Spotted: A Chat with Branding Agency Cibo

Cibo operates at the intersection of brand narratives, user experience design and engineering. An integrated brand experience agency, Cibo creates and develops omni-channel brand stories to drive deeper consumer engagement for companies. Founded in San Francisco in 2010, Cibo brings deep capabilities in traditional marketing and advertising together with cutting edge expertise in digital experience design, emerging marketing technologies and cross-platform brand storytelling.

Inside Cibo

Check out Cibo’s portfolio on Agency Spotter

Location: San Francisco, CA

Core Services: Complete brand experience design across all moments of the customer lifecycle, from awareness to advocacy.

# of Employees: 50

# of Four-Legged Employees: Sadly, the landlord isn’t as pet friendly as we are. But honorary team members Degas, Meatwad and Tiga all make surreptitious visits on occasion.

Company Mantra: “The experience IS the brand.”

cibo branding agency dog

Does your agency have a cool origin story?

Cibo was started by two guys who had spent time in the advertising world, and also in the interactive/e-business world and knew that the agency of the future was going to be about ditching the worst parts of each of them, and creating something new by fusing the best parts of both. All the while creating a unique culture that valued tech as much as creativity.

cibo branding agency teamwork

Most interesting physical thing in your office?

One of our founders, Jim, has a small sculpture of a dog that sat in Don Draper’s office on the set of Mad Men. Its tail is broken these days, but it still sits proudly in our reception area as the kitschy symbol of independence it embodies.

What does #agencylife mean to you?

Grateful collaboration in the face of deadlines, challenges, and the dynamic whims of clients in all their glory. We’re extremely proud to have a culture that truly values and appreciates what each discipline brings to the table, including the willingness to challenge our assumptions and push our own boundaries. We party together.

“We don’t do anything half-assed around here. I always want full-ass.”

– Bob Skubic, Chief Design Officer


Partners in Crime

In 10 Words or Less, What We Do for Our Clients:

Help them design and implement brand experience for competitive differentiation.

cibo agency Brand Experience Symposium

3 Characteristics We Look for in Potential Clients:

  • Ambition to truly excel in their category.
  • Know who they are and why they exist.
  • Want their customers to love them.

Our Clients Love Us Because:

We’re aligned with their success – we understand their businesses and what it takes to make them succeed. That’s always our most important goal.

They also love us because we’re not afraid to offer our strong opinions even if they run against the grain.

What is the best compliment you have ever received from a client?

A CMO once told us, “Hiring you was one of the best business decisions we made last year.”

cibo branding agency team

Clients We’ve Helped:

Tesla, Twitter, SFMOMA, Lenovo, Generation Tux, Room & Board, Anki, Volcom


Breaking Down Branding

The #1 Thing We Love About Branding:

There’s nothing more satisfying than helping a company and its customers connect to the authentic core of their relationship. When we can help a company truly inspire customer love, that’s a long-lasting high.

cibo branding agency office

What is the one branding engagement you are proudest of? Why?

Our work for Lenovo has a special place in our hearts because we began with a small assignment, to design the website for the new Carbon X1 ThinkPad laptop, and when the CMO saw our work, he said “that’s the idea we need” and handed us the entire global launch campaign, which turned out to be the single most successful product launch to date.

cibo branding agency lenovo

If different from above, what is the most recognized branding work you have done? Tell us a bit about it.

Our GoElectric experience for Tesla is among our most well-known work. Few people need convincing these days of the viability of electric cars, but when we designed this experience for overcoming the 5 major objections to owning an electric car, those objections were serious and real. The interactive experience we designed was the second most visited piece of the Tesla web site after the home page, and offered a unique and fun way to engage in meaty ideas about what it means to own an all-electric car.

Which one to three brands do you currently admire the most?

  • Patagonia has long been one of our favorite brands for its unwavering commitment to its beliefs and the quality of its products.
  • We continue to be blown away by how GoPro has managed to get its customers so engaged in its brand.
  • Finally we’re huge fans of how Tesla has become synonymous with innovation and are happy to have helped a tiny bit with that.

Tesla Motors

Which one to three brands need to be redesigned/repositioned/etc.?

  • United Airlines still hasn’t quite recovered from the merger with Continental. They went from one of the best most consistent brands in the air to being a hodgepodge of experiences, none of which were really cohesive or strong.
  • We’ve also been thinking about 7-Eleven a bit lately. They’re an incredibly strong brand with great loyalty, but they seem a bit stuck in the past. The store experience in particular hasn’t kept pace with current standards.
  • The Home Depot also strikes us as a company that could use strategic overhaul of their total experience, in particular the stores themselves.

What is one thing people don’t know about branding that they should know?

No matter what you want your brand to represent or to express to your customers, it will only ever be what your culture as a company is capable of producing.

cibo agency in Putrajaya

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Daniel Kim