Global Brand Works logo

A Small But Mighty Brand Strategy Agency

Actualizing brand.

Founded by Caroline McNally and Shannon Riordan, Global Brand Works specializes in translating Brand Strategy into Brand Actualization – in other words, we help clients bring the brand to life throughout an organization, internally and externally. Whether you need to launch, recharge, redesign, or completely reinvent your brand, our experienced leadership and custom approach will get you there.

From start-ups to established global brands, an aligned organization delivers a consistent and compelling brand experience and a shared sense of purpose, which produces better business results.

Speaking of results, here are some client highlights:

SFMOMA: Confirming purpose.

A year into its grand re-opening, the iconic museum is ready for the next chapter. Caroline and Shannon are working with senior leadership to ensure that the museum’s purpose is relevant, clearly articulated, and embraced, with tactical programs such as internal purposing workshops.

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.

PayPal: Global Brand Governance strategy and programs.

An integral part of keeping PayPal’s unique brand promise is making sure the PayPal brand is healthy and protected. Global Brand Works developed PayPal’s first ever strategic brand governance practice, along with the tactical tools and programs that support it, such as internal brand training for all PayPal employees globally. (We love that our PayPal clients have nick named us their “Nimble Ninjas”)!

LifeLock: Internal activation of a refreshed brand.

To make sure that LifeLock’s refreshed brand promise continues to come to life internally, Global Brand Works created Visual Identity Guidelines, a new master PowerPoint template, and other programs that used the brand to galvanize employees.

Veritas: Spinning off a new company and brand.

The 2016 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.

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!

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

The challenge was to make a global rebrand just as vital and inspiring for employees as it would be for target customers. The solve: Global Brand Works partnered with SSGA’s existing agency, Landor, to develop an employee intranet, an internal engagement campaign, and targeted global brand training programs that included in-person and online modules.

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, which occurred in October 2014.

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 with a program that 68% found effective.

Vantiv: Strategic alignment in product naming

Rapid growth left this global payment technology provider with a product suite not aligned with client priorities. Global Brand Works walked the team through a customized process to elevate their offering within their brand story through product naming and messaging.

Visa: Establishing a practice for global brand management

Caroline was Visa’s first ever employee 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.

You Technology: Creating a consumer brand after several acquisitions

The original brand name, Pay By Touch, lacked the brand elasticity to express the breadth of products and services it could deliver, an even greater challenge after eight acquisitions. Caroline and Shannon led the charge in creating the resulting brand, You Technology, which is now the largest cloud-based digital offer and rewards network.

What we do

Big: 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.

Small: 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.


How we do it

We can complement existing agencies with brand expertise, embed ourselves as extensions of a clients’ marketing department, or lead a specific program. Other times, we simply swoop in and out, leaving clients with a name and logo.

Dream Team Approach

the first seven U.S. astronauts - the original dream team

Unlike with larger agencies, our clients work directly with us — regardless of the size of the project. Depending on your scope of work, we assemble a core group of pedigreed experts from our loyal “dream team” of highly-skilled professionals — from designers to researchers, to writers, to photographers and technology providers.

We connect you with the best resources and talent to steer your project in the right direction. Our dream team is carefully selected to operate with the same values that we do (like loving branding and having fun on the job)!

Our Difference

Hands on Expertise – You work directly with Caroline and Shannon

Efficient – We are nimble and practical without bureaucracy

We are doing what we love – Our harmonious business relationship fosters creativity, ego-free brainstorming, and a contagious passion for our work

Single-minded - We are nimble and practical without bureaucracy

We’ve walked in client’s shoes – The vast majority of our careers have been on the client side

The Team

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

Caroline and Shannon

Caroline McNally

In a nutshell, Caroline is a brand guru. She 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 has a long tenure supporting non-profit Riekes Center for Human enhancement, and is currently Chair of the Board.

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.

What We Believe

IBM selectric keyboard

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 create customer experience, your company will be successful because you will be able to deliver what your customers expect.

Shannon and Caroline helped us deliver a brand training program that met our objectives and exceeded expectations. They very quickly understood challenging internal dynamics, and remained poised amid fluctuating internal priorities.

- Nicole Kemp, Head of Global Brand Management, State Street Global Advisors

Let's talk.

Global Brand Works

San Francisco and Redwood City, CA


Caroline McNally

Shannon Riordan