Communications Catalyst

Communications Catalyst

It’s my pleasure to welcome Brien McDaniel to our Talentstar braintrust of collaborators. Brien is, himself, like a gemstone — with a bright and sparkling personality as well as great depth of character, expertise, and resonance.

I met Brien in 2008, just before the recession, when he was Director of Public Relations for FXCollaborative (formerly FXFOWLE). He had previously worked with CBT Architects in Boston, one of Nancy Egan’s clients, and she had recommended him to me. One of the things that was intriguing about Brien was his background with the arts and education. He had been the Assistant Director of Communications at The Museum on Modern Art, and in his earlier career, he was Director of Institutional Marketing and Public Relations for the Kansas City Art Institute and a Senior Press Officer for Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). This gave him terrific experience in developing annual programs to articulate and advance the image and reputation for significant institutions.

Over the next 12 years, he applied this knowledge and expertise to the A+D realm as a catalyst, deftly elevating the visibility of his clients through communication strategies that are integrated into their design vision, ethos, and business goals.

Otto Elmer McDaniel

Otto Elmer McDaniel | NYC

Fast forward to 2020. Although we hadn’t had an opportunity to work together, we had stayed in frequent contact, by phone and social media. (Brien is truly brilliant with social media, for himself and his clients, as well as his wonderful dog, Otto.)

SMPS had asked me to write an article on trends for their December 2020 issue of Marketer. Throughout the pandemic, despite the many existential challenges, I had been having conversations with people and companies who were doing positive things — thinking differently and seizing opportunities. It was the right theme at the right time.

I reached out to Mike Plotnick, a long-time friend and colleague. He agreed to write an article about the evolution of the Krueck+Sexton practice in Chicago. Brien had left FXCollaborative, and I reached out to see if he would be interested in joining us as a co-author.

The result was Eyes on the Future: Making Big Moves. (The title is courtesy of Mike Plotnick.)

Once published, we began talking about how to promote the article. Brien has become our catalyst for the first-ever Talentstar strategic communications program, resulting in our recent series of blog posts and increased activity on LinkedIn and Instagram. In addition, Brien is now working with Mike Plotnick on a campaign to raise awareness for one of our clients in the Western USA, and he’s working with our colleagues Thom McKay and Claire Propsting at 148 Communications on a campaign to launch a NYC office for a global, luxury design client.

The best part is that we all enjoy each other, working in a “repertory theatre” environment, and we also love our clients. It’s a total win-win.

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You might enjoy a few of Brien’s articles:

  • Positive Disruptions: Cassette
    Brien profiled Dafna Kaplan and her disruptive approach to affordable housing — intelligent modular construction systems. According to Ms. Kaplan, “Cassette opened in stealth-mode in May 2019, which gave us time to engineer our systems before opening more publicly in 2020.”
  • Residential Renovation: Frame Home
    He also wrote about Joanne Wilson and how she has pushed herself and global companies to keep changing and evolving. Joanne started Frame Home as a real estate development company, focused on projects “that were creative and lower risk, with long-term positive impacts on the city and the environment.” Frame 283, their flagship rental property in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, opened in January 2021.
  • Having It All
    Brien’s first post for the Talentstar SPOTLIGHT blog — he interviewed Katherine Bajor, our Talentstar colleague, who understands the challenge of achieving a work/life balance. She also believes that you can have it all.
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