehensive rebrand that includes in-depth positioning, a complete brand strategy process, brand messaging, naming, a top-notch visual identity system, and activation direction, our fee minimum is $200k – $350k.
For brand creation for a new company or innovation that results in something you can grow with, our minimum fee is $100k-$150k.
You will have a wing person, our Director of Client Experience. This includes short weekly phone check-ins and written status updates. There are several other people on our team who you will meet with and who will lead various parts of the work.
Motto® uses Basecamp, a refreshingly simple and effective project management platform. Basecamp works because it’s the most accessible place for everyone in every role to put the stuff, work on the stuff, discuss, decide and deliver the stuff that makes up every project. Not on separate platforms scattered in various places, but all intuitively organized in one central place where everyone can work together. For clients who use Slack, we can also set up a channel using Slack Connect to exchange comms. We discourage 1:1 text messaging and email with our staff. Too many moving parts to keep track of for that.
Yes. We work with seed to venture-funded startups who are ready to invest in core brand development. Most are Series A, B, or C or are self-funded. In a few cases, we engage before a bigger raise to prepare the brand for investment success.
Yes, brand and business strategy are the core of everything we do. All of our client engagements start with strategy. Why? Because without the big-picture clarity made possible with strategy, creative performance falls short and lacks substance. A new identity won’t likely solve a collaboration problem. A new external campaign might not help you recruit and then engage the right people. A brand standards manual won’t help you solve deeper business challenges.
Yes. Strategy is our zone of genius. We’re happy to lead strategic work without creative execution.
We don’t typically work on creative projects if we don’t also do the strategic work. Motto® may accept a design-only project if a client already has a very clear and well-developed strategic foundation and is ready to execute. We would review everything before making this exception to ensure it matches the high bar we set for strategic work.
There are three important distinctions between Motto® and other agencies:
Certified in Visionary Leadership and Culture-Building.
Our co-founder Sunny Bonnell is a globally-recognized Certified Visionary Leadership Advisor and studied under renowned Oleg Konalav, the world’s most recognized visionary leader expert. Our co-founder Ashleigh Hansberger has led Strategy and Culture Innovation for some of the most notable brands in the world. Together, they unite vision, culture, and brand in a way that is a competitive advantage for Motto® and the businesses that hire us.
Highly sophisticated and trained across disciplines.
Companies deserve an experienced guide with Founder/CEO/C-Suite experience. We have carefully trained our team to be at the top of their knowledge game. Our company is one of the most experienced teams you can hire to solve your most pressing challenge or reach your most exciting opportunity.
Globally recognized experts in business and brand strategy.
90% of people who reach out to Motto® mention a few things: An insider recommended us, they’ve read a press feature, or they consume our content, and it inspired them to hire us.
No, what you see is a small curated collection each year. If there’s a particular industry you’d like to see, just ask. We’ve worked on many brands since 2005 and can’t possibly show them all (though we do archive them).
In an exceptional situation, we may consider equity as compensation. In all equity situations, cash for services is still the lion’s share. We also must be convinced there is a clear and achievable path toward financial success.
Category focus certainly mattered early in our careers. Now, 17 years in, we’ve worked across e-sports, fintech, security, AI, financial trading, cryptocurrency, blockchain, the agricultural loop, and regenerative farming to more common categories like coffee, chocolate, tech, entertainment, food, and wine. Our expertise is now rooted in pattern recognition. We’ve solved similar problems repeatedly, enabling us to synthesize and solve your problems with high confidence.
We do not sign NDAs before an initial conversation. We hear thousands of business ideas and opportunities each year. We don’t like to be contractually engaged before we’ve had a chance to understand if there’s a fit. If there is some special sauce, you don’t need to reveal it. Most NDAs aren’t clear as to what elements are under NDA. This shouldn’t prevent us from having a meaningful discussion about the aspects of your business you are willing to share.
If you send us an RFP, we likely won’t participate. As a culture-first company that evaluates leadership chemistry and the people we’ll work with, RFPs don’t often allow true partnerships to be born.
We require a signed proposal, a signed Master Services Agreement (MSA), and a deposit to commence work.
We try to prevent this by aligning our thinking to strategy and ensuring we co-create together throughout the process. From day one, we’re on your team and want to keep it that way. If you feel that our work missed the mark, we’ll talk openly about it to figure out why it isn’t working for your team. With clear feedback, understanding, and goals in mind, we’d offer our professional opinion on how to solve the problem, and then we’d get to work on doing just that.
We typically take 50% of the budget as an initial payment, then break up the remaining balance into equal installments billed monthly.
We don’t ask our clients to spend time on the phone or email with prospects out of respect for their time. We do collect testimonials from each project here.
A ton. We’re very collaborative and can’t do our jobs without it.
Motto® conducts a thorough immersion to gain a deep understanding of your business. We listen intently and perform a number of discovery activities:
—360 Discovery Workbook
—Desk research (competitive audits, visual audits, landscape audits)
—Facilitate strategic workshops
We don’t offer this out of respect for the confidential nature of our work. We go deep into various businesses, and sharing that level of detail gives away our work and thinking. It also strips away context. We create unique solutions for each client and reveal what we can on our case study page.