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Brand consultancy group EMPATH opens local office to educate businesses on their image 

A brand experience company opened its doors in San Luis Obispo, specializing in brand-focused management consulting, experience design, and creative content development.

It's called EMPATH, and it has a client portfolio that includes recognizable names such as American Express, Microsoft, Sony, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Vans shoes.

These names come from the individual and collaborative efforts of Louis Camassa and his partner Michael Dunn. Dunn has a background in traditional brand marketing, and Camassa's resume includes experience in technology and digital marketing.

click to enlarge BUILDING CONNECTIONS Louis Camassa (pictured) and Michael Dunn are bringing their brand experience consulting company to the Central Coast. - PHOTO COURTESY OF EMPATH
  • Photo Courtesy Of Empath
  • BUILDING CONNECTIONS Louis Camassa (pictured) and Michael Dunn are bringing their brand experience consulting company to the Central Coast.

Camassa said they had a vision for helping companies develop a deep insight of their clients' customers' desires. Traditionally, a marketing company comes up with an idea, designs it, and then sends it out into the world and waits for feedback.

"We do it a little bit differently; we actually go in, and we analyze our customers first and really develop an understanding of who they are, what their wants, needs, and desires are," he said.

In some cases, EMPATH partners with technologists, anthropologists, neuroscientists, and other critical thinkers with postgraduate doctoral degrees who truly understand human behavior.

"We feel that the best way to resonate and connect with an audience is by evoking their emotions because we know that neuroscience tells us we make decisions based upon our emotions and logic. The very best marketing is one that speaks to you in a whisper and connects with you and encourages you to make a purchasing decision," Camassa said.

The process aligns with EMPATH's philosophy: deep understanding that drives meaningful innovation, which leads to building esteemed brands that move markets.

While EMPATH has delivered brand innovations for many Fortune 500 global brands and emerging enterprises, Camassa said opening an office on the Central Coast is about spreading their knowledge to local and new businesses in the area.

"We want to educate and help, but more importantly we want to bring livable-wage jobs to this area so people can live here and thrive here. We've got a lot of retirees but let's get some new blood in, fill up this area, so people can live here and enjoy the beautiful environment that we have," he said.

Camassa said a lot of small businesses don't see the value in services like EMPATH's because they might not have the time, experience, expertise, or the funds.

"It is going to cost more, but long term, it's going to pay itself back in dividends because the research is solid, and you're building a brand for the long term," he said.

With a smaller company, Camassa said specialists can come in, conduct a brand investigation, and uncover insight that could really help the company and its products resonate better with customers.

In order to introduce its philosophy to the Central Coast Community, EMPATH is hosting a brand-building workshop on June 19 at the South County Regional Center—800 W. Branch St., Arroyo Grande—from 2 to 5 p.m. with guest speaker Ted Holliday. Holliday's experience spans nearly 25 years of work as a graphic designer, art director, creative director, and photographer for design and advertising agencies.

The workshop will educate attendees on cultural relevance, emotional resonance, and customer preference. For more information, visit bit.ly/Brand19.

Fast fact

Poly Canyon Ventures, a SLO-based nonprofit founded and managed by Cal Poly students and alumni, announced that funded three startups in the 2018-19 academic school year: NeoCharge, De Oro Devices, and PolyMuir. NeoCharge is developing a smart splitter that connects to a 220V dryer outlet and allows power sharing between an electric-car charger and dryer. De Oro Devices creates innovative technology to help elevate the quality of life for those in need. PolyMuir is an algae-based bioplastics company accelerating the industry's adoption of sustainable materials. Poly Canyon Ventures is going on its second year of operations and has funded a total of five startups. At its annual Central Coast Entrepreneurship Mixer on May 16, the nonprofit was awarded $10,000 by the Cal Poly Department of Energy, Utilities, and Sustainability, and $5,000 by RELENTLESS Management Group to fund another year of operations. To learn more about the nonprofit, its efforts, or the startups it's funded, visit polycanyonventures.org. Δ

Staff Writer Karen Garcia wrote this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send tidbits to kgarcia@newtimesslo.com.

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