Case Study: Hotel Zephyr

Case Study: Hotel Zephyr

This summer, BrewLife celebrated the successful completion of its first hospitality engagement with the grand opening of Hotel Zephyr, a one-of-a-kind hotel property in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. BrewLife collaborated with Zephyr’s management organization, Davidson Hotels & Resorts, for a little over a year to create this fresh, irreverent and standout hospitality brand. BrewLife kicked off our engagement by using our proprietary social analytics to understand the interests and behaviors of both visitors to San Francisco as well as global travelers who have indicated a preference for visiting boutique hotels. Results from this analysis helped shape customer personas as well as key elements of the brand and guest experience. Identity design came next, with our talented designers creating a playful and colorful logo for the property that both represents the hotel’s cargo ship design narrative and its centerpiece amenity, “The Yard, ” a 10,000 square foot adult playground. Your standard hotel logo this is not. With our baseline look and feel established, BrewLife moved on to creative campaign development. Also diverting from the usual, the property’s launch creative campaign, entitled “Twisted”, challenges preconceptions about what constitutes an upscale hotel stay through hotel scenes and characters that have surprising twists related to the Zephyr story. From... more »
Exploring Your “Why” in the Workplace

Exploring Your “Why” in the Workplace

Our CEO, Jim Weiss, likes to ask each of us “what’s your why?” Recently a college student sent me a great note in response to a year old post I’d written about my trajectory into PR nearly two decades ago and it made me think about my current “why.” Because while some reasons may stay the same – the people I work with, truly caring about the work and the impact it can have on patients and society, and the compensation – for me there must always be growth and learning or I naturally lose interest. As president of BrewLife, an integrated branding and communications agency under the W2O Group umbrella (along with WCG and tWist Marketing), I’m now setting goals for myself and my team that have required a change in the way I think about and approach my work. These are the big things – the personal things – that require an individual journey and are hard to teach. It’s pushed me to work on the parts of myself that hold me back, namely fear, impatience, and self-doubt. And it’s pushed me to liberate the things I do best, like taking calculated risks, and deliberate and compassionate coaching of my team and colleagues.... more »
Finding ‘The Kitchen’ in Your Communications Strategy

Finding ‘The Kitchen’ in Your Communications Strategy

There is one universal fact when it comes to hosting a party: no matter how well you decorate or where the music is playing, everyone inevitably ends up standing in the kitchen. The draw of the kitchen is like gravity, an inescapable force that brings everyone together for a shared experience and a shared conversation. So, how do companies capture that same effect? How do they engage their community and share in a lively conversation? At BrewLife, we partner with companies to bring this concept to life. Every brand will have its own definition of success (Who is in the kitchen? What are they talking about?) as well as its own approach, but really the underlying process is the same. First things first, you need a kitchen. The kitchen represents your company’s platform, where you want to bring people together. And it shouldn’t just be a single location. In this digital and social age, a company’s platform may consist of interlinking social channels, an unbranded awareness website, a corporate blog, and several other touchpoints. The point is that these elements must be coordinated, easily findable, and simple to navigate. Start the conversation. As people start to trickle into the kitchen, it’s important to engage them... more »
BrewLife Annual Offsite – 2015

BrewLife Annual Offsite – 2015

Yesterday we had our Annual BrewLife Offsite; a yearly planning and social event that brings our whole team together from across the country to brainstorm and discuss the plan for the year(s) ahead. Held in San Francisco, this year’s offsite was one many were particularly excited about as we have undergone some pretty significant changes here at BrewLife in the last few months. Our new President, Carolyn Wang, took the reigns back in April and several new team members joined the BrewLife agency (most from within our existing W2O network). This offsite was really the first time we were all coming together as the new BrewLife – and trust us, the day did not disappoint! The event began with our out-of-town team members slowly trickling into the SF office on Wednesday. We all gathered over cocktails after work – a chance to meet and mingle before Thursday’s full-day working session. Bright and early on Thursday morning we reconvened in Napa (our SF conference room, not wine country #NotSoNapa) and settled in for a whole day of presentations and brainstorming sessions. Agenda items included a State of the State from our fearless leader, an overview of the three-year plan for BrewLife, a presentation on BrewLife’s brand and position in the... more »
How We Celebrated the Fourth of July

How We Celebrated the Fourth of July

(Featured image was sourced from Flickr Creative Commons, user Caruba) We all know how difficult is it to return to the office after a long weekend. Returning after the July Fourth weekend, however, always seems a little bit more difficult. Summer has arrived (albeit most of the time you wouldn’t know it here in San Francisco), and many of us are still dreaming of the beach, BBQs, and lazy days spent in the sunshine. So, in order to liven things up on this Monday morning, we wanted to share some of our favorite ways we celebrated the Fourth of July long weekend in hopes you may spend some time today daydreaming of next year’s celebration. Happy Fourth (and happy daydreaming)!... more »
Acessa + BrewLife: “A Woman’s Story”

Acessa + BrewLife: “A Woman’s Story”

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting a few BrewLife clients who were exhibiting at the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetrics (ACOG) conference, one of the largest conferences for women’s health professionals. While at ACOG, I caught up with Halt Medical, the company behind the Acessa Procedure, a safe, effective and minimally invasive procedure that’s seeking to replace hysterectomy as the standard of care for fibroid treatment. Many women prefer to avoid hysterectomy because it’s a significant surgery with long recovery times and a track record of post-procedure complications. BrewLife began working with Halt Medical over a year ago to ready the Acessa brand for a two-market test campaign focused on raising awareness of the procedure among women with uterine fibroids. This included developing strategic positioning and messaging, a creative campaign, a new website, and marketing collateral in both digital and print formats. Starting at the beginning of 2015, BrewLife’s “A Woman’s Story” campaign has rolled out across a variety of marketing channels in the two markets, and despite the campaign’s young age, there has already been an uptick in the number of procedures being performed. “A Woman’s Story” highlights the physical and emotional toll that fibroid symptoms, and the decision... more »
Care for your brand, because it’s worth it

Care for your brand, because it’s worth it

In the one second that passed while I was writing this blog post, there were 100,181 YouTube videos viewed, 2,045 Instagram photos uploaded and 9,109 Tweets. Whether we like it or not, we are constantly bombarded by all types of media and the fight for attention will continue to increase as digital technology enables our 24/7 consumption of content. Standing out is hard, but building trust is harder. Rising above the crowd is a tough order today. Marketing by interruption only gets you a few seconds of attention and if there is nothing relevant at that exact moment to engage your audience, you can be sure they have probably already moved on to something else. The fallout from a failed interruptive marketing execution is that the technique starts to get a bad reputation. Just like how I can’t wait to click away any banners that takeover my screen (Where is that clickable X?). What does this mean for companies? For non-profit organizations? For us personally? It means that if you are trying to influence anyone, sell anything, or say anything at all, it has to be relevant to your target audience. The message has to be delivered at the right time and be educational or... more »
BrewLife and the joy of bike riding

BrewLife and the joy of bike riding

SF Bike to Work Day. It’s right up there next to Birthday on my personal celebration scale. I commute to work by bicycle every day, but there’s something about seeing cyclists out in force that brings me immense joy. Last Thursday was San Francisco’s 21st Bike To Work Day, and W2O Group’s third observance. BrewLife’s Lesley Martin, W2O colleague Andrew Newbold and myself organized festivities that included commuter convoys, breakfast at the office and a Fitbit raffle (won by our BrewLife intern, Felice Tsui). But back to what I love about Bike To Work Day—coincidentally the same things I appreciate most about BrewLife. The sense of community: There’s something wonderful about cyclists from different backgrounds and points of view sharing their experiences, enthusiasm and expertise. And equally cool that my BrewLife colleagues show up every day ready to contribute, collaborate and learn for our own sakes, our colleagues and our clients. Making it happen: It’s inspiring to see people taking action to make a statement, identify a need, participate in change, lead by example. BrewLife colleagues are encouraged to act and think like owners, to produce optimal outcomes for our clients. There’s power in knowing that individual actions have a real impact. It’s for the... more »

Happy Mother’s Day!

“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” —Maya Angelou Wishing all of the Moms out there a very Happy Mother’s Day! And a special thank you to all of our Moms who have undoubtedly been a source of inspiration and motivation in everything we do here at BrewLife. We couldn’t do it without you! Happy Mother’s Day Everyone! Sincerely, The BrewLife Team  ... more »
Rethinking my thinking: When SXSW and ACC collide

Rethinking my thinking: When SXSW and ACC collide

I started my career as a research scientist at UCLA and spent years in the lab laser-focused on repeatability between experiments, making each day EXACTLY the same as the last. As intellectually challenging as it was, it was also… boring. If variety is the spice of life, I was eating white bread every day. This is what led me away from the lab and instead to BrewLife, and an existence fully of daily variety. Two weeks ago is a perfect example. W2O Group, the parent company of BrewLife, hosted its 5th annual Pre-Commerce Summit to kick off SXSW Interactive on March 11th in Austin, TX. The day was full of compelling talks that made me rethink my approach to communicating, to strategy, even to thinking. I learned that if you want to make products that resonate with your audience, you need to check your preconceptions at the door. This is exactly what didn’t happen when YouTube engineers first designed how videos reorient when you turn your phone. (All my fellow left-handers know what I mean.) To communicate effectively, you not only need to put your preconceptions aside, you should also put yourself in the shoes of the person you are communicating to. A great idea... more »