What sort of education or training did you seek out to further evolve your skills as a Strategist? Did this schooling fully prepare you for working as a Strategist?
I learned on the job essentially, working along some of the great minds in strategy. My background in research was super helpful in identifying insights that lead to differentiating brand opportunities.
How many years of experience do you have? With that many years of experience in the industry, what words of wisdom would you like to give to young Creatives?
Lots. More than 20. My advice is soak it up, treat every project and really, every interaction as a learning experience.
Did you always know your creative calling? How did you find your way toward it?
No. During college, I studies politics and government. I honestly though I'd be working for NATO or the EEC. But they really weren't that interested in a 21 year-old fresh out of school. Finding my way to strategy and insights was really an accident. A happy accident.
I’d love to hear more about your experience! Can you tell me about a project you found particularly challenging, and how you managed to overcome any obstacles?
I'll tell you about a recent one that I just completed for a brand that offers adiabatic cooling technologies to large buildings and construction projects. It's pretty technical and I'm no specialist in anything HVAC related. But through some very interesting conversations with engineers, R&D staff and sales people, I helped the brand realize its potential and created a brand strategy that's unique to them, distinct from the much larger and much more established competition and gives them plenty of runway to grow and evolve.
What was the first project you worked on professionally, and how did you land it?
Probably not my first project, but one that I recall fondly from my earlier years was the rebranding of Old Spice (if your old enough you can probably hum the jingle) as it evolved from your dad or grandfather's cologne to a much more contemporary relevant men's brand.
What was it like to work with McDonald's?
Interesting. challenging, and fun. McDonald's is a great global brand with so many different components to it. I'm proudest of launching All Day Breakfast and still bitter that it ended during Covid.
What does your creative process look like?
Influenced by lots of things -- culture, consumers, category and competitive options and of course, the equities (and liabilities) of the brand. I'm pretty curious, scrappy and collaborative.
How do you walk the line between being unique, giving a good user experience, and having a commercial appeal?
I think they are very related -- a good experience generally translates to commercial appeal.
How did you get interested in creating? What were your early influences?
I've always loved the power of a great idea.
What’s your experience been like working with such varied brands?
A lot of the general principles of brand strategy are consistent between brands and categories. I love working on a variety of different brands and across categories. I think it makes me think better.