CASE STORY: How The Surefire Method™ Drove Results
& Opened Doors for A Portland Startup 

Building Brand Beyond a Visual Identity Drives Phenominal Results for this Start-Up

Your Last Words was a Portland tech start-up, who’s founder was referred to us after speaking with one of our strategic partners and mentioned, “I’m also going to need help with creating the brand.”

For the founder, Candice Smith, this meant: logo, fonts, colours and some messaging. At the time, she believe that these tactical brand elements were what was needed next to launch the company and provide the confidence and clarity she needed to engage prospective investors.

We started with a conversation to determine Candice’s big picture goals and current challenges. Initially, she believe that it was a visual brand identity was needed next for Your Last Words; through our discussion, we realized there was a more significant issue at hand. We learned that this startup founder was struggling with communicating what Your Last Words was, the impact it would make and the vision for the company – all of these being critical elements for successfully attracting and engaging investors. It was revealed through the initial discussion that getting clear on the company’s fundamental beliefs and truths, it’s strategic brand positioning and core messaging was the true top priority in order to access investor support and funding. And so, that is where our work together began.


  • The founder lacked the confidence and ability to to effectively communicate the why, how, what and impact of company.

  • A lack of clear and concise messaging with which to engage investors and prospective customers.

  • With a never-been-seen-before solution, clear, concise positioning, messaging and value propositions were not only needed, they were crucial.

  • A lack of the necessary strategic tools to keep business, products and delivery aligned with the company’s purpose and vision.

  • There was a lack of depth in the understanding and clear definition ideal target clients and investors.

  • The existing name was failing to resonate and was actually repelling ideal clients.

  • Company needed visual brand identity and logo to support and convey the new brand positioning.


  • Define the company’s fundamental beliefs, truths and strategic brand positioning: the why, how, what, value and story.

  • Train the founder in how to use the brand positioning elements as strategic tools to guide and align the growth of the company.

  • Gain a clearly and much deeper understanding of the ideal target audiences and document the profiles.

  • Develop clearly articulated, audience resonant core messaging.

  • Create a new name for the company that appealed to ideal clients and investors.

  • Develop visual brand identity complete with logo, font and color palettes, graphics and image styles.

  • Develop visual brand identity guidelines.

“I didn’t know how to talk about my company, and because I didn’t have those words I was being held back from engaging support, investors and building my product. Big Bold Brand’s process enabled me to get clear and be able to confidently share what Caregiven would be, the vision for the company and the impact we would make in the world.”

Candice Smith, Founder, Caregiven

Approach & Solution:

Leveraging Big Bold Brand’s proven Surefire Method™, we drilled down to clarify and hone in on the people they would serve, the problem Candice’s company would solve for them, the impact it would make and the value it would deliver. We transformed the core elements of the investor pitch from being something abstract, unknown and hard to describe to an explanation that was easy for people to ‘get’ right away, “…providing a platform that would guide and support a family caregiver’s journey in supporting a loved one from a terminal diagnosis through passing, relieving stress and removing any of the caregiver’s regrets.”

We worked together to explore the crucial nuances of Your Last Words’ beliefs, culture and language because dying and death are hard, emotional and sensitive topics. Collaboratively, we created concise messaging that elevated people’s perception of this start-up, empowering Candice with both the tools and confidence she needed to engage support and investment effectively.

As we worked at articulating the company’s positioning and messaging, it was realized through market research with ideal prospective clients that the company’s name, Your Last Words, was not resonating. In fact, it was repelling them as it caused them to focus on fear and negative emotions, rather than on the ease and peace of mind that the company would provide. Feedback from panellists identified that the name triggered a negative response that would be a barrier to them considering and adopting the product. The decision was made to adding a company renaming exercise to the scope of the project, and Caregiven was born.

After successfully solving the clarity, confidence and resonance challenges by developing the brand positioning, core messaging and new name, Big Bold Brand also awarded the contract to design Caregiven’t visual brand identity.


This founder credits Big Bold Brand’s Surefire Process™ as the thing that helped her mature and fully step into the role of CEO of her business. Starting with her why and then delving into the how and what have created a set of tools that she uses as her Surefire Strategy™  & Toolkit that guide, unify and align all the decisions that are made. Five years later, their fundamental beliefs and truths, core messaging and company direction, have been adopted by the growing leadership team, are still relevant and used religiously when making decisions for the business.


  • Having a clear purpose, vision and set of guiding principles has made it easy to select aligned investors, strategic partners and team members for Caregiven.

  • Networking doors were opened allowing the founder to meet potential advisors and investors in record time. 

  • Caregiven was awarded a spot in the prestigious, by-invite-only Women’s Startup Lab in Silicon Valley.

  • Caregiven was nominated into the Founders Network.

  • Caregiven was honored as a Transformative Technology by the Transformative Technology Academy (TAA).

  • The name change increased company engagement and reflect true essence of company’s work.

  • The Surefire Strategy™ & Toolkit developed continues to be guide the company forward five years later.

  • Having clear, concise core messaging has translated into time savings, and consequently financial savings.

“The strategic tools, core messaging and additional reference material that came out of this process is invaluable. Creating Caregiven’s written and visual language that we can turn over to content designers and developers is a huge savings of both time and money. “

Candice Smith, Founder, Caregiven