BLOG Finding Answers in Big Sky Country: Financial Firm Research & Branding

Finding Answers in Big Sky Country: Financial Firm Research & Branding

POSTED BY Danielle Holmes | Aug 26, 2022

About Allied Investment Advisors

Allied Investment Advisors is a Billings, Montana, based financial firm. They opened their doors in 2009, at the height of the financial crisis. They not only stayed open, but grew. Allied did this by focusing on one client, one relationship, at a time. Their personal success recipe: expertise + attention to detail + caring for people. 

They knew that to continue growing they needed a fresh look and a better understanding of their clients’ needs. 

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The Vision

When they approached us, they were ready for a complete rebrand. And they knew that a rebrand without research wouldn’t work. The firm was stable, retaining clients, but they wanted the insight to grow their client base. So, before any new website, relaunched social, or upgraded newsletters, they went through a research and positioning project with Primitive. 

The vision for the research project was to start with listening—listening to all stakeholders: Allied’s team and their clients. And to let those initial insights lead the research direction. 

The Brief

  • Stakeholder listening
  • Client research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Redefine brand
  • Create new brand color palette 
  • Tools to tell their story
  • Use findings to inform new website and social media
  • Keep their Montana roots

The Team

Account Manager: Jeter Cotton

Research & Design: Jeremy Giovannetti

Our Approach

This project started with listening. Allied believed that the time they put into relationships with clients was key to client retention and confidence. When we listened to clients, we heard that while the relationships were important, performance mattered more. 

These initial insights gave us a focus for competitive analysis reports and a direction to take secondary, in-depth client interviews and client surveys. After using qualitative techniques to evaluate interviews and quantitative techniques to look at data for our competitive analysis reports, we discussed initial findings with Allied.

At this point, one of our designers began work on color palettes, typography, and other visual assets for the brand.

The visual assets, the competitive analysis, takeaways, and writing and strategy guides were delivered in a beautifully packaged brandbook.

This process was successful because Allied was able to trust Primitive’s expertise and collaborate with us.


  • Brandbook
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Website Strategy
  • Social Media Strategy


How to Use a Brandbook

We always lead with a section on how to use the brandbook. Because a brandbook isn’t helpful if you don’t know how to use it. The Allied brandbook has guidance for designers, strategists, and copywriters. 

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Client Survey Takeaways

This research revealed what clients needed that they weren’t getting from the existing website and handouts. The key takeaways were about education. Clients wanted to see proof of performance and Allied’s expertise.

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Truly Curious Clients

Allied wanted to know what their clients needed. They were willing to accept that their assumptions about their clients were off. This curiosity allowed our team to listen to all stakeholders and pursue a research direction that challenged Allied’s beliefs about their clients. 

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Informed Strategy

This research and positioning project was the first step in a client relationship with Allied. We were able to use the insights in this research to inform web design and social strategy. Using analytics and tracking lead generation, we were able to see the pay off. We love witnessing client wins!

Winning A Gold ADDY

That website, informed by our research, went on to win a Gold ADDY for overall website. That award evaluated copy, design, strategy, and development. We personally think this site won because our research helped us fully know the client. And that knowledge helped them trust us to innovate.

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Client Take

Allied was an engaged partner in the research and web design process. They had this to say about their experience with Primitive:

“There was never a request that seemed out of bounds nor did we feel like we were requesting too much of the team. There were always clear goals set-out for each month of work, these were discussed with us to get our feedback and thoughts and then Primitive always delivered on the roll-out laid out for each month. Our feedback was always welcome and valued throughout the process.”

And the stats from the new website speak for themselves:

  • 40% increase in users
  • 44% increase in pages viewed per session
  • 100% increase in session duration
  • 118% increase in page views


read the full case study


About the writer, Danielle Holmes

Danielle has been telling stories her whole life. And for the last five years she’s been telling the stories of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and companies bringing quality products and services to customers. Danielle got her start in academia. With degrees in English and anthropology, she spent more than half a decade learning how to ask questions, tell stories, and do thorough research. Her approach uses ethnographic interview and coding techniques to better understand brands and clients. She listens for key words, recurring topics, and core ideas to know the client and their ideal audience. She uses that data and understanding to tell stories—true to brands—that create loyal customers.