Why We Break Up With Brands

Working with Retail and CPG clients on Customer Experience projects, it can be easy to lose one's perspective.   Brands are under intense pressure to build loyalty and enhance mobile apps.  But as consumers, we have limited time, money, attention and phone memory!  

I summarized some of my thoughts with colored pencils and marker.  It's an unusual prop to use in place of a Power Point presentation.  But it'll be fun way to get the point across at my next meeting.

Why Loyalty App Got Deleted

Cashing in My Chips... for creative writing


I'm bold when I'm painting on canvas, less so when I'm painting my walls.   As a result,  I've hoarded paint chips over the years, along with all the quirky color names. In the hope of creating a cool collage, I cut a bunch of them up with deckle-edged scissors.  The collage was a bust.  But the remaining names looked interesting.  so I put them in a little box on my desk -- for "Paint Chip Poetry".

If I'm stuck on a writing project (creative writing, business writing, correspondence -- it really doesn't matter).  I pull out a few chips at random and rearrange them to make a silly story , e.g. The sailor with a Grey Beard and a voice like Cracked Slate secretly collecting Water Irises as a hobby. Not even close to poetry, but a great way to get my mind un-blocked so I can move to the next task. 

Whatever it takes to keep the thoughts flowing....

Starting New Projects by Thinking Like an Artist

Winterplayground with new title 2010

Like a blank piece of paper or a blank document, a blank canvas is frightening, only bigger.

I generally paint large: on a 30 x 40" or 24 x 24" canvas, with big hardware store brushes. So how will I possibly fill up the space? By the time I get started, I have the opposite problem, and have to edit the composition to get it all in. So what gets me going on a new painting? Like a musician playing a few familiar chords before starting to riff, I need to start with a process. In other words, I need to build the springboard before I can jump.

Starting with Random Thoughts: Most artists "tone" a canvas before they start painting -- covering the entire surface with a middle value tone to use as a baseline for what comes next. I once ran out of paint when on location and toned a canvas with the remnants of my palette. I had 5 wet colors left on the palette and the result of my "toning" was splotchy and random. But it had a life of its own, and started the direction of the painting for me.

Sketching out the planes, skipping the details: After toning a canvas, I'll take a big stick of charcoal and draw large, messy planes of perspective -- they usually look like huge "X"s and determine where the focus and tension will be. I never outline the shapes of what I'm going to paint. Once I draw too much, it will skew my vision and I'll never paint the big picture.

Destroying for the Sake of the Greater Good: If a part of my painting is great, but doesn't work with the overall concept, I will paint over it. It hurts, but paintings don't work unless the whole is much more than the sum of its parts.

Turning Everything Upside Down: I turn my paintings constantly as I paint -- that's the only way not to get stuck in the details and know if the composition is working as a whole. Let it Rest: Although most of my works have 40-50 layers of paint, I'm not going to get an A for effort. If my mind is blocked and I can't think anymore (painting is decision-making on steroids: a decision every 30-45 seconds, everytime I mix a color or lay down a stroke) I have to turn the easel around and walk away. I'll think differently when my mind is clearer.