Countdown #28 to Unity Plaza Opening ~ HDco Providing In-Kind and Advisory Brand Support

An Interview with Advisory Board Member and Unity Plaza Sponsor:  JEFFREY D. HARRINGTON

CEO & Chief Brand Concierge, HDco, 904 398-5700 // jeffrey@gohd.co

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Name:  Jeffrey D Harrington

Company:  HDco, a branding agency

Year Founded:  2001

Position:  CEO and Chief Brand Concierge

Company Mission Statement:  Building brands people love.

Personal Mission Statement or Favorite Quote:  Until the client says “make it suck” do the best possible job you can.

Awards received:  Recognized by national publications and professional groups as both a juror and awardee

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Jeffrey, can you share with the audience a little about your professional development and background?

It’s pretty simple. I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from Flagler College in 1996. I worked for Kurtis Loftus briefly and St. John & Partners on local and national accounts like World Golf Village and Acuvue Contact Lenses. While there, I learned how to create sophisticated new business presentations from Jeff McCurry, now the company President. For two years I developed UI on the internet team before I was laid off in the wake of 9/11 in October 2011. That same weekend I started Harrington Design Company, now HDco. It’s been 13 years and we’ve had the good fortune of working with great clients like Nielsen, PGA TOUR and Baptist Health.

How do you define a Brand Concierge?

When you arrive in a place you aren’t familiar with, a Concierge is there to guide you. They know the lay of the land, what to look for and how to make the most of your experience. They make the arrangements and get you the best table. We take that approach when building a branding team for our clients. We bring the best talent around your table and manage the team to make sure they meet the expectations and you have a great experience along the way.

What is your process in working with a new or established client?

With potential clients, we do the “chemistry check” to make sure we are a good fit. Once we engage, we quickly access and align with the clients goals and provide strategic insight where needed. We gather all relevant information and provide a strategy for execution and success. Our creative team then flexes it’s muscles to create the campaign (branded web content, corporate identity, documentary, etc) and work with the client to distribute it to the ideal target audience. When possible, we evaluate the success of the project and provide feedback from people who consume the content.   It’s the same process for established clients, but it’s more streamlined and turnkey.

Please share why you reached out and ultimately selected Unity Plaza to be the receipt of your highly skilled, pro bono, logo design assistance?

Over the years, HDco has partnered with many cultural organizations. In 2008 HDco was awarded the Cultural Council of Jacksonville “Arts Award” for our work with Riverside Fine Arts Concert Series. We identified with the Unity Plaza philosophy and wanted to set a high standard for branding in the developing Brooklyn community.

Please share other organizations you support and why?

Just recently we created an 8 minute story for Nielsen Cares, the Corporate Responsibility arm of Nielsen (the tv/media ratings company) It included footage shot in New York, Chicago, London and Dubai. It has amazing stories about what Nielsen is doing for Oxfam, Feeding America, Junior Achievement and others. It’s rewarding to the tell the story of a company who is literally changing the world through volunteerism and pro-bono efforts.  In the past we’ve worked with MOCA, Riverside Concert Series, United Way, Salvation Army and Patrons of the HeARTs.

Which business owner or business model has most inspired you in your career and why?

After working for a large agency for 5 years, I determined that creating a large agency was not for me. I surround myself with smart, super-talented and motivated people. I am sometimes am amazed at what we can do with a handful of people. Bennett Peji is a designer based out of San Diego and has a firm similarly structured to mine. Lean, efficient, yet able to produce consistently at a very high level. He’s managed to gain international recognition working on high profile projects all over the world. We’re getting there. 😉

Who is your favorite artist/designer?

Too many to count! I could write a book on that. Locally, my favorite designers are Varick Rosete, Russel Quadros and Jefferson Rall. I also admire my former designers Chris Salvador and Stephanie Soden. Super talented. Our new D.C. based motion graphics designer based, Noelle, is exceptional. It’s awesome to work with such talented people like our own Elise, Natalie.

Please tell the audience about your businesses full range of marketing offerings.

We are all about building brands people love. That can take many shapes. Right now we are heavily focused on film and video production for global clients like Nielsen and Unilever. An exciting project for Community First Credit Union gave us the opportunity to design new credit and debit cards. A few years ago we partnered with Station Four to overhaul the Baptist Health web presence. We develop internal comm and marcom materials for C level executives. It’s always something new. Our full list of offerings can be found at hdco.co.

I hear you make movies and recently married an award-winning documentarian.  Wow!  The folks at Unity can endorse her spectacularity.  Can you share a little about your marriage’s business collaborative relationship with our audience?

My wife Natalie is our Senior Producer and has her hand in almost every film and video we make. Her career started as a journalist. She became a documentary filmmaker, shooting her first two films in Africa. Africa’s Daughters has won awards in film festivals all over the world. I recently directed a short film in India about TCS, the largest IT company in Asia. It was an incredible experience.

Last, who are your favorite competitors in Jacksonville, who makes you work smartest?

I don’t know of any direct competitors in Jacksonville. The scope of our work and our international network of film crews kind of sets us apart. We love collaborating with other firms and individuals. I learned this through AIGA, the professional organization for design. You had to learn to play nice with others. Some of our favorites are Broadbased Communications, SJP, Shepherd Agency, Station Four, nGenWorks and TigerLily to name a few. Mark Claywell is our favorite Director.

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