Categories

What is a brand? And how strong is yours?

What is a brand? And how strong is yours?

Brands are often thought about in very limited terms but in reality, they exercise tremendous power in every kind of business or organization.read more
When customer care doesn't care

When customer care doesn't care

It boggles my mind that a multi-billion dollar company wouldn’t invest what would be a drop in the bucket toward customer goodwill, which would only help to ensure and elongate the success of its brand in the long run. It’s ironic that it refers to its customer service team as Customer Care.read more
Who is our customer? Let's look at Drucker's second question.

Who is our customer? Let's look at Drucker's second question.

The second of Peter F. Drucker's five most important questions is "Who is our customer?" Like all of his questions, it is deceptively simple. The most common wrong answer given is "the people in the decision room."read more
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists

I’d like to discuss creativity with the 7 habits of highly effective artists outlined by Australian 3D artist Andrew Price as the springboard. Here are my thoughts and tangents on each point—a sort of supplement to the talk, if you will.read more
On Rigor and Creative Block

On Rigor and Creative Block

What do you do when a client asks you to recreate the brilliance of a campaign you came up with years ago? That’s a lot of pressure. Illustrator Christoph Niemann cites Chuck Close saying it's about showing up and “enabling the chance for something to happen.” In other words, us professionals don’t need to count on dumb luck. What a relief.read more
History Brands (History and the Mechanisms of the Mind)

History Brands (History and the Mechanisms of the Mind)

We like clean narratives because they are easy to hold and remember. This goes for history, and for branding. What will history make of our time?read more
The Experiential Museum

The Experiential Museum

Are interactive features like card-making booths and ambient sounds at art museums "infantilizing prattle" distracting from the art? Or a way to engage audiences who might otherwise be lost?read more
Culture eats strategy for what?

Culture eats strategy for what?

Does culture eat strategy for lunch? Not really. But will a misaligned culture eat up your strategic efforts? Probably. Does it make sense to pay careful attention to an organization's culture and not just its business strategy? Absolutely!read more
Award for Museum Exhibition Advertising Design

Award for Museum Exhibition Advertising Design

Along with our client, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC, we are proud to have won a first prize in the American Alliance of Museums' 2016 Museum Publications Design Competition.read more
Pokémon Go, a win-win for your business

Pokémon Go, a win-win for your business

Pokémon Go attracts players to specific locations & can be used by businesses to bring in customers. Are trending mobile games the new wave of marketing?read more
Inspired by AAM2016

Inspired by AAM2016

The American Alliance of Museums 2016 conference in DC left me refreshed and inspired: "If we are trying to solve all the problems inherent in figuring out how to do interstellar space travel, what are you doing?"read more
Cinema and Museums

Cinema and Museums

Fashion design is ancient, and the origins of that Seventh Art known as the cinema date back at least to the 1890s. In other words, U.S. museums are long overdue to recognize these vital forms of artistic expression.read more
The Brand of No Brand

The Brand of No Brand

A brand is more than marketing or empty promises and these case studies show that it really is impossible to have a product without a brand of some kind.read more
"She Who Tells a Story" at National Museum of Women in the Arts

"She Who Tells a Story" at National Museum of Women in the Arts

While the popularity of She Who Tells a Story is undoubtedly affected by the curiosity and national climate of oversimplification and stereotyping that surrounds the Arab world and Iran, the real engine for attendance is the quality of the exhibition itself. (Also, we're proud of our advertising campaign.)read more
The Museum Store

The Museum Store

The spectrum of content consumption that once had a clear distinction between museum and museum store is blurring. It's possible that one day in the not-so-distant future the distinction between the museum and the store will just fade away in our instagram-friendly world.read more
What business are you in?

What business are you in?

What business are you in? I have found this question poses a challenge in almost every engagement, surprising participants. It wakes people up as they realize that they cannot answer or cannot agree on the answer. "If we cannot agree on who we are or what business we are in, how is anyone on the outside going to understand or guess right?"read more
Mongol Rally: The Great In-Between

Mongol Rally: The Great In-Between

We drove out of London on July 20, 2014 and six weeks later, we arrived in Ulaanbaatar under our own power (although our car’s suspension was completely destroyed). Quite a bit happened in between, but here I will simply point out a few discoveries or observations relating to brands, perceptions, and cultural differences.read more
Are you in good company?

Are you in good company?

Whether music or luxury goods, it’s crucial to be in good company or the company you are hoping to attract. Your product will be perceived only as good as the company it keeps, for better or worse.read more
Tronvig Group Brand Pyramid

Tronvig Group Brand Pyramid

We are developing a Brand Pyramid download that will walk you through the process and pose the questions for your organization, your company or your product. It will walk through how you can use these questions to expose strategic weaknesses and fix them.read more
The Beef Brand

The Beef Brand

Beef has come to be interpreted not just as meat from a cow but rather as the more generic and simplified meat; "If he does not eat beef, he must be a vegetarian." These two brands are differentiated enough and simple enough to make it easy to move between them, A to B. Where does your brand fall on this scheme?read more
Choosing When You've Too Many Choices

Choosing When You've Too Many Choices

How does a consumer choose when there are too many choices? Here's my experience shopping for skin care products in Korea.read more
The Apple You Eat

The Apple You Eat

Reason indicates that an apple and a sliced apple are equally good, but if examined through the lens of which version of an apple has greater appeal to a specific consumer group, then they are actually very different.read more
What is the downside of free?

What is the downside of free?

If you are a free institution you have both a blessing and a curse. The blessing part is easy to understand—less barrier to entry. The benefits are many. Let’s look though at the curse.read more
If you satisfy your customers you fail.

If you satisfy your customers you fail.

If you satisfy your customers you fail, because in order to succeed you must deeply satisfy the customer for whom your product is most naturally suited.read more
Food Flight from China (or How I Learned to Hate Ginger & Love Yogurt)

Food Flight from China (or How I Learned to Hate Ginger & Love Yogurt)

Tom from the UK and I met over a pile of someone else's food. We were both staying in a hostel that for some reason was underground and connected to a night club in Chengdu the capital of Sichuan Province adjacent to Tibet.read more
The Tattoo Brand

The Tattoo Brand

On my 19th birthday, I told my parents that my sister and I were going out to lunch. We are only two years apart and had fought a lot growing up, so they pursed their lips, shared a bemused glance, and did nothing to rock the boat. We weren’t getting lunch. We were getting our first tattoos.read more
What is your story?

What is your story?

I’ve never felt moved to support an institution like American Ballet Theatre, even at a level as basic as buying a ticket to a show. But once I heard this story and saw the face of one person in the company, it made me think that I must go.read more
Price and Pleasure

Price and Pleasure

Does it feel better to pay a lot for something? If we pay a lot for something we need it to be good.read more
Strategic Plan (Carpe Diem)

Strategic Plan (Carpe Diem)

We traveled safely from Washington D.C. to New York on the 7PM train Tuesday, May 12th. The 7:10PM train which could just as easily have been our train was not so lucky. On hearing the news that we were unharmed I got an email from our client in D.C. with the sign-off "carpe diem."read more
Strategy Primer

Strategy Primer

Strategy is a very misused word. Marketing strategies are—if you look at how the word is used—any marketing activity that might possibly work. People talk about "strategies" such as "posting to Facebook more."read more
States of Society (More on the Center for Civil and Human Rights)

States of Society (More on the Center for Civil and Human Rights)

I wrote this post along with "Advertorial Museum" more than a year ago at AAM 2015 in Atlanta. I left both articles as password protected, sharing them only with a select few people. I do not believe that I am helping our clients make the world better by choosing not to raise difficult issues so I have made the posts public.read more
Visual Brand and 360 Brand: What's the difference?

Visual Brand and 360 Brand: What's the difference?

What is the difference between a visual brand and a true 360 brand? How do you get your organization to think beyond just the visual brand?read more
Advertorial Museum

Advertorial Museum

If we think that advertorial in a museum is not a good thing, should we seek to defend a museum's content from undue influence by private or corporate funders? If so, how?read more
Bigger is better ... right?

Bigger is better ... right?

Hiring a big and flashy agency may seem "safe." But think about what they stand to gain by working with an organization of your size and budget. You may find that you're actually sacrificing the responsiveness, energy and focus on quality of smaller firms for the false sense of security that comes from going big.read more
Empathy in Advertising (and the Need for Differentiation)

Empathy in Advertising (and the Need for Differentiation)

Empathy in advertising is essential but its expression should not be reduced to a formula. Think of it as a baseline requirement, but differentiation is even more important.read more
The Farmyard: Decision-making in Large Organizations

The Farmyard: Decision-making in Large Organizations

If you are like most institutions the pressure to capitulate to the requests of powerful factions within your organization is likely very real.read more
Nonprofit Marketing Return on Investment

Nonprofit Marketing Return on Investment

Return on investment in a brand initiative is very important. Measuring the results of any initiative and doing proper goal-setting for a project is an essential part of good governance, of good strategic behavior. But how do you measure the return when you are not really selling widgets?read more
Music and Museums Undergoing Digital Transformation

Music and Museums Undergoing Digital Transformation

As the museum world undergoes its digital transformation, it might look to the music world, a field in a relatively advanced stage of digitization, for applicable lessons.read more
What are museums for?: Chris Ofili at the New Museum

What are museums for?: Chris Ofili at the New Museum

What are museums for? Are they envelope pushers? Receptacles for beautiful art? Legitimizers for criminals or perverts?read more
The Practice of Doing Nothing

The Practice of Doing Nothing

I can think of just once where I felt bored out of my mind. Boring beyond comprehension in my current life as a hustling New Yorker, the time was a much-needed boot camp in doing nothing.read more
"Meet Mary" Doing Its Job (Picturing Mary Outdoor)

"Meet Mary" Doing Its Job (Picturing Mary Outdoor)

The National Museum of Women in the Arts put street-level exhibition advertising signage on the building for the first time.read more
Marketing, Half-truths, and USDA Organic (A Follow-up to "Tell Them the Truth")

Marketing, Half-truths, and USDA Organic (A Follow-up to "Tell Them the Truth")

Examining the trend of marketing half-truths to the consumer. The USDA's Organic labeling provokes the question: Has the government jumped on this bandwagon?read more
Zoo Brands, Conservation and the Future of Zoos

Zoo Brands, Conservation and the Future of Zoos

I asked my 11-year-old son if he thought zoos were good or bad. His answer was immediate and unequivocal: "Bad," he said, "I don't like the idea of animals being held in cages." If there is another side to this story, and there is, zoos need to get busy telling it.read more
Branding and Sales: a Bank Brand Story

Branding and Sales: a Bank Brand Story

What happens when you attempt to take over a brand space that is already occupied by a strong competitor?read more
Burning Man and the Brand of America

Burning Man and the Brand of America

Does America have a brand? And if so, what can Burning Man tell us about it?read more
Carnegie Hill Neighbors

Carnegie Hill Neighbors

Carnegie Hill Neighbors is hard at work preserving, protecting, and improving their Upper East Side Manhattan neighborhood. Tronvig Group helped them to find brand expression through a new keynote message that answers not only what and how they help Carnegie Hill, but why they do it and why anyone in the neighborhood should care about the valuable work they do every day, much of it unsung or behind the scenes: "Because it's our home."read more
College Brands (Can colleges save millions by having better brands?)

College Brands (Can colleges save millions by having better brands?)

How strong is the average college brand? How well are America's liberal arts colleges able to meaningfully differentiate themselves from each other?read more
Millennials and Museums: Oil and Water?

Millennials and Museums: Oil and Water?

What chance does the museum world have with millennials? Are millennials and museums really oil and water? Let's hear the story from the horse's mouth.read more
Museum Camp: Can you take it with you?

Museum Camp: Can you take it with you?

With Museum Camp (now in its second year), Nina Simon is trying to find a way to infect our thinking long enough for it to dent our obstinate surrounds. We should be trying to help.read more
Mascots as Brand Amplifiers

Mascots as Brand Amplifiers

Mascots—those lovable anthropomorphized characters who push cereal, chocolate milk, and tires—are more than just cute tools for marketing to children.read more
Om Marketing (Yoga and Marketing)

Om Marketing (Yoga and Marketing)

Yoga is about controlling your mind. Marketing is about trying to control other's minds. End of story, right? Not exactly.read more
Brand Power and Its Limits

Brand Power and Its Limits

"Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind." —Walter Landorread more
Vesterheim: National Norwegian-American Museum

Vesterheim: National Norwegian-American Museum

Vesterheim: National Norwegian-American Museumread more
AAM2014 Sessions

AAM2014 Sessions

Among all the things I experienced and vividly remember from the 2014 American Alliance of Museum Annual Meeting and Expo in Seattle, I would like to discuss one particular session. It was a session fascinating to me for reasons unintended by its designers.read more
"Competitors are stealing my ideas."

"Competitors are stealing my ideas."

"All strategies aimed at exploiting an innovation, must achieve leadership within a given environment. Otherwise, they will simply create an opportunity for the competition."read more
Museum Visibility: What's the problem?

Museum Visibility: What's the problem?

Within the museum world there seems to be some reluctance to engage with contemporary culture in a deep way. But if you take a look at the museums that are thriving, you will find a willingness to do just that. The museums that are flourishing now exhibit a conscious responsiveness to and engagement with contemporary issues and concerns.read more
Brand Strategy Basics

Brand Strategy Basics

Brand strategy gives McDonald's a 27 billion dollar advantage over Burger King. It's important that you understand how this happened, and how it applies to your organization.read more
Find the Pain: Business-to-Business Marketing

Find the Pain: Business-to-Business Marketing

Pain, fear, anxiety … these are strong emotions that drive behavior. This is true of life. Life is also, it turns out, the very stuff of marketing, even that most rarified and peculiar kind—business-to-business marketing.read more
The Difference Between Sales and Marketing

The Difference Between Sales and Marketing

Sales has the power to change conditions, to transform a situation through the skills of the sales person. Marketing however, generally does not possess such transformative power. Marketing needs to work with conditions as they are.read more
What is the brand of New York? (Historic House Museums)

What is the brand of New York? (Historic House Museums)

We don't always think of cities as having brands, but they certainly do. While some cultural institutions are actually strong enough to be active builders of the brands of their fair city, most are not, and most historic house museums are certainly not in such a position. But each institution's history and meaning in relationship with the existing brand of its city is a factor in its success.read more
You need a target: What makes a marketing plan strategic?

You need a target: What makes a marketing plan strategic?

Finding out what you need to know in order to have a proper marketing strategy is not easy or cheap, but I can pretty much guarantee that what's far more costly is executing a marketing plan without a strategy to guide it.read more
Museums and Race

Museums and Race

Does thinking about race make you racist? No. Does not thinking about race make you racist? Unfortunately sometimes yes. These are uncomfortable issues and hard to look squarely in the eye, but they are standing right in front of you. Time to say hello.read more
Madeline Gins (1941-2014), thank you.

Madeline Gins (1941-2014), thank you.

I loved Madeline Gins. I loved her as a friend and collaborator, as a sometimes co-conspirator. I loved her as my parent in New York. I loved her as the truly original spirit and intellectual light that she remained until early this morning.read more
Goals & Goats (How do you set strategic SMART goals?)

Goals & Goats (How do you set strategic SMART goals?)

Strategy is born from deep inspection of the question Why? Why is this goal important? If I cannot get to a good answer to why this goal makes sense in the context of my strategic vision, then the goal is suspect (or the strategy is suspect).read more
Your Brand Idea: Who but Horton can hear it?

Your Brand Idea: Who but Horton can hear it?

If your Brand Idea is succinct, meaningful and consistently and coherently expressed, it will be able to break free. It will be hearable outside of your brand bubble, outside of Whoville.read more
Legend of Novo and Other Dreams

Legend of Novo and Other Dreams

Everyone has dreams. What you may not realize is how your dreams may be hinged to the dreams of others.read more
Marketing and Desire: What can we learn from Buddhists?

Marketing and Desire: What can we learn from Buddhists?

The cessation of desire leads to the cessation of suffering. —Gautama Buddha (paraphrased). The implication of this, the second of the Four Noble Truths, is that the enlightened are generally not good marketing targets. Fortunately for most marketers this is a very small group.read more
What is marketing strategy?

What is marketing strategy?

Marketing strategy allows you to use pathways and footholds that apply your limited marketing budget more effectively (everyone's marketing budget is limited). Marketing strategy facilitates your ability to apply marketing money to the correct half of the Wanamaker equation—the half you are not wasting on audiences who do not value your message.read more
Internet Bias and The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife

Internet Bias and The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife

The Internet is the great connector but only of what it has in it. So put yours in or be damned by it to silence. Only porn it seems had the power to penetrate the membrane that separates my pre-Internet writings from the entirety of human knowledge that we can access today at the stroke of a key.read more
Is the museum brand god dead?

Is the museum brand god dead?

In a postmodern world—the one we live in now—the AUTHORITY, the curator, the author, the expert—anyone whose charge it is to create grand classifications and assign meaning—has been demoted. This is our Internet paradigm, is it not? The authority is now just one voice among many. What does this mean for museum branding?read more
Exhibition Website (UX): The Armory Show at 100

Exhibition Website (UX): The Armory Show at 100

The Armory Show at 100 is a monumental reenactment of the 1913 Armory show in New York.read more
When FedEx Slew the Giant: Sell Value Not Price

When FedEx Slew the Giant: Sell Value Not Price

When you think overnight courier, what comes to mind? I'm guessing FedEx is probably at the top of the list. This was not always the case. Let me take you back to the moment when a budding company called Federal Express slew the Goliath of its industry—Emery. Let's take a look at what happened and what you should learn from Emery's horrible death.read more
Custom Web Experience: Vineyard Theatre

Custom Web Experience: Vineyard Theatre

The Vineyard Theatre is a wonderful nonprofit theatre that produces three new shows every year. One of America's preeminent places for the creation of new plays and musicals, the Vineyard has produced an astounding array of notable and award-winning works by both new and well established playwrights.read more
What if museums were run like successful companies?

What if museums were run like successful companies?

If you are not marketing and innovating, you will be eliminated from the market place. In business this happens all the time. More than 80% of the Fortune 500 companies from 1955 no longer exist. Maybe this sounds like an entirely different world from yours. I'd suggest that it is not.read more
Electronics Cold Turkey (Vacation must now work harder.)

Electronics Cold Turkey (Vacation must now work harder.)

I took my family on vacation to a place with no electricity and no running water. We stayed there for ten days. It was electronics cold turkey, and at the end, the consensus among my three children—9, 12 and 15—was that we had stayed too long. I'm inclined to believe that the problem was that we did not stay long enough.read more
Making It Relevant: History Museums for Kids

Making It Relevant: History Museums for Kids

"As luck would have it, just at that moment Liberty—their canine sidekick—barks, jumps up from his bed and runs right into Uncle Pete’s time machine and ZAP! he disappears."read more
What is responsive design?

What is responsive design?

Responsive design has been around in various forms for a few years, but it is now coming into its own, and should be a serious consideration for any new website project.read more
Marketing of the Bronx Museum

Marketing of the Bronx Museum

Museums exist in particular places. The Bronx Museum exists in the South Bronx; it's a contemporary art museum located right in the middle of the poorest community in the continental United States, a community that could not be more distant from the stereotype of the whitewall, high art tradition underpinning much of the aesthetics and behaviors that permeate the world of contemporary art.read more
Grant's Interest Rate Observer

Grant's Interest Rate Observer

Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, the financial publication best known for blending ancient and modern ideas, today unveils a thoroughly 21st century website designed by Tronvig Group.read more
Marketing is Not Optional

Marketing is Not Optional

"There are only two things in a business that make money – innovation and marketing, everything else is cost." —Peter Druckerread more
Museums and Motivation (Trouble with Gamification)

Museums and Motivation (Trouble with Gamification)

How can museums use motivation more effectively to engage visitors and other constituents? What are the dangers and opportunities of the "gamification" trend, and what can museums do with insights obtainable from the motivational factors within games?read more
Local Brand Positioning: ICI French Country Kitchen

Local Brand Positioning: ICI French Country Kitchen

Tronvig Group developed the brand strategy, the new brand, as well as brand applications such as menus, signage, and a new website for this local Brooklyn farm-to-table restaurant and event space. ICI French Country Kitchen, Est. Brooklyn 2004 is located between the Ft. Greene and Clinton Hill neighborhoods in Brooklyn and is within walking distance from our new office.read more
Tell them the truth.

Tell them the truth.

"Tell them the truth. First, because it is the right thing to do, and second, they'll find out anyway." —Paul Galvin. Ahh the truth. That thing to be finessed if you want to succeed in marketing ... NOT.read more
Consumer Insight: Singles (Family Life Cycle for Museums)

Consumer Insight: Singles (Family Life Cycle for Museums)

Singles, age 18-35, are a very large and growing population, particularly in metropolitan areas, even relatively small ones. This makes them a very desirable consumer target. They are also important because the habits formed during one's single life are tenacious and strong.read more
Kids Games for Museums

Kids Games for Museums

When thinking of games for museums it's hard not to let your mind think of hits like “Angry Birds” which had 200-million downloads by May 2011. Players worldwide spend 200 million minutes (=380 years) on the game each day. This demonstrates that people do love to play well-crafted snack food style games that have optimized game play mechanics (easy to learn, hard to master) that are addictive and fun. Should museums try to replicate or imitate this? Probably not.read more
Kyoto Journal Covers

Kyoto Journal Covers

Kyoto Journal Covers from the early 1990's. Top issue is "March of the Transitive," with a feature article by Madeline Gins.read more
We make mistakes.

We make mistakes.

"To swear off making mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas." —Leo Burnett. We make mistakes. The trick, of course, is to learn—and to make process changes from that learning—so that on our next pass through that same or a similar gauntlet we exhibit more finesse.read more
Hopebox

Hopebox

Hopebox for the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation.read more
History in Context: Guantánamo Public Memory Project

History in Context: Guantánamo Public Memory Project

The Guantánamo Public Memory Project uses first-person accounts, "Stories;" historical context, "Timeline;" and geography, "Place;" to create a rich picture of this unique place. Our final design presents a metaphorical window through which you can now see the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base—as a place, as a history, as a collection of real people's stories—more clearly.read more
This piggy did no time sheet.

This piggy did no time sheet.

We are certainly not the first organization to struggle with getting everyone to fill in their time sheets. We've tried a variety of methods. We have made it really easy with software. We have tried asking nicely, telling regularly, assigning a person to go check and cajole each and every day. Through all this somehow consistent compliance has always eluded us. Enter the piggies.read more
The Ideal Client

The Ideal Client

We want to make the world better, and for us the way we can do that most effectively is through our clients. So it is important that we choose our clients well. These are the ten questions we currently ask ourselves when we consider if a potential client is likely to be the ideal client for us.read more
The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation

The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation

Is your organization searching for ways to engage the local community and do so effectively? Meet the experts: The Harwood Institute.read more
NYU Center for Spiritual Life

NYU Center for Spiritual Life

New York University was calling. It turned out to be the newly minted Center For Spiritual Life. When I spoke to the co-director, a lively, amiable and eminently likable Ms. Shy, I asked what they needed done. She answered with the now dreaded assertion, “We want a new website.”read more
Customer Personas: What Sally Can Show You

Customer Personas: What Sally Can Show You

A persona is a kind of mental model—an imaginary person with a name, history and story who has a way of doing things. A persona should have enough psychological detail to allow you to conveniently step over to the persona's view, and see your products and services from her perspective.read more
The Science and Art of Marketing

The Science and Art of Marketing

As marketers we must never be in a position where we are just throwing shit up on the wall to see what sticks. We should be applying our creativity and artistry in execution of a strategic hypothesis that is based on research and genuine insight.read more
Your Name is Your Biggest Brand Asset

Your Name is Your Biggest Brand Asset

Is it better to have a unique name like Kinko's or a more descriptive one like Staples? Is it better to have a name that's actually a person's name like Lowe's or something that really clues you in to the core business promise is such as Home Depot? International Business Machines or just a feel good symbol like Apple? There is danger and reward everywhere.read more
How Not to Vacation

How Not to Vacation

Last year I wrote about taking a solid two-week vacation and described taking the family to our remote Canadian island with no electricity and no running water. That was a really good vacation. This year, I blew it.read more
Can You Hear Me? Consistency and a Hearable Message

Can You Hear Me? Consistency and a Hearable Message

I came upon the Jerry Seinfeld "Don't break the chain." reference twice in two days this week. If you have not heard it, it's a recollection from Brad Isaac of some useful and practical advice he was given by a then up-and-coming Jerry Seinfeld.read more
I want a new website.

I want a new website.

"I want a new website." There is a certainty in the eyes and voice that pushes back my objections. "That's what we need. Here is what we want it to do. How much will it be?" This desire and clarity of purpose is supported by the belief that a new website will make things all better, like a mommy's kiss.read more
Consumer Insight: Find Your Trim Tab

Consumer Insight: Find Your Trim Tab

What can you do that will be effective at getting the word out, but will not break the bank? Is there a relatively inexpensive tactical shift can you make right now that will yield significant long term results? The answer is yes. It's just a matter of finding it. It will not be obvious or easy.read more
Reversible Destiny Website

Reversible Destiny Website

The new Reversible Destiny Foundation website is a metaphorical extension of their persistent and active interference with death and the death-dealing habits that populate a normal life. She aims no lower than to free you physically and mentally from the confines of assumption about your body, your perception of the world, and—very literally—to free you from death.read more
Historical Game Characters for Museums

Historical Game Characters for Museums

We have had to create a few historical game characters for games targeted at kids. Along the way we have acquired some insights that may be useful to others doing the same or similar things.read more
Chaffetz Lindsey Brand Refresh

Chaffetz Lindsey Brand Refresh

Having grown to more than 20 persons the basic brand message needed to be put in the context of the firm they were becoming.read more
Home Grown Books

Home Grown Books

Home Grown Books has created a wonderful series of early readers that don't insult the intelligence of kids as they are just starting to learn to read.read more
Optimism Bias in Marketing

Optimism Bias in Marketing

The warning label which works contrary to our tendency toward optimism and self-indulgence misses the potential leverage point because the possible event of a future consequence can be set aside, rationalized away, and, most importantly, simply ignored because we (most of us) are biologically wired to pay little attention to such warnings.read more
The Work of Hope Microsite

The Work of Hope Microsite

Rich Harwood published the Work of Hope. Tronvig Group designed the book and created this microsite for it as part of the larget branding and marketing work that we are doing for the Harwood Institute of Public Innovation.read more
Strategy Applied on the Web: Center for Social Inclusion

Strategy Applied on the Web: Center for Social Inclusion

Two years into its young life, after we initially created it, the Center For Social Inclusion website needed a refresh.read more
Museum Marketing: Think Like a Consumer

Museum Marketing: Think Like a Consumer

Odds are you already deliver on what people need. The trick in museum marketing, as in any kind of consumer marketing, is to think beyond what you do or how you do it, and focus on why your target would want it.read more
Call me trim tab.

Call me trim tab.

So what do you call this thing that does NOT take massive effort, but has the potential for great positive effect far beyond its seeming capacity? I think one very good answer to this question was was provided in 1972 by Buckminster Fuller when he said the following in an interview ...read more
Dutch New-York: Educational Game for Kids

Dutch New-York: Educational Game for Kids

The Dutch New-York educational game for kids was created by Tronvig Group for the DiMenna Children's History Museum as part of a suite of educational games.read more
SEO for the Rest of Us

SEO for the Rest of Us

The basic principals of SEO are not hard: be honest, explain your content, link things up. Use the page title, description, and tags to genuinely help people find and understand the content of the page. Don't put tags on the page for things that are not directly relevant to the content. Don't title the page something it is not.read more
Website Copywriting: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Rewarding

Website Copywriting: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Rewarding

If you are thinking about creating a new website for your company, or revamping the one that served you well five years ago, but just isn’t quite up to snuff anymore, then this is information that could help you launch (or re-launch) a website that truly addresses your most critical business development needs.read more
Museum Marketing for Non-Marketers

Museum Marketing for Non-Marketers

Marketing is a big term. What is it in the context of a public-facing institution like a museum? What is it when you do not have a large or consistent marketing budget or even a dedicated marketing department?read more
The Difference Between Marketing and Branding

The Difference Between Marketing and Branding

What is the difference between marketing and branding? In a recent conversation with a very senior person at a financial institution my colleague was told, "I think private wealth managers will have a hard time seeing the value of branding—they see marketing as a cost center, not a driver of sales." Hold it. How did we go from branding to marketing in one sentence like that?read more
Top Four Reasons Branding Can Pay Off For Financial Advisors

Top Four Reasons Branding Can Pay Off For Financial Advisors

Branding is one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot in the corporate world (and the advertising world too). Leading consumer products like Coca-Cola, Apple, and GE can put a very large dollar value on their brands. When things go terribly wrong—as happened with BP as a result of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and Arthur Anderson after Enron—brands can lose their value and this directly affects the bottom line.read more
Creating a Unique Brand for Wealth Management Firms

Creating a Unique Brand for Wealth Management Firms

One of the biggest marketing and sales challenges wealth management firms face is differentiating their offering in a crowded field. Here's an explanation of how a strong brand can move your firm past competing on price.read more
DiMenna Children's History Museum Website

DiMenna Children's History Museum Website

Tronvig Group created a website for the newly opened DiMenna Children's History Museum, part of the New-York Historical Society.read more
Making History Matter for Children: DiMenna Children's History Museum

Making History Matter for Children: DiMenna Children's History Museum

DiMenna Children's History Museum website kid's home page shows the kid's club house. This serves as home base for all of the games we created as part of the DiMenna Children's History Museum website.read more
Sloppy Copy

Sloppy Copy

Tronvig Group has launched the DiMenna Children's History Museum website as part of the New-York Historical Society website. Featured on this new website is a kids section that showcases the first of three kid-friendly educational games: Sloppy Copy.read more
SWAN (Shuang Wen Academy Network) Brochure

SWAN (Shuang Wen Academy Network) Brochure

Shuang Wen Academy Network is a Mandarin after school and summer program. Their website and collateral are in three languages. English, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.read more
Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports

Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports

I am not a traditional sports fan. I follow no particular professional sport. I have attended few professional sports events in my life. And yet, I do in fact love sports, all kinds of sports. Perhaps this is why the Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports that we created for the New-York Historical Society has become so dear to me in the short time we have been working on it. It is not an homage to any one sport, but rather to the idea of sport, and the role that sport plays in the lives of great andread more
Open House New York Website

Open House New York Website

The result of this design effort, done in collaboration with their Paul Lombardi, is a sprawling, image-driven website that showcases the rich architectural treasure trove that is New York City.read more
Madeline Schwartzman's See Yourself Sensing Website

Madeline Schwartzman's See Yourself Sensing Website

Rarely do you get handed a project with some of the coolest, strangest images and ideas on the planet as your visual assets. This was the case for the book website for Madeline Schwartzman's See Yourself Sensing.read more
What a Website Wants

What a Website Wants

During the first 15 to 30 seconds after I arrive on a website, I need to know that I have arrived at the right place.read more
The Two-Week Vacation

The Two-Week Vacation

In my working career, I have taken many types of vacations. They have ranged in duration from a rather luxurious 6 weeks to nothing at all, and experience has shown that a contiguous period of at least two weeks is the most valuable.read more
Apparent Failure Focuses the Mind

Apparent Failure Focuses the Mind

Probably the two most valuable things that have happened to me as a business person were: 1) Being laid off from a corporate job and having to start a business on my own, forcing the question of how to survive and support a family without a regular salary, benefits, or anything to rely on but myself. 2) My former business partner's choice to walk off with all our clients, leaving me with the company debt and virtually no business.read more
New-York Historical Society Museum Website

New-York Historical Society Museum Website

Last summer Tronvig Group answered a proposal request to redesign and rebuild the New-York Historical Society's institutional website. Last week it became a living, breathing entity on the web.read more
Morris-Jumel Mansion Website

Morris-Jumel Mansion Website

"From concept through to final website design & development, Tronvig Group displayed a unique capacity to effectively utilize 21st Century technology to interpret the historical significance of this 18th Century treasure." —Ken Moss, Director, Morris-Jumel Mansionread more
Value of Truth in Photography

Value of Truth in Photography

“Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.” (Ansel Adams) Our initial reaction to photographic images often leans towards belief or trust that the picture tells a true, unbiased story. By following these gut reactions, we are often led by the hand toward manipulation by advertisers, marketers, and product designers. But if we aren’t going to get the thing that we are shown, why even bother?read more
Nonprofit Brand Basics

Nonprofit Brand Basics

For any organization, arguably your most important brand asset is your name. Some names are better than others at explaining why you exist and why you matter. So, along with the name, most organizations also need a tagline. The tagline can serve various roles. For a nonprofit its most important role is clarification. Some nonprofits have very practical taglines that do a good job of explaining why someone should support them. Others have taken on a very catchy marketing style and are often lofty sounding but vague. Sometimes these work. More often they do not.read more
The $5,000 Website

The $5,000 Website

There is no such thing as a branded $5,000 website. There certainly exist many people who will design and build a business or even a nonprofit website for $5,000 or even less for that matter, but in doing this, they are inevitably leaving aside much of the essential stuff that makes a website effective.read more
Brand as Defense Against Attack

Brand as Defense Against Attack

Branding is often managed like a propaganda war for the hearts and minds of brand consumers. This aligns with Wikipedia's basic description of propaganda: "As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience." Propaganda is not really about the truth, but about influencing minds, and so may resort to a variety of tactics such as errors of omission, selective truths and the straw man fallacy to make its case. Interestingly, if you look at the history of advertising and propaganda, they both came of age as vehicles of mass persuasionread more
Addressing Objections: Web Conversion

Addressing Objections: Web Conversion

Objections are always there. Dealing with them is basic to the sales process.read more
Translation for Websites

Translation for Websites

In my halcyon days as a translator of Japanese, I once read that "even good translations are like tapestries viewed from the back." I thought this apt because it was damn hard to do a good translation, and even the good ones were really reconstitutions of the same content in a new skin. There was nothing really direct about them.read more
Architects and Flash

Architects and Flash

Architects fell in love with Flash. I think it gave them the kind of absolute design control that they generally expect from the world. The problem, of course, is that the Internet no longer loves Flash, and it seems architects are slowly coming to terms.read more
New-York Historical Society Digital Newsstand Ad

New-York Historical Society Digital Newsstand Ad

This New-York Historical Society digital newsstand ad for their Times Square Photo Contest successfully collected over 1,200 public submissions.read more
Pei Partnership Architects

Pei Partnership Architects

“Substantial and immediate improvements to our website and online visitor traffic. Prompt and insightful guidance throughout the process. A great way to start off the new year!” — L.C. Pei, Partner, Pei Partnership Architectsread more
Brand Truth

Brand Truth

Our statement about brand truth—”We prefer truth. It gets you farther faster and holds tremendous power.“—was recently criticized on Twitter for being “grand and presumptuous.” My first reaction to this criticism was humor: “We just like it better than the alternative, and it’s a lot easier to keep track …”read more
Serendipity’s Value in Business

Serendipity’s Value in Business

In my experience, making good use of serendipity is a combination of things: actively setting up opportunities, a willingness to go with the flow of events, the ability to see the thing that arises by chance, and finally, being prepared to seize the opportunity—prepared both in the sense of being open to the possibility and ready to take advantage of it.read more
Invisible Consequences: How Branding Impacts B2B Sales

Invisible Consequences: How Branding Impacts B2B Sales

How do you get new clients? If you sell B2B, the short answer is probably “relationships.” Almost.read more
MDLF First 15 Years: Underwriting Democracy Through the Fourth Estate

MDLF First 15 Years: Underwriting Democracy Through the Fourth Estate

The Media Development Loan Fund, or MDLF, is a pioneering international nonprofit organization formed in 1995 by Sasa Vucinic and the late Stuart Auerbach with seed money from George Soros' Open Society Institute. The idea behind MDLF was to create a loan fund for the free press in fledgling democracies. Now celebrating 15 years and nearly 100 million dollars in loans, 200 projects in 24 countries around the globe, MDLF wanted to create a book to commemorate its achievements.read more
Arakawa + Madeline Gins

Arakawa + Madeline Gins

Arakawa Shusaku — July 6, 1936 - May 19, 2010. It was 1991, and I was fresh from Japan, adrift in New York, and uncertain of my destiny. It was Madeline and Arakawa who found me (especially Madeline). They took me in, fed and nourished me with scraps of wisdom—and curry—from the kingdom of intellectual freedom in which they habitually dwelt. They surrounded themselves with young minds. They fed us daily from a seemingly endless supply of insight and compassion...and stories. They respected our thoughts and gave them room to grow.read more
Why Documentary Style Photography?

Why Documentary Style Photography?

People and relationships are critical in business to business transactions, and so a strong B2B brand should communicate a sense of personal connection. It should speak to who the key players are and what it will be like to work with them. Great people photography facilitates this tremendously.read more
Development Capital Strategies

Development Capital Strategies

In 2011 we created the brand and website for this consulting company that helps companies achieve profitable growth strategies with sustainability built in.read more
Third Wave Foundation map

Third Wave Foundation map

read more
The Exhibitionist Magazine 2

The Exhibitionist Magazine 2

The Exhibitionist Magazine was an art and culture magazine created by James Heaton, Christian Viveros and Christian Dierig in 1996 and closed in 1997.read more
The Exhibitionist Magazine

The Exhibitionist Magazine

The Exhibitionist Magazine was an art and culture magazine created by James Heaton, Christian Viveros and Christian Dierig in 1996 and closed in 1997. This was the last issue of the magazine.read more
Brand Impact on CSI (Center for Social Inclusion) Reports

Brand Impact on CSI (Center for Social Inclusion) Reports

It has been about a year since we finished re-branding the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI). What is the brand impact of this work?read more
Life and Pecans: Why Truth Matters

Life and Pecans: Why Truth Matters

Last weekend I was reading the Sunday Times and snacking. I was looking at the paper and not my food, which was pecans from a glass jar. As I arrived at the bottom of the jar, I looked down and noticed little cobwebs all around the edges of the glass. Most of the remaining pecans had clearly been munched on already, and not by me.read more
All for Africa ad released in Fortune Magazine

All for Africa ad released in Fortune Magazine

The March 2010 issue of Fortune magazine features an All for Africa ad created by Tronvig Group for the nonprofit organization All for Africa.read more
Center for Social Inclusion website
Center for Social Inclusion Brochure

Center for Social Inclusion Brochure

"Tronvig Group is made up of talented, trustworthy and tactical people, led ably by James Heaton." —Maya Wiley, President, Center for Social Inclusionread more
Alston Bannerman Brochure

Alston Bannerman Brochure

The Alston Bannerman Leadership Initiative is one of the programs of the Center for Social Inclusion. The brochure is tightly within the brand framework we created for the Center for Social Inclusion in the previous year.read more
Annual Report: Center for Social Inclusion

Annual Report: Center for Social Inclusion

This 2009 Center for Social Inclusion annual report has served as the basis for subsequent reports and is an outgrowth of the brand system we devised for them in 2008.read more
Energy Democracy

Energy Democracy

One of many reports Tronvig Group has designed for the Center for Social Inclusion, this makes use of the color system where gray is a reflection of current reality, and blue (in this case somewhat whimsically) illustrates the future vision.read more
Leading Reform, Mississippi

Leading Reform, Mississippi

This report created early in the process of codifying the Center for Social Inclusion brand system does not yet have the gray and blue color scheme, but it still walks the line well enough to comfortably fit in the company of the other reports. The handwriting and hand-colored counties are inspired by a drawing we commissioned from my then 7-year-old son.read more
Remedi (Re/Insurance Mediation Institute)

Remedi (Re/Insurance Mediation Institute)

“The website Tronvig Group created for us is truly a work of art—efficient, beautiful, effective.” —Katherine Billingham, Board Chairpersonread more
You’ve got 30 seconds.

You’ve got 30 seconds.

"If your single most persuasive idea takes more than one sentence to explain, it probably isn't single. Or persuasive." —Lee Clow's Beard from Twitter, January 14th 2010. This is a bit of an exaggeration, but I make a habit of telling my clients that they only have thirty seconds to convey their keynote brand message. And we work very hard to achieve this so that the website (and most of the time we are having this discussion in the context of a website) communicates its essential truths immediately and with word and visual expression.read more
Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP

Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP

Having a formal restraint can be a good thing. In this 2009 project, it was Wollmuth, Maher & Deutsch's desire to have a B2B law firm's website with no photos of the attorneys. We used the immediate neighborhood of their Manhattan offices as the thematic backdrop of all their content.read more
Real Estate Retouching

Real Estate Retouching

Most of the original photography work that we do involves photo retouching of some kind. In real estate marketing, it is important to accurately preview the experience of actually seeing the property that is being sold.read more
Condé Nast Furniture Design and Construction for the Interior Designer

Condé Nast Furniture Design and Construction for the Interior Designer

"You are literally a godsend for us, and I couldn't be more pleased with the work—from the fantastic covers to your incredible speed and professionalism." —Erin Fitzsimmons, Art Director, Conde Nastread more
Fairchild, Swatchbook

Fairchild, Swatchbook

Not your average swatch reference book cover. This was created for Condé Nast's Swatch Reference Guide for Fashion Fabrics.read more
One Region: Promoting Prosperity Across Race

One Region: Promoting Prosperity Across Race

One Region: Promoting Prosperity Across Race was the first project we did for the Center for Social Inclusion. It was done prior to our having developed their current brand, so the design process was guided by pre-brand principles of decisions made against the benchmark of personal taste and intuition instead of on the basis of adherence to agreed-upon brand principles.read more
Gunpowder Island

Gunpowder Island

Gunpowder Island real estate sales brochure for New York Private Realty Group.read more
425 Fifth Avenue "Make Manhattan Yours."

425 Fifth Avenue "Make Manhattan Yours."

"Make Manhattan Yours." Small space real estate ad for New York Private Realty Group.read more
Huelsta/Rolf Benz

Huelsta/Rolf Benz

Hülsta and Rolf Benz are German-made high-end furniture and home/office product manufacturers. Tronvig Group did ads such as this one for them in 2008.read more
37 Beekman Place

37 Beekman Place

37 Beekman Place was a real estate marketing project involving photography, collateral and a website that was able to successfully sell this unique property.read more
Dassault Falcon

Dassault Falcon

This was a multi-page co-op advertisement coordinating with all of Dassault Falcon's subsidiary manufacturers. Pictured is the opening spread.read more
West 43rd Street

West 43rd Street

Full-page spread real estate advertisement for West 43 condominium project. Photography by Dave Diesing.read more
Dassault Falcon ad

Dassault Falcon ad

A series of ads done in conjunction with the launch of the Dassault Falcon 7X in 2007. The tag line is "Suddenly the sky is made of silk."read more
Gem Collection

Gem Collection

A real estate advertising campaign that successfully reintroduced three premier properties that were "East of SoHo—West of the Moon."read more
Being Magazine

Being Magazine

This magazine was published by Jockey in 2004 and 2005. Creative and production on this project were done in conjunction with Mixed Business Inc, under the inimitable creative direction of Marc Balet.read more
Pantone

Pantone

These ads were done back in 2000 for Pantone as they were first expanding into fashion and home.read more