Your brand is your expression of your heart and soul


A friend told me the following after we rebranded the Greek America Foundation… “The organization always had a great heart and soul. Now, we can see it better.”

Another post-Gabby Awards blog post. This time, about the team behind the look and feel of event, also known as “the brand.” As I mentioned in an earlier post, in order to truly share the “whole” Gabby Awards experience, I will need several weeks to really explain to my readers what actually transpired that weekend in Hollywood during that epic weekend and what went into it all.

You can have the greatest brand or product in the world, but if it doesn’t look good, nobody will ever learn about it.

This is something I always knew, given my background in marketing and public relations, but never really experienced it first hand until I met Manos Sifakis and was introduced to his company, customedialabs.

Manos was a reluctant winner of Greek America’s Forty Under 40 in 2010. He wasn’t quick to respond to our “congratulations” email and invitation to Chicago for the awards ceremony and was a bit skeptical of the “Greek American experience.”

As a Greek-born immigrant to America, his experience of Greek Americans was equivalent to culture shock and he basically stayed away from the community.

He eventually decided to attend the awards in Chicago in 2010. After meeting so many fellow Greeks, he immediately was welcomed into the “community” of supporters and friends from throughout the United States, Canada and the world and immediately immersed himself and his company into the Greek America Foundation fold.

Manos was the first person to tell me that the Greek America Foundation look and feel (i.e. our brand) was shit. This was Manos… no sugarcoating, no fluff. He says things how they are.

He and his team then embarked on a complete rebranding of the organization and brought us into the 21st century– not just how it looked and how it projected itself to our audience and beyond, but how we felt about it, how we treated the “brand identity” and how we, the volunteers, staff, members and supporters treated it.

What followed was thousands of man (and woman) hours– pro bono man hours of work by the amazing team in Philadelphia and Greece to make the Greek America Foundation’s digital identity look cohesive and powerful.

The rest, as they say, is history and today– in addition to visual identity of the Gabby Awards (which was described by some as the Greek Oscars), the Greek America Foundation has the absolute best and strongest digital presence in all of the Greek American community and beyond.

Thanks to Manos and his most capable team, including his amazing creative team led by John Magas, we’ve gone from looking like an insignificant and insular ethnic group to an important part of mainstream America. Thanks to this team– the 2013 Gabby Awards in Hollywood were compared with the big award shows– the Golden Globes, the Emmys and yes– the Oscars!


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