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Being Crabby: The Key to Effective Branding

Flashback to 2006, when Mission employees sat on inflatable furniture and rode razor scooters around the office…and a team of ten (or so) brave Mission employees launched a website for Phillips Seafood. As you can imagine, this was a pretty exciting time in our history: having the opportunity to partner with a legacy company – an icon of Maryland pride – with such a strong presence in Baltimore that had expanded across the region. Fast forward to 2019, and we are just as excited and honored to be launching new versions of websites for Phillips Seafood and Phillips Restaurants; just thinking about it makes us crave summer weather, Phillips crabs, and a Boh Beer.

For over 13 years, Mission has been a partner to Phillips. We have maintained a strong relationship, working on projects such as happy hour print collateral, running the “Free Seafood” digital campaign, and taking on overall branding and re-development of brand websites. Needless to say, we’ve grown and expanded together over the years. 

But a little more background for you: Brice and Shirley Phillips began Phillips Seafood with a desire to share their Maryland Blue Crabs. They went from crabbing on Hooper’s Island and the Chesapeake Bay, to opening their first restaurant in 1956, to responsible sourcing of premium crab meat, to finally having the goal of becoming the industry-standard of the global seafood market.

With this tremendous amount of growth over the years, this past spring the Phillips team asked Mission to think critically and provide a clear direction pertaining to branding, positioning, and identity system in order to better align all of their divisions (retail, restaurants, and food service.) This project culminated and came to life in a new website that launched the end of summer 2019. Needless to say, taking a company with such a rich heritage and history that tells such an iconic story, and helping them further develop their brand and web presence, was no simple task.

First, it was important for our team to truly understand the history of Phillips as well as the future of Phillips. We conducted multiple meetings with key stakeholders from Phillips with activities and breakout sessions to determine key pieces of the project, such as identify and further developed brand attributes, a positioning statement, and a narrowed focus on who Phillips is…and just as importantly, who Phillips isn’t. 

Upon completion of the brand re-development, we shifted our focus to building out sitemaps and wireframes for the division websites. Using our knowledge of the Phillips brand, we were able to fully build out customizable templates that truly articulate the future of the brand, positioning Phillips as a leader in the seafood industry. 

From the hard work, daily regroups, and open communication from both teams arose two nearly identical, but unique, websites, and an eCommerce platform fully equipped to handle everything from gift cards to crab cakes. In addition, we accomplished the task of a successful brand re-development that puts Phillips in a position for continued future growth, while still paying homage to their flavorful past. 

Go ahead…check the sites out (and try not to get hungry)
Phillips Seafood –
Phillips Foods -

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