Merritt Island, Fla., Feb. 2, 2007—Brandt Ronat + Company, a strategic creative firm, recently restored an abandoned 1920s-era Mediterranean Revival building in a Merritt Island redevelopment area and moved into the building, located at 6o McLeod Street. The move allowed the company to expand their square footage while making a leap in improving their capabilities. The larger space will open up exciting new challenges for their in-house design and development teams.
“We’ve gained some important open studio space,” said William Ronat, Executive Vice President and co-owner of Brandt Ronat + Company. “Now it will be easier for our people to work on large-scale work like retail display, interactive kiosks and trade show structures. That was one of the reasons for the move. Finding a unique property that could be both productive and creative was a must. Discovering that we could have it all and do something significant to upgrade a neighborhood in a redevelopment area was just the icing on the cake.”
Much larger than Brandt Ronat’s former location, the new headquarters allows the firm to offer an expanded range of services to their clients, including development of solutions in experiential marketing. One such project was the development of the prospective home-buyer “experience” for The Viera Company’s Home Discovery Center, where Ryan Brandt and Project Director, Jenise Osani, led the efforts.
“The Viera Company gave us a tremendous challenge,” said Ryan Brandt, long-time Account Supervisor on the account, “to capture prospective customers through traditional and non-traditional advertising. We find customers in many ways, including, of course, the Internet, then follow their responses, assess their needs and create traffic to the Home Discovery Center. Once the potential client arrives, they find a comfortable environment that is the most advantageous setting to both the customer seeking a new home and to the real estate professionals selling those homes. From initial message to on-site experience and follow-up strategies, we have the responsibility to build the strongest messages we can while flexing to meet the demands of the market and the logic of a budget. It’s a role we take seriously.”
A catch phrase among today’s professionals, experiential marketing is considered a hot new arena for communication strategists and design professionals. Sometimes defined as the science of providing the encompassing and empathetic environment in which customers are encouraged to sense, feel, think, act, relate and connect optimally with product, services, company or issues, it can (and should) involve every part of the customer experience.
According to Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, in The Experience Economy, the authors suggest that the service economy is about to be superseded with something that critics will find even more ephemeral (and controversial) than services ever were: experiences. In part because of technology and the increasing expectations of consumers, services today are starting to look like commodities. The authors write that “Those businesses that relegate themselves to the diminishing world of goods and services will be rendered irrelevant. To avoid this fate, you must learn to stage a rich, compelling experience.”
When it came to the Home Discovery Center, Brandt Ronat + Company’s Jenise Osani took the lead. As Project Director, Osani’s experience on Jack-in-the-Box and Coca Cola environmental branding, coupled with her design work on the Viera Company account, was the skill set required to develop the solutions.
“We had many areas of concern going in,” said Osani, “from providing clear messages about product quality and company values to controlling information gathering and traffic flow. We created standing information kiosks and restaurant-like seating to accommodate multiple small groups while assuring comfort and privacy. We created a new system of customer input and reinvented the collateral takeaways. One of the pieces that provided the most satisfaction, for creative team and clients alike, is the creation of the history room, which provides a view of the company and history of the land, therefore also helping to provide some bonding and connectivity between customer and the homes considered for purchase. To be effective in this kind of endeavor, you need to follow all participants in the sales process every step of the way.”
The extra space at Brandt Ronat also allows for improvements in hardware, including enough room for large format printers, which allow for the production of high-quality proofs and on-site prototyping or execution of some unique small-run specialty collateral.
“We’re a highly creative firm,” said Linda Brandt, co-owner and CEO of Brandt Ronat, “and sometimes our good ideas for our clients need to be prototyped here, refined, then tried out on sites—actually tested in the intended environments. We can do that for our clients on a site-by-site basis, get client (and client’s customers) feedback to get it perfect, before we spend budget at multiple locations or make changes system-wide. This kind of creative testing laboratory is ideal for our talents and helps create some inventive and cost-effective communications avenues for our clients.”
Brandt Ronat + Company is a mature design firm known for creating branding strategies and high quality marketing solutions, advertising and collateral systems for clients in financial, healthcare, real estate development and retail. Recent work with Health First, The Viera Company, Gatto’s Tires and Auto Service, Space Foundation (Colorado), Our Families Our Future (Wyoming), and IDB-IIC Federal Credit Union (Washington, D.C.) involves reaching customers in hard-to-capture categories or circumstances and in complex environments where messaging is a challenge.
The Brandt Ronat + Company renovated headquarters, at 60 McLeod, Merritt Island, Florida, has received awards from three sources: the Merritt Island Redevelopment Agency, the Merritt Park Place Group, Inc., and jointly from Keep Brevard Beautiful, Florida Today and the Home Builders and Contractors Association of Brevard County.