Editor’s note: Glenn LaFollette is a finalist for 2018 Content Marketer of the Year. We’ll share insights from CMY finalists in the blog before the winner is announced at Content Marketing World this September.

“Nobody just buys the art … They want the stories behind the art.”

This callout from the second issue of JLL’s Ambitions magazine comes from an interview with Alex Voss, who the magazine calls “the Anthony Bourdain of brand storytelling.” The quote comes as Alex describes his award-winning online documentary series 12 for 12.

Swap the word “art” for “commercial real estate services,” and you get a good summation of the philosophy underpinning the content marketing efforts at JLL.

Glenn LaFollette leads the team bringing these stories to life at JLL. His work creating a magazine and multimedia website to share these stories earned the former sportswriter and newspaper editor a Content Marketer of the Year nomination.

And his team’s drive to look beyond data about buildings to find the human stories happening within them holds some key lessons for content marketers.


Content is never just content

Glenn started at the global commercial real estate services and investment management giant as a public relations manager, then took over regional social media strategy. Today, he’s the senior manager of brand strategy.

That means his and his team’s work gets viewed not just as content marketing or communications work happening separately from the rest of the business but as a strategic player in the whole brand.

In February 2017, JLL shared a new brand position and look that reflected what the company thought it had always strived toward for its clients – helping them achieve their ambitions. The “Achieve Ambitions” message came from the company’s belief that every accomplishment begins with a unique ambition.

The new branding was intended to reinforce the personal touch JLL values for its clients, setting a tone and visual approach much more human than what the company had done. JLL CEO Christian Ulbrich thought this tone reflected the collaborative, curious, and confident nature of the company.

JLL’s Americas team had considered the idea of a magazine before the rebrand. During a global team meeting (which brings together representatives from the Americas, EMEA, and APAC marketing teams) in 2016, JLL Americas CMO Jill Kouri saw work that a team in India had created. The project took a digital platform and turned it into a physical magazine. While the potential was exciting, the team decided to wait for the right opportunity to launch a brand content hub. The company rebrand offered that opportunity.

Ambitions Magazine and the Ambitions website launched in October 2017 and became a unified source for the company’s story.


JLL’s content model traditionally revolved around email campaigns, research, and public relations. Beginning in 2017, the team began focusing on developing content to generate true demand rather than fulfilling requests from sales representatives…