Sarah Stanley (left) and Molly Mason (right)
March 13, 2019—The Brand Establishment Managing Partners Russ Cornelius and Jacquie Francisco recently announced the newest team members to their core group of talented and strategic thinkers, Sarah Stanley and Molly Mason of Hoyden Creative. Stanley, the Chief Executive Officer and Mason, the Chief Business Officer, founded Hoyden Creative in Adrian, MI nearly five years ago and serve the greater Detroit and Toledo markets.
Hoyden Creative is Michigan’s first agency to have Certified Brand Strategists through the Brand Establishment. While strategy has always been a part of Hoyden’s work, the Brand Establishment offers a peer network across North America to support continued learning and best practices. With this certification and continued training, brand strategy will take an even more prominent role in projects.
“Five years ago, we started projects with a heavy design and communication focus. Now we are partnering with our clients on their biggest business challenges,” said Sarah Stanley, CEO and co-founder. “We are providing brand strategy to clients seeking funding, mergers, or reinventing themselves.”
The Brand Establishment’s Certified Brand Strategists specialize in delivering services to align business strategy with the internal and external brand. Organizations that have worked with these strategists can build their businesses beyond expectations with increased sales, improved communications, and stronger employee loyalty. Their marketing investments yield greater efficiencies and ROI.
The process to receive certification requires hours of book work, a case study, and a presentation to peers. “It wasn’t long after working with both Sarah and Molly in the training process that I realized they would be a perfect fit for our group of like-minded agency principles. We all approach brand strategy and marketing with the same strategic emphasis,” said Francisco.
“Our certification strengthens the strategic brand development and marketing work we were already doing,” added Mason. “With the new research and strategy tools from The Brand Establishment, we are already helping businesses and non-profits identify the brand strategy that will not only improve their external marketing efforts but more importantly strengthen their brand by focusing on internalizing the brand strategy to improve culture, operations, customer service, and communication.”
Stanley and Mason have a combined 40 years experience in the area of communications, marketing, design, and brand strategy. Their team works with B2B, B2C, non-profits, and economic development organizations throughout Michigan and Ohio.
About The Brand Establishment
The Brand Establishment’s mission is to clear up the decades-long misconceptions surrounding branding and brand development, as well as provide new tools and smart brand-building strategies to small and mid-sized agency owners. The organization also helps to advance brand strategy’s increasing importance and recognized value in growing and sustaining profitability for companies, organizations and businesses.
Many communications firms and consultants claim to be “brand experts,” though they have no formal training or credentials in this area. Through the certification process and on-ongoing training opportunities, The Brand Establishment develops brand strategists who can lead any brand to greater success. For more information, visit www.brandestablishment.com.
Familiarization tours, more commonly known as “FAM Tours,” are a fantastic tool for bringing out of town investors, agencies, or consultants to your area. Often initiated by economic developers, FAM Tours provide your guests with the perfect opportunity to experience all your community has to offer.
Regardless of your role in the process, you want to assure that everything runs smoothly for both the hosts and guests. Whether you are hosting the event directly or for a client, you all have the same goal—make your guests want to come back. There’s nothing worse than flying across the country to find a room full of people hectically deciding on a schedule. Weekend: ruined.
The Difference Makers
Let the experiences speak for themselves. Your guests need time to let everything sink in. They are experiencing things for the first time. Don’t ruin it by treating your event like a business meeting.
Give them something tangible to remember you by. Often, hosts will provide their guests with gift bags containing local goodies they can only get from the area they’re visiting. Hosting in Wisconsin? Give them a delicious cheese sampler that they can’t get anywhere else.
Local is good, but local and unique is better. Yeah, Applebee’s might be an American treasure, but I can personally guarantee that you will be able to find somewhere local and unique for your guests to eat.
Don’t wait until they arrive to start building relationships. If you want your tour to be a success, start understanding who they are and what they like before they arrive. It will make for great conversation and easier event planning.
FAM Tours are not reality TV shows. Social media posts are a perfect way to market your tour, but bombarding your guests with pictures and questions will make them feel constricted.
Don’t be afraid to show them a good time. No one said you aren’t allowed to let your hairdown and have fun with your guests. All work and no play makes for a disappointing visit.
Every guest is their own person. Everyone enjoys doing different things, so mix it up a bit and show some variety throughout your itinerary.
Bring in some outsiders. While your tour should be both fun and educational, it’s always good to bring in some individuals outside of the business realm. Try inviting people who are thought leaders of community development projects, not just people who are trying to sell something.
Properly marketing your tour is essential for maximum attendance and, of course, good publicity. From save-the-dates and invitations, to booking flights and reservations, everything needs to be packaged perfectly. My recommendation? Collaborate with a marketing agency. Simple might do the trick for some, but strategy, creativity, and organization will make your event stand out from the rest.
When freshly graduated college students leave their campus nests, they often have the desire to spread their wings and move to a big city such as New York or Los Angeles. Their “take over the world” mentality is inspiring to say the least, but could be arguably more effective when implemented in a smaller area.
The cities with a little less glam (and a lot less traffic) are increasing their share of these valuable college grads at a much higher rate than the New Yorks of the world, ultimately creating a desirable working environment.
Draw What You See, Write What You Know
Contrary to what some people believe, working in the area that you grew up in or studied in can be extremely beneficial. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your region is a major advantage when entering the workforce.
There are plenty of unique opportunities that might not be as obvious to those accustomed to the anonymity of a big city. Specifically, in a smaller city, it’s often easier to create meaningful connections with other businesses and higher-ups.
Whether you are familiar with the industries in your area or not, it is crucial to know who you’re working with and who you’re up against. Familiarizing yourself with other businesses provides you with the opportunity to learn from what others do. This helps with the implementation of new ideas into your company’s strategy.
Success in an industry often comes down to who you know, and the tighter-knit communities allow for those successes to happen at a faster pace.
Live, Work, Play – Lenawee County
Lenawee County, while significantly smaller than New York, is known for its great educational opportunities, natural beauty, and diverse communities. Though it might be a cliché, it truly is a great place to live, work, and play.
The four exceptional post-secondary schools housed in Lenawee County allow for businesses to pull from the best of the best. As graduates leave their nests they take their knowledge and directly apply it to their career. Regardless of the time spent at these institutions, students have established networks that are bursting at the seams with potential.
Hoyden, Why Adrian?
Starting a business in Adrian was a no-brainer for cofounders Sarah Stanley and Molly Mason. Aside from being the only marketing and design agency in the area, the constant support for entrepreneurs from community members, municipality leaders, and other business owners is like no other. CEO, Sarah Stanley, had this to say, “Adrian is a small town eager to do big things. Knowing the attitude toward entrepreneurship, attracting young professionals, and filling gaps in service offerings just reassured our decision to locate here. We have received tremendous support and encouragement that have helped build the foundation of our business and are excited to be coming in at the time of Downtown Adrian’s revitalization effort. Adrian is home for us.”
Due to its recent development, more and more young professionals are moving to Adrian to begin their career. Creative Director, Alex Bourget, relocated from Washtenaw County to pursue her skills as a graphic designer for HCG and couldn’t be happier. “Working in Adrian has allowed me to become more involved with the community and local government. I feel as though I am able to get more accomplished here than I have anywhere else.”
The city’s leaders are dedicated to helping new businesses get started and flourish, and fellow businesses treat your growth as though it’s their own. Quite simply, Adrian provides a plethora of resources, talent, opportunities, and community involvement; the perfect recipe for a successful business.