If you're like most business owners, you probably suspect that you're wasting half of your marketing budget... you probably just don't know which half. I help business owners play smarter by helping them leverage the marketing and business planning tools that big brands have been us\ing for years. To do this I help brands tune into their fundamental je ne sai quoi and communicate it in impactful ways. Sometimes you need an outsider to come in and add some perspective so you can see yourself in a new light... I'm that guy.
I help brands learn to use the tools that I picked up from working in agencies, and large corporations. I use interviews, brand frameworks, and (very often) photography to paint a portriat of businesses so they can see themselves more clearly. When they do, they are more capaable and empowered to move forward with purpose and clear intention.
In general, I guide businesses to:
DEFINE their values
ALIGN their assets
Working together we will identify your goals and hone your focus so you can do more and say less.
I've worked with brands and businesses of all sizes to help them activate and actualize. I'm fortunate to have served a wide variety of clients over the course of my career including Nike, Amazon, Intel, PALMS Casino, and several others. I love working with small brands with big hearts who are ready to take their business to the next level.
I've added some of my favorite highlights here to give you a better sense of my capacity and range. I love helping brands grow and embrace their truest selves.
I look forward to helping you see your magic✨
HANDS-ON SHOE DESIGN
Working directly with Senior NIKE Brand Managers, I helped to develop an in-store, retail experience to bring the famed NIKEiD brand to life so that participants could design their own custom shoes in a physical, hands-on experience. Before working with my agency (SET Creative), NIKEiD had previously only existed as an online experience.
My goal with this prject was to enable every customer to feel like a designer. To do this, I unpacked the blocks that prohibited people from feeling creative and explored opportunities that could motivate even reluctant, would-be designers. As a final output we created an empowering design experience with tactile access to custom swatches, an immersive retail environment, one-on-one design mentorship, professional design tools, one-of-a-kind packaging, concierge-level delivery experiences, AND in-store celebrity artist residencies. This project succesfully celebrated the individuality of the consumer and their passion for the NIKE brand.
Retail Design Experience, 2015
Brand Strategist, SET Creative
HOW TO LAUNCH A NIGHTCLUB IN VEGAS
PALMS Casino in Las Vegas
How do you launch the largest nightclub the US has ever seen and ensure that it will stand out in the most competitive nightclub landscape in the world? Cutting through the noise in any category requires a strong point of differentiation and a willingness to take a bold stance. Being the new kid on the block has its advantages, but what about when you’re dealing with a massive rebrand AND the most competitive and dazzling market in the US?
PALMS Casino underwent a large rebrand in 2018. They decided to align with a new generation of consumers through a daring and sophisticated proposition - to embody the intersection of art and culture.
Later heralded as the “best modern exhibit on the west coast”, PALMS was able to curate cultural artifacts from the likes of Damien Hirst, Basquiat, Olivia Steel, and Warhol just to name a few.
Working with international design agency AKQA, I conducted local and global competitive audits, conducted interviews, and added my own real-world experience to develop a perspective, narrative, and brand strategy that positioned PALMS’ Nightclub (already previously named KAOS) as the premiere destination for Millennial Culture Savants to lose themselves and be bathed and reborn in the experience of the West Coast's top MusicalArtists and DJ’s including Marshmello, Cardi B, Travis Scott, Skrillex, and more.
Brand Positioning Framework + Competitive Analysis, 2019
Freelance Brand Strategist, AKQA
REBIRTHING A BRAND FOR A NEW MILLENIUM
Oakley originally engaged me to help them redesign their retail brand experience. When the marketing director and I started digging into the brand messaging platform we realized Oakley was experiencing some brand schizophrenia. One half of the company thought of themselves exclusively as a sports brand with deep roots in counter culture and the other half saw themselves as “mad scientists” tinkering at the edge of innovation. But they both wanted to be a lifestyle brand. One side thought the other was nerdy. The other side thought the other was holding onto glory days. After a few discovery calls, the marketing manager and I decided it would be best if we first set out to find some alignment within the brand if our attempts to design a smart retail strategy were going to bear any fruit.
Through the process of conducting company interviews and sorting through Oakley’s brand archives and artifacts, I was able to reconcile the differences between these two halves and evolve their brand playbook to reflect the attitudes and values of Oakley’s culture of innovation rooted in sport. Together with some very talented designers, my agency reflected Oakley’s heritage back to them while highlighting their future in a way that would make Daniel Ashram proud. We unpacked Oakley’s history for them and connected to emerging Millennial trends via colors, textures, messaging, and programming.
Our agency went on to design flagship “innovation” stores for Milan, Disney Springs, and NYC that boasted High-Tech retail experiments, modular shelving that transformed into fitness studios, and a 'light and easy' “boutique” retail experience.
Global Brand Positioning + Retail Strategy, 2015
Brand Experience Strategist, SET Design
CATCHING LIGHTING IN A BOTTLE
This sustainable shoe brand was exploding, but the company was having a hard time talking about themselves. It was almost as though they had such a rich story that they almost didn’t know where to start. The company was dedicated to redesigning materials in a way that worked with nature and embraced biomimicry as practice. Allbirds shoes were especially easy to spot in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Their casual, low-profile look, sustainability credibility, and nearly invisible logo was a relaxed and refreshing alternative to the otherwise boisterous show market. The owner, a former professional footballer, had had it with the constant endorsement and logos.
The brand knew they were hot and wanted to bottle some of that lighting to take into other markets but they were unsure of how to say it all in a clear way.. The company engaged with a small but mighty agency in Portland, OR called Opinionated and they hired me to help make sense of the story architecture and help create a framework of brand foundations that the client and agency could work from for future advertising campaigns. Shortly thereafter they took on an even greater fame when Leonardo DiCaprio decided to invest in them, noting their future forward materials as a potential means to solve some of the world's biggest problems. Soooo…. mission accomplished?
Brand Positioning, 2017
Freelance Brand Strategist, Opinionated
NIKE GOES TO CHINA
There were NIKE stores all over the world…. except China. NIKE engaged my agency to help them create a retail experience that would inspire the imagination of a new market and cement NIKE as a leader in the growing Chinese basketball segment. For the first time ever, NIKE was preparing to mix the Jordan, Basketball, and NIKE Sports Wear brands into one cohesive epicenter, but how?
The credo at NIKE Retail Design at the time was “create an experience that people will pay for and then give it away for free”. To do this well, we knew it was important to get into the hearts and minds of the Chinese consumer and explore their motivations for interacting with NIKE. Our end product was an elite concierge-style customization experience that celebrated the consumers unique taste and style to set them apart from the crowd.
Brand Experience Design + Consumer Insight Strategy
Brand Experience Strategist, SET Creative
CORE VALUES BUILD COMMUNITY
Running a small business is a big job. When you’re a surfboard shaper, a retail manager, social media manager, the brand manager, and everyone’s best friend - it can be hard to keep a clear calendar and attack all your goals. In this case, Cubicle Surf had found their niche in Bend, Oregon as a premiere river wave surf company, but they didn’t want to lose their street cred as a true surf brand. Working directly with the owner operator, we established a working brand framework to articulate fundamental brand truths to make the brand easier to speak about and easier to design for. Along the way we overhauled and redesigned the online and in-store retail experience and created boundaries between the retail and shaping sections of the shop. In addition we created a service plan, and grew the social media footprint and had some fun in the process.
Brand Positioning, Retail Design, Business Coaching, Photography, 2020
Brand Coach, ISYM
ORGANIC GROWTH WITH ZERO WASTE
When you own a business, your brand is an extension of you. In a way, everyone you do business with walks away with a small piece of you. How we invite them in is everything and knowing what you’re offering is almost as important as knowing why you’re doing it in the first place. This is the hearth of aligned, inspired action.
I got to work with Sustainable Rituals, an eco-home goods and plant store in McMinnville, Oregon to help them identify their brand values, marketing mix, and retail strategy to create real value for their customers and grow their bottom line, beating year-end sales goals by nearly 20%. We worked to optimize business fundamentals, streamline and optimize in-store retail, and created short and long-term brand growth strategies that will not only serve the environment but the hearts of people by inviting them to slow down and make better choices from their wallets all the way down to their thoughts.
Brand Positioning, Business Planning, and Photography, 2021
Brand Coach, ISYM
IGNITING A CULTURE OF INNOVATION
Once known as internet pioneers, Cisco Systems had grown so large and so diverse that they needed to reconnect with their roots in innovation. The tech giant had come to a point where the behemoth was acquiring more startup technology than it was creating from within. And so they set out to fan the flames of innovation by focusing their resources on creating a culture of innovation that pulled from its 60k employees spread all across the globe.
Working directly with senior managers and various departments around the organization, I outlined a year-long strategy of cultural moments of engagement initiatives designed to galvanize and invigorate employees to take up the torch of innovation culminating in a company-wide democratic ‘shark tank’ style innovation contest.
Along the way, I helped design communications and content that sought to reframe the way we look at and relate to the innovation process. We set out to equip everyone in the agency to better understand the start-up world, best practices, and paths to develop Minimum Viable Products to prove their concepts. Our work culminated in an internal social media site where ALL employees were encouraged to post their ideas no matter how small and were voted up by colleagues based on the perceived merit and utility. Upvotes were then given resources to further develop their ideas and form teams of ideal fits to expedite their creation.
Marketing Campaign Strategy, Content Writing, 2017
Sr. Brand Strategist, Manifesto Agency