Secrets to Success: An Interview with Marc Brownstein

For the Brownstein Group, Philadelphia’s longest-running independent marketing communications agency, “embracing change and knowing when and how to adjust” has been the secret to success for 60 years.

Berny Brownstein founded the agency at the height of the Creative Revolution, with a goal of bringing a different perspective to Philadelphia advertising. Today, the Brownstein Group remains true to its Philly roots, while expanding into a full-service advertising and public relations firm that counts clients worldwide and has received national awards for its dedication to building unstoppable brands.

Brownstein focuses on helping their clients stand out by meeting their audience’s current needs and anticipating what they’ll need later. The agency believes in the powerful force of a strong brand. While nothing lives forever, Brownstein believes a well-crafted brand can outlive us all.

To its credit, Brownstein has helped to cultivate some of the most recognizable brands of the past half century, including Comcast, Five Below, Giant Food Stores, Lyft, NJM, Wawa and WSFS Bank.

The agency focuses on key specialties including: Brand Strategy; Public Relations; Creative & Design; Video Production; Technology; Social Media; Media Planning & Buying; Lead Generation; and Analytics. These specialties make Brownstein a diverse, expansive agency, and underscore its full-service capabilities.

“We have just about 100 employees now – and each one of them brings passion to their roles that wow our clients constantly,” said Berny’s son Marc Brownstein, who joined the agency in 1990 and currently serves as CEO. “One of our agency values is ‘Stay Hungry,’ and our team lives that out every day by never being satisfied with the status quo. The bar can always be higher, and the common thread amongst our team is that they are always looking to out-do themselves with creative, out-of-the box work.”

A company is only as successful as the people who lead it, the employees who do the hard work every day, and the shared values that tie it all together. That is why Brownstein has placed an emphasis on building a team who believe in its mission of thinking boldly and acting bravely to create for their clients.

They are constantly looking for ways to improve and innovate as well. Recently, that has meant utilizing Artificial Intelligence.

“We see so much out there around how AI is replacing creative talent – however, we really see the technology as supplementary to help us be better at our jobs and dedicate more time to the tasks that require a human touch,” said Brownstein. “We see the innovation that AI brings to smarter advertising pros, and knew it was time to take advantage of the technology in a creative way.”

Rather than seeing it as a negative, Brownstein Group turned the age of AI into a positive, incorporating it in ways that help their team more effectively and creatively market their clients.

“Earlier this year, we implemented our own internal AI tool called Bern-E (named after our founder),” said Brownstein. “Our tool empowers Brownstein Group’s employees to access OpenAI’s suite of tools and do things like elicit thought starters for brainstorms or conjure up images for presentations.”

He added that “the real differentiator is that the tool was built informed by real insights from our whole executive team, meaning that employees are able to chat Bern-E with questions they would otherwise consider asking senior leadership as a gut check. Therefore, it essentially acts as a training tool that increases our team’s access to more than 100-plus years of combined industry experience from the agency’s top execs.”

For 60 years, Brownstein Group’s growth and success has been defined by the people who have been fearless enough to embrace change and push the boundaries of creativity. Brownstein is confident that this tried-and-true formula will pave the way for future success.

“As we approach our 60th year in business, I look forward to continuing building out our portfolio of clients and building unstoppable brands,” said Brownstein. “That said, the future holds bigger opportunities that are more national in scope for our team. We might be an agency that is headquartered in Philadelphia, but we are not a Philadelphia-only shop.”

A Philly business with a desire to grow its clients’ brand recognition and national reach. That’s the Brownstein Group way.

This originally appeared on in collaboration with the PA Chamber of Commerce.

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