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A Small But Mighty Brand Strategy Agency

We believe that strong brands are valuable assets that inspire employees and motivate customers.

Client Highlights Recent Work

Equinix: Articulating the Employer Brand

Equinix is a Fortune 500 digital infrastructure company whose objective was to better attract top talent. A robust process that included global research, deep listening, and workshops delivered a precise and authentic employer brand platform, refreshed personas, and targeted messaging, resulting in an award: Glassdoor named Equinix a best place to work for the first time, ever. Here is what our client said about the project. Click here for a short video about the project.

SFMOMA: Ongoing brand strategy consultation

SFMOMA’S successful grand re-opening in 2016 was the catalyst to hire GBW in order to refresh the brand and support a new creative campaign. Since then, we have continued to serve as strategic consultants, advising on branding and marketing, and are proud to have developed the creative for SFMOMA’s top performing digital campaign, ever. Click here for a full client testimonial.

PayPal: Global brand governance strategy and programs

Starting in 2016, GBW has worked consistently with various parts of the PayPal organization globally (Brand, People, Product & Technology) to deliver strategic initiatives such as brand governance, internal brand engagement, program naming, and transformation communications. Some work examples are here, here, here and here. Click here for a client testimonial.

Appnovation: Expansion drives the need for a refreshed brand story

When this Canadian-based global digital consultancy, which serves most of the Fortune 500, was ready to expand their breadth of offerings, it was time for a brand refresh. GBW defined a new, bold, modern, and vibrant brand story. The new brand served as the foundation for the creation of refreshed logo and visual identity, rooted in narrative. Check out the full story here, and a client testimonial here.

Sutherland: A new logo, visual identity, and corporate applications

This global process outsourcing firm sought out a “small but mighty” branding agency who could nimbly bring their new brand strategy to life, and found us. In 3 months, Global Brand Works delivered a new logo, logo animation, full visual identity system, guidelines, corporate story, PowerPoint template, and business card design. Read More

Credit Sesame: Sharpening the pencil on brand strategy

Credit Sesame found itself competing in a market that was getting more and more commoditized, which was the catalyst for revisiting its brand strategy. After conducting a competitive audit, end-user research, an internal listening tour, and a brand workshop, GBW repositioned the brand for relevancy and differentiation, which served as the foundation for new messaging.

Kettle Brand: Product naming and brand architecture

The Kettle team asked Global Brand Works to explore naming and brand elasticity for one of Kettle’s new snack categories: vegetable chips. The new name developed by Global Brand Works is Kettle UPROOTED (and in 4 weeks). Be sure to pick up a bag; Kettle UPROOTED vegetable chips are delightful! Read More

Bank of the West: Branding an internal event

For an annual internal road show, Bank of the West wanted to bring a completely reimagined and fresh take on the event, which reflected a positive future and several new and dynamic initiatives. GBW developed a strategy which led to a new theme, look, and feel. We also scripted and designed energizing and compelling presentations to support the theme each year.

Yodlee: Preparation for IPO

Caroline and Shannon led a 2-year brand repositioning for this cloud-based FinTech company. By retiring an outdated visual identity system and messaging platform for an authentic, relevant and differentiated brand platform, the company was readied for a successful IPO.

State Street Global Advisors: Employees learn the importance of “Living The Brand”

State Street Global Advisors worked with GBW to make its global rebrand launch just as vital and inspiring for employees as it would be for customers. We partnered with SSGA’s existing agencies to develop an employee intranet, an internal engagement campaign, and targeted brand training programs that included in-person workshops around the globe, customized by region and functional area.

Veritas: Spinning off a new company and brand

The separation of Veritas from Symantec required the revival and re-defining of the Veritas brand. Working with Symantec’s agency of record, Global Brand Works helped actualize Veritas’ new brand positioning by developing global internal and external programs, training and tools.

BlackRock: Alignment after an acquisition

BlackRock acquired iShares from Barclays Global Advisors in 2010. Shannon and Caroline led the brand strategy for the newly-merged entity and delivered the first ever global Visual Identity system that either company had ever had.

iShares: Deepening employee engagement

Using a clever and fun grassroots internal engagement program, employees were able to better articulate the iShares brand story. In partnership with agency School of Thought, here is a video that highlights one of the programs.

Norton LifeLock: Style Guides and PowerPoint Templates

When LifeLock rebranded, and then again when the company got acquired by Symantec, GBW developed internal activation programs and corporate applications. Click here for a deeper story on why we take work-horse assets, such as guidelines and PowerPoint templates (and PPT training) very seriously. For both initiatives, GBW was the company’s go-to team to create brand guides and PowerPoint templates. These assets are critical in protecting the brand, especially during times of transition, by delivering consistency.

Visa: Establishing a practice for global brand management

Caroline was Visa’s first ever executive leader with responsibility for strategic global brand management. With Shannon on her team, she repositioned Visa from a company with a “collection of logos” in the transaction business to an emotionally-positioned consumer brand, ultimately serving as the foundation for a successful IPO.

What we do

Customized Brand Consulting Services

big and small divers

Our approach provides companies with brand support that ranges from strategic coaching to program management. For companies large and small, we’ve led rebrands, created global visual identity systems, developed brand architecture, named products, trained employees, conducted research, thrown wild parties, and provided soothing reinforcement in times of high anxiety.

Brand In A Box

Sometimes all you need is a springboard to get your business going, and that’s why we’ve developed “Brand In A Box.” Once we understand your objectives, we will lead you through a fast-track process that will deliver a clear and concise brand articulation, as well as a visual identity and core assets that will get you out of the starting gate and on track for success. Click here to learn more.

Our Sweet Spot: Internal Activation and Culture

Some of our best work involves bringing brands to life through a super important channel: employee culture. Brands that make the most impact have employees that not only understand the brand, but live the brand in their day-to-day. We’ve been proud to partner with forward-thinking brands like iShares, PayPal, and SSGA, to develop educational modules and employee brand training that creates a culture of brand engagement that is fun, motivating, and relevant.

We Do Everything Brand

Brand Governance

Employee Activation

Visual Identity

Brand Strategy


Creative Development

Brand Positioning

Brand Tools



Brand Voice

Brand Architecture

Internal Brand Training

Brand Guidelines

Executive Coaching

Culture & Employer Branding

We can complement existing agencies with brand expertise, embed ourselves as extensions of a client's marketing department, or lead a specific program.

Our Difference

Efficient — We are nimble and practical without bureaucracy. That means we take on clients large and small. We scale up or down as we need to, harnessing our 15-person dream team, depending on requirements.

Hands on Expertise — You work directly with Caroline, Shannon and senior Subject Matter Experts.

Single-minded — We specialize in one thing: branding.

We are doing what we love — Our harmonious business relationship fosters creativity, ego-free brainstorming, and a contagious passion for our work. We have worked side-by-side for over 20 years.

We've walked in your shoes — The vast majority of our careers have been on the client side.

The Founders

At the helm of Global Brand Works is Caroline McNally and Shannon Riordan. We have been business partners in a variety of roles since 1998.

Caroline and Shannon

Caroline McNally

Caroline has an instinct and a remarkable capacity for understanding how brands resonate with people. She has held executive positions at American Express, Visa, MasterCard, iShares, BlackRock, and Yodlee prior to founding Global Brand Works. She is Chairman of the Board of The Riekes Center, serves on the Marketing Committee for SFMOMA, and is a Board Trustee for St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day School.

Shannon Riordan

As the creative lead for the agency, Shannon puts the “kick” in “kick-start your brand.” A robust background in all facets of branding provides her with the foundation to deliver compelling, clear, creative, organized, and occasionally outlandish solutions. She has held senior management positions at Visa, BlackRock, iShares, lived in Paris in an attempt to be an artist, and was associate producer for an independent film, called The Hot Flashes.

The Team

While our senior leadership team is directly involved in strategy and tactics on all projects, we don't stand alone. Depending on your scope of work, we assemble a core group of pedigreed experts from our dream team of highly-skilled professionals. Some of these amazing people (but not all) are:

John has more than 25 years of experience in branding and design. Prior to helping GBW on brand identity for clients such as HRMI and Sutherland, he worked as a Senior Designer at Landor for 12 years. His top clients have been Accenture, Agilent, Bank of The West, Chevron, Corporate Express, Fiserv, GE, Microsoft, NCAA, NCAT, Nationwide Insurance, P&G, State Street Global Advisors, and Shutterfly.

With simplicity, clarity, and often wicked humor, Brad knows how to capture the essence of a story. He has been writing for more than 25 years in a wide range of marketing capacities. But his passion is screenwriting; he wrote and produced the 2013 independent feature film called The Hot Flashes, starring Brooke Shields and Wanda Sykes. His second film, Stage Mother, is currently in production. Top brands he has helped include HP, Visa, Yodlee, Fossil, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Paige complements our client-side expertise with over 20 years of agency-side proficiency (Interbrand: 6 years; Wolf Olins: 10 years, among others). She specializes in brand implementation and operating processes for big, complex, global client engagements. Some brands she has supported are: GE, HP, Nissan, Microsoft, Deloitte, KPMG, PWC Consulting, (RED), Smith & Nephew, Cadillac, Booz Allen Hamilton, Citi, BlackRock, and Verizon.

Kellie is the guru of anything to do with the intersection of brand, internal culture, and employee value proposition. She has 25+ years of experience as a Human Resources Executive driving business success and performance, and has held senior positions at BEA Systems,, the Golden State Warriors, Rocketfuel, and Alliance of American Football.

What We Believe

Women on a rocket illustration

A brand will create tangible value for your business, but only if it drives everything you do. In fact, it is your organization’s most powerful asset, whether small start-up, or global corporation.

A significant investment in positioning, strategy, or identity will only deliver results if employees are aligned and understand how to own and live the brand. By establishing brand as the lens through which employees make and prioritize decisions, the brand promise gets naturally and authentically translated to the customer experience.

These verified testimonials are collected by a third party company called Clutch. Clutch analysts directly interview each of our clients to create an unbiased review.

Let's talk.

Global Brand Works

San Francisco and Redwood City, CA


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