When Rick Hill and I founded Hill Investment Group in 2005, we knew we wanted to do something very different from anything you’d find in the traditional financial services landscape. As we set about converting our ideals into reality, we referred to our culture as an island of idealism, rising above the status quo.
Knowing little about branding, we surveyed several St. Louis influencers to help us find a firm to create our logo and tagline. Rick also had one request: He was hoping the firm could include his name.
In the winter of 2005, we selected TOKY Branding + Design to help us with this challenge; we are still their clients to this day.
In hindsight, the rest may seem like a no-brainer. Because they all work so well together, it’s easy to assume that our firm name Hill Investment Group; our hill-shaped logo, our Take the Long View® tagline; and the professional, polished line drawings that now characterize our graphic presentations came together practically overnight.
You’d be mistaken. And we’d be doing a disservice to the visionary souls who have put in countless hours and creative capital helping us shape and refine our now “obvious” brand.
Usually these marketing types labor on unsung behind the scenes, so we thought you might enjoy meeting one of the incredibly talented teams behind our branding: TOKY Branding + Design.
We love how Eric Thoelke and his TOKY team took Rick’s name and helped us connect it with our greater ideals, guiding us on how to meld our identity with our desire to coach people on how to take a higher perspective with their wealth. In his own words, here are Eric’s thoughts about our collaboration (and, yes, Eric’s last name is pronounced the same as his firm’s simpler spelling of the same: toe-kee):
“Back in 2005, I got to spend a couple of leisurely lunches with Rick and Matt, talking about their nascent business, and how their investment philosophy and deeply personal service would set them apart. It was immediately obvious these were true differences, not just distinctions in style. Our goal was finding a way to articulate those differences by integrating the firm’s name, logo and positioning.
The best brands encircle a target audience with messages that are meaningful and distinctive. It’s like pointing all the engines on a rocket in the same direction; alignment creates the greatest thrust. In working with Hill Investment Group, I never get tired of the rush that fires up all their branding engines and targets them in the same direction.”