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Interview

GABRIELE BALDOTTO & NATALIE MARIE GEHRELS

03.28.13

OURUSE is a New York-based creative agency founded by California native Natalie Marie Gehrels and Colombian born and Italian raised Gabriele Baldotto. The duo’s combined experience working with luxury brands abroad has settled in Manhattan’s Soho District, where the studio houses a 360-degree approach to branding. By employing a distinct vision born of a background in print and physical materials that translates seamlessly to all forms of media, OURUSE comprehensively builds brands in the realms of art, fashion and luxury, from the ground up.

Interview

What made you start a creative agency?

The decision to start OURUSE was very organic. We had worked for some years in Milan as Art Directors and relocated to New York in 2010. Upon our arrival we were instantly (and still are) very inspired by the energy of the city and it seemed to be the perfect time to start collaborating with its eclectic community of like-minded creatives. With this intention we put our collective experiences in Europe together and formed the physical space, which is now our studio located in Soho.

Who are some of your clients?

Calvin Klein, Quiksilver Women, Fivestory New York to name a few.

(Other clients can be found here.)

When a potential client approaches as a new brand, what are your agency’s first steps?

We start by understanding the current position of the brand and by examining how they communicate with their customers. We evaluate the brand’s core strengths and identify key areas, which can be strengthened and brought to light. Because we are a boutique agency, it is extremely important to us that we develop strong, lasting relationships with our clients, which allows us to define and build the brand together over time.

How has the luxury market changed in the last ten years?

Luxury brands have shifted their focus dramatically. If we look back 10 years, classic luxury brands worked almost exclusively in traditional print media. Our approach was centered on telling the brand story through a study of physical materials and processes. Through the years we have redefined this approach, expanded the channels we work within, and today translate our knowledge holistically across all media.

Among your current or past clients, what have you found is the role of public relations?

Our work parallels public relations. While we develop the strategy, language and overall creative direction, the public relations agency delivers the final message. We work together to leverage media relations, events, influential product placements and special collaborations, all of which generate brand exposure within the desired audience.

Do you specialize in a particular area of the industry?

Yes, we would say that we specialize in communication solutions for art, fashion and luxury industries. We should add that we love working on projects that sit outside of the territories we know well, projects that really challenge us to explore new ways of communicating. This includes past projects such as an article for the publication Fantom Photographic Quarterly  as well as product design, like a custom framed satchel handbag for Giulietta New York in 2012, a collection of brooches with The Baustudio and a custom surfboard project with SALT SURF coming out this Spring.

Is all the creative done in-house or do you outsource web design and photography?

All of the creative, at its core, is done in-house. We plan the strategic approach and develop all of the design internally. We frequently collaborate with photographers, stylists, video directors, illustrators and other talent to create content that becomes an integral component of our client’s brand story.

What are the major defining elements of ‘good branding’?

Good branding has to reflect the core values of the brand with an immediate, impactful and lasting impression. We feel that good branding should strive to be innovative, while always remaining timeless. The essence of good branding comes from the base: a great logo and a great story. With these fundamentals in place a brand has an excellent foundation to develop a concise vision that can be easily reinforced across all media.

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