On December 4th, the Maryland Chapter of the Public Relations hosted the 2014 Best in MD Gala, taking place at the Hilton Baltimore.
This event recognizes the best communications campaigns in Maryland – in traditional and in new campaigns focused on media placements, blogs and social media.
The Best in Maryland gala is one of the most popular nights on the PRSA Maryland calendar. It’s a night when some take home a coveted trophy and presents the opportunity to catch up with peers before the holiday season.
On this noteworthy evening, JWC client Brown Capital Management, received an Award of Excellence for the 30th Anniversary publication, Brown’s Capital: Working Wisdom. Our firm handled the creative design and layout of this award winning book.
This is the story of the project, as told through the eyes of Brown Capital Management…
In 2013, as the firm’s 30th anniversary approached, the marketing team at Brown Capital Management was asked to develop a concept to celebrate that date—and the firm’s long-term success within a volatile investment management marketplace. After discussing several options including a $400,000 corporate anniversary party, the team determined that creating an archival publication offered the greatest shelf life, as a means of cementing relationships with long-time customers, as a team-building keepsake with employees, and as a marketing tool with new business prospects and financial intermediaries in demonstrating our “built to last” methodology. In addition, this book would serve as a springboard for introducing the firm’s new President and COO as well as a new graphic and brand identity for Brown Capital Management that will extend to the company’s new website and collateral materials.
- Current clientele, especially long-term “blue-chip” clients.
- Professional acquaintances of the firm’s chairman, including Fortune 50 CEOs, international heads of state, and political leaders.
- Potential clients and their financial intermediaries and consultants.
- Financial press & electronic media, including newspapers, magazines, rating systems, websites, bloggers.
In determining the book’s content, our marketing team faced the initial challenge of regulatory restrictions that severely constrains investment management companies like our own from stating past and present performance. At the same time, we wanted the text to portray clearly the firm’s philosophy and methodology that together created the foundation for the firm’s reputation and success. After much discussion, we determined to ask our employees to be the subject of the book, focusing on their shared belief system, ethical compass, and unwavering discipline. The firm’s Management Committee enthusiastically endorsed this direction and insisted that all of the company’s employees be included. Through a series of in-depth interviews, we discovered that the testimonies of each of our employees, in describing the “working wisdom” they had gained over their years at Brown Capital, provided a far more memorable portrait of the company and its values than any objective narrative could accomplish, while putting a compelling human face on what many see as a cold profession.
To provide a compelling visual dimension to compliment the text, the team decided to stage an extensive photography shoot that would capture each member of our staff onsite at our headquarters, a historic 19th century mansion in Baltimore City. Additional photography captured the elegant architectural details, which were also integrated into the graphic design of the emerging book, such as period wallpaper patterns reproduced in the book’s end papers and slipcase interior. The end intent was to capture a rich tapestry of Brown Capital’s people and their environment as both a workplace and a focused community.
To evoke a company that is truly “built to last,” we wanted to build a book that would also stand the test of time in fine design and craftsmanship. The pages printed in a four color process on acid-free, museum-quality Mohawk Superfine papers have tipped-in translucent vellum sheets as segment dividers. The smyth-sewn binding is covered in Tannery Finished Bonded Leather, and the company’s logo is hand-stamped in 22-karat gold. The book’s handcrafted slipcase is covered in Japanese Asahi Cloth with a book ribbon complimented by a two-piece handmade box with BCM’s logo blind- stamped on its cover.
The result is “Working Wisdom,” an exceptional example of book art that also serves as a compelling testament to the outstanding people and practices of a great American company—and one of the nation’s oldest African American-owned asset management firms. Its publication not only has heightened Brown Capital’s identity in the marketplace, but also serves as an impactful presentation gift (most recently given to President Obama, President Clinton, Congressman Lewis, and Governor O’Malley), and as a motivational tool for our staff.
Most recent results are that Brown Capital Management was honored to win a PRSA 2014 Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation for “Working Wisdom”. And, by the request of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, “Working Wisdom” will be placed amongst its rare and archival materials.
(Caption): Sharon Lewis of Brown Capital Management, and Jessica Watson of JWatson Creative, receiving an award of excellence. Photo Credit: Harry Bosk