Nucleus Branding

Actions speak louder than words and because of this simple truth, at Nucleus we help our clients align business process with brand promise.


Nucleus Branding

Actions speak louder than words and because of this simple truth, at Nucleus we help our clients align business process with brand promise.


Brand is embodied in every aspect of an organization, from operations and product development to the way an organization’s people greet the world and treat each other. At Nucleus we start by defining a brand in terms that are clear, simple, universal and actionable and we make sure that everyone in an organization realizes that the brand is much more than a logo, or a product.

Nucleus helps clients launch, re-launch, invigorate or improve their brand strategy. We help illuminate an organization’s unified, inner conviction in order to instigate more compelling and persuasive brand behavior, product design, consumer experiences, and communications.


What we believe.

Our goals are simple: collaborate closely with our clients to win the hearts and minds of critical audiences and drive measurable results. We work openly, transparently and with honor. And we find joy and humor wherever possible, because life is too darn short.

At Nucleus, we live your brand. Our relentless research allows us to see through the eyes of your customers, consumers, employees, vendors and partners.

And we plan for the long term, forging lasting relationships with our clients in our ongoing quest to build strong brands. Brands that matter to people.

We thrive on opportunities to help brands realize their potential and to matter to the right people in the most important and memorable ways. Years of experience have made us experts at bolstering brands and developing creative solutions for business problems. We know well the challenges of crafting a compelling brands while simultaneously juggling business economics, operational considerations, marketplace dynamics, and changing consumer behaviors. We’ve lived this on the inside as marketers and clients and on the outside as consultants and agents of change.

To see examples of how we’ve done it, please reach out and we’ll be delighted to share case studies and the details of our methodology.


Our Team

Our Team

Our Team

Our Team


Elizabeth Talerman

CEO, Strategic Brand and Business Leadership

Elizabeth has spent 30 years working with leading brands in the consumer, business, and non-profit sectors. Practiced at the art of innovation and pragmatics of turning strategy into action, Elizabeth focuses on building sustainable brand value and delivering profitable, effective, and replicable business results.

Through innovative research design and strategy development, Elizabeth and her team marry intuition and evidence to identify human drivers that amplify and accelerate behaviors leading to brand and revenue growth.  Most recently, Elizabeth and the Nucleus team developed the brand narrative and positioning for STRATFORD SCHOOL.  She also reinvigorated the FISHER-PRICE brand positioning, developed a brand and creative briefing process and trained a team of 40 global marketers at FISHER-PRICE to steward the updated brand.  

Elizabeth led the development of a new brand identity and strategy for OPTIMUM (owned by Cablevision) helping them humanize the category in which they operate and defend share as they cede their monopoly advantage to a competitive marketplace.  

Over the course of the past 5 years, Elizabeth has defined the strategic positioning for a new division of FIS, the largest global provider of banking and payment technologies, revitalized the JUAN VALDEZ brand for Cafe de Colombia, created the brand strategy, narrative and positioning for MOHAWK Fine Paper, updated the global brand franchise for JOHNSON’S BABY, facilitated a brand positioning update for BAND-AID, defined a new retail experience for COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR, and re-defined and revitalized the ROCKETTES brand to establish new areas for revenue generation.

Before launching a brand strategy practice in 2002, Elizabeth was founder and CEO of Agile Industries, a pioneering digital marketing agency. She’s also held senior positions at Ogilvy & Mather, Ingalls Advertising, and The Harvard Business School as Marketing Director. Her early career includes rich experience in direct marketing for American Express and AT&T.

Elizabeth has taught at Columbia University’s Strategic Communications Master’s Degree program, is currently teaching at The School of Visual Arts Brand Masters program and serves on the board of Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter.  

She is a member of the board of directors of Mohawk, North America’s largest privately held fine paper company and she is an advisor to Populist, which helps non-profits and social enterprises around the globe bring life-changing products and services to market.


Liza Ezbiansky

Principal, Research Strategy

Liza Ezbiansky directs research and analytics at Nucleus.  A psychologist with a passion for making data more human, Liza utilizes cognitive models of thought, clinical communication techniques, and social psychology principles that consider mental, emotional, and social dimensions of ideas, products, brands and categories. This human-centered, multi-faceted approach results in meaningful insights and strategies that reflect behavior and predict motivation.

Liza began her career in internet start-ups, writing code and developing technology systems to improve user interaction and define metrics associated with customer behavior.  She began to explore the strategic implications of data at Theory Research, a consumer insights consultancy she co-founded in 2003, where she led research to develop brand and innovation strategies for companies including Hershey Foods, Jim Beam Brands and Discover Financial. She works with large brands, small businesses and nonprofits alike, applying her understanding of research, brand strategy and consumer mindsets to improve social service and effect positive change.


Bret Sanford

Principal, Marketing Strategy

Bret Sanford is a globally renowned builder of brands who brings the unique experience of having practiced marketing from every perspective—as Agency Creative Director, Chief Marketing Officer, Global Agency Leader and Educator. 

Bret ran the multi-national, multi-agency team handling HSBC that created the renowned “Values” work now in the permanent collection of MoMA. While heading marketing for Smith Barney, she relaunched the brand as a vital, modern financial services player. More recently, she has been engaged by the University of Michigan School of Public Health and one of Ameriprise’s largest independent practices.

Her expertise has been sought out by global brands across a broad spectrum, such as: PwC, Merrill Lynch, Meridien Hotels, The Wines of Rioja to and Charles Schwab.

She is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts and sits on the Entrepreneurial Sounding Board at Columbia Business School, as well as teaching at Columbia. She serves on the board of Just Food, a non-profit that helps underserved communities in the 5 boroughs create food sovereignty, thereby promoting racial equity. 

Bret is a 200-hour certified yoga teacher, ran her first marathon last year at the age of 52 and shares her life with her husband, 2 children, the dog, cat, and her surfboard.


Gena Cuba

Principal, Design Strategy

Gena Cuba is a strategic designer with a background in visual design and a masters degree in brand strategy, using a strategic lens of appropriateness to create meaningful visual narratives.

Her work traverses media and sectors, touching corporate clients like Sesame Workshop, large-scale nonprofits like United Way, institutions like Hospital for Special Surgery, consumer brands like Argo Tea, governmental clients like the U.S. Department of State, financial institutions like Guggenheim Partners, and grassroots organizations like Aldeas de Paz in Venezuela. Most recently she is working with UNICEF on a human-centered guide for addressing the challenges surrounding demand for routine immunization.

Throughout her career, she has been honored with awards including The Paula Rhodes Scholar from the School of Visual Arts, Visual Art Scholarship by Peck School of Arts, the Frederick R. Layton BFA Award, and has been published in the Communication Arts Arts Design Annual, Step Design 100, Black Book AR 100, and Graphis Annual.

Gena brings passion for cultural trends, community interaction, and storytelling to frame large, complex problems in surprisingly simple ways.