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28 Mar, 2017

Recap: Brands in Action

Molly Statler

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Read time: 1 minute, 47 seconds

On March 16th, SMPS gathered for a panel discussion to learn about building impactful brands from four local firms. Senior leaders from Hickok Cole, Ballston BID, Streetsense, and Substance 151 shared insights as to how they have created strong brands that influence their communities and how they reinforce their company’s brand strategy. Action branding helps organizational brands demonstrate their character, values and purpose, and shapes the culture of the firm.

Ida Cheinman, Principal and Creative Director at Substance 151, moderated the program and explored how each firm manages and shapes their brand, starting from the recruitment level to firm culture, communication channels, collateral, community engagement, partnerships and sponsorships.

Donna Oetzel, Director of Brand Strategy at Streetsense, discussed their internal company culture and how they live their brand from recruitment decisions to external marketing campaigns. Streetsense culture is not only embraced by team members - it is inherent in their firm. Members of their team seek new experiences and want to be a part of the new trends and happenings in their communities, gaining on-the-ground intelligence. Streetsense embraces this culture and each year hosts a street market with local and independent businesses. Their experience seeking culture has helped advance the goals of the company, producing better quality of work and more exciting projects.

Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone shared their accomplishments through their consistent and authentic brand strategy. Their team focuses on staying true to the Ballston brand by ensuring all marketing decisions are linked back to their strategic plan and fit into their goals. The Ballston BID is not your traditional BID and believes in innovative and new ideas. They were the first neighborhood in the region to provide free wi-fi throughout the city. Ballston continues to roll out new and innovative programs and has seen the benefits through tenant retention, property owners, event attendance and economic development.

Yolanda Cole, Senior Principal and Owner at Hickok Cole, believes that the brand does not shape them, but that they shape the brand. Hickok Cole is not only a design firm, but a research and micro-grant group that embraces and promotes innovative design. Through this flexible brand strategy and promotion of employee individuality, Hickok Cole has been able to elevate the firm as a thought leader of innovative design in the industry. Hickok Cole's ability to embrace change and continually evolve has allowed for natural growth without getting too far away from the brand, providing individuality within an individual brand.

Following the discussion, all attendees were able to ask questions and engage with the speakers one-on-one. All attendees enjoyed a fabulous meal at SER restaurant in Ballston.

Molly Statler
Director of Business Development, Associate
PGAL