Trajectory Brand Consultants

Based in Toronto, Canada, Trajectory is the brand development partner of choice for regions, communities, tourism, economic development, major events and destinations across North America. From Washington, DC to Vancouver Island, we enable places to articulate compelling answers to the fundamental question – Why choose here? – for residents, visitors, talent and investors. Our tools: meaningful stakeholder engagement; brand strategies and messaging to fuel growth; identity and design systems that scale from hyper-local to global; and implementation tools that equip your teams for success.

Trajectory logo

Service Portfolio

  • From stakeholder engagement to strategy, design and implementation - Trajectory’s suite of tools and expertise covers every phase of developing sustainable place brand development:


Design, Creative


  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Qualitative & qualitative research

  • Identity design systems
  • Brand guidelines
  • Logo animation, audio signatures

  • Brand training


Naming, Voice


  • Brand strategy, positioning, promise, values
  • Brand architecture
  • Messaging
  • Brand management tools

  • Naming, nomenclature, brand voice
  • Writing for brand communications

  • Brand launch, activation planning
  • Communications & marketing implementation planning
  • Publications, reports, newsletters,
  • Branded content for print & digital marketing
  • Video, interactive maps and storytelling, mixed reality (AR, VR)
  • Exhibition design, displays
  • Environmental graphics
  • Pop-up experiences
  • Podcasts

Client Profile

  • From neighborhoods to towns and cities, as well as regions and states, Trajectory Brand Consultants have gained a wealth of experience working with different organizations and different location sizes. For example:




  • Butler County, OH
  • Bowie, MD
  • Washington DC
  • – Destination DC
  • – Downtown DC BID
  • – Capital Riverfront BID
  • – Capitol Hill BID
  • – Congress Heights
  • – Dupont Circle BID
  • Crystal City/National Landing BID, VA
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Reimagining Detroit (Kresge Foundation)

  • Campbell River, BC
  • Hastings County, ON
  • National Capital Commission, Canada
  • Niagara Benchlands / Lincoln, ON
  • City of Mississauga, ON
  • Economic Development Regina, SK
  • City of Sault Ste. Marie, ON
  • Stouffville, ON
  • Waterloo Region, ON (East side lands)
  • World Heritage in Canada (Parks Canada)
  • CN Tower, Toronto

  • Bermuda Cultural Map
  • Bermuda Performing Arts Project

Who is leading Trajectory?

Jeannette Hanna, Chief Strategist

A co-founder of Trajectory, Jeannette has been leading the development of brand strategies, naming and communications for over four decades. Jeannette co-wrote the only in-depth analysis of Canada’s brands, Ikonica, A Field Guide to Canada’s Brandscape with Alan Middleton. Her client roster reflects Jeannette’s range – from billion-dollar private enterprises to forward-looking public institutions, not-for-profits, and places – across a broad spectrum of sectors including education, hospitality, healthcare, green industries, culture, tourism, economic development and international events.

Select major place brand projects include: Destination DC; Downtown DC BID; Capitol Hill Neighborhood; National Cherry Blossom Festival; Raleigh, NC; Bowie, MD; Hastings County, ON; City of Mississauga; City of Sault Ste Marie; National Capital Commission; CN Tower

A self-described “systems geek,” her journalism training fuels Jeannette’s obsession with the stories of organizations and places. Raised in New York City, Jeannette is a graduate of Rutgers University. A regular contributor to The Place Brand Observer and a member of its expert panel, she regularly lectures at business schools and conferences on emerging trends in branding. She is a contributing author to several books including Rediscovering the Wealth of Places and Measuring Marketing Communications Effectiveness in an Everchanging World – the Role of the MarCom Dashboard. Jeannette is currently an advisor to the peer-to-peer software start-up, OpenCola. She has served on the Canadian Marketing Association’s Brand Council, as well as on the Boards of the Design Management Institute (Boston), and the cancer support not-for-profit, Wellspring. Her brand-focused podcast, Ikonicast, launched in 2015.

Jeannette Hanna, Chief Strategist at Trajectory

Stephen Weir, VP of Brand Development

Trained as a brand strategist, Stephen weaves strategic insight and brand thinking into his project management for organizations and places. Since joining Trajectory in 2011, Stephen has been involved in strategy development, naming and acted as the account lead on the majority of clients, coordinating all aspects of research, engagement, strategy, design, and implementation.

Select major place brand projects include: Bowie, MD; Hastings County, ON; City of Mississauga; City of Sault Ste Marie; National Capital Commission; Regina Economic Development; Niagara Benchlands; World Heritage in Canada/Parks Canada; CN Tower

Before joining Trajectory, Stephen worked with some of Canada’s most respected brands through complex brand challenges and opportunities, including Scotiabank International, BlackBerry, Shoppers Drug Mart, and many more. Before shifting to the agency side, Stephen worked in Brand Management with Corby Distilleries, managing a portfolio of Australian and New Zealand wines.

Stephen holds a Masters in Business Administration, Strategic Marketing, from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, as well as a certificate in complex negotiations and mediation from the University of Windsor.

Stephen Weir, VP of Brand Development

Paul Hodgson, Creative Director

One of Trajectory’s co-founders, Paul is a masterful storyteller with visuals and text. During his years as creative lead at Spencer Francey Peters (SFP), his design imprint has shaped the image of global brands as diverse as Four Seasons Hotels, Butterfield Bank and the international NGO, Right To Play.

As Trajectory’s Creative Director, Paul’s range of projects spans cultural icons such as CBC / Radio Canada and the Scotiabank Giller Prize to not-for-profits including Futurpreneur and United for Literacy. He’s also a passionate book designer with over 100 major publications in his portfolio.

Paul has been a long-time member of the Art Director's Club of Toronto and has served on its Executive Board. Trained at Lancaster and Hornsey College of Art in England, Paul completed his education at the OCAD University where he taught for many years.

Paul has been the creative lead for almost the entirety of Trajectory’s work. Select major place brand and communications projects include: Destination DC; Downtown DC BID; Capitol Hill Neighborhood, DC; Raleigh, NC; Hastings County, ON, Regina Economic Development; Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.

Paul Hodgson, Creative Director

Blair Francey, M.A. Senior Designer

Blair joined the Trajectory team in 2017 after a decade of successfully running his own business, BFdesign. His impressive breadth of experience spans identity systems, digital and web applications, publications, marketing programs, interactive presentations and environmental applications for our not-for-profits, arts & culture, education and places-based clients.

Select major place brand and communication projects include: Niagara Benchlands (Lincoln, ON); CN Tower; World Heritage in Canada (Parks Canada)

After graduating from the playwriting program at the National Theatre School of Canada, Blair turned his powerful storytelling skills to design. In 2012, he graduated with Distinction from Goldsmiths, University of London with a Masters of Arts (Design: Critical Practice). The program allowed him to explore his love of civic engagement and city-building. The experience led him to co-found Department of Imaginary Affairs, a not-for-profit focused on civic engagement programs for youth and newcomers.

Blair is also a Part-time Professor at George Brown College’s School of Design teaching in both the Brand and Graphic Design programs. In his spare time he spends his time volunteering on the Board of Directors of the not-for-profit St. George’s Society Toronto.

Blair Francey, M.A. Senior Designer

Lily Chau, Designer

Lily joined Trajectory after graduating from OCAD University with a Bachelor of Design in 2018 with a passion for typography, identity and branding as well as great skills in digital design. Since then, Lily has channeled those passions into high-profile identity programs, publications, campaigns, and robust design systems for Trajectory clients including: Dupont Circle, DC; Stouffville, ON; Campbell River, BC; Hastings County, ON

Before joining Trajectory, Lily created web and mobile prototypes, crafting assets and experiences through usability-testing, aligning design with data-driven content and strategic insights. She also created brand marks and developed social media content for online communities and startups.

Plus a great team of project management and regular partners in research, media and more.

Lily Chau, Designer

Which topics are you most passionate about at Trajectory?

  • Place brand authenticity and community engagement
  • Sustainability and resilience
  • Co-creation and empowerment
  • Design systems incorporating audio
  • Animation
  • Mixed reality
  • Local stories and storytellers


Ikonicast Episode 1: Reimagining DC: Soul of the City - This episode explores DC’s trajectory, from bankruptcy to today. Rich Bradley & Monica Ray talk about place branding, local empowerment & the spicy politics of mumbo sauce. Listen to the episode here (or on Spotify).

Ikonicast Episode 2: Beyond OK: Places and Ambitions - Hear Charles Landry, the UK-based pioneer of creative city building, on how psychology and the collective mindset of a community affects its come-back trajectory. Landry’s insights are more relevant than ever for the post-COVID era. Listen to the episode on Spotify.

Ikonicast podcast

A few bits of advice on successful place branding:

Destination brands must be authentic. Authentic means: done in an original way; based on facts; being emotionally appropriate, significant, purposeful and responsible. All those apply. The challenge is to create a process for capturing a broad range of inputs and then bring them together in a meaningful synthesis.

Because cultural customs, stories and values are so integral to the way of life in any place, it’s often hard for locals to see how their environment is distinct.

The job of place branding is to help surface those one-of-a-kind qualities. That’s where the “genius loci” emerges.

The biggest mistake places make is to create some live/work/play pastiche and then try to get the populace to “buy-in.” That’s deadly.

See also the TPBO interview with Jeannette Hanna.

Connect with Trajectory Brand Consultants:

More about Trajectory’s work and services on its LinkedIn or Instagram. You'd like a personal introduction to Jeannette and the team? Please contact us here.

Trajectory is part of the TPBO network of partner consultancies.