Case Study

Eastern Shipping

To differentiate from larger global competitors, we worked closely with Eastern leadership to transform every aspect of the company’s branding.

Marketing Manager Diane Mercurio invited us to meet Eric Wagner, who had founded Eastern in 2001 as a “small but mighty freight forwarder” competing with giants like CH Robinson, Expeditors, OEC, and Fox Global.

Eric’s vision was simple and refreshing: Eastern team members should invest in building relationships and improving customer service rather than focusing on closing deals, as is common in their industry.

Many customers, he noted, had been frustrated by the misleading estimation, billing, and reporting practices of other companies. Eric was committed to treating customers with respect and earning their loyalty, resulting in an astounding 98% customer retention rate.

Suspecting that its lofty values might strike cynics as irrelevant or too good to be true, Eastern had been trying to compete by portraying itself as big enough—i.e., in the same league as its competitors—while touting the superior accuracy of its shipment tracking. That positioning did not prove fruitful.

Before we could offer a better approach, we wanted to hear first-hand from both customers and Eastern team members. Jell conducted a rapid qualitative research program of one-on-one interviews to assess goals and perceptions both inside and outside the company.

We discovered that Eastern employees genuinely love their work. They enjoy caring for their customers and providing complete peace of mind. In turn, their customers enjoy talking with them—whether it’s about tracking shipments and navigating customs, or as we learned, just about life in general. The Eastern story involves real people enjoying authentic, long-term relationships. 

Our challenge was to market Eastern as more trustworthy and customer-centric than many of the giant shippers employed by the world’s largest brands. We needed to make a strong case for giving Eastern a try without highlighting the unsavory practices of some competitors.

We captured Eastern’s zen-like personality and brand promise with this simple mantra: “Easy going.” We then renamed their signature customer support services (“TrueQuote,” “RealStatus,” and “PersonalTouch”) to underscore Eastern’s integrity and authenticity.

In addition to our ongoing support for Eastern Shipping’s marketing efforts, we rebranded Eastern Racing (Eric’s other passion), which also serves to promote his favorite philanthropic causes.

Messaging, web design


Calendars & notepads


Eastern Racing branding, video, web design