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Alona Elkayam
Follow me @Brandinista

Alona is an integrated brand builder and designer, branding/ trend commentator, writer, and speaker. She is the Managing Creative Director of Marriott International–storytelling across platforms for their 18 brands of hotels that include Renaissance, JW Marriott, and Ritz Carlton.

Her design and brand awards include a Webby, Clio and an Emmy Nomination and her work has been on shown at the Museum of Modern Art.

As a brand/design/culture thought leader she writes a weekly brand column in The Huffington Post called Best/Worst Brands of the Week, talks about branding on Fox's Strategy Room and around the country at venues like General Assembly and SXSW. She has been featured in Crain's, The Wall Street Journal, ID Magazine, and MediaPost.

In 2002, Alona Fromberg-Elkayam founded 321 Takeoff, a NYC-based digital brand agency that creates integrated brand strategies leveraging digital and social platforms for some of the recognized brands of the decade. Her core competency is crafting an authentic story for brands people, places, and things and executing those stories across multiple platforms from online experiences (web, tablets, smartphones) to corporate identity. She has rebranded malnutrition for Doctors Without Borders, launched New York’s first gay resort, THE OUT, and created global brands for companies like Reed Elsevier and HotJobsYahoo.

Prior to going out on her own, she held creative positions at SBIRazorfish, Saatchi and Saatchi, Ogilvy, Grey Interactive, and Grey Healthcare Group. Alona was a devoted student of kung fu, an ING NYC Marathon finisher, and an accomplished painter. She received her BA from American University and continued her education at School of Visual Arts and at NYU. She is also fluent in Hebrew and French.

Oh, and she is a small forward so you might find her in a good game of pickup when the polar vortex ends.

Entries by Alona Elkayam

These Boots Are Made For Gawkin'

(0) Comments | Posted October 18, 2014 | 6:19 PM

Boots are so badass. They really are. Boots are powerful. Like mustaches. I like the whole boot ritual. Opening the box, sliding those babies on my feet (which I wish were a tad smaller). I test drive every possible bottom- first the mini, then the skinny. Then, I look in...

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Refuge in America

(2) Comments | Posted July 5, 2014 | 8:20 AM

I remember his brown leather woven shoes -- throwbacks from the '40s -- that he wore in the summer. They made an airy, swooshy sound with every 200-pound six-foot stride. His pant hem always landed perfectly atop his shoes. He collected watches, timepieces, stamps, and rare coins. He renovated Packards....

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Celebrity Food of the Year and a Super Bowl Recipe

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 5:25 PM

With televised awards show for America's many obsessions like music, television, and film, I thought I'd create a glitzy awards show for the other thing we love to obsess about: FOOD. This years honor goes to the Brussels Sprout. I think Sarah Jessica Parker would agree with my choice...

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D.C.: Definitely Cool

(3) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 7:21 AM

I fled to New York after I graduated from The American University in the mid '90s because I was an artist and a designer with a plan to have a life's work. There was nothing except politics and polite culture happening in D.C.

But now. Wow. The D.C. that...

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8 Days of Thanksgivvukah in Picture Quotes: Day #4

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2013 | 7:14 AM

This is Day 4 in my 8 Days of Thankgivvukah -- what I am grateful and ungrateful for in picture quotes.

Day 4: The French Manicure


Amidst the "in" or "out" fashion debate amongst fashion editors everywhere about the...

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8 Days of Thanksgivvukah in Picture Quotes: Day #3

(0) Comments | Posted November 30, 2013 | 10:44 AM

I am on Day 3 of my 8 days of Thanksgivvukah in picture quote format where I post one thing I am grateful or ungrateful for.

Day 3: Ungrateful for Hashtag Crimes


Friends don't let friends commit hashtag crimes. Hashtagging is...

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8 Days of Thanksgivvukah in Picture Quotes: Day #2

(0) Comments | Posted November 29, 2013 | 9:53 AM

Day 2 of posting one thing I am grateful or ungrateful for during the 8 days of Thanksgivvukah-in picture quote format.

Day #2 Trendabl: Grateful

Hailed as the Instagram for fashion, Trendabl lets you buy Thanksgivvukah presents from multiple fashion retailers...

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8 Days of Thanksgivvukah in Picture Quotes

(0) Comments | Posted November 28, 2013 | 4:50 PM

For the next eight days I will post one thing I am grateful or ungrateful for on each day in honor of Thanksgivvukah. I let my big hair down and compiled this list in picture quote format. Let me know what you think.

#1 Hesta Prynn's Thanksgivvukah Playlist

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"LogoGate": The Identical Logo Fiasco

(0) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 12:28 PM

Two companies in industries that overlap, Mutual Mobile and SquareSpace, have identical logos. This is worse than Emma Stone's 2012 Oscar dress that Nicole Kidman wore five years earlier. The SquareSpace/Mutual Mobile "LogoGate" would be less soul-crushing to a designer like me if they were in industries that...

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Work Trends: Go On A Workation + Watch Your Business Explode

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 5:17 PM

Drinking Pernod with locals, rolling in lavender fields getting whorls stuck in my hair, and lazy vineyard-hopping afternoons were just some of the activities I did not partake on a recent trip to France. I went to the Marseille-Provence region for 14 days and sort of locked myself in a...

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Ten Ways to Find Your Digital Voice

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 11:37 AM

digital image

Let's see:
My closest girlfriend called me in the hospital after her epidural.
My super gets excited when I have something in my apartment that needs fixing.
I don't have any impending lawsuits.
Family reunions revolve around me and...

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Internet Week's AppNation: Top 5 Criteria Agencies Use to Select SDK's

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 12:24 PM

With SDK's (Software Development Kits) we don't have to build client apps from scratch. This makes it affordable for my Fortune 500 and smaller clients to take the maiden voyage in the world of app development.

I was honored to be a on a panel this week for Internet Weeks...

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Icon of The Day: Saul Bass

(0) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 12:21 PM

It was the late '90s. I had a design degree, fire in my belly, and it was my time to revolutionize design and do as Saul Bass and Milton Glaser had done. I wanted to be like them, think like them, and reflect our time the...

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Best/Worst Brands: Breaking Good, Afros and Crowdfunding

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 7:04 PM

Whenever I see a really big afro in bustling NYC, I get the feeling it's winking at me, saying, "Remember me? Bowm, chicka, bowm bowm." When an afro sighting is followed up by a throwback cigarette or e-cigarette advertisement on a bus shelter I don't smile, I disassociate for a...

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Best/Worst Brands: 'Fashion Week, Come One Come All?' Maybe Next Year.

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2013 | 12:51 PM

Want to see the best in interior design? Go to ICFF in New York. Go ahead, buy a ticket online with little risk and head down to the Javitz Center. How about art? One click and you are going to Basel. Life is so much better in Miami, truly. Music/Film/Interactive?...

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Catherine Malandrino: A Woman of Our Time

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2013 | 6:21 PM

Those moments when clothes can succinctly reveal your soul to the world can be so powerful.

In 2003, I bought a pair of Catherine Malandrino black pants ruched below the knee with built-in boot covers from her NY Canyon collection at Century 21. I felt like a badass. A real...

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Best/Worst Moments of Hurricane Sandy

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2012 | 6:11 PM

Lights. No lights. Shower. No shower. Hot food. No hot food. Uptown. Downtown.

On Monday night Sandy struck downtown Manhattan leaving us without light, water, or access to  Duane Reade. It was that inner Girl Scout experience I have been longing for.

Sandy was really here for me when at...

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Best/Worst Brands: Greek Yogurt, Swarovski Pedicures, Parting of the Red Sea

(2) Comments | Posted September 5, 2012 | 7:36 PM

We, like Gwyneth and Jay-Z, could have gone to the Dalmatian Coast for vacation, but decided on Greece to contribute to their calamitous economy and engage in what I like to call humanitourism. We should be less self-indulgent when we can, I thought, except for the occasional...

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Best Worst Brands of the Week: View Master, Spiro Graph, Nasty Gal, The History of Nearly Everything

(0) Comments | Posted August 14, 2012 | 10:37 AM

Over the years I had come to notice a distinct sign indicating I was in times of extreme happiness -- fluorescent colors in flashing Spiro graphic formations would appear whenever I closed my eyes either before bed or when I’d rest my eyes from my computer for a...

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Best/Worst Brands of the Week: Micro-Shorts, Cool Science, Blendr, Dream-Making

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2012 | 1:38 PM

Escorted by a group of seemingly MI6 trained nuns, Dr. George Lombardi flew to Calcutta to save a Nobel Laureate’s life. In the auditorium at Cooper Union, eyes as far as I could see filled instantly like teeny ice cube trays when he said it was...

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