3 Random Observations from Last Week.

Random Observation #1



There are most likely hundreds of UPS drivers nursing sore backs, thanks to Restoration Hardware and their heavily shrink-wrapped package of (9) catalogs–weighing in at a ghastly 12 pounds, per household. I am guessing that the Sears Wish Book of yesteryear was merely a postal David, compared to this direct-mail Goliath.




Random Observation #2

From a visual branding standpoint, Maryland’s State flag has reached the apex of the 50 candidates. The striking design has the application flexibility build into its soul.






Random Observation #3

As a newly minted member of the Dollar Shave Club–where each month (or 2) you receive an environmentally friendly package of razor blades–that drastically undercut the gigantically priced Gillettes and Schicks of the facial follicle world. As an add-on, I recently included a 3 oz. tube of Dr. Carver’s Shave Butter with my order. Great stuff! It has been over 50 years since my cheeks have felt so smooth.



According to the Homeland Security website, “You are allowed to bring one small bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces or less per container.” 



For some reason, while being scanned and probed at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (which proudly flies the Maryland State flag), my tube of Dr. Carver’s was confiscated by TSA authorities, who claimed that it was 6.0 ounces–or 2.6 ounces over the legal limit. I might have questioned decision but was anxious to catch my New England-bound flight and wasn’t up to spilling my guts regarding any other potential TSA over sites–that would eventually make their way to my permanent record

Simple mathematical error by the TSA official? 

Perhaps. 

However, I am thinking that Dollar Shave Club may be suffering the effects of a conspiracy orchestrated by shaving’s “Big 2”. I promise to keep you posted. –Doug.

In marketing your business, who are the usual suspects? Defining their ‘personas’ is an extremely valuable exercise.


Its ‘Back to the Basics’ for this Marketing Expert

There have been multiple times during my 30+ year career, when I have visualized the theme of ‘Evolve or Perish’–awakening me, in a cold and clammy sweat. I have watched the tired old dinosaurs wander to the edge of the cliff–either stumbling to their demise or just making one more intentional belly flop into the dismal abyss. 

There were those who shunned the computer. 

“It will never catch on!” 

“Hands over keyboards!” 

“Rubylith lives!”

Then there was this familiar cry:

“I will only design for PRINT!” –milli-seconds before their final smack down.

Others built spectacular portfolios–awaiting a visit from a drifter in need of a new logo, 2-pocket folder or ‘Slim-Jim’ cocktail party brochure.

Like a “Last Chance for Gas” service station on the edge of an expansive desert, the disheveled portfolio operator desperately awaits the disoriented driver with the faulty “Triple A, Trip Tik®”. 

Google maps? Never!

Time, my friend, gallops on. And the buggy whip has met the same demise as the facsimile machine.


I now stand squarely in front of the empty drawing board, to which I have returned–common sense thinking cap strapped on and activated.

Here is my starting point. For the next few hours, I am going to think about clients–past, present and future.

  • What characteristics made the great clients, so great?
  • What were the common attributes? Male or female? Position within the company? Republican or democrat? Green Day or Barry White?
  • Like a television detective (or perhaps, Dr. Frankenstein), I am beginning to piece together a snapshot of the prospect–most likely to buy my services.
  • I then will shift to some of the failures. What were the characteristics that may have contributed to the unfortunate crash?
  • Each list of characteristics begins to take shape into a ‘Persona’ and before long, if I close my eyes, I will be able to visualize each of my human being marketing targets. 

In a relatively short period of time, I have established my lineup of the usual suspects.

The next assignment?

Discover the ticklers that will draw their attention. –Doug.

Confessions of a Mobile App Speed-Dater: One Night Stands with Online Brands


As with many ADD-riddled entrepreneurs and perfectionists, I very often find myself “on to the next thing”. This drives my wife crazy–but after nearly 30 years of marriage and two teenage boys with similar wiring, she just shakes her head and take a deep breath.

As someone who is strapped to a “flickering screen” nearly 26 hours a day, I have developed (and overcome) several online addictions. 

  1. First it was font collecting. 
  2. This was followed by the harvesting of music.
    Do you remember the challenges of finding particular songs and albums in the pre-iTunes/Napster world? I spent years searching for, “The Best of Louie, Louie”–scouring every used record store.
  3. With the dawn of mobile devices, my latest obsession is online apps.

There are two categories of apps that offer the flickering metallic shine that quickly sucks me in.

  1. GAMES
  2. TO-DO LIST GENERATORS 

From a brand longevity standpoint, it is extremely interesting to watch new games emerge, ignite and then quickly burn out. Draw Something, Angry Birds, Words With Friends, Letterpress, Dots–I’ve been there and done that. 

Just today, I deleted Boom Beach in favor of its predecessor, Clash of Clans.


BTW:
In researching this post, I now see that there are tactics and strategy guides now available for this particular online attack app. Suddenly my infatuation has begun drifting with the thoughts of the next new thing. In games, I am looking for entertainment–not an advanced degree requirement!


I like To-Do Lists where you have little boxes that when selected, provide a nicely executed check mark and a pleasing sound. Todo, Any.DO, Wunderlist, and Clear have all appeared on my mobile device at one time or another. For the time being, the to-do list app of choice is Asana. Check back with me next week, my app stock rotates on a regular basis–one of the advantages to having limited space on my mobile devices.



What does this mean from a branding and marketing perspective? As in fishing, the more lines that you have in the water, the better your odds for a fresh fish dinner. There is a real challenge for app developers in creating brands that stand the test of time–or at least 3 months. With shelf-life that short, app love and marriage may require great time and effort. –Doug.

Expensive insoles? Hell no…

Expensive insoles? Hell no…

E-Mailed Invitations: Better Sidekick than Superhero.


A good friend called me the other day and asked if my wife and I were going to attend a fundraiser ‘gala’ for a local non-profit organization. I was on the board of this organization for a number of years and in addition to a substantial financial contribution, I also donated a great deal of time developing their brand identity and various marketing pieces.

My knee-jerk reaction to my friend’s question was fairly severe–in that I felt slighted, having never received an invitation. I know this because I have been granted a sensory gift. I can hear a mail truck from at least 4 miles away and ever since childhood, the shutting of the mailbox door causing me to spring into action! So, as the family’s snail-mail gatekeeper, I know for a fact that a gala invite had never touched down at the old homestead.

Feeling under-appreciated and disgruntled, I attempted to erase every mental fragment of this particular organization from my mind. But then…

It was brought to my attention that printed invitations had neither been printed or mailed. All correspondence had been done through e-mail! 

B-Z-Z-Z-Z!(ear-splitting wail of the marketing communications penalty buzzer)

Lets be completely serious. Despite being ultra-green and economical, the novelty of electronic messages evaporated several years ago.

My e-mail inbox has a leak so BIG, that six dozen, Hans Brinkers–would not be able to control the flow. 

As I constantly struggle to bring the inbox to ‘E’–even Gary Cooper would fall victim to the speed of my itchy trigger finger as it reaches for the ‘unsubscribe’ button. 


Click. Gone. Next!


In fact, I recently subscribed to a great new service, unroll.me, which bundles all of my non-personal e-mails into one bundle (my Daily Rollup), delivered once a day. 

The service also tracks e-mails that are not yet included in the digital package. For those, I have three choices:

  1. Ad to my Rollup.
  2. Keep in my Inbox.
  3. Unsubscribe.

I can now out-draw Mr. Cooper, with my left mouse hand–even while blind-folded.

Returning to the invitation, there is a very good chance that while trying this trick (opposite hand, vision-impaired), I accidentally unsubscribed from this list–never to be invited again.

So here is what I strongly recommend in terms of event invitations:

  1. Unless you are going to reach out personally to invitees–either eyeball to eyeball or by the telephone, a printed invitation is necessary.
  2. A post card is fine. Just be aware that post cards do tend to receive excessive punishment as they travel through the USPS meat grinder.
  3. In the case of the gala event (as described above), where tickets are a steep $75 each–a modest invitation mailed in an envelope meets the basic requirements of social grace. After all, you don’t expect me to show up in a sleeveless undershirt and cut-offs.
  4. From an inter-family communication standpoint–you can’t thumbtack an e-mail to the family bulletin board. E-mail and refrigerator doors refuse to socialize.

Unless your e-mail list is rock solid, an e-mailed invitation makes a much better sidekick than an invitation super hero. Because, if you are like me, my ‘UNSUBSCRIBE’ trigger finger–very seldom rests. – Doug.


E-Mailed Invitations: Better Sidekick than Superhero.


A good friend called me the other day and asked if my wife and I were going to attend a fundraiser ‘gala’ for a local non-profit organization. I was on the board of this organization for a number of years and in addition to a substantial financial contribution, I also donated a great deal of time developing their brand identity and various marketing pieces.

My knee-jerk reaction to my friend’s question was fairly severe–in that I felt slighted, having never received an invitation. I know this because I have been granted a sensory gift. I can hear a mail truck from at least 4 miles away and ever since childhood, the shutting of the mailbox door causing me to spring into action! So, as the family’s snail-mail gatekeeper, I know for a fact that a gala invite had never touched down at the old homestead.

Feeling under-appreciated and disgruntled, I attempted to erase every mental fragment of this particular organization from my mind. But then…

It was brought to my attention that printed invitations had neither been printed or mailed. All correspondence had been done through e-mail! 

B-Z-Z-Z-Z!(ear-splitting wail of the marketing communications penalty buzzer)

Lets be completely serious. Despite being ultra-green and economical, the novelty of electronic messages evaporated several years ago.

My e-mail inbox has a leak so BIG, that six dozen, Hans Brinkers–would not be able to control the flow. 

As I constantly struggle to bring the inbox to ‘E’–even Gary Cooper would fall victim to the speed of my itchy trigger finger as it reaches for the ‘unsubscribe’ button. 


Click. Gone. Next!


In fact, I recently subscribed to a great new service, unroll.me, which bundles all of my non-personal e-mails into one bundle (my Daily Rollup), delivered once a day. 

The service also tracks e-mails that are not yet included in the digital package. For those, I have three choices:

  1. Ad to my Rollup.
  2. Keep in my Inbox.
  3. Unsubscribe.

I can now out-draw Mr. Cooper, with my left mouse hand–even while blind-folded.

Returning to the invitation, there is a very good chance that while trying this trick (opposite hand, vision-impaired), I accidentally unsubscribed from this list–never to be invited again.

So here is what I strongly recommend in terms of event invitations:

  1. Unless you are going to reach out personally to invitees–either eyeball to eyeball or by the telephone, a printed invitation is necessary.
  2. A post card is fine. Just be aware that post cards do tend to receive excessive punishment as they travel through the USPS meat grinder.
  3. In the case of the gala event (as described above), where tickets are a steep $75 each–a modest invitation mailed in an envelope meets the basic requirements of social grace. After all, you don’t expect me to show up in a sleeveless undershirt and cut-offs.
  4. From an inter-family communication standpoint–you can’t thumbtack an e-mail to the family bulletin board. E-mail and refrigerator doors refuse to socialize.

Unless your e-mail list is rock solid, an e-mailed invitation makes a much better sidekick than an invitation super hero. Because, if you are like me, my ‘UNSUBSCRIBE’ trigger finger–very seldom rests. – Doug.


E-Mailed Invitations: Better Sidekick than Superhero.


A good friend called me the other day and asked if my wife and I were going to attend a fundraiser ‘gala’ for a local non-profit organization. I was on the board of this organization for a number of years and in addition to a substantial financial contribution, I also donated a great deal of time developing their brand identity and various marketing pieces.

My knee-jerk reaction to my friend’s question was fairly severe–in that I felt slighted, having never received an invitation. I know this because I have been granted a sensory gift. I can hear a mail truck from at least 4 miles away and ever since childhood, the shutting of the mailbox door causing me to spring into action! So, as the family’s snail-mail gatekeeper, I know for a fact that a gala invite had never touched down at the old homestead.

Feeling under-appreciated and disgruntled, I attempted to erase every mental fragment of this particular organization from my mind. But then…

It was brought to my attention that printed invitations had neither been printed or mailed. All correspondence had been done through e-mail! 

B-Z-Z-Z-Z!(ear-splitting wail of the marketing communications penalty buzzer)

Lets be completely serious. Despite being ultra-green and economical, the novelty of electronic messages evaporated several years ago.

My e-mail inbox has a leak so BIG, that six dozen, Hans Brinkers–would not be able to control the flow. 

As I constantly struggle to bring the inbox to ‘E’–even Gary Cooper would fall victim to the speed of my itchy trigger finger as it reaches for the ‘unsubscribe’ button. 


Click. Gone. Next!


In fact, I recently subscribed to a great new service, unroll.me, which bundles all of my non-personal e-mails into one bundle (my Daily Rollup), delivered once a day. 

The service also tracks e-mails that are not yet included in the digital package. For those, I have three choices:

  1. Ad to my Rollup.
  2. Keep in my Inbox.
  3. Unsubscribe.

I can now out-draw Mr. Cooper, with my left mouse hand–even while blind-folded.

Returning to the invitation, there is a very good chance that while trying this trick (opposite hand, vision-impaired), I accidentally unsubscribed from this list–never to be invited again.

So here is what I strongly recommend in terms of event invitations:

  1. Unless you are going to reach out personally to invitees–either eyeball to eyeball or by the telephone, a printed invitation is necessary.
  2. A post card is fine. Just be aware that post cards do tend to receive excessive punishment as they travel through the USPS meat grinder.
  3. In the case of the gala event (as described above), where tickets are a steep $75 each–a modest invitation mailed in an envelope meets the basic requirements of social grace. After all, you don’t expect me to show up in a sleeveless undershirt and cut-offs.
  4. From an inter-family communication standpoint–you can’t thumbtack an e-mail to the family bulletin board. E-mail and refrigerator doors refuse to socialize.

Unless your e-mail list is rock solid, an e-mailed invitation makes a much better sidekick than an invitation super hero. Because, if you are like me, my ‘UNSUBSCRIBE’ trigger finger–very seldom rests. – Doug.


Glad Farm: Book Cover Design

I recently completed the design of a book cover for friend/author, Catherine Marenghi. Catherine’s new book, “Glad Farm”, tells the story of her entrepreneurial parents and the Gladiola farm that they established in the late 1940s. 

You are currently viewing the original design concept directions, as well as the revised concepts, and finally, the finished front cover.

Inspiration for the front cover was partially provided by an antique seed catalog that Catherine discovered in a collection of farm paperwork. The photographs featured in the initial concepts were actually part of the family’s collection. 

For someone longing for spring flowers and the sun that comes with them, this was the perfect fun, creative, and fast moving project. Thank you Catherine. – Doug.

Recent Work: SmartStand™ Retail Display System



EYMER BRAND Laboratories + Think Tank, recently completed a strategic marketing and visual brand building project for in-store display solutions provider, Kokley.

In addition to a new corporate mark, EYMER, copywriter Jim Montgomery (Montgomery Communications) and Jeff Hoffman (Squash House Media)–teamed up to produce a product video for use at a recent retail industry trade show, where the SmartStand was introduced to some of the world’s leading retailers. 

Work is now underway on print collateral as well as online promotional campaigns. – Doug.

Kokley SmartStand Sales Video from doug eymer on Vimeo.

The Kokley SmartStand is an extremely flexible, visual and digital retail display system. This two-minute video, was recently used to introduce the product and the various flexible components, to a retail trade show event. The creative team, working under an extremely streamlined budget, produced the finished product within 3-4 weeks.