The Thanksgiving dinner of rebrands
Gordon Brothers Group chief executive Ken Frieze (right) helped guide the firm through a series of acquisitions over the years, holding on to some of the other firms’ names after the deals were done.
But now it’s time to roll out the 113-year-old Gordon Brothers brand across the recently acquired businesses, such as AccuVal and Emerald Technology Valuations, to unify everyone under one umbrella.
While largely unknown to most consumers, Boston-based Gordon Brothers has built a global reputation in the business community for its retailer liquidation work — think of City Sports or Sports Authority store closings — as well as an expertise in appraising a wide variety of properties, equipment and other assets.
“It’s been something we wanted to do for a while,” Frieze said of the rebranding exercise, “but we wanted to do it the right way. … It was time to bring [everything] under one banner.”
To pull it off, Frieze and his team enlisted Sametz Blackstone, a Boston branding agency, for help. The result: a new name (Gordon Brothers has dropped the “Group”), a new logo (an arrow pointing forward, through a portal) and a new website. There’s also an ad campaign under way among trade journals.
Orchestrating the changes this month among all of the 300-person firm’s 25 offices, across four continents, so they took place at one time, wasn’t easy. But Frieze said the transition turned out to be seamless.
“It was like cooking Thanksgiving dinner,” Frieze said. “You have to have your turkey come out at the same time as your vegetables and potatoes.”
— JON CHESTO
The future of sports: virtual reality huddles
Boston Bruins owner and Delaware North Corporation chairman Jeremy Jacobs doesn’t exactly see himself as a futurist.
“I’m 76 right now,” Jacob said. “It’s a little late in the game for me.” But Jacobs is keenly interested in the future of the sports industry. So much so that he commissioned a report on the topic, releasing the second edition last week.
Among its many forecasts, the report envisions a world just a few years from now when fans will use virtual reality to join their football team’s huddle during games. (For his part, Jacobs, who owns TD Garden, said he doesn’t see that technology stopping fans from filling regular old stadiums.)
It also predicts sports betting will become legal in the United States, and wearable technology will help prevent athlete injuries.
Speaking from his Buffalo office, Jacobs was blunt about why he commissioned the report. It was a “protectionist” endeavor geared to help Delaware North, which offers concessions at sports stadiums, understand the industry’s future.
“We started something internally that a number of people want to take advantage of,” he said.
The project’s team included editor Josh McHugh, a journalist turned social media marketing executive, and sports writer Lisa Olson. The group also enlisted the help of three teenagers, as the report focuses heavily on the next generation of fans.
— ADAM VACCARO
Disability Law Center will lose its fighter in chief
After several decades spent fighting for greater inclusion of people with disabilities in society and the economy, Christine Griffin will retire as the executive director of the Disability Law Center in February.
Griffin served two stints as the Boston nonprofit group’s leader, bookending appointments as a senior official at the federal Office of Personnel Management, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
An Army veteran and one of the first women to graduate from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Griffin is known for her blunt, practical style — unsparing in her public criticism of institutions that fell short in their treatment of people with disabilities, yet willing to help the same groups implement realistic changes.
Under her leadership, the center has taken on major cases, most notably auditing the troubled Bridgewater State Hospital. But Griffin said she will mostly miss the countless smaller fights, such as helping kids with disabilities win accommodations at school or get needed equipment. “The policy stuff has a broad impact and that’s great to see,” Griffin said in a recent interview. “But saving someone’s job or housing, or getting them the accommodation they need — that’s more meaningful than the photo opps.” — DAN ADAMS
Environmental groups take aim at state elections
Energy isn’t just a hot issue in federal campaigns this fall. Environmental groups want to make it a focal point for state elections as well.
The Cambridge-based Better Future Project has launched an affiliate that can get directly involved with politics. The aim: to persuade legislative candidates to reject big gifts from utilities National Grid and Eversource, pipeline developers Spectra Energy and Kinder Morgan, and six other energy companies.
A spokeswoman says the group has raised $25,000, and expects to have another $5,000 by November. As of this week, 49 candidates that remain in the running have signed the pledge to turn away donations of $200 or more from the companies.
The group joins other environmental nonprofits with similar missions, such as the Environmental League of Massachusetts, that have beefed up their political muscle to address state races.
“The goal is to make fossil fuel money as unwelcome to candidates as tobacco money,” said Craig Altemose, executive director of Better Future Project and its affiliate.
— JON CHESTO