Placemaking Workshops for Public and Private Sector

Learn the art and science of turning spaces into places.


Placemaking can transform a location into a destination. It can turn a long-neglected post-industrial area into an arts and culture hub. It can shape the future of neighbourhoods, boroughs, towns, cities and even countries.


Blackjet has over 10-years’ experience analyzing, predicting, influencing and defining trends in place-branding and is now offering half-day workshops to organizations looking to build in-house capacity or initiate a place-branding, destination marketing, or real-estate marketing project.


We offer two distinct workshops, tailored either to public or private sector organizations. Both cover the same foundational elements but differ considerably in terms of objectives, audiences, strategy and tactical emphasis.


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Session Details

Customized for each client.

Our workshops are designed differently for public and private sector. Learn how each is structured here.


  • Quick, think about Detroit. What comes to mind? The Motor City? Motown? Urban blight? Crime? Robocop? What about urban gardens? Walkable, self-sufficient neighbourhoods? Trendy dining hubs? Neighbourhoods bursting with independent arts and culture. A cutting-edge new cancer centre? Nightlife? Detroit is making a comeback, and its brand has a lot to do with that.

    ‘Where once people saw no future in Detroit, they now see possibilities. Where people once saw the city as a bad investment, they are now willing to confidently roll the dice’ says Pete Saunders in Forbes. ‘Detroit isn’t growing because a lights-out economy is creating thousands of jobs. It’s rebounding because people are feeling better about the city.’
    Economic development begins with establishing and asserting strong, positive brand equity. This is especially true in the case of places that are trying to navigate the shift from industrial to post-industrial economies and need to revitalize (or rehabilitate) their brands.

    Public Sector & Government Workshop Outline

    What Makes a Space a Place?

    We’ll look at how the same essential ingredients – geography, culture and commerce – intersect and combine in completely unique ways all over the world.


    Objectives & Audiences

    We’ll take you through exercises intended to help you define your short, medium and long-term objectives and then map them onto different audiences (e.g. investors, tourists, businesses, residents) you’ll need to reach to fulfill those objectives.


    Brand Essence Essentials

    Your place-brand needs to be perfectly of-the-moment. It needs to reflect the best aspects of your history while projecting your future vision. It needs to speak to what’s there today, what was there before and what will be there tomorrow. We’ll teach you several techniques to help you uncover and articulate your brand essence.


    Tactical Opportunities & Performance Indicators

    Finally, we’ll show you some of the myriad tools you can use to promote your new place-brand, be it digital, print, mainstream, trade, traditional, broadcast, social or content-based media. We’ll also show you how these tactics can be measured.


    Who Should Attend?

    The exercises are best suited for a group no smaller than 5 and no larger than 10 attendees. We recommend including someone from senior leadership who can speak to the underlying policy, business and social objectives. We also recommend a mix of communications people attend, including leadership, strategic planning and tactical, hands-on outreach. Further, any staff that have regular engagement with the public or other constituent audiences would be a valuable addition to the workshop.


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  • Cities are increasingly being conceptualized not as homogenous, monolithic entities, but as mosaics of districts and neighbourhoods. And it’s the private sector that’s leading the development and revitalization of these communities, oftentimes completely transforming desolate, post-industrial areas into futuristic, trendy and bustling hubs for culture, commerce and recreation.

    As such, place-branding (and place-marketing) for the private sector tends to be more future-focused. It’s more about who your audiences will be and what features, services, amenities and attractions will matter to them. Sometimes our work for private-sector clients considers three, five, ten and even twenty-year time horizons.

    This is why strong, clear, effective branding is so important – if you’re trying to create a place that won’t be fully realized and utilized for twenty years, your brand is your guide. It is your roadmap. It articulates your future vision and makes a promise to future communities that becomes self-fulfilling.

    Toronto has been a pretty excellent place for us to cut our teeth, given that it’s the fastest growing city in North America, and we want to share some of what we’ve learned with you.

    Private Sector Workshop Outline

    City of Brands

    Using Toronto is an example, we’ll explore how different neighbourhoods and communities project different brand values and try to understand how those brand values came into being. We’ll also look at some major developments that have had a transformative effect on their surrounding areas.


    Object Varied Audiences, Unified Brand

    The biggest challenge for private-sector place-marketers is that you’ve got multiple audiences with different and sometimes conflicting interests. And in order to move forward, you need to build consensus across all of your major constituencies and stakeholders – residents, investors, business-improvement-associations, tenants associations, government officials, elected officials and a variety of specialized advocacy groups. Your brand needs to speak to all of them. We can show you what that means.


    Place Brand Essentials Overview

    Your place-brand is so much more than a logo and a tagline. It’s a vision, and that vision needs to be embedded in everything – the architecture, interior design, landscaping, urban planning, transit planning and retail leasing. We typically create comprehensive design-thinking playbooks for our clients which focus on all the ways a brand can be expressed throughout the lifecycle of a project. In this exercise, we’ll deconstruct one of our playbooks and show you how we made it (and how you can too).


    Consultation & Launch

    Finally, we’ll provide insight into best-practices surrounding public consultation, and how digital can be leveraged to create a seamless connection between your brand and local residents before, during and after the consultative process and launch. We’ll also explore how consultation can be used as a way to include the resident community in the brand, so that it more positively perceived as your project progresses.


    Who Should Attend?

    These exercises are best suited for a group no smaller than 5 and no larger than 10 attendees. If you’re an interdisciplinary team try to include at least one representative from the following departments: planning, architecture, construction, financing, community outreach and public relations, government relations and communications.


    Schedule a Workshop

About Blackjet

Who are we?

Blackjet is an agile agency that uses insights, data and passion to help shape products and places. We create brand-promises for places, be they retail, communities or regions. We work with government, developers, urban planners, urban designers, architects and communities. We create strategically thought-through destinations that solve business and communications challenges for some of the largest developers and notable city-builders in the world.

What qualifies us?

We’ve worked with clients like QuadReal, Slate Asset Management, Muskoka Townships G8 Rebrand, Dream Developments, Timbercreek, RioCan Living and Choice Properties. These are just a few of the clients, prime real estate holdings across North America that we’ve applied our methodology to. Check out our portfolio to see some examples of our award-winning work.


“Their unique process has helped us crystalize our audience segments across the country. They consistently provide a roadmap for our mixed-use developments that drive product and brand differentiation. And their placemaking and place branding roadmaps help unify a vision for all stakeholders and consultants. This has driven great value for our mixed-use developments.”

Terri Adrianopolous

Vice President, Marketing
& Communications

“Blackjet’s ability to conduct research, distill clear & actionable insights from complex market indicators as well as guiding the creation of a Vision of Place is market leading. Their placemaking experience and branding work has helped us to unify our vision and align our project teams to deliver creative, yet timeless, plans for our city-building & mixed-use programs.”

Anthony Lanni

Executive Vice President,

“Blackjet is an important strategic partner for Dream. They work closely with us on several of our large-scale, mixed use developments across multiple markets. Blackjet’s strategic approach, collaboration and creativity have helped galvanize our vision and deliver place brands that excite, inspire and ultimately drive real estate value for our customers, partners and shareholders.”

Krystal Koo

Head of Sales
& Marketing

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Let’s talk.

Interested in learning more about place branding? Fill out the form below and one of our staff will contact you about organizing a workshop, and provide an estimate outlining costs. We customize each workshop to the specific team dynamics of your organization, so generally it’s best to book us at least 30-days in advance.