Brand Strategy

YouTube
|
Brand Narrative
|
2020

As the world adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic, YouTube needed to revise its brand strategy and speak to the resilience of its creator community and viewers. I saw a uniquely ownable space that YouTube’s competitors couldn’t touch, positioning the platform as a tool to help people find a sense of  agency in a world of overwhelm. The eventual campaign “Find a Way #WithMe” drove positive perception +2pts to 66%, a top 2 OKR  for YouTube in H2 2020.

My Role:

Brand Strategist

|

Team:

YouTube

Brand Strategy
Creative Ladder
|
Foundational Brand Strategy
|
2024

Creative Ladder, founded in 2022 by Ryan Reynolds, helps underrepresented communities break into marketing & advertising. In 2024, we partnered with the organization’s CEO and team to define their brand strategy amidst a period of rapid growth. We saw that while similar orgs offer advice for professional growth, Creative Ladder was unique in their broader ambition to make the industry a place of belonging. This inspired a new Purpose and an emboldened archetype, ready to blend compassion and tough love to drive the industry forward. These and other foundations equipped the organization with a clear narrative for today and unified conviction for tomorrow.

My Role:

Strategy Director

|

Team:

21CB

Brand Strategy
Source Global
|
Brand Strategy + Visual Identity
|
2024

SOURCE Global makes clean drinking water out of thin air. With their world-changing Hydropanel technology, the company attracted over $230M in funding from Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, BlackRock, and more. As they looked ahead, they sought to scale their global impact and drive mainstream adoption across three different lines of business. To help sharpen their focus and ambition, I helped SOURCE define a foundational brand strategy. We then translated that strategy into a striking new visual identity. These elements, supported by a new brand architecture and messaging system, helped unify and elevate SOURCE, illuminating a clear path forward for the brand.

My Role:

Strategy Director

|

Team:

21CB

Brand Strategy
Amazon Prime
|
Positioning + Video Content
|
2017

Most Millennials thought Prime’s only perk was free two-day shipping, making them less likely to pay for the service. We saw an opportunity to shift their focus to Prime’s treasure trove of offerings —from groceries, to movies, to music, to two-hour delivery —making it a one-stop shop that simplifies their busy lives. We proved it through a yeti prepping for a night out,  a cat owner prepping for a night in, and a bunch of other beings in need of Prime. The work drove engagement 20% compared to previous campaigns and increased membership sales 5% among millennials.

My Role:

Strategist

|

Team:

Camp + King

Creative Strategy
Google Pixel “Brighter in the Dark”
|
Experiential + PR Strategy
|
2019

The Google Pixel team wanted to leverage their partnership with Childish Gambino to make a splash at America's noisiest cultural event of the year. We identified a unique opportunity to use the Pixel device as a window into Gambino's creative mind and collaborated with him to design an immersive art installation that let fans step inside, while showcasing the Pixel 3’s standout features. The final output drove an 11% lift in purchase intent and over 100M earned media impressions.

My Role:

Creative Strategy Lead

|

Team:

Google

Creative Strategy
Google Home “Mini Golf”
|
Experiential
|
2018

In a category littered with futuristic smart homes, we saw an opportunity to create an experience that felt less robotic and more familiar. Inspired by families and their day-to-day obstacles, we turned the smarts of Google Home into a real world, summer activity for all ages. Queries were all real tasks that Google Assistant can help with in anyone’s home. Each interaction removed a physical obstacle to help players putt through to the end. The course drew more than 50,000 visitors, drove over 118M earned media impressions and a 43% lift in purchase consideration.

My Role:

Creative Strategy Lead

|

Team:

Google

Creative Strategy
Made By Google
|
Global Product Launch
|
2019

Made by Google needed to launch their 2019 hardware products in a way that bucked the category and captivated the press. Knowing this audience craves the behind-the-scenes even more than the finished product, I drove a strategic vision for the tentpole moment. "Open Campus" offered an approach that gave the audience a glimpse into the how + why behind Google product design. The event drove 511M keynote impressions (+16% YOY), 12.4M live stream views (+5% YOY) and positive social sentiment +15%.

My Role:

Creative Strategy Lead

|

Team:

Google

Creative Strategy
CLOSE

Creative Strategy

Amazon Prime
|
Positioning + Video Content
|
2017

Most Millennials thought Prime’s only perk was free two-day shipping, making them less likely to pay for the service. We saw an opportunity to shift their focus to Prime’s treasure trove of offerings —from groceries, to movies, to music, to two-hour delivery —making it a one-stop shop that simplifies their busy lives. We proved it through a yeti prepping for a night out,  a cat owner prepping for a night in, and a bunch of other beings in need of Prime. The work drove engagement 20% compared to previous campaigns and increased membership sales 5% among millennials.

My Role:

Strategist

|

Agency:

Camp + King

Google Pixel “Brighter in the Dark”
|
Experiential + PR Strategy
|
2019

The Google Pixel team wanted to leverage their partnership with Childish Gambino to make a splash at America's noisiest cultural event of the year. We identified a unique opportunity to use the Pixel device as a window into Gambino's creative mind and collaborated with him to design an immersive art installation that let fans step inside, while showcasing the Pixel 3’s standout features. The final output drove an 11% lift in purchase intent and over 100M earned media impressions.

My Role:

Creative Strategy Lead

|

Agency:

Google

Google Home “Mini Golf”
|
Experiential
|
2018

In a category littered with futuristic smart homes, we saw an opportunity to create an experience that felt less robotic and more familiar. Inspired by families and their day-to-day obstacles, we turned the smarts of Google Home into a real world, summer activity for all ages. Queries were all real tasks that Google Assistant can help with in anyone’s home. Each interaction removed a physical obstacle to help players putt through to the end. The course drew more than 50,000 visitors, drove over 118M earned media impressions and a 43% lift in purchase consideration.

My Role:

Creative Strategy Lead

|

Agency:

Google

Made By Google
|
Global Product Launch
|
2019

Made by Google needed to launch their 2019 hardware products in a way that bucked the category and captivated the press. Knowing this audience craves the behind-the-scenes even more than the finished product, I drove a strategic vision for the tentpole moment. "Open Campus" offered an approach that gave the audience a glimpse into the how + why behind Google product design. The event drove 511M keynote impressions (+16% YOY), 12.4M live stream views (+5% YOY) and positive social sentiment +15%.

My Role:

Creative Strategy Lead

|

Agency:

Google

CLOSE

Pete
Scanlon

Helping brands break from business as usual

Pete's Path

Hi I'm Pete, an independent strategy director based in Oakland, CA. Below is my professional story in ~150 words.

I started my career in creative agencies. After years on the outside looking in, I moved in-house to Google to work on their brand experience team. Most recently I was a Strategy Director at 21CB, a boutique consultancy founded by Jonathan Mildenhall and Neil Barrie, where I helped founders, CEOs and marketing leaders define their foundational brand strategy.

Over my 13 years in the industry, I’ve had the pleasure of working with household names like YouTube, Starbucks and Amazon, as well as bold and burgeoning ones like SOURCE, Spindrift, and Creative Ladder, each challenging their respective industry for the better.  

These experiences have allowed me to make work that hits that rare sweet spot: commercially impactful and personally fulfilling. With my one-man studio, Instead, I get to do even more of that by working alongside companies that I love.

If any of this sounds like your cup of tea, let’s grab coffee.

Pete Scanlon photo

The Goods

Brand Strategy

Brand Strategy

Brand Strategy

Brand Strategy

Coming soon!

Brand Strategy
Source case study cover image
Creative Strategy

Spindrift Case Study coming soon!

Creative Strategy

Spindrift Case Study coming soon!

Creative Strategy

Spindrift Case Study coming soon!

Creative Strategy

Spindrift Case Study coming soon!

Creative Strategy

Cross-Category Experience

B2B TECH

Android
DocuSign
Intel
Oracle

CONSUMER TECH

Amazon Prime
Google
Meta
YouTube

CPG

Source
Spindrift

ENTERTAINMENT

Dish Network
Google Play Music
Major League Baseball
Sling TV

FASHION

Ugg for Men

HARDWARE

Google Nest
Google Pixel
Nvidia Shield
Samsung Galaxy

NON-PROFIT

Creative Ladder

RETAIL

Macy’s
Starbucks

TELECOM

T-Mobile
Visible Wireless

TRAVEL

Carnival Cruise Line

VENTURE CAPITAL

SV Angel
Amazon prime
Youtube
Spindrift
Spindrift
Starbucks logo
Dish Logo

Ways to Work with Pete

WHO

Agencies, Brands, Consultancies, Publishers

HOW

Tailored Projects, Retainer, Day Rate

WHAT

Brand & Creative Strategy

Brand Strategy

Brand Strategy - N. - the process of defining what a brand stands for, its core values, and its place in the market.

I build these foundational elements alongside cross-functional leaders of an organization through a series of collaborative workshops.

Example Deliverables

Mission, Vision & Purpose
Positioning
Brand Narrative & Archetype
Naming
Visual & Verbal Identity
Brand Playbooks
Creative Strategy

Creative Strategy - N. - the process of defining how a brand should show up in the world via campaigns, actions and initiatives.

I create a focused space for creatives to ignite their imaginations through an audience-first approach and a clear definition of the challenge.

Example Deliverables

Creative Briefs & Development
Comms Strategy
Product Launches
Experiential & Events
Digital & Social
Partnerships

Research & Insights Capabilities

Surveys, Interviews, & Focus Groups
Audience Definition
Competitive Audits & Market Analysis
Cultural Insights & Trend Reports

Three Lenses. One Perspective.

Scale-Ups
Enterprises
Agencies

Regardless of lifecycle stage, brands often face a certain inertia when striving for change. But overcoming this cycle of predictability requires a fresh vantage point. My work across varied environments has equipped me with a few:

  • An enterprise’s understanding of scale and complexity
  • A scale-up’s appetite for using the entire company as a creative canvas
  • An agency’s energy for smashing the corporate filter

Three lenses. One perspective.

All in service of helping brands break from business as usual.

*Neil Barrie’s poetic brilliance. Not mine

Kind Words

Natasha Aarons

“Pete has an uncanny ability to translate complex business challenges into big, innovative solutions that deliver true brand value.”

Natasha Aarons
VP of Marketing, Paramount

Colin Chow

“Pete has a uniquely creative approach to strategy, both in terms of where he finds inspiration and how he develops and visualizes strategy to reveal surprising insights.”

Colin Chow
Global Managing Partner, 21CB

Tom Manion

"What strikes me most about Pete is his ability to synthesize vast amounts of information into a focused point of view. He’s also a great collaborator with creatives, helping shape ideas that are both intelligent and impactful."

Tom Manion
Group Creative Director, Google

Dionna Dorsey

“Pete’s blend of inspiration, rigor, and empathy not only helped us overcome challenges but also positioned us for success in our next chapter of growth. We’re deeply grateful for Pete's invaluable contributions to our organization's transformation.”

Dionna Dorsey
CEO, The Creative Ladder

On the internet

Over email

pete@instead.studio

Over coffee

Coffee IRL

Virtual

*I'm committed to seeing more marketers from marginalized communities succeed. If that's you and you’re seeking advice, mentoring, or just want to brainstorm, don’t hesitate to reach out.*