T H E   B R O A D   S T R O K E S

 

How I Got To Memphis

 

In Aaron Sorkin's vastly underrated television show The Newsroom, "That's How I Got to Memphis" is a favorite song of a lead character's grandson who explains, "Memphis is just a stand in for wherever you happen to be at the time". The lyrics go, "If you love somebody enough, you'll follow wherever they go. That's how I got to Memphis." What originally seems to be a song about a road trip turns out in fact to be a love story. 

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about geography, the passage of time and the question of how I got to where I am today. The answer it turns out is also a love story. A love of art and design. A love of problem-solving. And a love of being able to share those passions with others. 

I've been lucky to have forged a career out of "making things look better" for many years - the direct result of working with some very talented people. From directors of corporate marketing departments, to NYC ad men, art and design teachers, entrepreneurs, fine artists, and graphic designers from every manner of industry and region, everything I know about marketing, brand and design is due to their collective talent, wisdom and knowledge. I would follow each and every one of them to Memphis.

 

 

An almost twenty-year old tech company was in need of a brand refresh

 

Symplicity began as a one student start-up operating out of a college dorm room, and grew into a leader of the higher education tech marketplace. The focus had been on creating web-based products that helped colleges connect recruiters to their graduating classes. I was hired to put an integrated brand strategy in place. I created a new look and feel based in documentary style photography and clean, modern lines which could easily be adapted across all marketing channels: responsive emails, brochures, social media, events, print collateral and websites. In August of 2016, Symplicity was acquired by investment giant HIG Capital.

 

Helping to tell the story

 

When I joined the team at Edens, their Union Market property in DC was planning its first pop-up (Thread), their Mosaic District in Fairfax was preparing for phase 2 of its retail development, and their Shops at Stonefield property in Charlottesville was having a major growth spurt. It was a very busy time. I created an integrated marketing campaign for print, email, and broadcast that saluted the retailers at Mosaic who had been singled out as the best in their class by local and national magazines. I also helped bring a more editorial look and feel to marketing materials for their properties in Charlottesville, Manassas, Princeton and Alexandria. I presided over the creation of the brand and marketing for the highly successful Palette, Stonefield's (and Charlottesville's) first pop-up shop. I also managed the in-house design team, the internal print shop, and a schedule filled with daily deadlines and challenges. During my time at Eden's, their President was asked to speak at the Conscious Capitalism Summit, and Blackstone Group LP invested $718 million in the firm which was a somewhat remarkable moment for the company and the real estate industry as a whole. 

 

A brand facelift helps a mid-level library software company rise to the top

 

Polaris had developed a first-class suite of public library software solutions but their marketing didn't match that same level of quality or professionalism. I came onboard to give their brochureware and websites a more modern look, and to integrate that identity across all their communication channels including emails, event booths, and a total redesign of their extranet. Understanding the value and quality of their product, in 2013, Polaris was bought by Innovative Solutions, the leading software company in the industry.

 

 

Making an intimidating insurance services firm in NYC more approachable

 

I managed the brand and visual identity for Marsh during a nine-year period which included two mergers, a reorganization, the first major national advertising campaign, and two rebrands. I was responsible for upgrading the look and feel of all marketing materials and internal communications, I oversaw the identity for all Marsh offices worldwide, and I served as a design consultant for parent company, Marsh & McLennan Companies.