Virtual Agency Virge Branding Taking on Conventional Firms

When it comes to branding and advertising, there’s normally two options: hire a full-service agency of record for everything (expensive) or multiple boutique firms for different projects (disjointedness). New agency Virge Branding presents a third option with virtual teams of A-listers to do whatever a client needs, whether that be everything or just one project.

“Now we have an agency that builds the exact team a client needs and nothing more,” says Co-Founder Vicki Miller. “They use our team for as long as the project requires then we go away until they need us again. It’s simply the most cost-effective way to work.”

Built on a model of flexibility, Virge Branding uses technology and communication tools to bring the one person that is best at this, with the other who is best at that into one all-star team.

“We’re for the people that really need that big agency power, but they just can’t carry the expense of an agency of record,” says Co-Founder Keith Cowgill.

Whether a client uses them for one project or for everything, Virge offers a more efficient solution because a business isn’t paying them to keep the lights on. It’s a business with no to low overhead.

“It’s a cost effective way of getting the big talent,” Cowgill says.

Co-Founders Vicki Miller & Keith Cowgill

The agency has worked with everyone from startups to well-established businesses in need of a refresh.

“Clients come to us at different points in their brand,” Cowgill says.

But whether a business big or small, “We start with a brand workshop that helps them focus the big idea behind their brand,” Cowgill continues. “The best brands are really an idea. I like to think of them as a verb – they motivate people.”

As far as what they offer their clients, “We can do anything,” Miller says. From branding to motion graphics, and design to PR. Cowgill and Miller have been in the tight-knit Columbus advertising community for long enough to know where to find talent for virtually any project.

“There’s outstanding creative talent right in this area,” Cowgill says. It’s a 50-50 mix of local talent and nationwide specialists on Virge teams. Technology allows them to dip into talent that may have left the area, but now it’s like they are back in the same room.

Their clients are a mix of local and national as well. Virge recently completed a project with Buffalo, NY-based OmniSeq, working with the brand from the very beginning and acting almost as an agency of record.

Locally, they’ve worked with the Ohio Historical Society on a rebrand both inside and out. Their efforts took the organization’s name in a new direction, reemerging as the Ohio History Connection, while also helping internal associates develop a strong idea of what the group stands for. They’ve also touched the social enterprise realm, doing all the branding for soHza, of which Miller is also co-founder.

Working with brands in the healthcare industry is one niche for the duo.

“Because of Keith and I’s experience, we have lots of healthcare marketing experience which is a hard market,” Miller says.

That list of experience includes some pretty impressive feats. Miller is behind the conceptual strategy for anti-depressant / chronic pain drug Cymbalta (Because Depression Hurts), while Cowgill’s rebrand of  Zyprexa (Why I Fight) earned him a spot in the top 40 campaigns of the last 40 years list.

There’s also the added synchronicity that only comes with working together for 15 years and the experience at the helm of larger creative teams in creative director roles. This iteration of working together is also allowing Miller and Cowgill to focus solely on creative. As small business owners, they recognized when it was time to hire someone to direct the operations and the budget, tapping John Tabor for the role.

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