Read this paragraph: it's important to know what Coast Professional does, and it will help you to understand the rest of the case study. Coast Professional provides collection services specializing in default student loans for educational institutions. Coast collects for Pepperdine, UC Irvine, and Chapman University.


Coast Professional was featured in California Association of Collector's Ink Magazine. The article interviews Brian Davis on Marketing Strategy. You can download and read the article on


Market Research, Strategic Planning, Consultation, Name Refinement, Slogan, Mission Statement, Corporate Identity Development, Branding, Copy Writing and Editing, Photography & Image Correction, Web site Design, Flash Animation, Business Card Design, Promotional Collateral, Direct Mail Campaign, Post-it Note, Note Card, Letterhead, Notepad, Envelopes, Presentation Folder, Trade Show Display, and Trade Show Promotions. We put together a comprehensive communications package, designed to meet Coast Professional's unique needs


  • Increase Gross Revenue by 40% in 18 Months
  • Develop Marketing Program: Primarily Soft Lead Generation
  • Develop Brand
  • Develop Marketing Website
  • Develop Online Tools to optimize operational costs
  • Redesign all client corresponds and Sales Presentation collateral
  • Develop Corporate Message
  • Develop Promotions
  • Develop More Promotions
  • Develop Test Market and establish National Marketing Platform


Coast Professional Services had a 26-year reputation when we met them, so no major changes to the brand were going to take place. There was no getting around “Coast” and “Professional”, but they wanted an image “facelift.” (Let's explain revision numbers. You might see a number that follows the end of each description. Those are the number of times we looked at or changed a particular initiative. Some refinements required 142 revisions. Revisions are a result of client and focus group feedback. Look for references to our revisions throughout this case study. If you want to do the math, you can compile the hours of revision time by multiplying .05 x the number of revisions.)


We found that institutions had four main concerns when choosing a collection agency. They want to know the agency has good customer service, debt recovery, and experience with educational institutions. So, we addressed these issues. In fact, we made them the foundation for Coast Professional's brand and corporate message.

The cornerstone message is “Recovery Guaranteed”, a method of procedures that enabled Coast to review an account and guarantee an amount of recovery. This ensures collection of the account to the institution as well as maintains the goals of Coast Professional.

  • An agency effective in recovering the maximum amount of debt:
    “Limitless Recovery” &
  • A company that provided the necessary attention to ongoing service issues:
    “Services Beyond” &
  • An agency that understood the delicate nature of educational receivables:
    “Education Experience” &
  • A guarantee:
    “Recovery Guarantee” &

The domains are great for promotional campaigns, especially when it's not clear from the company name what the business is. A name like Coast Professional doesn't clearly define a service. “Limitless Recovery” and “Services Beyond” send a much clearer message. (111 Rev.)


After reviewing over 100 industry-related Web sites, we chose a simple image that remained consistent with the offline brand. Flash animation proved to be quite an effective means of communicating key points. We wanted the users to come back to the site, so we developed an extensive resources section. The site gets a lot more traffic than before. The resource section inspired us to also create a resource book that was sent out to all the institutions. This addition positioned Coast as a specialist in the market. (126 Rev.) The Keyword “Coast Professional” is #1 on 14 major search engines, including MSN, Yahoo, Lycos, Looksmart, etc.


What good is a trade show design without a 3D color illustration? We rendered four different versions of the display. We even went as far as simulating the attire of the sales personnel to ensure we had good color balance and separation with people actually in the booth. (22 Rev.) On a trade show floor, the key is to catch the attention of the attendees. We accomplished this in two ways:

  • Coast Professional Trade Show Survival Kit. It was a hot summer day and Coast was an icy cold
    beer. (A bucket filled with traveling essentials like bottled water, candy snacks, and aspirin.)
  • The Coast Professional Business Center. Providing free small business services. (i.e. email, fax, and
    photocopying) It was a hit!


We designed the following; Note pads, letterhead, business cards, all client correspondence, and three unique envelopes. We made sure everything had consistency down to the press check. There was a total of 25 collateral designs produced. (62 Rev.)


Every salesman has their own idea of what makes a great sales presentation. It's really about getting all of those ideas to paper. We listened and organized everyone’s thoughts. Then we place them into a simple eloquently designed presentation that was customer focused and detailed all of Coast Professional services. One neat design element we used was a custom dye that held the card in the right side pocket. The cardholder hides the address/number and only displays the name of the representative and the company logo. It's very clean. The new presentation folder contains Coast Professionals' service details and client specific literature. (144 Rev.)

We searched our database of over 30,000 images and couldn't find anything that associated with Coast Professional's newly refined brand. So, on a limited budget, we coordinated a photo shoot. We located a fashion-forward office environment, scheduled models, photographers and set props. The photo shoot required 16 hours of art direction in two separate sessions. Photo touch-up, levels, color separation, and effects were performed to imagery prior to print. We were able to do the photo shoot, pay the models, and do the image corrections for half the price of the stock photo house's copyright fees.


Unbiased feedback. Some people call it consultation. Everyone leave your feelings at the front door. Let's build this company together and be constructive. Over 480 hours went into brainstorming, strategy and planning sessions with Coast Professional's' staff. Everyone had positive feedback, and we all listened. It was a great collaboration of skill and insight that resulted in a brand that everyone is proud of today.


Lowest Common Denominator. This campaign is just fun and people like it. We thought to ourselves, “What is the worst-case scenario and who are the players in the game?” Our answer: the collector and the student. Both of them could potentially be bad apples. How do the institutions look at their nonpaying students and what's their vision of a bad collector? Well, we defined it for them, and then said, “not one of ours”. We showed them the face of a nonpaying punk kid and assured them we could handle it because we have done it so many times before. We wanted to give something to the people that worked in the student loan department at the universities. Because when it came down to assigning a new account to Coast, it was the university staff that made the decision. So we made an effort to understand the typical working environment of the student loan department and thought of a few things they might like to have in the office. We had custom Coast Radios made. Coast Radio, I hope those of you in Southern California see the beauty in that. Each time the institution made a new default student loan submission they were entered into a drawing to win a desktop CD Radio. The drawings were weekly. They were successful; there was an increase in default loan submissions by 20% the first week.


Coast achieves its revenue by motivating students to pay their delinquent students loans. A collector's ability to stimulate students to pay is based on incentive and morale. Brian, before becoming the owner of Coast, was the top collector. Collector's revenue is commission-based. Brian takes his top collector, collector of the month, and most promising collector out to lunch for strategy session each month. The one-on-one time with the breadwinners creates a friendly competition for the rest of the staff. We were not the masterminds in this example, but we thought we would mention it. Because we are constantly learning new things about people, business, and communication every time we work for a new organization.




26 July 2017


Advertising, Branding, Content Writing, Website Design, RFI / RFP, Lead Generation, Email Brochure, Tradeshow, Strategy, Deal Closure

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