Brand machine is in the brand solution business.
We're also in the business of going to newer and better places.
We help brands and their agencies create products, ideas and stories that engage consumers and “pull” them to brands. So we innovate. From the way we are structured as a company, to the partners that we collaborate with and the tools we create to do our work. We tinker with technology to build better solutions. Like new interactive tools and brand content. We've created co-design experiences that bring brands closer to their customers to engage them more deeply; to build better brands, products, marketing experiences and communications. Founded in 2008, we work in all the 4P's of marketing. We do work that makes a difference and gets results. And we pitch in when extra hands are needed.
Open the door. Come on in. Check out the brandmachine.
What We Do.

We're in the business of helping brands and agencies solve problems and go to new and better places.

But the fuel that moves brandmachine is what we call “the collective”; a co-operative body of independent talent built on a lean model to deliver more value than a permanent traditional model. We've helped start-ups and multi-billion dollar multi-nationals grow their business with this better solution.

We call this “the 360 collective”. The best and brightest independent and entrepreneurial talent, brought together, to bring the best solution for your needs with greater value delivered. Everything you need. Without the bureaucracy and cost you don't.

With the right coordination, and proven by building and successfully leveraging this model since 2008, clients and agencies get the best talent without the huge overhead of legacy models. Technology brings us together. Not fancy high priced offices and big titles. It's common sense that leverages the way more of the world is now working. And it's the epitome of lean thinking built on collaboration with a better model that creates more value. At the foundation is doing great work and trusting each other. We believe in what Harry Truman said about collaboration still rings truer today than ever. And we look for this in every partner we work with:

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit”

Strategic Planning
We help companies create strategic brand platforms to build stronger brands inside and out.

Strategic Planning Case Study
Communications Planning
We help brands find their voice and tell their stories in newer and better ways.

Communications Planning Case Study
Event Innovation
We create industry-first solutions that leverage collaborative marketing & technology.

Event Innovation Case Study
Branded Content
We create next gen solutions for brands and publishers with effective consumer engagement, brand content & collaborative marketing.

Branded Content Case Study
Interactive Research
We create unique research solutions that have shaved considerable time and money from traditional methods leveraging our proprietary Virtual Voice® platform.

Interactive Research Case Study
Agency Support
We bring helping hands and new perspective to new business and agency special projects.

Agency Support Case Study
Virtual Voice ®
To build a great machine, it takes know-how and teamwork, but you also need great tools.
For the past few years we have been exploring and developing in the collaborative marketing and co-design space. We built a patent-pending strategic marketing system we call Virtual Voice; it's a platform that does many different things for marketers depending on the challenge; from brand entertainment, to co-design research, and product design exploration & execution. With Virtual Voice, we've engaged consumers to re-imagine a luxury brand from its storied heritage in a unique and entertaining way. We've let Gen Y help us quickly co-design a whitespace vehicle and save thousands of dollars in research budget and concept development time. And we've helped a client create a never before event marketing and social share experience with a deep set of analytics.
  • Virtual Voice creates real-world results - here's how.
  • Lincoln and Pebble Beach Concours D' Elegance
    Following two successful co-design betas, we helped Lincoln and Team Detroit create an industry-first co-design event as the brand returned to the Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance for the first time in decades. Attendees were invited to cross the red velvet rope of automotive design and engaged in a creative and entertaining exploration of heritage-influenced concept vehicles powered by Virtual Voice. Aggregating insights in real-time, we then collaborated with consumers to explore whitespace concepts influenced by enthusiasts and thought leaders. The engagement created some compelling metrics, interesting design ideas and thousands of positive PR impressions for Lincoln from thought-leading blogs and industry trade press.
  • Ford Fiesta and Comic Con
    Tiny Toy Car and Gawker Media asked us to help them create an engaging experience for the Ford Fiesta launch and Comic Con, a huge pop culture gathering of Gen-Y influencers. Using Virtual Voice we developed an industry first interactive and social shareable superhero version of the Ford Fiesta with thousands of custom combinations. The interactive widget ran on Gawker's Kinja platform Io9, Kotaku and Jalopnik blogger sites. Beyond creating a fun interactive engagement we also captured some great design insights and strong analytics.
The Team.
  • Kevin Smith
    Founder & President, brand machine & Virtual Voice

    Kevin is a 20-year marketing and branding veteran with diverse experience. His specialty has been leveraging his comprehensive industry knowledge, combined with creative thinking, to lead special strategic project teams to develop innovative business and brand solutions.

    Kevin is the consummate hybrid; equal parts creative thinker, strategist and protagonist. Kevin founded brandmachine in 2008, and later invented Virtual Voice and built the team to launch it. He has held senior automotive marketing leadership positions at major OEM ad agencies. As Senior VP Strategic Planning Director at J Walter Thompson, Kevin helmed many high-level strategic business and brand projects for Ford brands. At Campbell-Ewald, Kevin was Senior VP Account Planning Director and led a task force for the Chevrolet brand that clarified the brand promise and crafted the platform and primary brand themeline,“Built to Last. Built to Love.”

    Kevin is an alumnus of Oakland University where he majored in Journalism and Business Administration. He is a co-author of patents in product design, has published thought-leading columns in Ad Age and Automotive News, and has been a regular speaker and presenter at industry conferences.

  • Cathy Condit Cuckovich
    Partner/Virtual Voice Director

    Cathy brings over 20 years of comprehensive marketing and advertising experience to the brandmachine and has been a key contributor to the development and launch of Virtual Voice. From a consulting perspective she has successfully led projects in planning, strategy, brand positioning and branded content development.

    Cathy's career began in the Marketing and Sales organization of Ford Motor Company where she held numerous assignments, both in the field organization and at headquarters. She gained valuable “front line” experience working with car dealers as a zone manager in Ford's retail organization.

    Cathy served as Senior Vice President, Director, Branded Content Planning at Team Detroit, Inc. where she helped her clients create innovative, cross-media solutions utilizing: branded content, product integration, strategic alliances and program sponsorships. Cathy also served as Senior Partner, SUV Account Director for the Ford Motor Company stable of SUVs.

    Cathy majored in Economics and graduated with honors from Notre Dame; she also has an MBA from the University of Michigan.

  • Tina Ienna
    Social/Digital Media Strategist

    As a 20+ year veteran in media and publishing, Tina brings strategic expertise in helping clients navigate the rapidly changing world of digital and social media. In her former role as a Client Partner and Business lead at Facebook, Tina worked with partners like Ford, General Motors and FCA to help them navigate the social media platform's pivot from purely social metrics to business results that drive bottom line performance.

    Prior to leading automotive sales and strategy at Facebook, Tina headed both traditional and digital media strategy as well as planning and analytics on the Chrysler Group business at Universal McCann. Earlier in her career, she led sales teams at AOL and Time Inc. where her teams executed standout custom content programs that seamlessly integrated her clients' brands. Tina's experience in social, digital and traditional media has enhanced her ability to collaborate with diverse teams to find creative new approaches that drive results.

  • Kathy Yager
    Integrated Media Planning & Buying Director

    There's art and science to the media discipline: communication, sociology, economics, financial planning, research and analytics combined with problem solving, strategic choices and old-fashioned wheeling and dealing.

    After 20+ years in the business and responsibility for approximately $3 billion, Kathy understands the translation of business objectives through to the hectic and noisy lifestyles of the American consumer. Whether working across the client spectrum from small, single market retailers to global manufacturers, or spanning the ever-evolving landscape of media options, the key concepts of precisely defined objectives, flawless execution and ROI remain paramount.

    Kathy has an unusual background of senior management roles on both the planning and buying sides of media combined with roll-up-the-sleeves, in the trenches execution of network and spot television, radio, print, digital, search, out of home and direct response. Client industry categories include automotive (brand, retail and aftermarket), fast food, consumer packaged goods, public utilities, healthcare – consumer and B2B, home appliances, franchise systems and retail.

    Wearing all those hats has built quite a wardrobe, enabling Kathy to instill confidence, navigate the media process and deliver results for clients.

  • John Clarey
    Design Director

    John is an award-winning designer with a BFA from CCS. He has lead design teams at Campbell-Ewald, AGA Studios, and the Detroit Lions. John's resume includes car launches, retail programs, product catalogs, and digital and social brand campaigns. Not to mention he has mastered national print, TV, experiential, and outdoor. Some of John's awards include: Two-time Detroit Grand Prix Poster Contest Winner, CAAN Print Finalist, numerous CADDY and Addy Awards in design and television. His talents can be seen on such accounts as Lincoln, Chevrolet, GM Card, Detroit Lions, Allina Health, LA Tourism, ZipCar, United Shore, Michelob Light, Little Caesars, Lionel, and Coca Cola, to list a few.

  • Denise McQuillan
    Creative Director

    Denise has a vast amount of advertising and marketing experience. During her tenure she has lead teams that specialize in Traditional, CRM, Loyalty, Experiential, Social and Digital media. She has thoughtfully developed successful campaigns and strategic solutions for a wide range of brands and categories including Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, GM, Chrysler Jeep Dodge & Ram, Infiniti, GM Card, Chrysler Financial, GMAC, Ally, Allina Health, Kaiser, Pulte Homes, Dow Building Solutions and many others.

  • John Van Osdol
    Brand Content Production

    John leads creative content development and works in concert with our agency partners. John brings over twenty years of creative development experience and won the coveted Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival for producing the Jeep commercial “Snow Covered.” John has been honored with most every advertising award including numerous Cannes Lions for Jeep, Effies for Jeep, Cadillac, Pontiac and Goodwrench, even an Emmy for a PSA he produced for the Vietnam Monument Commission. John was named to Crain Publishing's list of “40 Under 40” in 1998.

    A broadcast television and digital Executive Producer with a wide range of leadership and client experience, John has years of hands-on business and integrated production experience. After holding key leadership roles at leading global advertising agencies like Campbell-Mithun-Esty, FCB, BBDO and Leo Burnett, John helped create start-up agency, “Topolewski,” in 2006.

    John's specialty is developing rich content for internet, tablet and episodic television that helps educate consumers and enthusiasts about automobiles and the automotive culture that surrounds us all.

We help clients and their agencies solve problems and realize new opportunities. We've never had a project we couldn't tackle, or a client we couldn't satisfy. And we intend to keep it that way. So, how can we help you?
  • Results.

    The most innovative thinking isn't worth much if it doesn't create results. Brandmachine thinking has resulted in rich work that move brands and organizations forward. Let us show you.



    On short notice, an ad agency finds themselves short-handed and in need of new insights and creative concepts for an agency pitch less than a month away. They need it all; research, a full stand-up presentation and traditional and digital creative concepts.


    Brandmachine created a comprehensive new business presentation for the agency client including new product and competitive insights, a full presentation deck and creative concepts on time and under budget. The strategic platform proved especially beneficial in getting the agency into the finalist presentation and creative concepts served as assets for other client deployment. Clients congratulated the agency for new thinking and concepts given tight timelines and budget.


    Publishing and brand communications are undergoing a wholesale transformation in the digital era creating the need for new thinking in engagement and content creation.


    Brandmachine has been helping publishers and agencies create new collaborative marketing strategies & content leveraging our Virtual Voice platform. We are helping create next generation solutions in consumer engagement and brand journalism. In one case, we have helped a digital publisher create an industry-first engagement for opinion-leading digital enthusiasts under a tight timeline and limited budget; in fact, providing an end-to end solution that was beyond the client's expectations.


    Clients are seeking ways to engage consumers in newer and more efficient ways to create deeper, more relevant and impactful consumer and product insights faster and more cost-efficiently.


    Brandmachine has been an innovator in the interactive and co-design research space for our clients. In one study, we created a whitespace concept in a quarter of the time that echoed the same findings of a major brand using traditional methods. We provided similar insights in a few weeks what took the clients months of expensive ethnography and clinics to uncover. We continue to evolve our patent-pending methodology of Virtual Voice co-design research to the benefits of our clients and research partners.


    A well established brand is returning to a prestigious consumer event and seeks to make an innovative but cost-effective statement for the brand. Time is short and budget is limited to develop a big concept consistent with the emerging position for the brand.


    We identified some key nuggets from the brand's heritage and used our Virtual Voice solution to enable consumers to interact with the brand in an industry first application in collaborative marketing powered by Virtual Voice. Metrics proved brand opinion and consideration were improved considerably through the co-design experience. We then re-engaged event attendees in product design exploration which resulted in new design concepts and thousands of impressions of favorable impressions in thought-leading publications. The clients were impressed by the ROI and the differentiation of the experience from more traditional exhibits.


    A major automotive brand seeks a way to make product and brand communications hang together with a common strategy and brand platform—a problem the brand has faced for some time. They need a new perspective and “brand glue” to align the brand with both internal stakeholders and consumers.


    Deep dives into client's organization, brand metrics & operating environment leads to a breakthrough platform that aligns Design/PD, organizational culture and brand communications under one powerful idea. Clients and senior executive leadership are relieved to have new organizational focus and alignment reducing waste and enhancing efficiency and focus. Not only is a new brand platform birthed, but a new creative communications themeline is created to bridge the strategy into advertising. The themeline is leveraged across all brand communications to energize and galvanize the brand.


    Global technology company is seeking a way to galvanize their DNA and express their branding idea in all facets of the organization; from operations, to product development and brand communications. They needed a fresh eyes perspective and a strategy that would serve as a unifying position for their brand as they continued to grow globally.


    We helped the agency of record create a unifying brand platform and corporate themeline directly aligned with their culture and competencies and the thought leaders in their category. The project encompassed: research, brand planning, product planning and platform development. Based on project recommendations and a strategic theme, the client embarked on a complete redesign of all communications; implemented an all new portfolio architecture and product naming strategy; identified, branded and trademarked their proprietary approach for the first time.
Contact Us.
contact us.
Brandmachine and Virtual Voice were born in Detroit where we proudly maintain our headquarters. If you have a business challenge where we can help or an opportunity you would like to explore. Or, if you'd just like a demo of our interactive Virtual Voice software, please send us a note or give us a ring. The machine is ready to rumble.