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One family, fifty years of branding, advertising, and PR
Marc Brownstein is the president and CEO of the Brownstein Group. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the Brownstein Group is a marketing agency that specializes in branding, advertising, and public relations. The company was founded in 1964 by Marc’s father, Berny, with Marc joining the firm in 1989 as executive creative director. BG’s clients include IKEA, eBay, ESPN, and Comcast, as well as local organizations such as the Philadelphia Auto Show, DesignPhiladelphia, and Philadelphia Federal Credit Union. Marc serves on the boards of directors for the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Young Presidents' Organization, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, YMCA of Greater Philadelphia, and many more. He’s also a frequent industry speaker, and his writing regularly appears in Advertising Age.
Marc spoke with Jeff Mack of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank for this interview.
JEFF MACK: Can you tell us about what it takes to join the agency? What are you looking for in a new hire?
MARC BROWNSTEIN: User experience is really big. The UE folks that we had three years ago are really different than the ones that we’re growing now and that we need to attract now. But you can’t even apply to Brownstein if you don’t have the fundamental digital skills—we can’t afford that. So, I would say people who are great at marketing research, brand strategists, digital designers, people paid in organic search—so all those folks, but we’re bringing on people right now with skill sets that are different than just a few years ago, and that constantly changes, which is exciting. I mean, it’s not a bad thing. I think it makes our business, frankly, exciting. We’re growing, it’s exciting. If you stay modern, you’re going to continue to grow. If you’re addressing the needs of your clients, and bringing in great talent, and you build a culture that’s bringing in the right kinds of people—that can attract them and keep them—then you’re going to continue to grow. We’ve been fortunate that just last week Fortune magazine named Brownstein Group one of a hundred companies in America that are the “best places to work for women.” We were the only company in Philadelphia to get that recognition. AdAge, our national publication, gives us “best place to work,” “best top 40 agencies in America.” So, we’re creating the right workplace that’s attracting the right talent. If you attract and keep the right talent, you’re going to serve the clients and grow.
Q. What’s the best part about working for the company, in your opinion?
A. Best thing about working at Brownstein Group is that it’s just new every day. Being with really smart, interesting people, and seeing the ideas that they come up with.
Three years ago, we instituted a no vacation policy—that doesn’t mean you can’t take a vacation; it means just the opposite. It means you take whatever you need for your lifestyle. So, if you’re a new mother, you need to be there for your kids, you need to drive them to school, you need to be there when they come home from school? That’s fine. But it applies to everyone, whether you’re a mother, a father, male, female, we have unlimited vacation. We also have really good maternity policies, so when you leave, we’re continuing your pay throughout, and this is something that Brownstein Group has invested in. It’s not an insignificant investment, but it’s a new insurance product that allows new mothers to take the time off and not worry about the lack of income while they’re off.
And then, there’s a number of other things. We offer free yoga classes; we’ve done that for several years, every month, so there’s classes a couple of times each month. We have an open bar. We have a Camp Berny, it’s the whole culture.
Q. What is Camp Berny?
A. Camp Berny is obviously named after my dad, and it’s a day when the whole agency goes off on a retreat. We play tennis, volleyball, we hang out together. We give recognition—anniversary recognition and other recognition—people get awards, team building exercises, but it’s mandatory, and it’s a day of play and bonding. But we do that kind of thing in other ways throughout the year too, so there’s a lot of recognition within the agency, and we do our very best to live the values that my father and I have implemented, and that creates the right culture, so people want to attend these events and they want to work here.
Connect with Marc on LinkedIn, Twitter: @marcbrownstein
ABOUT NEWMARK GRUBB KNIGHT FRANK
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF) is one of the world's leading commercial real estate advisory firms. Together with London-based partner Knight Frank and independently-owned offices, NGKF’s 12,800 professionals operate from more than 370 offices in established and emerging property markets on six continents.
With roots dating back to 1929, NGKF’s strong foundation makes it one of the most trusted names in commercial real estate. NGKF’s full-service platform comprises BGC’s real estate services segment, offering commercial real estate tenants, landlords, investors and developers a wide range of services including leasing; capital markets services, including investment sales, debt placement, appraisal, and valuation services; commercial mortgage brokerage services; as well as corporate advisory services, consulting, project and development management, and property and corporate facilities management services. For further information, visit www.ngkf.com.
NGKF is a part of BGC Partners, Inc., a leading global brokerage company servicing the financial and real estate markets. BGC’s common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol (NASDAQ: BGCP). BGC also has an outstanding bond issuance of Senior Notes due June 15, 2042, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol (NYSE: BGCA). BGC Partners is led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Howard W. Lutnick. For more information, please visit www.bgcpartners.com.
Jeffrey E. Mack, Executive Managing Director
Jeffrey E. Mack is a senior leader in Newmark Grubb Knight Frank's Philadelphia operation. Jeff has been a significant member of the commercial brokerage community in Philadelphia since 1979. He co-founded Smith Mack & Co. in 1984 and has continued to lease and sell more suburban office space than any other individual agent. He served as past chairman of the Philadelphia Board of Realtors, commercial and industrial division. NGKF acquired Smith Mack & Co. in 2012.
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