Today we’d like to introduce you to Betsy Wise.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I began my professional career as a lawyer and legal research and writing instructor. I graduated from – and taught – at the University of Miami School of Law. The practice just wasn’t for me. After one year as a commercial litigator at Fowler, White I quit and pursued a passion – standup comedy. I did quite well, touring and performing for 35 weeks a year for almost 10 years. I’d moonlight as a copywriter now and again, and soon developed a relationship with a small agency in NYC – Catch 24 – where I began concepting and pitching to major clients, like Lufthansa airlines. I loved it and took on a role as a Senior Copywriter at TMP Worldwide in NYC – and was quickly promoted to Associate Creative Director. For 3 years, I ran the Verizon account, directing and writing across all their lines of business. Fascinated by the strategic use of the written word in marketing and advertising, I moved on to become an Associate Director of Verbal Identity at Interbrand – the world’s largest global branding consultancy. There I led all verbal work for AT&T, and worked on a slew of other businesses as well – The Hartford, BNY Mellon, Art Basel, and Cabot Chemical, to name a few.
In 2013, I was promoted to Director, but my mother began to decline, and I decided it was time to return home to Miami to care for her and raise my identical twin boys, Max and Jack, who were just 1 at the time. I’d planned to take some time off to help my parents out and then start interviewing. But, within a few weeks of returning home, I was asked to help a fantastic local theater – the Miami Theater Center – to refine their brand. Then Interbrand called and asked me to lead the rebrand of a major medical technology company, Medtronic. An Italian biotech, IGEA, asked for my support in launching a diagnostic test. I suddenly had more work than I could handle on my own, and needed to hire other writers, designers, web programmers, and producers to fill client demands for deliverables across media. Before I knew it was happening, Wise Branding Group was born.
It was such a gift – I had stopped working to care for my family and was worried I’d miss a step professionally, but the universe provided. Through word-of-mouth alone, we had a full book of business by late 2014, and it hasn’t stopped since. I am so fortunate to do something I’m so passionate about every day and to work alongside my talented associate, Maura Martinez-Solis. Today, we serve a wide range of clients with a focus in medical and digital technology – among them Cognizant, Medtronic, GE Healthcare, Pega Systems, and the dynamic local dermatologist and NY Times best-selling author, Dr. Leslie Baumann.
We had offices for a while, but because we spend the majority of our time either visiting and workshopping with clients, or simply writing, we gave up space and work untethered. The freedom and flexibility keep us creative, and if we need a big whiteboard session, I have a large office at home that serves us well.
We specialize in a brand foundation – mission, vision, values, positioning, brand personality and culture, and verbal identity (naming, brand voice, and messaging). We work with a world-class team of designers and producers, so we also provide visual identity services (logo, color palette, typeface, design systems) and video production (scripting, pre/post production). Our goal is to help our clients achieve relevant, differentiated, and consistent verbal and visual execution across every touchpoint of their brand. Nothing is more satisfying than knowing our clients are happy with our work and seeing their brands shine in the marketplace.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There have definitely been some growing pains along the way. Moments when we had more work than we could handle and had to work some very long hours. Both Maura and I are mothers of young children, and finding enough time in the day can be a challenge. We had a year-long engagement with an agency in Tel Aviv, and the time zone challenges were tough.
Before finding Maura, I had other writers supporting me who weren’t as committed as I’d hoped. Brand strategy and verbal identity are very specialized disciplines, and I expect a writer has a 4 to 6-month learning curve before they can truly deliver value to clients. I found that younger employees want to jump around to new experiences and that my efforts in training were often wasted. I’m fortunate to have found someone who is as passionate about the practice as I am in Maura, but it certainly didn’t happen overnight.
Please tell us about Wise Branding Group.
We partner with our clients to reveal the core strengths and characteristics of their organization, craft a brand foundation that aligns with their authentic capabilities and culture, and then bring that to life through verbal and visual expression. WBG’s expertise includes strategic brand foundation work, positioning, visual identity, verbal identity and advertising campaign work across media.
We’re very proud of the wide range of clients we serve, from small local companies to the Fortune 200. Because we’re academic, curious, and insightful in our approach we can – and have – worked across many industries.
We’ve rebranded theaters, retail operations, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies, and even a beer – HATUEY from Bacardi was also a client for a very long time.
Working with us is different – and better – than employing an agency because we work faster, and are far more nimble than a cumbersome agency team. Agency teams invariably end up being expensive, slow-moving, many-headed beasts that frustrate rather than empower the creative process. Working with WBG gets you the same world-class strategic and creative support you’d find at a Madison Avenue agency but at 1/3 of the price. And when you need support, you talk right to the creators – not to an account or project manager – so nothing gets lost in translation. This makes for efficient, economical, and on-brief work that gets the job done fast, and extremely well.
The fact that we’ve never done one bit of outbound marketing is all the proof we need that we’re delivering an exceptional product – and we have a tremendous amount of fun doing it.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I can’t believe I’m even saying this, but nothing. Not one thing. I’m blessed to work on something I find fascinating with an associate who’s as passionate as I am. And to serve clients who are smart, strategic, and collaborative.
- Website: www.wisebrandinggroup.com
- Phone: 646-206-5556
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Wise-Branding-Group-725867684129726/
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/betsywise/