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What Works Studio

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We Are

What Works is an award-winning agency whose projects have resulted in billions of earned media impressions globally and over $100 Million in ROI for our clients.

This is What Works.

Since 2009, What Works has been creating brands, projects, and campaigns that have become culturally significant movements that capture the attention of the world.


Our work has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in measurable economic impact and ROI, billions of earned media impressions, viral social media events, and global brand recognition for clients seeking to create monumental change at scale.


We have won many awards, including Innovator of the Year and Creative Group of the Year, but our primary focus is on creating big wins for our clients and we have a strong track record of delivering transformational results with global reach.


We have found success across multiple industry sectors because we study and leverage the psychology of decision-making, community dynamics, and the emotional response of our audiences.


What Works is led by Brooke Hall Allen (Founder/CEO) and Justin Allen (COO). The What Works team includes project managers, account managers, digital marketing specialists, social media managers, content creators, problem-solvers, designers, developers, copy writers, and creative strategists who are uniquely talented at crafting narratives, identities, and movements that inspire people to action.


As a woman-owned small business, we’re certified by Maryland DOT as Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), and Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Baltimore City as Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), WBENC National as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE), and WBENC and SBA as Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB). Learn more about how we can help you achieve your minority participation goals.


We’re the creators of Light City, America’s first large-scale light and innovation festival that has generated over $111 Million in economic impact for Maryland. We developed Light City to position the region as a global hub of innovation, create economic opportunities for innovators, artists, and entrepreneurs, and shift the image of a city in the eyes of the world. In its first year, Light City welcomed more than 400,000 people over 7 nights, and added $33.8 Million to the local economy (a ROI of 956%). To date, Light City has had more than 2.9 Billion earned media impressions. See the full case study.


What Works created the viral internet celebrity, Mr. Trash Wheel, who has become an international icon for ocean conservancy. Mr. Trash Wheel achieved the number one spot on the front page of Reddit during a viral AMA appearance, was featured in National Geographic’s print edition, and was named Discovery Channel’s #1 Story of the Year. After being featured in hundreds of publications globally, Mr. Trash Wheel has become popular around the world. See the full case study.


Before that, we helped raise $5.9 million in a single day on #GivingTuesday for a technology client. The #BmoreGivesMore effort became the largest #GivingTuesday campaign at that time and won Baltimore the title of “Most Generous City in America.” Together with the client, we birthed a movement that was replicated in over 70 cities the following year. Our campaign was featured in dozens of national publications, mentioned in many more online outlets, and is now featured in a permanent exhibition in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. See the full case study.

Why We Do It.

We have a penchant for dreaming big, having massive impact, and empowering people to reach their highest potential. We created the Light City festival, which attracted over 400,000 people in its first year, Mr. Trash Wheel, who became a viral internet celebrity, and What Weekly Magazine, which brought together hundreds of contributors, published thousands of positive stories, and garnered awards and attention from international media. 

Rave Reviews.

"Don't know many other people who manifest dreams like you and Justin!"

Diana Gross, Director of Learning and Innovation, Johns Hopkins University

"Astonishing vision."

Mary Duston Lidinsky

"Allen and Hall deserve the Key to the City! Total heroes in Baltimore. Light City was a wonderful event with great potential for the future. Two artists brought more joy (and probably more money) into the city than the Grand Prix debacle that cost millions in upfront inve stment."

Charm City Momma, The Baltimore Sun

"Brooke led our team through the creative process, developed a beautiful logo that truly reflected our values, and delivered – on time and on budget – a beautiful website. To this day, new visitors to the site compliment her work on a regular basis."

Olga Maltseva, Warnock Foundation

"Brooke Hall Allen is not only an exemplary designer, businesswoman, and marketer, but a role model for social responsibility and community involvement in the business community."

Olga Maltseva, Warnock Foundation

"I stumbled upon your website accidentally, and thought, gee these guys are incredible. So all I wanted to say was, great work, incredible and inspiring!"

Jesse Rowe, Live.com

"Genius crew."

Heather Fields, GiveCorps

"I deeply appreciate and applaud the efforts of the Light City team to positively raise the profile of our city. I personally appreciate the profound commitment the two of you have made."

Jack Elsby

"Communications gurus!"

Doreen Bolger, Director, Baltimore Museum of Art

"Brilliant logo."

Christopher Regan, THA Advisory

"What Weekly is one of the great ideas to come out of Baltimore in the last few years."

Peter Davis

"Best party of the year!"

Aaron Henkin, Producer WYPR

"It’s impossible, until it’s not. I have never seen, anywhere, a transformation of vision into reality that was such a stretch. And so fast. You two did it! And perhaps never, has our town needed what you have made real, more."

Gary Vikan, Director, The Walters Art Museum

"Just wanted to send over a lot of love and encouragement. Light City's news shone all the way to London, here in my adopted city to make me smile, and say HOORAY, FINALLY some brilliant Baltimore sunshine."

Rick Armiger

"Baltimore will forever be changed because you had vision and dedication."

Mike Galiazzo, Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland

"Genius in concept and flawless in execution."

Elizabeth J. Himelfarb Hurwitz

"You and Justin gave an extraordinary gift to our city and I was just happy to be part of the moment in time."

Sarah Hemminger, Cofounder and CEO of Thread, Inc.

"You are amazing. I am so proud of what you and Justin have done and continue to do for our great City."

Jennifer Meyer, Vice President, Global Customer Operations at ZeroFOX

"You have done important and such inspiring work. Thank you for bringing Light City to fruition!"

Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood

"The website is amazing! You guys nailed it and I love, love, love it!"

S. Smith, G.B. Smith Photography

"Your work is amazing!"

Amy Webb, Author and Founder of Future Today Institute

"Thank you for being the genesis of Light City. This event will change Baltimore forever."

Kimberly Warren and John Cammack

"We are really impressed with how organized you are. I've worked with 4-5 social media content strategy firms, and What Works trumps them all in terms of process and organization."

Ben Smith, Homewood Interiors

“The enthusiasm of Brooke Hall, founder of Light City, is infectious."

Charu Suri, Travel Pulse

“If you are from Baltimore, this next paragraph can only be about Brooke Hall and Justin Allen, founders of Light City Baltimore. What a debt we owe these two. We should parade them through town and give them the keys to this city, for they are just two regular people who have reminded us that in Baltimore this is what two people can do. This is citizenship at its finest. Two people believed in an idea that could better their city. They badgered everyone they could to make it happen. They are Baltimore’s best.”

Jen Ronald, The Baltimore Sun

"Light City U’s Creative Innovation Conference [which was developed, programmed and hosted by Brooke Hall and Justin Allen was] one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended (and I’ve attended a LOT of conferences).”

M. Kendall Ludwig

"I appreciated their vision, their passion, and the overall concept of bringing the community together.”

Calvin G. Butler Jr., CEO of BGE

"You’re talking about two people who had an idea before its time."

John Cammack, Managing Partner of Cammack Associates LLC

"They have their fingers on the pulse of all things hot and creative in Charm City.”

The Guardian

"Your work was one of the reasons we were acquired and joined a national network of industry leaders. Our capacity to do phenomenal work has increased exponentially."

BJ Sing, CEO of EventEQ

"A rare combination of strategic thinker and creative executor… all of this has worked to shorten our sales cycle, which of course has led to better sales. I highly recommend What Works Studio."

Derek Gordon, Yield Software

"This new logo is fantastic! There was clearly both brilliance and God-driven inspiration behind it."

John Frisch, CEO, Miles and Stockbridge & Chairman, Well for the Journey

"Brooke is awesome, often called 'my secret weapon.'"

Mike Mann Founder of Phone.com

"I am starting to cry it looks so good."

David Eisele, CEO at Davelle Clothiers

"Brooke has boundless creative energy. She works tirelessly for clients, leveraging her deep media relationships, truly fine writing skills and strategic, big picture thinking to generate great results."

Steve Surdez

“Hall and Allen can never be accused of thinking small... They traffic in big ideas."

Baltimore Magazine

"So impressed with What Works Studio."

Amy Webb, Author and Founder of Future Today Institute

"What Works Studio is great example of how a business can be not only profitable but impactful."

Olga Brillman, Executive Director, Warnock Foundation

"Both Mr. Trash Wheel and Light City are two of the greatest stories to come out of Baltimore in recent years and neither would have been possible without What Works."

Adam Lindquist, Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore

"What Works Studio leverages the passion for community that is so prolific in Baltimore City, demonstrating that extraordinary change and growth often start with the dedication of just a few committed individuals."

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Former Mayor of Baltimore City

"No one knows or leverages 21st Century new media better."

Peter Davis


Innovator of the Year

The Daily Record


Creative Group of the Year

Baltimore Innovation Week


25 Women to Watch

The Baltimore Sun


Top 40 Under 40

Baltimore Business Journal


Downtown Baltimore Award

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore


Baltimore Transformer Award

Strong City Baltimore


Silo Breaker Award



Mayor’s Certificate of Recognition

City of Baltimore


Best of Baltimore: Light City

Baltimore Magazine


Best of Baltimore: What Weekly

Baltimore Magazine


Brava Top Female CEO

Smart CEO Magazine


Social Innovation Award

Baltimore Social Innovation Journal

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What Works partners with leading organizations, institutions, businesses, and destinations.

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