SECOND LOOK: Marketing firm is a bright spot in Southington's resurgence

Published on Wednesday, 9 May 2018 20:31
Written by ART SECONDO

Visitors to the former Chamber of Commerce office at Factory Square will no longer recognize the previous nostalgic, traditional setting. Standard partitions are gone and individual offices are glass enclosed. Ceiling tiles are gone, replaced with an open look with lighting panels hung by wires. Wooden floor has replaced carpeting.

This is now the home of BrightSpot Creative, a digital marketing company that utilizes the location for a variety of services.

This isn’t the old Southington. Companies are relocating here with a focus on clients far away. Those clients include Nickelodeon, the NFL, Madison Square Garden, NBC Universal, WGN America and even Westfarms mall.

It’s the town’s location that lures firms like BrightSpot. Their clients are far away from town. The heart of the company is a small group of highly motivated, seven full-time trained IT experts and a handful of free-lancers with enormous imagination of high-powered marketing that surpasses the old version of simple print marketing.

Founded seven years by Tambra Bonatti and Charlie Callahan, the two marketing professionals merged their skills to form the company. Callahan, a Brewster, New York, native, spent 10 years as an ESPN marketing person. Tired of the travel, weekend duties and the demands of a marriage, he decided to literally sit at a kitchen table with fellow marketing person Tambra and that’s how the agency began.

As a young man, Callahan wanted to work in the television and entertainment industry after college and delved in network operations, overseeing daily operations at the Bristol sports network.

Marketing is no longer writing press releases, taking photos at events, printing fliers and business cards or coming up with fancy slogans. The industry now demands creativity, complex and expensive computer programming, digital expertise, and more importantly, personal contacts. Callahan took the time to explain why BrightSpot chose Factory Square in Southington. Tambra is from Wallingford.

“Location was central for us to come to work,” he said. “There’s so much around here and our business doesn’t depend on walk-in traffic. We work on word-of-mouth referrals and my partner and I have earned an excellent marketing reputation.”

Working the Masters Golf Tournament and a recent trip to Jay Leno’s domain in California kept Callahan busy but well grounded. At ESPN he met numerous celebrities but none impressed him more than spending casual time with former boxer George Foreman. BrightSpot’s virtual reality marketing has to be viewed to be appreciated but using the technique, Callahan said, was instrumental in completing Leno’s television show.

“This business is very competitive. We have to keep up with industry changes, constantly creating ideas and solutions for clients,” explained Callahan. BrightSpot obviously doesn’t depend on print ads and passing out business cards, but utilizing the Internet, former clients, personal contacts and relying on its list of satisfied clients.

BrightSpot is an example of the changing face of Southington. Companies with potential clients far away from here and taking advantage of the town’s location close to Interstate 84 and the availability of office space. Today, high tech computers can elevate a company with a handful of employees into a world-wide arena.

Callahan’s portfolio is big city stuff. His background surpasses your typical marketing representative. The office is ultra-modern with computer mouses toiling across the screen for hours. Virtual digital marketing development never ends and what we often see in commercials isn’t what was there in the first place.

ESPN’s Bristol location has provided Southington with celebrity visits, employee residences, and more importantly ... taxes. It has also given Southington a darn good reputation. Just visit Callahan and Bonatti at BrightSpot.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Southington Herald on Wednesday, 9 May 2018 20:31. Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2018 20:34.