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Bruce Turkel

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Branding-expert-and-beyond Bruce Turkel was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, spending his early years on the beach, swimming, diving and boating. He was a creative child. His penchant for drawing caricatures of his teachers and friends would later evolve into work drawing political cartoons. As a budding musician, he played 60’s hits with his junior high bands “The Jets” and “The Sifters.” He played in his high school’s marching band, concert band, jazz band and orchestra, fostering a love of music that would carry on throughout his life.

After graduating from Miami Beach Senior High in 1975, Turkel spent a year at Mercer University before going on to study at the University of Florida. After graduating with bachelor’s degrees in both design and political science in 1980, Turkel headed to New York City to start his design career. He quickly discovered that the New York lifestyle was not for him, and returned home to Miami.

In 1983, after working at several Miami advertising agencies, he made the decision to start his own design firm. With confidence bolstered from his work as an art director, he blazed forth into creating his own business. He quickly discovered how little he knew. The day he launched his new endeavor, his empty office made it suddenly clear how little he knew about business. He began making phone calls, going to events, and learning about the business side of his business.

Eventually, Turkel discovered that advertising combined his loves for design and writing with strategizing and problem solving. His developing passion led to the design firm’s evolution into an advertising agency. He helps businesses create brands, using his natural creativity and well-earned business acumen to devise expert branding and marketing techniques. He currently runs a brand management agency headquartered in Miami, as well as a Hispanic marketing advertising agency with 19 offices in various Spanish-speaking countries. His clients have included Regent Seven Seas, Advantage Care HMO, Hasbro, Nike, American Express, Charles Schwab, Discovery Networks, Bacardi, Sol Melia Hotels, Azamara Club Cruises and many others. He also specializes in destination marketing, using branding to recreate Miami as a tourism destination, and marketing tourism for Puerto Rico, Mexico and Guatemala. The agency also helped build the brand of the Destination Marketing Association International.

Turkel is also an accomplished speaker, captivating audiences at MIT, Harvard, TEDx and a multitude of other events. These have included corporate speaking engagements for Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, Toll Brother and the Discovery Channel, and conferences including DMAI, NAMM, MPI and ProMax. He shares his views weekly on FOX Business. He’s also appeared on CNN, ABC, CBS and NPR. He’s also an accomplished author, publishing three books; Brain Darts; New Design: Miami; and Building Brand Value. His work has also been featured in The New York Time, Fast Company, Communication Arts, and AdWeek.

Turkel continues to explore his passion for music, playing blues harmonica as front man of Miami R&B band Blackstar. He’s an avid runner, participating in the Miami and New York marathons and many half-marathons. He lives in Miami with his wife, Gloria. The couple raised a son and a daughter, Danny and Aliana, both now in their 20s.  

Companies and Investments

TURKEL Brands (CEO), The Miami Foundation (Board of Directors), OurKids (Board of Directors), Origen Global (Partner), Miami Ad School (Board of Directors/Instructor), MJD Universal (Art Director), Creative Directors (Art Director)

Lessons Learned

Learn from you disappointments: Turkel describes the day his first design firm opened as the saddest and loneliest day of his life. He had invested his time, energy, and money, but no one walked through the door. Instead of giving up in despair, however, Turkel realized he hadn’t given enough thought to the business aspects of a design firm – and decided to do something about it. He made phone calls, attended industry events, and started learning about “the business side of business.” Now, his creative business acumen is sought after by high profile clients.

In his 2013 TEDx talk, Turkel tells a story about doing a book signing alongside the design superstar of the moment. Walking into the event with his young daughter, he realized that every person in the lengthy line was waiting to sign the other author’s book. Instead of hanging his head, Turkel learned from this experience. Realizing that neither book had yet been released and that the interest was determined by reputation alone, he started to cultivate new ideas about branding.

Make it about them: Central to Turkel’s branding philosophy is that your brand must be “all about them,” “them” being the customer. A brand based on you own uniqueness will fall flat in a world where all products, thanks to technology, work reasonably well. A great product, Turkel says, is just cost of entry; if you don’t have a great product, you’re not in business at all. A great product is not enough. You have to offer, instead, something to the customer that makes them feel not just good about you, but about themselves. If you think about you, and how great you are, you’ll offer nothing to your customers. If you think about the customer, you’ll convince them that the product is something that will enhance their lives.


Inspiring Quotes

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

Albert Einstein

The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything.

Albert Einstein

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.

Vernon Law

To search for perfection is all very wellBut to look for Heaven is to live here in Hell

Sting

Tactics without strategy is the sound of failure.

Sun Tzu

Bruce Turkel's Quotes

Success requires a lot more than just an unwavering commitment to your craft. It calls for perseverance, marketing, attention to detail, and not just a little bit of luck.

Bruce Turkel

Fun comes with a healthy dose of discipline.

Bruce Turkel

Build a brand that doesn’t just make your clients feel good, but makes them feel good about themselves.

Bruce Turkel

Previous generations defined themselves by the wars they fought. We define ourselves by the things we bought.

Bruce Turkel

Make it all about them.

Bruce Turkel

Influential Books

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