What Works Studio is an award-winning creative agency whose projects have resulted in billions of impressions globally and over $100 Million in economic impact locally.
What Works Studio.
We’re the award-winning agency that created the Light City festival, What Weekly Magazine, the famous Mr. Trash Wheel and other projects that have had a significant economic and cultural impact. We are problem-solvers who craft creative solutions that produce ROI, create meaningful interactions, and become a part of the social fabric. What Works Studio has a track record of successfully transforming brands, driving revenue, and launching large-scale initiatives that gain international attention.
Brooke Hall Allen is the founder and CEO of What Works Studio where she leads campaigns and projects for clients such as the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Kaiser Permanente, Saft America, and others. Brooke dreams up and spearheads other high-impact creative endeavors. She is the co-founder of Light City, America’s first large-scale light festival (which has already added $111 Million to the Maryland economy) and the co-founder of What Weekly, a hyper-local online magazine focused on events, art, and culture (touted by The Guardian as having its “fingers on the pulse of all things hot and creative”). She’s been named “Innovator of the Year,” “25 Women to Watch,” “Top Female CEO,” and “40 Under 40.” Brooke’s work has been covered in The Guardian, CNN, Huffington Post, New York Magazine, and New York Times.
Justin Allen is CMO/Creative Strategist at What Works Studio. He is the co-founder of Light City and What Weekly Magazine. His work has been featured in National Geographic, Discovery Channel, The Guardian, CNN, and New York Magazine. Select awards include “Innovator of the Year” by The Daily Record and “40 Under 40” by the Baltimore Business Journal. His foray into marketing and design began in the entertainment industry where he produced and promoted music and events for over a decade. He has experience developing medical devices for which he holds multiple patents and has been featured in the Journal of Medical Physics. Prior to that, he was an electrical engineer contracted to organizations including NASA, NSA, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force.
Why We Do It.
We have a penchant for dreaming big and empowering people to reach their highest potential. We created the Light City festival, which drew 525,000 people in its first year, Mr. Trash Wheel, who became a beloved internet celebrity and global icon for ocean conservancy, and What Weekly Magazine, which brought together hundreds of contributors and featured thousands of inspiring stories.
"Don't know many other people who manifest dreams like you and Justin!"
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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!"
"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."
"What Weekly is one of the great ideas to come out of Baltimore in the last few years."
"Best party of the year!"
"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."
"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."
"Baltimore will forever be changed because you had vision and dedication."
"Genius in concept and flawless in execution."
"You and Justin gave an extraordinary gift to our city and I was just happy to be part of the moment in time."
"You are amazing. I am so proud of what you and Justin have done and continue to do for our great City."
"You have done important and such inspiring work. Thank you for bringing Light City to fruition!"
"The website is amazing! You guys nailed it and I love, love, love it!"
"Your work is amazing!"
"Thank you for being the genesis of Light City. This event will change Baltimore forever."
"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."
“The enthusiasm of Brooke Hall, founder of Light City, is infectious."
“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.”
"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).”
"I appreciated their vision, their passion, and the overall concept of bringing the community together.”
"You’re talking about two people who had an idea before its time."
"They have their fingers on the pulse of all things hot and creative in Charm City.”
"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."
"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."
"This new logo is fantastic! There was clearly both brilliance and God-driven inspiration behind it."
"Brooke is awesome, often called 'my secret weapon.'"
"I am starting to cry it looks so good."
"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."
“Hall and Allen can never be accused of thinking small... They traffic in big ideas."
"So impressed with What Works Studio."
"What Works Studio is great example of how a business can be not only profitable but impactful."
"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."
"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."
"No one knows or leverages 21st Century new media better."
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
Best of Baltimore: Light City
Best of Baltimore: What Weekly
Brava Top Female CEO
Smart CEO Magazine