Being responsive

Visit BloodLines Creative on whatever device you have and hopefully you'll enjoy the experience.

Visit BloodLines Creative on whatever device you have and hopefully you’ll enjoy the experience.

Yes, it took a while.

But BloodLinesCreative.com is finally a responsive website.

So whether you visit on an iPad, your phone, a tablet or on a mac or pc, the site now adapts to the confines of the device.

Yes, it should have been done some time ago. And yes, the site could use a refresh of new work that’s been done over the past year or so. That will come. In fact, the site still isn’t 100% fully functional – my broadcast reel still doesn’t play on mobile devices – but that should be addressed in the next week or so.

I have fallen victim to what so many other advertising and marketing communications companies deal with all the time – it’s tough to manage your own marketing when you’re busy helping with the needs of the clients you serve.

It’s been a busy start to the year. But in order to keep that momentum going, I need to ratchet up my own marketing efforts – and before I began that endeavor, I needed to get the website fully functional no matter how it was viewed.

So I guess I need to wait a few more days until we get the broadcast section remedied for mobile viewing.

In the meantime, feel free to visit the rest of the website – http://bloodlinescreative.com

I welcome any feedback!

BloodLines Creative provides advertising and marketing communications support to a variety of consumer, B2B, non-profit and government-related clients. No project is too big, no budget is too small. If you’re looking for big idea thinking, you’ve come to the right place.

 

Reliving moments from Blood On The Walls

Just a few of the more than 200 friends, family members and work associates who attended opening night festivities at Blood On The Walls at 1900 Park.

Just a few of the more than 200 friends, family members and work associates who attended opening night festivities at Blood On The Walls at 1900 Park.

Last November, I learned that I’d be having my first gallery showing in more than 21 years. It would take place at 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery and would feature at least 30 of my modern art and surrealist paintings, accompanied by the music of Tom Jr. and friends.

I was truly excited but March 3rd was a long time away back in early November. I began compiling a to-do list, starting with the overall invite. Initially, we were going to title the event “The Tom Blood Experience” – but since Tom was only playing for the opening night reception and because that title seemed a little self-serving to me, I opted instead for “Blood On The Walls”. It was simple. It was memorable. And it pretty much described what attendees would see – lots of paintings by Tom Blood, hanging on the walls.

The holidays came and went. I developed the invite and then began pushing it out, setting up a Facebook event page as well as personally inviting friends, family members and work associates both past and present. Tom Jr. began his portion of the event as well, working with several of his musician friends to plan the evening’s musical entertainment.

People began to RSVP, starting slow, but as of last week, the number eclipsed 200 and I was fairly confident, even with multiple no-shows, that we would have a great crowd on hand.

Tom and I made the painting selections, narrowing the number of choices down from more than 50 to what I thought might be a too many number of 40. It turned out to be just right. I created explanations for each of the paintings, trying to give viewers a glimpse into my thought process behind the painting and I’m glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed watching people read the captions, then look back up at the painting.

It’s kind of unnerving when you see so many people staring at art that you created. But that’s why art exists – to be viewed and enjoyed and interpreted. It was so refreshing to unleash some of these paintings, getting them out of my basement and into a gallery.

It felt like they belonged.

The show officially got underway at 6:30. By that time, we already had more than 20 people wandering around. I was raffling off several items from my http://tom-blood.pixels.com site and the jars quickly began to fill.

People kept pouring through the doors. Cousins. High-school and college buddies. People I’ve worked with through my many years in advertising. Fellow parishioners from St. Gerard-Majella. Tom drew his own crowd and it was such a cool mix of people.

Tom and his musician friends made some magical melodies.

Tom and his musician friends made some magical melodies.

I wanted to talk to everyone – which made my attention span almost gnat-like. Every time I’d be talking to someone, someone new would enter and tap me on the shoulder or give me a hug.

At one point, I stepped off to the side and just gazed at the crowd. Though it wasn’t wall-to-wall people, it was crowded everywhere you looked. The band was jamming and I smiled to myself, knowing that, like all things, the evening would come and it would go.

By the end of the evening, I had lost my voice. Already, I was looking back, wishing I would have made an appeal for people to toss in a few bucks for the great music that was played. I wish I could have personally thanked every single person who came, (though I certainly tried.) I wish I could do it all again and savor the joy and warmth and friendship and soak in all the many compliments I heard throughout the night.

But the Opening Night Reception of Blood On The Walls is now in the past.

And all I can do is press onward and keep painting to assure that the next event comes a little sooner than 21 years from now.

Thanks to all who made this special night one for the memory books.

I shall return.

To see some of Tom’s work, visit http://tom-blood.pixels.com – there, you can order prints or a wide variety of items featuring Tom’s artwork to turn ordinary items like iPhone cases or pillows or tote bags into conversation pieces.

2016 and beyond for BloodLines Creative and BloodLines Art

So on this last day of 2016, I take a few moments to look back on the year and try to project what lies ahead for 2017.

Business wise, it was a good year. Not a great year. But a good year. I worked with a variety of new clients, lost an established one and still maintain ties with a long-time relationship which is very rewarding.

Though not a paying ciient, the invite that I created for our SLUH 40th Year Reunion was great fun and so was the Reunion weekend.

Though not a paying ciient, the invite that I created for our SLUH 40th Year Reunion was great fun and so was the Reunion weekend.

I created a number of videos, helped re-vamp one client’s website and we’ll soon be launching a new branding effort for another one. I began blogging for one client, worked on some PPC ads and I’m in the midst of working on a new TV and radio campaign as well. (Sorry for not naming client names – I only do that when I have permission and for this particular piece, I’m not even bothering to ask.)

On the art side of things, I was happy with the progress I’ve made as a painter. I created 11 paintings in 2016 – I don’t exactly churn them out, but I do stay at it and I continue to try and improve my brushwork, executing a variety of ideas that come from all places but always seem to circle back to Magritte in one way or another.

This painting was probably my favorite one that I created in 2016. It will be one of more than 30 on display at a solo show coming up in March.

This painting was probably my favorite one that I created in 2016. It will be one of more than 30 on display at a solo show coming up in March.

I began to more actively market my art this year as well. I now have two websites devoted to my art: http://bloodlinesart.com and http://tom-blood.pixels.com

The first site looks nice but has basically been useless due to a lack of promotion on my part. The second site enables you to take your art and have it show up in the form of pillows, tote bags, iPhone covers, coffee mugs, greeting cards and a variety of ways to order prints. That site continues to draw about 25-50 visitors a day and I’m approaching more than 8000 views since I started it back in July. The sales effort though has been somewhat disappointing – I’ve made enough to pay for the site but that’s about it.

Nuts and Bolts - one of my 'stick' paintings looks really cool in the form of a pillow and I've sold a few of them in 2016.

Nuts and Bolts – one of my ‘stick’ paintings looks really cool in the form of a pillow and I’ve sold a few of them in 2016.

There are more than a million works of art on the website. So I’m not overly surprised that my work isn’t selling like gangbusters. I don’t do art for a living. I do it for fun. I do it because I can. And I will continue to try and get better with each painting.

Prospects for 2017 look solid for both BloodLines Creative and BloodLines Art. Currently, I have a number of projects already in the books, some that will be on-going thru the Spring. I’m hoping to have my website fully optimized by the end of January and then I’ll begin more aggressive new business pursuits.

I hope to ramp up my blogging efforts in 2017 and have them be more focused on advertising and art. I dropped off the blogosphere and I’ve lost a lot of regular readers. Hopefully, I can earn them back.

I’m going to be ramping up for my first solo art show since 1994 over the next two months. It’s going to be at 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery. It’s both an art gallery and a music venue which will be awesome as I’ll have more than 30 works on display throughout the month of March. Opening night is going to be on Friday, March 3 and feature the music of Tom Blood, Jr.

More on that will be coming.

1900 Park will be the site of my first solo art show since 1994. Opening night will be on Friday, March 3rd.

1900 Park will be the site of my first solo art show since 1994. Opening night will be on Friday, March 3rd.

I have learned in this business that you never know what’s around the corner. You do your best, try your hardest, be honest with the people you work with and have fun in the process and generally, good things will happen. I have been blessed to work with so many gifted individuals through the years. I continue to learn and explore new ways to market – but bottom line, whether you’re doing a website or online ads or developing a trade show booth, you still need big ideas to stand out, get noticed and acted upon.

I’ve still got a lot of those.

Happy New Year and I’ll see you on the other side of 2017.

 

All in a day’s work – augmented reality, vehicle signage and video script writing

I don’t often post about the work I’ve been doing for BloodLines Creative – which is probably bad for business. Yet I’ve been so busy doing things, including continuing to paint in the evening hours, that I just haven’t found the time – or the energy to tout some of the recent projects I’ve been involved in.

That’s okay because business continues to roll along – never at the volume that I would prefer which would be 40+ billable hours a week – but at the end of each workday, I often wonder where did the time go.

These past few weeks I’ve been working on a new business pitch and part of our proposal involved using augmented reality. In case you’re wondering, Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

In case you’d like to see it in action, here’s a little demo you can view – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaO5tXzj58U

I won’t go into the actual applications that we were proposing but suffice it to say, it has the potential to be pretty cool – if we actually get the business.

I’ve also been involved in creating new vehicle graphics for an electrical contractor we’ve been working with via The Epstein Group. Recently, we got the opportunity to see some of the new graphics put into place on a variety of vehicles in their fleet – vans, bucket trucks, pickups and even a trailer where we wrapped the entire vehicle in graphics.

What’s really exciting is this is part of a comprehensive re-branding effort that will include a new website, print and collateral materials along with new videos.

Speaking of new videos, I’ve written a number of them recently. One for a construction company, another for a new product launch along with a series of internal award videos recognizing the collective efforts of groups or individuals.

No, I’m not naming names or showing the work as some of the projects are confidential in nature or haven’t been approved for public release.

But the work has been both fun and rewarding. And I continue to learn new things and new tactics to utilize in the ever-changing world of advertising and marketing communications.

Regardless of the tactic, they still take smart, strategic thinking in order to stand out, get noticed and acted upon.

Big Ideas Start Here.

BloodLines Creative provides Big Idea Thinking to a wide variety of consumer, B2B and government-related and not-for-profit accounts. The work we do ranges from individual projects to full-scale advertising and marketing communications across all media. If you’re looking for something out-of-the-ordinary, then resist the ordinary. Give us a call at 314.973.9197 today.

Close Encounters of the Pokemon Kind

Pokemon Go gets people out and about - but only paying attention to their phone.

Pokemon Go gets people out and about – but only paying attention to their phone.

 

The workout facility where I usually get my calorie burns is closed for a few days this week. So I set out for a little 5-mile walk in nearby Des Peres Park, only to be engulfed by a multitude of Pokemon GO players trying to find whatever Pokemon character that had been geo-located into the park that day.

It was a very bizarre experience.

I’ve heard about the popularity of Pokemon GO but I never really experienced it before yesterday. I went to http://www.pokemongo.com to get a little overview and I watched the video on their home page. It’s actually a pretty cool idea – using the interactivity of your phone as a geo-tracking gaming device to find Pokemon characters not just in your area, but all over the world.

Magical.

The reality was a bit different.

As I tried to stroll through the park, there were literally hundreds of people – mostly teens in clusters of three or four walking all around, all staring at their phones as they moved about.

Upon arrival, I immediately knew that Pokemon GO had lured them to the park. It’s what you call a Poke Stop. That’s not a bad thing. But most of them had their heads down as they were walking. You had to avoid them – they were oblivious to your presence as they searched the park for Pokemon characters in their habitat.

I saw a few people on bikes, riding and looking at their phones at the same time – a certain recipe for disaster. I had to step out of their way as they went by. There were a few others on skateboards, heads down, searching their maps, looking for where they might be able to throw a Poke Ball and up their level.

It wasn’t all teens, either, who were transfixed by their phones. Lots of adults were in on the hunt as well. I saw a mom, pushing a stroller with two babies in it. Her concentration was entirely focused on the phone.

You can’t really complain about a game that gets you out and about, off of the couch and out of the house. It also gets you to explore and maybe go places you haven’t gone before.

It’s just when you have hundreds of people doing the exact same thing and their entire focus is the phone, it makes you wonder.

Mark Twain had a quote, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”

Put Pokemon GO in place of golf and that pretty much sums up my feelings.

How about you?

Snotes on the rise

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Snotes – not because nothing has been happening but rather, I’ve been too busy working on the account to have the time to blog about it.

Snotes stands for Secret Notes. It’s a form of anamorphic messaging that has been around since the days of da Vinci but thanks to a patented technology, allows a user to create a Snote by typing in their message on the Snotes generator that lives on snotes.com and in under a second, your message is magically created – able to be sent via email or posted on Facebook or texted to your friends.

This is an actual Snotes LoveKnots necklace featuring Chris' initials and mine intertwined together.

This is an actual Snotes LoveKnots necklace featuring Chris’ initials and mine, intertwined together.

The fun thing about Snotes is how many potential uses they have. One such use is shown in the necklace you see above. We call them Snotes LoveKnots and we’re just now beginning to take orders for them. What you see in the photo are four sets of initials – CMB, THB, CMB, THB that are intertwined together and put into a sterling silver necklace. It can also be done in gold and there are a variety of ways we’re working on to showcase the letters – raised, with colored backgrounds and with different borders.

A lot went into turning this concept into reality. We had to develop a way for the laser cutters to read the pattern that is created when four sets of letters are intertwined with each other. It took a lot of experimenting and a lot of back and forth but it’s finally been figured out and an initial batch of necklaces have been delivered to a number of people who are now getting asked, “That’s a cool looking necklace. What is it?”

It’s exciting for the wearers of the necklace to explain that it’s their initials and their husbands initials. Or maybe the initials of their grandkids.

Monogrammed jewelry is a big business in the U.S. – and this is a whole new way to do monogrammed jewelry.

We’re not just talking necklaces, either.

Snotes LoveKnots can go on bracelets, ear rings, key chains, belt buckles. And that’s just for starters.

Imagine a bride and groom using a Snotes LoveKnot on their wedding invitation. And then having it on the napkins, glasses and even the cake at the reception, followed up by Thank You cards and personalized gifts for the bridesmaids and groomsmen with their names and the date of the wedding.

If you’re interested in an even wider range of how Snotes might be used, visit http://snotes.com/licensing-opportunities/ and explore our three key categories: Business, Consumer Products and Education.

We are truly excited about the potential for Snotes. Teachers have discovered the fun of using them in the classroom for games and quizzes and are making plans on incorporating them into next year’s lesson plans.

Our website visitation has been exponentially growing.

In about three weeks, we’ll be attending the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. We have a very cool looking booth that will showcase our full range of Licensing Opportunities. We also have prearranged meetings with some major companies that have shown interest in partnering together that could potentially accelerate the growth of Snotes in ways that might be hard to fathom.

Snotes are on the rise. It’s going to be fun to see how this story continues to unfold.

 

 

Powerball dreams and reality – circa 2016

My soon-to-be winning Powerball ticket.

My soon-to-be winning Powerball ticket.

Back in November of 2012, I posted the following on my blog. The odds have changed. There are more numbers now – which is how it has grown to more than a billion. We live in magical times, don’t we – where you can get millions of Americans to drop $10, $20 some people even way more than that – for a roughly 1 in 292.2 million to one chance that you’ll end up with the winning ticket.

There are Powerball dreams and there is reality. It’s 2016. If you change the amount of the drawing, your odds of winning and the topics of the day to missed field goals, El Chapo and David Bowie leaving ground control then everything else is still fairly pertinent.

November 27, 2012 … With no hurricanes bearing down on the east coast and lacking any current national disasters or tragedies, the media has momentarily shifted its attention to Wednesday’s upcoming $425 million Powerball drawing. http://www.powerball.com/pb_home.asp

All across the country, reporters are heading out to remote gas stations and convenience stores and interviewing people who are now waiting in line to purchase their Powerball tickets. Fresh after Black Friday, they’re now ready to plunk down a few dollars to give them something to dream about, at least until they wake up Thursday morning and find out they didn’t win.

After all, you can’t win if you don’t play, right?

Of course, odds are extremely good that you won’t win even if you do play. The official odds say the chances of winning are 1 in 175,223,510. I read elsewhere that it’s actually closer to 1 in 195,200,000 when you factor in that there isn’t always a winner – but hey, what’s an extra 20 million or so really matter?

Americans don’t really care that Powerball is one of the worst investments on the planet. Some people play every week, others wait for the jackpot to go over $100 million before purchasing a ticket. And when the numbers reach above $200 million, the media comes out to feed the frenzy.

With all that in mind, I thought I’d do my part by passing on a little knowledge I gleamed in my 15 minutes worth of research. All of the following info comes from an article I read based off of Gail Howard’s Lotto Strategy Book, Lottery Master Guide. http://www.smartluck.com/lottery-master-guide.htm

So before you go out and purchase your lottery ticket, you may want to keep the following thoughts in mind.

First off, if you’re doing Quick Picks, you have just as good a chance at winning as you do if you’re picking your own numbers. So purchase away. If you’re going to make your own picks, here’s Gail’s advice.

Choosing all odd numbers or all even numbers rarely happens – only about 4% of the time. Your best mix is 3 odds and 2 evens or 2 odds and 3 evens and then toss in the PowerBall number to balance them out.

All high numbers or all low numbers are also rarely drawn – again, only about 4% of the time. So don’t do that.

Avoid betting five consecutive numbers – it’s never happened. Four consecutive numbers has only happened a handful of times since the drawing began. Even three consecutive numbers is a rarity.

Avoid betting one lotto group – like picking all numbers in the teens. Probably not gonna happen.

Avoid pattern betting – like forming a cross with your picks or picking the four corners and the middle – even if they do win, hundreds, perhaps thousands of clever individuals will have had the same thought.

Avoid number multiples – 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 – again, you won’t be the only one with this brilliant idea so you’ll be sharing the riches.

Avoid all same last digits – 7, 17, 27, 37, 47 – same reason as above.

Some people like to pick birthdays and that’s fine but don’t forget to toss in one or two numbers above 31 just to make sure you’re covered.

Gail has one other guiding rule that makes sense to me: That which is most possible happens MOST OFTEN. That which is least possible happens LEAST OFTEN.

With that in mind, here’s a list of Powerball numbers that have won the most since last January:

guide.htmhttp://www.powerball.com/powerball/pb_frequency.asp

If you’re going to buy tickets in a group, ask everyone if they feel lucky. If the individual says, “I never win anything,” ask him or her to get out of the group – those negative vibes will drag you all down.

With all that in mind, I’m going to take a 45-minute trip to the outskirts of St. Louis, find some hole-in-the wall liquor store and purchase my winning ticket based on my carefully chosen criteria for number selection.

On second thought, I never win anything so I’m automatically disqualified.

Good luck and if you win based on any of the above advice, please pass on some of your winnings to me and I’ll make sure Gail gets a cut, too!

And now, a few words about Snotes

Snotes? What in the world are Snotes?

Snotes stands for Secret Notes – they’re a way to send secret messages – via email, Social Media or you can print them off and either hand them or mail them to friends, family members, fellow co-workers or send anonymously to that special someone you’ve been admiring from afar.

For the past several months, I have been working with the Snotes team, helping to refine their website (snotes.com) and also helping to develop a wide range of licensing materials designed to help companies, game manufacturers, businesses and organizations see the potential power of Snotes to engage either customers or employees.

Much like a fortune cookie, once you know how to read a Snote, (http://snotes.com/how-do-i-read-a-snote/) almost any time you see one, you just have to know what they say.

Soon, we’re hoping that you begin to see more and more Snotes in a wide variety of applications.

Making and sending them is easy – you can do so from the Snotes generator, found on Snotes.com (just hit the Create and Share link at the top of the Snotes homepage).

Go ahead, try it out … I’ll wait …

If you really want to get into advanced Snotemaking, you can get a premium account for just $1.99. That’s like paying for a 16-ounce soda – and once you have the account, it’s yours to keep – and it will enable you to send all kinds of animations along with your Snote message, scramble your message via the Snotes Secret Decoder, make them more colorful and allow you to print them out in high res quality with vector files and do a wide range of other tricks to make the Snote deciphering process as hard as you want to make it.

That’s one aspect of Snotes. The other falls in the area of licensing – because you can put Snotes on almost anything – we find new uses for them almost every day.

We’re particularly excited about the possibilities for Snotes in a few key areas.

Jewelry is one of them. Imagine a special wedding anniversary gift – you take your initials and your significant other’s initials – you go to the jewelry manufacturer’s website, enter them into the Snotes Love Knots generator, choose your border, place your order and you have a very personalized gift that at first glance appears to be art – but in actuality, it’s two sets of initials, intertwined together. Cool looking, isn’t it? They’re not available yet – but we hope they will be soon.

Snotes Love Knots make for a very personalized piece of jewelry.

There are so many other potential licensing applications. We’re looking to align with a wedding supplier to help us create personalized wedding invitations featuring the initials of the bride and groom that can be carried through at the wedding, putting them on glasses, napkins, mementoes and personalized gifts for the bridal party or groomsmen. It’s just a matter of time.

Combining the bride and groom's initials into a Snote makes for a very classy wedding invite.

wedding4_napkin

We’d love to work with a company that could sell personalized placemats featuring the names of the family. Or find a manufacturer of coasters or perhaps a brewery that could put trivia questions related to beer to help move more product with time-based games or even use our Snotes app to play triva games on line – table against table or one bar versus another.

We’re ready to engage with companies who specialize in employee recognition and engagement programs, creating Snotes-related awards that would be conversation starters as well. Temporary tattoos? Educational games where either the answer or the question is contained in the Snote? I could go on and on about the many ways that Snotes can be used. If you’re interested in seeing more, visit http://snotes.com/licensing-opportunities/

There’s also a Snotes Quotes app and a Snotes app (both fun to use, both available for free via Itunes or on your android)

Visit Snotes.com – look around. Create and send a Snote or two and then let your imagination run wild as to whom you might send your secret message and what you might say.

The $1.99 cost to get the Premium feature is well worth it as it opens up so many more possibilities for your Snote-making.

Get creative.

Have fun.

Discover the world of Snotes. And imagine the possibilities.

P.S. – I’d love to know what you think – we’re just now beginning to push Snotes out so any and all feedback is welcome. If you’re interested in learning more about how your company could use the power of Snotes or have your own ideas for uses, just let me know!

Random thoughts from a soon to be 58-year-old man

My 58th birthday is now just hours away and as I get ever closer to that very strange number of 60, it’s got me thinking all kinds of weird thoughts.

How did I get this old, this fast?

I know, getting older is a gradual process. When you’re a kid, you wonder what it would be like to be a teenager, to be 20 and beyond that, you really have no clue. I have vague memories of wondering what I would be like when I was in my 50s. I still wonder what it’s going to be like when I’m in my 50s as they’re not done yet.

I wonder about the world and where it’s heading. Doomsday chronicles seem to populate my inbox with more frequency these days. The world is coming to an end. The U.S. is going to be hit by a terror attack unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. The grid is going to go dark. Chaos will reign. Become a survivalist, pack some water, batteries and lots of beef jerky and get ready for the worst.

Yikes.

Yet you’ve still got to keep on keeping on. The lead story on the local news tonight was about a cat that had been shot with an arrow and there was a frantic hunt to find the perpetrator. If that’s the lead story, somehow, the planet should be able to carry on. With or without the cat.

I wonder what I’ll be doing two years from now. Sometimes, I wonder what I’ll be doing two weeks from now. You can’t predict the future.

This is coming from a guy who has had two hip replacements, 64 stitches to his head to close up a wound from an errant golf ball, a broken nose from being an idiot behind home plate without wearing a catcher’s mask, a few broken wrists, a broken ankle, more stitches to my head when a neighbor’s buck teeth pierced my skull playing King of the Hill and numerous other close calls with death, danger and dismemberment.

I’m lucky to be alive.

I’m glad to be alive.

I’ve got a loving wife who puts up with my eccentricities and makes me a better person every single day that I’m with her and three great kids who are immensely talented and unique in their own respective ways. I love our extended family. I love our dog. I love Brian Piccolo – well, I’ve always loved that line at least.

We’ve been blessed with good health, good fortune and overall, lots and lots of good times.

My career is still a career. I’m still doing what I set out to do upon graduating from Mizzou – create advertising and marketing communications. I have a journalism degree with an emphasis in advertising and I have put those skills to good use for a lot of clients through the years though I sure wish I could get back to making TV commercials again. I always thought that was my best strength – print, radio, TV, outdoor, direct marketing – I loved to do TV. These days, TV spots seem to have been removed from the equation.

So I adjusted my skill sets. I’ve learned new skills. I realize that I have to be a lifelong student and that I need to learn something new every day.

I was thrilled when my first Vine video went live courtesy of Pickett Productions. Five months ago, I had never even heard of Vine.

Have you?

We live in an ever-changing, always evolving world. It seems to get crazier everyday. It seems people respect life less and less. I don’t long for the good old days. I don’t know when the good old days actually were.

To me, all the days that I’ve been around have been more than just good, they’ve been blessed.

When you get to be 58, you wonder how many more laps you’ve got around the calendar. You think back to the many things you’ve done in your life – some good, some bad.

And then you set your resolve to learn more. Do more. Give more.

There’s so much I haven’t done.

There’s so much I need to do.

Tomorrow’s another day.

Bring it on!

 

 

The Strength from Within of Ikigai

This is the second of at least four posts about the total teamwork that went into the launching of the new line of Ikigai professional photographer camera bags.

Developing theme lines for companies that can stand the test of time has always been one of my favorite parts of branding. Through the years, I have had the opportunity to help position companies or products with just a few select words. Though I can’t claim anything as resoundingly successful as “Just do it” or, “Good to the last drop”, I’m proud to have helped all sorts of companies position themselves or their products to their respective target audiences with lines that were memorable, focused and that ultimately, helped sell a lot of product or generated a lot of interest.

So I was thrilled to be given this opportunity when I became part of an international team that was helping launch a new line of professional photographer camera bags called Ikigai.

I had heard a lot about Ikigai from Jeff Pickett, president of St. Louis-based Pickett Productions, a graphics animation company. Jeff was going to be creating some new videos on Ikigai’s behalf and said he might need a little copywriting help. I was definitely interested but wanted to learn more.

At first, we  had a conference call with one of the founding members who filled us in about where they were with product development and told us a little about the Ikigai name. Ikigai is a Japanese concept that essentially means your reason for being – what wakes you up in the morning. It seemed like a cool name but I wasn’t quite getting the correlation between Ikigai and a line of camera bags.

So we asked to have a meeting where we could actually see the product. We met at Jeff’s office. Brian Schultz, owner of Brian Schultz Design also attended as Brian and his team had developed the logo and an initial themeline that they were moving forward with. Upon seeing one of the new backpack prototype models featuring a removable, configurable camera cell, I was intrigued.

It was kind of a bag within a bag. The camera cell fit snugly inside the backpack and it was inside the camera cell where precious items like cameras and lens packages would go. Since the interior of the camera cell featured removable velcro linings, you could adapt the insides to include other key gear like flashes, battery packs or miscellaneous essential items for any shoot away from the studio.

“Does the competition have anything like this?” I asked. No was the answer.

“Does the bag within a bag give an extra layer of protection for the cameras and gear?” I asked. Yes was the answer.

The backpacks were very cool looking. They were made of this honeycomb ripcord nylon material that is tough, weather-resistant and gives the bag a distinctive look. There were all sorts of other features and benefits to the bag as well – from ergonomic zippers to a detachable waist belt and tripod carrying system. But the unique selling point?

That was on the inside of the bag.

I took all of this info and put together an overall creative strategy document that we all mutually agreed upon.

Then I went to work, trying to create a theme line that played off of the Ikigai name but also dealt with the key selling feature as well.

I discarded the obvious and tossed out the obtuse. When I hit on three simple words, something clicked with me.

Strength from Within.

The whole concept behind Ikigai is that there’s a strength within all of us that is a unique guiding force. Check.

The unique selling point of the Ikigai line just so happens to be the removable, configurable camera cells that can be switched out from one backpack to another – though there is only one model on the market right now, more are on the way and the larger versions will all feature these camera cells that make packing for shoots easier, add an added layer of protection and you don’t have to lug the entire backpack around when you’re out on a shoot. That’s truly strength from within.

Finally, there’s the whole inner resolve that any photographer who’s committed to getting that awesome shot has to have – photographers need their own strength from within to endure harsh environments or put themselves in precarious positions or wait for just the right moment to come along to turn ordinary into extraordinary.

It was a trifecta – a theme line that worked for the product name, the product itself and the target audience.

The old theme line was retired, replaced by ‘Strength from Within’.

With that as our base, it was time to begin to build the brand messaging.

And we had just the team to do it.