Coworking in Orlando is perfect place for creative business

Jerome Smith is loving the CoLab Orlando experience. He earned his BFA from Jacksonville University in neighboring Jacksonville, Fla., and became an art director by age 23 at an aerospace engineering firm in Rockville, Md. He soon moved on to other experiences, including corporate communications consulting for some IT/telecommunications firms and a stint in television doing graphics and animation for WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C. After some time in the tech bubble and a gig as US Creative Director of the strategy management firm Booz Allen Hamilton, Jerome launched brandEvolve in 2002. His passion is bringing skilled creative professionals from different disciplines to work together on marketing initiatives, like an elite creative unit.

Jerome Smith of brandEvolve

Tell us about yourself and your company — where you’re from, your background, what your business is about. BrandEvolve began as a boutique branding agency specializing in brand strategy and user experience. Today, we are a digital marketing agency providing comprehensive communications solutions from print to web and social media.

What’s your favorite part of the job? Writing. And watching the social and web traffic statistics grow. Seeing our creative work help our clients forge new business opportunities is what it’s all about. We have recently expanded into social media, and seeing that value come to life is exciting. Recently, we launched an ad campaign for one client and drew over 600 likes in less than a week. We don’t just redesign websites with new images and pretty color palettes. All of our designs are user-centric and balanced with “calls to action” and end-user benefits. Many of our digital marketing packages include search engine optimization (SEO) and custom WordPress CMS solutions to help our clients’ web solutions grow and foster business.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that many people don’t know. Probably the more interesting thing is that I used to be a graffiti artist. But I have “evolved” from a graffiti artist to brand strategist/designer. Many years ago, Congressional Quarterly commissioned me to do a marketing initiative for their “Beyond the First 100 Days” event. The president at that time was Bill Clinton. Getting paid to do a graffiti illustration of Bill Clinton was pretty cool! I hope to be able to release some more of my artwork this year.

How long have you been at CoLab? For two months

Where were you before CoLab? 317 VirtualGroup, which is a couple of blocks south in the plaza on Orange Avenue. We’d been scouting different places to relocate to since October, and I think we found the right fit with CoLab.

How did you hear about CoLab? I attended The Future of Web Design 2009 in London, which is hosted/managed by Carsonified. I saw they used to have an office in CoLab.

What made you want to use a coworking space? I’ve experienced coworking spaces in the Washington, D.C., area as well. I launched brandEvolve out of a coworking space company called Teqcorner. The difference with CoLab is they have more entertainment media and creative companies. That’s definitely a plus.

What are your thoughts about the CoLab community? I haven’t really been able to engage much yet, but from what I have seen to date, it’s been really cool. (CoLab Orlando Community Director) Brian Wilson’s been great as a key figure in the CoLab experience and making sure everyone is aware of networking opportunities, downtown happenings and possible synergies/business opportunities between CoLab members. Will have to keep you posted on that!