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BrandHaven is a branding firm headquartered in Grand Haven, Michigan. We bring together the brightest brains to build better brands. We are focused on large, complex, branding and marketing initiatives that transform organizations. We make the complex, simple. We make transformation easy.
A rare breed of
Bill and Jason have been developing and managing nationally recognized campaigns and communication efforts for major corporate and nonprofit brands for decades.
Founder + Chief Creative Officer
Bill McKendry is the founder and chief creative officer at BrandHaven, which he launched after heading Hanon McKendry, being vice chairman and chief creative officer of JDA Worldwide, serving at Tracy-Locke/BBDO | Denver, co-founding Compass College of Cinematic Arts, and winning over 1,000 national and international awards in advertising and marketing. Bill is also founder and board president of the nonprofit organization Do More Good® and author of a best selling book by the same name. He was inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) National Hall of Achievement for his cause work and is a frequent public speaker.
Jason Vanderground is President of BrandHaven. In this role, he provides overall strategic, client and staff leadership for the firm. Jason and Bill rejoined forces in 2021 and are building on a professional relationship that spans nearly 25 years. Jason previously spent 10 years, from 1997 to 2007, working for Bill McKendry at Hanon McKendry. Between that tenure and coming on board at BrandHaven, Jason’s career took him to significant marketing leadership positions at both Spectrum Health System and Steelcase Office Furniture.
Jon’s career started with Target Stores working in their internal creative department. From that launching pad, he went to work with the breakthrough digital agency, space150 in Minneapolis. A 10+ year veteran of the industry, his last stop on his journey to BrandHaven was with RIESTER in Phoenix. Jon’s client experiences have included Dairy Queen, Buffalo Wild Wings, McDonald’s, American Eagle Outfitters, Hormel Foods, General Mills, American Express and MidFirst Bank.
Amber is our Brand Director. She works directly with BrandHaven clients to define their branding and marketing communication needs and oversees the account team. Amber started her career at Amway on the Global Creative Services team, and prior to joining BrandHaven, she worked for Steelcase where she managed large brand initiatives and product launch campaigns.
Director of Marketing
Leading the charge to on-board new BrandHaven clients is Ted Neumann, director of marketing. Ted started his career at Steelcase, helping businesses across the Midwest create high-functioning and impactful spaces. He’s also served as ODL’s product manager, driving cross-functional teams towards Home Depot, Lowes, and Budget Blinds’ product launches. He has a wealth of experience working with architecture, design firms, healthcare facilities, and commercial businesses.
As a Brand Manager at BrandHaven, Julia is responsible for maintaining client relationships, managing projects and cross-functional teams, and upholding operational best practices at all times. With prior agency experience, her past work spans many industries such as healthcare, education, nonprofit, retail, manufacturing, and finance. She has worked on and led many strategic initiatives such as briefs, brand positioning, rebrands, and research across these industries.
As an Art Director at BrandHaven, Erin specializes in campaign concept development, brand identity, packaging, print materials and digital design. She started with BrandHaven as a graphic design intern and has quickly grown to become one of BrandHaven’s lead creatives, helping a wide range of companies and organizations elevate and differentiate their brands across all touch points.
Our agency conducts its work using a unique model where creative and strategic talent are custom matched and blended for client needs and specific assignments. This big network versus big staff structure keeps costs lower, leading to greater results and impact.
We pull in our vast network of partners to assist in research, strategy, and management of large-scale campaigns.
Putting our heads together with a breadth of worldwide agencies, we’re able to curate the absolute best campaign for our clients.
With hand-picked teams to meet your brand’s needs, you don’t just get one idea, you get ideas in waves. You can count on a variety of creative concepts that both implement your strategy and delight your target audience.
Our core team in Grand Haven leads the charge in customizing your experience. We’d love to dive in and get to know you.
Areas of expertise.
From leading ideation sessions to conducting communication and competitive audits to writing strategic messaging briefs, we dig deep to develop creative market approaches that give clients a strategic advantage.
Messaging + Positioning
Marketing isn’t about creating information, it’s about taking a differentiated position and owning it. We work with clients, through an extensive variety of primary and secondary research options, to develop fact-based messaging that is true, unique, meaningful, and compelling.
Discovery + Analysis
Gap Research + Direction
EST/Value Proposition Definition
Brand Promise + Cornerstones
Message + Concept Testing
From developing a messaging and creative platform to managing every aspect and resource of a go-to-market campaign, BrandHaven uses its proprietary I.D.E.A.S. process to help clients outsmart, not outspend competitive forces.
Creative Expression + Execution
Go-To-Market Campaign + Resource Management
Owned/Earned/Paid Media Planning + Placement
Program Results Reporting + Optimization
Brand Development + Identity
A brand isn’t just one dimensional – it’s essentially a series of “mental shortcuts” for audiences to understand what a company/org does, does well, and what makes them unique.
Social Media Content + Management
Social media is a critical pathway to managing a brand’s perceptions in the marketplace. The old goals of likes and follows have been replaced by thought-leadership and managing your own media voice with key stakeholders, priority constituents and influencers. BrandHaven works with clients to develop and execute social messaging pillars in a manner that feeds and grows affiliation, dialog, endorsements and loyalty.
Building Social Messaging Platforms
Messaging Pillar Development
Resourcing + Execution
Ongoing Opportunity Analysis + Proactive Reaction
Audience + Market Research
One of the surest ways to decrease risk is to increase knowledge and understanding. That’s why we do audience and market research looking to turn information into insights and questions into answers.
Primary + Secondary Research
Qualitative + Quantitative Studies
Concept, Message + Proposition Testing
Online, Email, Phone + Qualboard Surveys