Today we’re buzzing with Nick Monteleone and Sue Mackay, two marketing whizzes from the Toronto-based 52 Pick-up Inc. The boutique design and communications agency works on a range of different products with a variety of companies and have created top notch material for projects like Pinnacle Uptown, Prairiewood, The Carnaby and 210 Simcoe.
Nick is the co-founder and principal of the company while Sue is a senior account executive. Interviewing the two gave us a great look at the inner-workings of 52 Pick-up Inc. and how they’ve grown so significantly over the years.
BuzzBuzzHome: Why did you decide on a career in marketing?
Nick Monteleone: I decided on a career in marketing because it is dynamic and never static. Design requires research and constant creativity. I am a huge believer in making the unreal, real. I love all facets of design.
Sue Mackay: My story is a bit different. It probably wasn’t marketing per se that drove me to the industry. I first started on the client side with Intrawest and had the opportunity to live in a ski resort town where my office was right at the base of the hill. It was the perfect mix of lifestyle and 10 years learning grounds with one of the world best resort developers.
Building a resort village from blue print to reality in the sales and marketing division stimulated my love of marketing and real estate. I fell in love with the industry and specifically the marketing side — telling the story, understanding the vision and then working with all the key stakeholders to bring a project to life.
BBH: Nick, you’re the co-founder of 52 Pick-up Inc. Why did you want to start your own company?
NM: After completing design school I worked in prominent design agencies in the city. I gained design and business experience. As a result I started my own company with Susan McIntee because we both loved design and we wanted to become leaders in the industry. Owning our own agency would provide us with the platform to design outside of the box.
BBH: You work in a range of markets. You’re in real estate obviously, but what are some of the other markets you work within?
NM: We’re a strategic design agency that creates brands for all business sectors. We brand corporate, retail, hospitality, real estate, and broadcast.
SM: What makes 52 Pick-up Inc. special is a true love of design right down to its roots and business partners. It doesn’t matter what the project is, there lies this incredible passion for design. I think that’s what led me to 52. When I was at Intrawest the common bond was passion and people. It was tough to find a person in the company who didn’t love what they did. I found that same feeling at 52 Pick-up. Whether it is a real estate project or an annual report. It’s a true desire to bring the best product to the table and the best design that fits with that product.
BBH: Speaking more about the real estate side of your business, what are the most important first steps you need to take when a new client signs on to get off on the right foot?
NM: One of the most important first steps is to understand the developer’s vision and the market. In doing so we develop strategies and design concepts that will spark interest and sell the project.
SM: One of the first questions I ask is “Who is selling it and how do you plan to launch?” What we do really only has value when the sales team is behind the brand, and can truly use the tools we create. We collaborate about the target market, the type of pieces they need to sell, how they believe we will generate awareness for the project. If the project is using internal or external sales, if you’re selling to the broker market or end users, it determines the pieces we’re going to output and the vision of the pieces. It’s a key piece of information for us to build a proper campaign.
BBH: What’s your hiring process like? How do you make sure someone’s a good fit for 52?
NM: It’s all about personality and collaboration.
SM: Ditto – fit is most important for me!
BBH: Cake or pie? What’s the best dessert?
NM: Pie. Lemon meringue.
SM: This is really tough. My husband and daughter make pies together every summer- it’s started to turn into quite a ritual and with rhubarb just out their latest these days is strawberry and rhubarb… I’m a die hard chocolate fan however… I could be swayed. It’s a very hard call.
Thanks for buzzing with us Nick and Sue!