Troy Benson, founder of QuallsBenson, is joining Streetsense. Read on to get to know Troy and the story of QuallsBenson.
Q: Tell us QuallsBenson’s (QB) origin story. How did this agency come to be?
A: QB came to be as a mixture of me wanting to be a creative and wanting to be entrepreneurial. I started the business in photography and video production. That lasted about five minutes until I had too many opinions. We got our big break with a real estate client, which is why we shifted our focus to real estate. Though I am always careful to preface that by saying I’ve always been interested in real estate, but I was much more interested in why real estate was so behind.
I definitely started the agency much more on the data and media side, because that’s where there was on concentration at the time. Fourteen years ago, no one was doing paid search or competitive social media, and they were overlooking technology.
While we are known for our creative, we got our foot in the door being great statisticians and data people.
Q: And how does New York City contribute to the identity of QB?
A: New York is where we were born and where we’ve been bred. I would say that New York is one of the most unique markets in the world—in terms of its concentration, speed, and willingness to be brave. It’s become more real to me, especially looking outside of New York, how special and strange and unique and odd the city is.
Fundamentally, we’re New Yorkers. We move at a New York pace. You have to be innovative and pushy to be ahead of the pack. It’s been crazy to me, over the years, to launch so many projects that I recognize walking around the city. Putting history into a skyline means something. At least it means something to me.
Q: What challenges has QB solved for its premier clients? What were the impacts on their businesses?
A: Essex Crossing I think is our most dynamic project in terms of what they allowed us to participate in. We were responsible for doing the branding for the entire project, as well as many brand components for the subproducts, social media extensions, and some really big campaigns.
Soup to nuts, we launched that brand ethos and the extensions of the premises. And we did win a lot of awards for our creative, but ultimately we leased up buildings quicker than their expectations. The project became a destination. People know it. And the client appreciates the results.
Industry City—they constantly tell us that we were the best thing they ever hired. We run all of their marketing and data operations. We’ve built a really amazing team with the client there, and have been able to innovate.
While we were given freedom for our team with Essex Crossing, this is a good example of QB working with a client team. There’s data innovation on both teams and we still work with them today. Because we drove great leasing results.
Q: From your vantage point, why did it make sense for QB to join Streetsense?
A: QB is very small. I’ve always told my team we’re small but big. Our projects are complex and different, but our engagements are long. I grew this business on my own over the years.
During COVID and the Great Resignation—there was always a great ambition to level up on projects before—I realized we were on the best projects in the world and we were still the same size.
It felt like a great inflection to build upon our expertise while also developing out, not necessarily just up. Now, together, we can again focus on the best projects and being growth-oriented.
Q: What key offerings can QB bring to strengthen Streetsense?
A: Visual media and advertising. Streetsense does these things, but QB can add to this by showing our model where we tie advertising, data, and media expertise all back to brand. We’ve always believed in photography and video being a humongous part of the journey.
There’s also a media component, specifically as it ties to real estate.
I think New York as well, is a huge access point for Streetsense. Streetsense has a presence in New York, but by adding a completely New York-focused agency, that brings an approach to work and the complexity of the New York market, which if we apply across the board, can make us better anywhere.
We have also worked on really important luxury brands within the real estate market with high-end residential and high-end office projects, among others. We look forward to communicating that Streetsense and QB understand luxury.
Q: Which of Streetsense’s offerings are you most excited to utilize in combination with QB’s?
A: First off, as a whole we will have such an increased level of expertise in real estate. Streetsense is a collective of unmatched brains in this industry. Being able to tap people on the shoulder that understand different parts of projects puts extensions into our work that make our ambition reignited.
The Interior Architecture team, I am looking forward to creating integrations between our work and theirs. I am excited by having a much deeper resource bank in marketing.
It’s really exciting to be around such a collective of great people, who know a lot about real estate.
Q: With these combined talents, how is Streetsense poised to help clients navigate the current real estate landscape?
A: We’re poised to create the best agency-model to deliver in place. The most renowned advertising agencies don’t really do real estate, despite it being one of the most important factors in the economy. We’re poised to bring innovative thinking to these real estate brands.
Q: You’re a photographer. Tell us how the lens of a photographer impacts your role as QB’s leader.
A: I have a strong passion for photographic art and video. It’s what I call my paint brush. There are so many things in the visual art space that we can bring into our work. Photographic art is the thing that creates depth and character for brand—especially on web. It extends what is possible in everyday work.
Q: What is something about you we wouldn’t find in a professional bio?
A: During COVID, I moved to the burbs. I’ve gotten into landscaping, and I built a concrete staircase! It was my way to get out of my own head.
Oh! I am an obsessive drone flier. I have five drones, for different purposes; I bring them all over the world, and fly them everywhere—whether I have permission or not—and get amazing content.
So yeah, I’ll say the staircase and the drone.