7113 Three Chopt Road, Suite 204 | Richmond, VA


You know that a word or phrase has officially made it when it becomes a part of the venerable Oxford English Dictionary. That momentous achievement was announced earlier this summer for “hashtag.” Born in social media, the hashtag has been in existence since 2007 and has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. Noted by the # sign in the front of a word, phrase, or string of words, hashtags offer a lot of benefits for users on social media platforms. Many social media sites encourage the use of hashtags, including Twitter (where it all started), Facebook, Google+, and Instagram. They’re not only helpful for users, but savvy brands have leveraged hashtags for marketing purposes as well.

August 19, 2014 - Commonwealth Partnerships announces that Elyssa Bernstein has joined the Commonwealth Partnerships as a Social Media Coordinator. Elyssa will be helping clients build their social media presence on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. She will be assisting in increasing engagement and fostering relationships...

I was recently speaking with someone who was about to start her own business and was a little nervous about finding new clients. She asked me what sorts of business development activities I undertake. One of the most important that I mentioned was getting involved in my industry’s trade associations. Trade groups like the American Marketing Association, Public Relations Society of America, Urban Land Institute, etc. have been great ways for me to network with peers and prospective clients. This is true for every industry. According to the Center for Association Leadership, there are about 1.9 million trade associations in the United States, which means that everyone, no matter what their field, is represented in some form or fashion.

In Stephan Kaiser and Max Ringlstetter’s Strategic Management of Professional Service Firms: Theory and Practice (Springer, 2011), the authors discuss the procurement process of professional services. One of the key elements as to why companies and individuals buy these services is the brand that is accompanied with the advice that they are receiving. That means that prospective clients expect a certain philosophy and set of knowledge that comes with those professional services. If the individuals that make up the firm do not meet those expectations or are not communicating the firm’s identity correctly, they are likely to lose the business opportunity.

The fact is that property owners and developers rarely like engaging the public for their input during a project. The rationale is that the community at large does not understand the nuances that go into financing deals. This is very true. However, there is something to be said for engagement with the public on projects where rezoning is needed, parking or ingress/egress is impacted, or a variety of other factors are at play. This engagement does not start at the Planning Commission phase, true engagement means being more proactive.