I heart brand. The proper expression of any brand brings a halo effect of professionalism, honesty and optimism. Brands like Harley-Davidson, Starbucks, and North Face keep finding different ways to have fun within their very narrow brand voices. And I too, am a brand. I’ve been in the marketing world as a creative director, brand strategist and brand manager for over 27 years now. I am nothing if not energetic, positive and enthusiastic about brand expression.

I have developed a comprehensive brand process and workshop that I have been employing for over a decade. It’s been wildly successful at getting to the heart and soul of organizations ranging from small towns, water parks, banks and food companies. The brand frameworks I’ve written have been the basis of many successful campaigns and are embraced by many a CMO.

I also speak and demonstrate the value of great branding. My talk covers the anatomy and physiology of successful brands. I also dive into archetypes and the benefits of identifying what kind of brand persona fits you or your organization. This is my work, my passion, and my brainpower. Connect with me, and feel free to reach out when you need a great speaker, hard work done, crab cakes eaten, or rubber burnt.



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You’ve got boards. I’ve got boards.


Brands are human. (Although that doesn’t mean corporations are people.) The complexity of fear, love, desire, hope, goals, and many other idiosyncratic details are present within the animal of a well developed brand. There are common themes, interpersonal relationships and a host of customer touch points that need to align in order for the brand to walk and talk. Many organizations personify brand through a leader within the ranks, others rally around their flagship product or faithful customers to find brand continuity, and yet others hack one together similar to the work of Dr. Frankenstein.

However the brand is born, it’s crucial to have in place a rigid skeleton of core, as well as external, definition. Brands must know, specifically, who embodies their Core User, what are the Core Benefits, Core Values, and overall, Core Identity. Externally, they must forever remind the audience of their Brand Promise, speak through a Brand Persona and live their Brand Essence. That means having each member of the organization singing from the same songbook.


My brand crush

Brett Favre was an exceptional quarterback. Gun-slinging the ball into Antonio Freeman’s hands, he played with guts and relied on gut instincts.

Theory of brand motivation

In 1943, Abraham Maslow proposed a psychological theory known to us as the “Hierarchy of Needs.” For years, this pyramid-shaped model

Know when to hold ’em

Here’s an age-old question: How long should I run my ad campaign? Before we dare answer that one, we’ve got some questions for YOU.

Properly manage expectations, pt 2

A couple weeks ago I wrote about ad strategy. Specifically, what are you asking of your audience? And when I say specifically, I mean specifically.

Destination: Tapping into desire

Much of what we do in advertising is based on desire. And when it comes to selling a destination, it’s all desire. Not “like,” “hope” or “want,”

The fundamentals of whiskey

At Boelter + Lincoln, we appreciate the time-honored, lovingly-crafted distillation process of what many call the “water of life.”

RIP, Homer Simpson

Here at Boelter + Lincoln, we have an organic expertise of “Mom.” So many of our clients have been targeting moms for so long,

Road Trip Day 5: Home

Travel serves dual benefits: It expands your perspective, it reveals truths about yourself and it reboots the routine of your everyday.

Road Trip Day 4: Shivering

Okay, you’ve been on a car trip. You drive to Indianapolis or Columbus or wherever and when you get out of the car to fill up,

Road Trip Day 3: Memphis

Being of the north, we simply don’t experience flooding on the scale that many in the south do. Most of the time we just watch it on CNN.

Road Trip Day 2: Ambassadors

This morning presented us with another beautiful day. After an excellent stay at the Opryland Hotel we were off for lunch in Tupelo.

Road Trip Day 1: 10 Truths

In the words of Billy Corgan, “Today is the greatest day I’ve ever known.” Yes, a little over the top – considering the births of my children,

Trust Agent: Anthony Bourdain

A year ago, Boelter + Lincoln brought Chris Brogan, social media guru and the co-author of Trust Agents, to Milwaukee for a great event.

Not so extreme makeover

I love home renovation, however, I can’t watch those “extreme” home shows where Ty Pennington transforms someone’s meager digs

Decoding the alpha product

When you’ve got a runny nose, you probably think of Kleenex. When I say “cola,” most people would come back with Coke. And crayons?

Are you consciously competent?

As we slumber through life, there are moments of occasional clarity. Most people experience mental breakthroughs that propel them

How to have sex with a hippo

The constant charge of any ad agency is getting new clients. That’s if the goal of the agency is not to go belly-up. The overly used metaphor of a shark

What happened in Vegas

Just got back from a trip to Vegas with Janet. We get married (well, renew our vows) in a different state each year — and it was Nevada’s turn.

I smell something big

I had the pleasure recently to attend a function at a nearby country club. In fine style, we wished well a fellow ad man on the doorstep

Brothers and Sisters, please rise

A couple months back, I was sitting at a bar on a tiny island off the coast of Belize. It was 4:30 on a perfect afternoon of 85-degree weather,

Birth of the cool

Okay, I usually write about advertising, branding and design. But, I want to take a moment and talk about ‘cool’ people —

Who would buy you?

It’s 6 p.m. and I’m driving home. And thanks to a Marquette detour, I end up in front of the Greyhound Bus Station.

This truck make me look phat?

Ok. In my recent television watchings from the comfort my sittin’ chair, I noticed a similar theme running through American truck commercials.

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