The KEEN Brand Story

The history

Son to an artistic mother and entrepreneurial father, Matt Aubin was practically born to be a creative entrepreneur. When Matt first started Pure Vision in 2003, he was spending his days designing metal products for a manufacturing company, with his evenings and weekends dedicated to one of his more creative passions, photography. At that time the company consisted of Matt, his basement, photo supplies, and a handful of clients. Not anticipating the growth the company would see, he chose the name Pure Vision as a reflection of his photography services. A year later he took the plunge to make Pure Vision his full-time gig, and he got himself a little office in a (haunted?) building in downtown Edmonton. In 2005 he moved to a small office space in Sherwood Park.

Matt’s focus on genuine partnerships and client success, rather than revenue for the company, resulted in an organic increase in the work coming his way. Within its first couple of years, Pure Vision expanded to become a three-person operation. They began to focus their sights on a more corporate clientele, progressing from wedding photos and family portraits to a broader creative service offering, including graphic design and web design.

A couple years later, they added another two people to the team, along with even more services. As the company gained momentum, new talented people came on board, all as passionate as the next about what they did and what they could bring to the Pure Vision team. The growth wasn’t necessarily the result of a strategic business plan so much as it was a result of passionate minds colliding in the best way possible. The little office space in Sherwood Park expanded, making space for the new additions.

No longer just Matt’s baby, Pure Vision had become a wholly collaborative effort whose success came from the people involved. The embodiment of “happy employees are productive employees,” Pure Vision developed one of the most productive and positive corporate cultures in the industry. The company’s dedicated, energetic, and approachable demeanor attracted equally motivated and dedicated people who wanted the best for Pure Vision and its clients.  

The why: One group, one offering

Between 2010 and 2015, the company grew from 5 employees to nearly 20. Each new addition was an effort to be able to provide everything their clients needed, all under one roof. In 2011, Matt started Push Print, a grand format printing operation, in order to provide even greater value. Rather than outsourcing services, clients could now come to Pure Vision and know that their work would be handled in-house, by one unified team. From broad marketing strategies, to photo and video projects, to large scale websites and applications, to individual ad designs and everything in between, the company could ensure that they could truly provide for their clients.

Pure Vision had become so much more than the little photography company it once was, with marketing, printing, graphic design, web development, videography, photography, content, and social media all being offered. As the company began to incorporate new services, new ideas, and new people, the name “Pure Vision” became less encompassing of what the company truly represented. More than that, Matt wanted the company name to reflect the team a s a whole, and wanted everyone at Pure Vision to feel a sense of ownership over the brand. Thus, in 2015, the search for a new name was put into motion.

The how: Brainstorm sessions galore

In order to come up with a name that personified the company, the team brainstormed literally hundreds of words that they felt encompassed who they were and the experiences their clients have with them. Commonalities were drawn between the words to create categories, and further brainstorm sessions were used to come up with even more words that fit those categories, helping the team figure out which directions to pursue and which to abandon.

One beer-fuelled brainstorming session had the team covering an entire 7’x12’ table in collaborative mind maps, with each team member circling the words they felt most connected to. The list was narrowed and they eventually brought it all back to their core values. They chose a word that spoke to their passion, energy, skill, and approachable vibe: KEEN.

Truly keeners, it was a word that every team member felt proud of and connected to, and one that they all had a hand in creating. It reflected the kind of service they offered and allowed them to expand those services, now and in the future. The new name was applied to both Pure Vision, which is now KEEN Creative, and their printing company Push Print, which is now KEEN Print and Sign. The new name will also be applied to any new business endeavours in the future.

The name became so encompassing and so important that when it came time to develop the logo, they focused entirely on the word itself, rather than a symbol or graphic. The word “KEEN” was written hundreds of times in hundreds of styles by every team member. When the top few choices had been selected, mockups were made to see how each option would look on everything from coffee sleeves to skateboards to jets. The logo selected was clean and bold and allowed for customization and personalization based on the application. For instance, everyone at KEEN Creative now has a unique business card with a custom, hand-drawn version of the KEEN logo.

What now?

Though the name has changed, their intentions haven’t. KEEN is ready to make their stamp on the industry and champion for their clients.

“People work with us now because we are a fun, energetic, passionate group that wholeheartedly believes in client partnerships and their success,” Matt Aubin said. “We’re good at what we do and we provide clients with a positive, valuable experience. That’s not changing. We put everything we have into client work, and with KEEN we can bring even more to the table.”

It’s been a long time coming, but now their branding finally matches who they are. KEEN Creative will still offer the same standout marketing, web design and development, graphic design, photography and videography services, and within the last few months, they have added content strategies, social media management, web writing, and more to their roster. Even more services are planned for the future, so things are only going to get better from here. Expect the same level of service, commitment, creativity and fun as before, just turned up a notch.

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