Who We Are

KOTAW Content Marketing  is a diverse group of creative and inventive professionals who’ve come together with a unified goal:  to make your business the go-to company in its class.  We give voice and vision to your ideas — and sell your message to a target audience we’ll help you shape and expand.  We bring storytelling to the highest art form and storyselling to the highest profit potential for your brand.  Nice to meet you!

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, Founder and CEO of KOTAW, a digital marketing and branding agency.Katherine  is the Founder, Executive Marketing Strategist, Branding Coach and Chief Storyteller of KOTAW Content Marketing, an international agency headquartered 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 successfully reporting the stories of the rich, famous, infamous and ordinary, Katherine determined it was time to write her own.  Her first book, 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, the 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.

A chance meeting with Steve 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.

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.

Katherine also wrote her second book — this time, a humorous business parable published by Penguin — which earned her New York Times bestselling author status.  The book, also written under Katherine’s pen name, made the NYT’s Best Sellers List: Hardcover Business.

In Spring 2013, Katherine launched KOTAW Content Marketing.  Katherine believes that every person, every brand, has a compelling story to tell.  But experience has taught her that most people and companies find it difficult to either identify or tell their most important story. The mission of KOTAW is to give voice to those untold or undersold – but captivating – stories.  

Katherine at a glance!  Mangles song lyrics | Vegetarian for the sake of cake | Fueled by iced tea (unsweetened, extra lemon) and dark chocolate almond clusters | Inspired by the words of Dr. Seuss, the spunkiness of Mary Tyler Moore, and the wardrobe of That Girl‘s Ann Marie

Want to see samples of Katherine’s work?  Send an email.  And be sure to read Katherine’s blog for informative lessons — and amusing anecdotes — on branding and digital 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 laced with bite-sized, mini marketing tips.  

 

Branding through Social Marketing Strategy | KOTAW Content MarketingBri 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 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 a 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.

Bri at a glance!  Favorite flower is actually a weed | Is always drawn to any holiday aisle in a grocery store or drugstore | Perpetual chapstick loser | Transforms scribbled-over “mistakes” in handwritten notes into swirly flower doodles | Still contemplating whether or not to get ears pierced | Remembers all the lyrics to all the songs from The Little Mermaid

 

Visual Branding and Identity | KOTAW Content MarketingKelsey  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.

Kelsey at a glance!  Aspires to perfect Kim Novak’s spiral updo in Vertigo | Speaks French with a Valley girl accent | Totally a Veronica (Betty’s too goody-goody) | Secretly desires to be a redhead thanks to a lifelong obsession with auburn-tressed beauties Lucille Ball, Judy Garland and that redhead vixen from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s State Fair (a cinematic favorite)

 

Pit Bulls & Personal Branding | Ivy is Katherine Kotaw's sweet red nose Pit Bull and KOTAW's Brand Ambassador.Ivy is KOTAW’s Brand Ambassador, the symbol of how hard our creative, fiercely dedicated team will work to build, bolster and repair your company or personal brand.

As a Pit Bull, Ivy understands the unfairness of a bad reputation and the satisfaction of proving her detractors wrong. She lets Katherine 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’s family. She would escape from her yard to Katherine’s, 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 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.

Ivy at a glance!  Favorite food group is peanut butter | Wiggles when extra super duper happy | Loves to steal and unwrap Dum Dums | Requests bear hugs when lapping up water | Snuggliest girl in all the land | Rah-Rah-Roos instead of barks | Ears become pliable after napping


The Italian Connection

Katherine has been collaborating with graphic artist 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.  When Katherine founded KOTAW Content Marketing in Spring 2013 and it was time to build her KOTAWesome crew, she sought out only the best, which is why she made Toni (and his design partner, Francesco) an official part of the KOTAW team.

When Katherine and Toni aren’t busy building dream projects for clients, they swap recipes and share doggie photos (so that Katherine can stay abreast of Brio’s Milan meanderings and Toni can be privy to Ivy’s pit play-times!)

 

Visual Branding, Graphic Design and Web Design | KOTAW Content MarketingToni  is KOTAW’s Creative Visual Director.  Although his 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.

Toni’s illustrations and graphic designs have also appeared on the CD covers of Italy’s most important musical artists, including Mina, Pooh, Mia Martini and Patty Pravo.  World-eminent music companies such as Sony, EMI and BMG have commissioned Toni’s work.

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 visits India at least once annually to supply medical help, housing and school tuition for some of the country’s most impoverished citizens.  He also enjoys music and cooking and shared with Katherine what has become one of her new favorite recipes, a marvelous pairing of radicchio and risotto.

 

Visual Branding and Website Design | KOTAW Content Marketing Francesco is KOTAW’s Director of Web Architecture, building and designing websites from conception to fruition. Possessing a rare combination of technical know-how and creative genius, Francesco works as both a web developer and designer.

Although the terms are often incorrectly interchanged, web development and web design are two distinct specialties. As a hybrid developer/designer, Francesco builds and programs websites through coding, then uses his artistic talents to add aesthetic appeal and visual branding.

Francesco is a seasoned graphic artist and interface designer whose web design and development credits include work for brands such as Samsung, Quicksilver, Calvin Klein, L’Oreal, Maserati, MTV and Adidas.

Francesco also developed and designed the test website for David Lynch’s critically-acclaimed, Academy Award-nominated film, Mulholland Drive.

Francesco studied graphic design and digital media at the Academy of Communication in Milan. His areas of emphasis include interactive web design and multimedia production.  Francesco is fluent in all web and graphic design programs including ActionScript, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver.

When he is not working in his Milan and Genoa studios, Francesco enjoys painting, sailing and skiing. 


 

KOTAW Content Marketing’s Vancouver team is a group of technical gurus, research wizards and efficiency experts. If you want better search engine rankings or want to create the perfect keyword cocktail for your website, they’ll have answers before you’ve thought of the questions. If you want a background check on a prospective guest blog host, they’ll work like bloodhounds to sniff out the down-and-dirty details. If you need something DONE and done properly, they never disappoint.

They’re our Ground Control. And we never fly without them.