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Addison Whitney launches Net practice

The branding and design company, which has helped build brands for Microsoft, IBM, Coca-Cola, and Dow, is announcing a new "dot com" consulting practice.

Addison Whitney, the company that's helped build brands for Fortune 1000 companies including Microsoft, IBM, Coca-Cola, and Dow, today announced a new "dot com" consulting practice.

To date, the branding and design consultancy has focused on creating corporate identities. The new Internet practice is Addison Whitney's first move into the crowded market to provide similar services to start-ups, which like their elder rivals, face unique problems in creating consumer brand recognition.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Addison Whitney's new practice will provide front-end Web branding and strategy services, and implementation capabilities to a "select" list of Internet start-ups, the company said in an interview.

The company will offer a range of services to help start-ups define their business models and branding strategies. A brand identity includes a name, logo, and tag line that a corporation uses to define its products and services. It's also used to differentiate a company from its competition.

Addison Whitney will use its own market research to help start-ups with their Internet strategies--along with compiling field research in a customer's targeted market, Addison Whitney's chief executive Bill Smith told CNET

"Based on that information, we help businesses build brand identity with visuals, graphics, and strategic development," he said.

Smith said Addison Whitney's Internet services arm plans to take equity stakes in each of the start-ups it works with. "We hope to be able to get involved with companies on the ground floor, and see them through the development and watch them evolve over time," Smith said.

To date, the bulk of Addison Whitney's business has come from helping brick-and-mortar companies make their transition over to the Web, Smith said.

The company's clients have included Lycos, Sony, and AltaVista. In addition, the firm has been working on branding for Microsoft's Exchange and Outlook software as well as Lucent's Flexant communications products.