Like Mary Poppins, we hold firm that in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. We love what we do — and it shows. Our passion for giving voice and vision to your ideas shines through in every aspect of our work. The practice of branding creative entrepreneurs is a partnership and, above all, we believe in doing good work for good people, and finding joy every step of the way. We’re creative and inventive professionals with a unified goal: bring storytelling to the highest art form and make the world fall in love with your passion project.
And yes, we’re mother-daughter-daughter-pit ♥
Our friends call us the KOTAW Girl Gang.
Want to know more about us? Read our bios below or contact us to fill us in on the details of the project that needs our attention.
Katherine Kotaw is the Founder, Executive Marketing Strategist, Branding Coach and Chief Storyteller of KOTAW Content Marketing, a brand storytelling agency in Los Angeles. She started writing professionally when she was 10 years old and her passion for profitable words has never waned.
She wrote radio ads to help pay her tuition at the University of Michigan, where she earned her master’s degree in journalism, launching a career that included covering Presidential elections, the Olympics and Africa famines for some of the largest newspapers in the U.S., including The Washington Post.
After getting married and becoming a mother, Katherine shifted her writing career to part-time teaching at a local college.
When her marriage turned abusive, Katherine and her daughters (then 7 and 4) fled to a domestic violence shelter in Windsor, Ontario. Katherine used her power of storytelling in order to protect her daughters in an international custody battle and, after two years, earned the legal right to relocate to New York.
In New York, a chance meeting with Stephen Frankfurt, the genius behind the iconic Rosemary’s Baby advertising campaign, introduced Katherine to the world of Fortune 500 and Hollywood marketing and, to her surprise, the universe welcomed her.
Unfortunately, domestic violence followed Katherine to Manhattan. Katherine’s ex hired private detectives and a hit man to stalk her daughters and herself. When a New York police detective told Katherine the law couldn’t protect her or her daughters and that her only choice was to “kill him or disappear,” Katherine and her daughters went into hiding.
Katherine wrote about the experience in Quicksand: One Woman’s Escape from the Husband Who Stalked Her. Quicksand, written under a nom de plume and published by HarperCollins, was awarded The Globe and Mail’s annual Globe Books 100 for Best Non-fiction. In 2014, Lifetime network purchased the book-to-movie rights for Katherine’s story, and Quicksand was adapted into a film, Run for Your Life, starring Amy Smart (Shameless, Showtime.) Actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation partnered with NO MORE and Lifetime in order to premiere Run For Your Life in October 2014 in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It wasn’t until the premiere of Run For Your Life that Katherine and her daughters made the decision to come out of hiding and share their story in the hope of inspiring other women.
During her years in exile, Katherine ghostwrote books for New York Times-acclaimed and bestselling authors and learned about personal and corporate branding through storytelling. One of the books she penned, a humorous business parable published by Penguin, earned Katherine New York Times bestselling author status. The book, also written under Katherine’s pen name, made the NYT’s Best Sellers List: Hardcover Business.
Since then, Katherine has helped hundreds of businesses and people garner the attention they sought and authority they needed to build their brands. She’s worked with an eclectic group of clients, including Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and Wall Street corporations, solid-citizen CPAs and Mafia soldiers, dress designers and defrocked priests.
In 2013, Katherine transitioned from freelancer to business owner and CEO, launching KOTAW Content Marketing. Katherine’s vision for KOTAW is simple: give voice to untold or undersold — but captivating — stories.
Want to see samples of Katherine’s work? Send an email. And be sure to read Katherine’s blogs for informative lessons — and amusing anecdotes — on brand storytelling and digital content marketing strategy. Want to know what Katherine does when she’s not at the keyboard? Read Off The Clock, a lifestyle blog featuring adventures of a storyteller living in Los Angeles with her KOTAW Girl Gang and laced with bite-sized, mini marketing tips.
Bri Prooker is KOTAW’s Executive Brand Journalist and Creative Projects Director. Often referred to as ‘the heart’ of team KOTAW, Bri exercises her talent for writing to create effective campaigns for causes she believes in, particularly animal advocacy and the representation of women in media. Bri is passionate about highlighting the humanity behind the company and, like the entire KOTAW team, especially loves promoting businesses rooted in social good.
Like Dawson, Joey and the other kids on the Creek, Bri embodies a powerful “I Don’t Want to Wait” attitude and it was this can-do spirit that quickly propelled her to success.
One year away from earning her B.A. in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Bri left the lush campus — nestled in the redwood forests and meadows of California’s central coast — in pursuit of her big city dreams. She moved to Los Angeles after determining that she didn’t want to wait another year to begin her career in film and media.
Shortly after, Bri founded her own production company, WOOF Productions, which donates part of its film proceeds to animal (particularly Pit Bull!) causes, and the writer-producer-director-actress has been twice featured on George Pennacchio’s “Hollywood Wrap” on KABC-TV Los Angeles’ 11p.m. news, the most-watched newscast in Southern California.
As KOTAW’s Executive Brand Journalist, Bri generates engaging, story-driven content in order to establish, enhance and grow companies’ distinct voices. Bri’s brand storytelling communicates the culture behind the brand, transforming companies into real, honest, accessible organizations and allowing them to become more “human.”
Hailing from a background in performance art, Bri knows how to put on a great show. She also knows how to ensure that an audience becomes emotionally invested in a character or story. As KOTAW’s Creative Projects Director, Bri organizes and produces passionate, heartfelt projects to not only generate brand awareness, but brand admiration and loyalty as well. Bri’s ventures include event planning, fundraising, promotional events, openings, launches, tours, and live performance events.
Kelsey Prooker is KOTAW’s Chief Digital Strategist with an emphasis on visual content strategy. A recent magna cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Kelsey holds a BA in Philosophy and a minor in Fine Arts. Kelsey maintains that Philosophy, while admittedly an unusual choice of major for a career in marketing, armed her with the writing, critical thinking, problem solving, strategic planning, and communication skills necessary to excel in the field.
Kelsey asserts that a degree in marketing or business offers a finite set of limited life-span skills due to the ever-changing sphere of tech-driven digital marketing. Philosophy on the other hand, requires the ability to adapt to the infinite and “impossible,” both of which apply to the rapidly evolving field of digital communications.
Academically trained in the fine arts at USC Roski School of Art and Design, Kelsey is a self-taught graphic designer, spending much of her time using the computer as her canvas. Kelsey designs branded visual media for websites, blog posts and social media platforms. Her most recent project – a series of advertisements for a luxury interiors company – was featured in California Home + Design magazine and on Design*Sponge, the blog hailed a “Martha Stewart Living for the Millennials” by the New York Times.
As Visual Content Strategist, Kelsey helps individuals and businesses engage their audiences through visual storytelling on all digital platforms including Pinterest, Instagram and Slideshare. Additionally, Kelsey’s strategic selection of visual media for websites, blog posts and social media platforms energizes branding efforts by establishing distinct aesthetics, critical in today’s visually-charged social marketing landscape.
Prior to joining the KOTAW team, Kelsey lent her corporate branding expertise to international fashion empires Kate Spade and Tory Burch. She also worked under the supervision of the VP of Marketing for Trina Turk in order to grow the Los Angeles-based designer fashion company’s online presence.
As a Pit Bull, Ivy understands the unfairness of a bad reputation and the satisfaction of proving her detractors wrong. She lets Katherine, Bri and Kelsey take candid photos of her kissing babies and nursing kittens, and this naturally shy girl is starting to enjoy life in front of a video camera, too!
Ivy started out as a part-time member of Katherine, Bri and Kelsey’s family. Starting as a baby, Ivy would escape from her yard to the KOTAW residence, running down the sidewalk past two other houses until she reached her destination: Woofie, the Golden Retriever-Chow Chow whose spirit inspired Katherine to build her own digital marketing agency.
Woofie passed the brand ambassador torch to Ivy after mentoring the red nose Pit Bull for three years. Woofie took Ivy under her wing, and the soul sisters were inseparable before Woofie joined the heavenly angels in early 2013.
Ivy is of course now a permanent member of the KOTAW family (she ran away for the last time long ago, opting for full-time residence with Katherine, Bri and Kelsey — and insisting they also adopt a kitten-cat named Doosis and a Poodle Doodle named LuLU!
Ivy takes her job at KOTAW very seriously, insisting that frequent walks, car rides and outdoor dining experiences are essential to her success. When she’s not hard at work, Ivy likes listening to Britney Spears, watching old sitcoms and chasing lizards in the park.
THE ITALIAN CONNECTION
Katherine Kotaw has been collaborating with graphic artist and creative visual director Toni Bullo long before KOTAW was formed. For years, Katherine and Toni have partnered to create branding magic for clients in a freelance setting, on a per-project basis.
“Every chance I had, I recommended Toni to clients who needed a logo, website design, illustrations, brochures, graphic works and other visual branding needs — and we always had great fun collaborating,” Katherine says. “I sometimes felt as though Toni had taken up residence in my head because he always transformed my visions, roughly described and poorly sketched, into exactly what I was looking for.”
When Katherine founded KOTAW Content Marketing in Spring 2013, she turned to Toni for a challenging design project, one that she could trust to no one but him: the KOTAW logo.
“I had imagined the KOTAW logo for a long time, and it was very personal to me. I wanted it to convey a sense of magic, illumination and triumph, to include symbols important to my daughters, to pay homage to my dogs and — not incidentally — brand KOTAW as a best-in-class digital marketing agency.”
Since bringing Katherine’s vision for the KOTAW logo to life, Toni has collaborated with Katherine on numerous KOTAW projects. Katherine and her team delight in every opportunity to work with Toni. Not only is he a design powerhouse, he has become a dear friend and an integral part of the KOTAW family.
Want to know more about Toni? Read his bio below!
Although Toni Bullo’s studio is in Milan, you don’t have to visit Italy to see his designs. If you have a taste for sweets, you’ve probably unwrapped some of his work. His mouth-watering credits include designing the packaging for Lindt chocolates, Ferrero candies and Bauli cakes. Toni earned the Mediastar award –- Milan’s most prestigious award for excellence in advertising design — for Best Structural Design for his work on Bauli’s holiday collection. Toni designed the chocolates as well as the crystal and plastic packaging for the limited edition assortment.
Toni has collaborated with Marvel, Disney, Mattel, Dreamworks and Dolfin in cooperation with Coca Cola, integrating world-recognized characters such as Spiderman, Snow White, Shrek, Bugs Bunny and Barbie into product packaging.
A classically trained illustrator and sculptor, Toni ventured into graphic design when the publisher of JUMP magazine asked him to create an experimental graphic for the publication. The work led to graphic design projects which have graced the pages of numerous publications and magazine covers, including Digital and Mercato Global.
When Apple introduced its 3G version of the iPhone in Italy, the company called on Toni to produce the master graphics, cover and interior design for its manual. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak sent Toni a personal note, thanking him for the “stunning” design.
World-eminent music companies such as Sony, EMI and BMG have commissioned Toni’s illustrations and graphic designs to appear on the CD covers of Italy’s most important musical artists.
TFT, Europe’s leading producer of tulle — the fabric used in ballerina tutus and high-end lingerie, sought Toni to create their logo, website, advertisements and brochures. Toni’s unique concept for TFT’s brand identity included photographing real tulle, artfully arranged to create portraits. Toni’s original artwork for TFT hangs on the walls of their corporate office in Milan.
Toni prides himself on creating clear, honest designs that embody the distinct passion and spirit of a brand. Today, Toni spends the majority of his time designing websites and company logos, but he has never abandoned his print advertising roots – he continues to lend his artistic talent to designing brochures, catalogues, packages, signage displays and other visually-driven marketing products.
Toni often collaborates on design projects with his longtime friend Francesco Cinollo, a seasoned website designer and developer who studied digital media and graphic design at the Academy of Communication in Milan.
Francesco, whose areas of emphasis include interactive web design and multimedia production, has leant his artistic talents to brands such as Samsung, Quicksilver, Calvin Klein, L’Oreal, Maserati, MTV and Adidas. He also developed and designed the test website for David Lynch’s critically-acclaimed, Academy Award-nominated film, Mulholland Drive.
When he is not working in his Milan and Genoa studios, Francesco enjoys painting, sailing and skiing, while Toni enjoys music and cooking (he recently shared with Katherine what has become one of her new favorite recipes, a marvelous pairing of radicchio and risotto.) Toni also visits India at least once annually to supply medical help, housing and school tuition for some of the country’s most impoverished citizens.
But enough about us — we want to hear about you! Let’s chat about what makes you KOTAWesome.