Creative Direction

Know Your Customer

Sometimes your customer is a business, the B2B advertising space. Decisions about buying airplanes, selecting between commercial kitchen equipment brands and choosing the vendor for your employees' health insurance options are still made by people. But that decision is seldom made by one person. Those larger "buys" are made by leaders in a company, often a panel of people. You have to build a strong case and speak to their collective needs.

B2C is the more common but far less standard world of advertising. Your target customer might be a working mother of two who is choosing dinner options to feed her family. Your customer might be a teenager picking out potato chips, a burrito or gum. To create successful, result-producing advertising you must convince or provoke the customers into action. The better your information about what the customers want, or will want once you've amazed them with an unexpected delight, the better your chances of winning the sale.

My Creative Direction

I've always been considered a creative guy. My mind constantly flits here and there, matching up good metaphors and referencing unexpected connections. I realized that as my knowledge of business grew, my ideas became more valuable. My percentage of ideas that made it through client approval to become final advertising, has been increasing. It is satisfying to hear that your work has won awards. It is far more rewarding to hear that your work increased conversion! Leading creative teams is also not only aligning one interesting metaphor, it is an iterative process of generating many solid solutions and then testing them, first internally and then out in the market. Some will fail, others will bear fruit.

When you combine the experience of over a decade working on marketing and advertising teams in several companies and working in different disciplines, your ideas start to get more valuable. The beginning of value is the creation of a the big idea that effectively strikes at the pain points of the customer. But ideas are only the beginning of real value, left alone they remain nearly worthless. The real value is built by the ability execute. To make the thing and ship!

Creative Direction Case Studies

Leadership Development Program


I was one of a small team charged with the development of a program for coaching the one hundred highest ranking leaders in the company. Because this audience was predictably going to be difficult to shift from their current behavior, we chose to begin our work in area of the most self-evident primal truths. We did research and brainstorming in the area of Joseph Campbell's The Hero's Journey. To transform to a higher level of one's self, they have to depart or die from their old ways. That message is common through out the stories, religions and themes of human experience. The image above shows one of the first round of graphic/concepts for our Elements of Leadership.

Then we had to pull back on the designs to make the effort's style more palatable to a corporate audience. These eight elements were divided into the core central elements and the slightly outside of core second tier. Descriptions were written and vetted with the top executive leaders.

As we approached the launch of the program, we collectively decided that the concept would work better alongside other internal efforts if we re-branded it under one of our other working titles generated in our brainstorming session. So I quickly reapplied the designs to fit a new style generated in an internal design challenge. The final collateral was created using our new title of LeadForward.

Inspired by my readings of Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, we built a LeadForward self-evaluation card. This sturdy laminated card was handed to the audience with a small grease pencil. As Benjamin Franklin modeled, these leaders were encouraged to grade their performance and share their results in weekly accountability meetings with their partner.

Let's Get 8 - Corporate Efficiency Campaign

2014 - 2015

Patterns of behavior in the workplace cause an enormous waste of productive time. We created a campaign designed to shift the behavior. This is a series of posters that were designed in the style of Some E-Cards that mocked the behaviors of poorly run meetings, abuse of email and improper use of PowerPoint decks.

CES 2015 LulzBot Mini Competition

December 2014

This isn't a tale of my work in traditional advertising. It is a great example of how I like to work a problem and create a solution that pleases the audience and gets results.

>> Click to read the story of my thinking and process which helped me with this contest.


Your Body the Machine

September 2012

This sample above is the main illustration for a pitch for an attraction at EPCOT Center. To read the summary of this great example of my creative direction, please visit this link: Your body the machine.

More examples available upon request.