Client Case Study


Events, Digital


JT was retained by The Pritzker Group in mid-2011 to begin planning the positioning, messaging and communications strategies for what was then just a concept: a “community center” and shared workspace for digital startups in Chicago. One of the key barriers cited by startups in recent years was a lack of flexible workspace that could be leased at modest rates for short periods of time, in an environment shared by other entrepreneurs.


We worked with J.B. Pritzker and his team as the name (“1871), location (the Merchandise Mart) and positioning of this new center came into focus. Following this, JT subsequently organized a media event in the space, then still under construction, with Governor Quinn, who announced the state’s funding support for 1871. On May 2, 2012, JT invited media to come tour the finished space and see it being used in a variety of ways – entrepreneurs at work, students in web design and development classes and seminars – and hear from the founders of some startups that had recently moved their companies into the co-working space, including some who have moved to Chicago from Silicon Valley, Nashville and even Ireland, specifically to be a part of 1871


  • Each of these media events garnered extensive local and national news coverage, focusing on the burgeoning Chicago digital startup scene as well as on 1871, its tenants and the amenities in the space.
  • For these and other events and media announcements, JT has been instrumental in providing 1871 principals with messaging, positioning and talking points to help them tell two “1871” stories: Chicago’s history of innovation post-fire, and how this vital new center will serve as a catalyst to grow one of the city’s newest industries.

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