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Best-Case Scenario: 2014 Blossom Launch, Powered by ENVOY

This case study appears in Roger Darnell’s new book on communications consulting, coming in 2019.

Based in Irvine, California, the principals of the hybrid creative agency ENVOY have built their company very thoughtfully, aiming to partner with bold leaders to make experiences and products that define the future. By focusing on the convergence of design and technology, and even being willing to invest capital, expertise and services, the agency has chosen to engage with a growing list of innovative startups, in addition to its roster of well established companies.

When we think about startups, we might imagine one or two impassioned individuals burning the midnight oil together in a garage or an attic, dreaming about taking their side gig full-time. This is a story about the other kind – where very savvy professionals who have achieved major success in the past join forces on a relatively sure thing. Meet Blossom, a company that set out to create a smart water controller that would cut utility bills and save water. Read more

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May Edition: Ultimate Events Happening Soon

In this topsy-turvy world, deciding when and where to invest one’s time and energy is of critical importance. Especially for creatives and other entrepreneurs where the need to be strategic and innovative is constant, conferences, festivals and other thoughtful gatherings of respected peers represent momentous opportunities for building vital connections and seeing exactly what people are thinking and responding to. This actively researched and updated series is my ongoing contribution toward helping us all learn about Ultimate Events on a timely basis.

Follow these links for the Creative Tech Week (running 3-12 May) and Creative Week (running 7-11 May) events happening in NYC. Read more

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Earth Day 2018 and Climate Education Week

You and your loved ones are cordially invited to join more than a billion of your fellow humans to participate in Earth Day – the only global event celebrated simultaneously by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities – by helping expand its mission into a much more ambitious affair. Read more

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April Edition: Ultimate Events Happening Soon

In this topsy-turvy world, deciding when and where to invest one’s time and energy is of critical importance. Especially for creatives and other entrepreneurs where the need to be strategic and innovative is constant, conferences, festivals and other thoughtful gatherings of respected peers represent momentous opportunities for building vital connections and seeing exactly what people are thinking and responding to. This actively researched and updated series is my ongoing contribution toward helping us all learn about Ultimate Events on a timely basis.

Follow this link to the Official Guide to NAB Show Live Events. This year’s NAB Show is set to run 7-12 April in Las Vegas. Read more

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Sales expertise for creative entrepreneurs…

universal positive readers already know that I’m a big fan of author, speaker, and advisor David C. Baker. Amazingly insightful new articles from David on the subject of creative agency management and business development continue to appear on the HowDesign.com website and inside the illustrious magazine’s newsletters. By visiting David’s website, you can also find information on his books, upcoming events, and much more.

If you haven’t already read it, I also encourage you to review this candid interview with my dear friend Lisa Cleff Kurtz, who is a philanthropist, education and arts activist, and a bona fide rainmaker.

Many other noteworthy experts also offer sage business development advice that you can easily find online… often for free. Here are five more that are definitely worth subscribing to right away. Read more

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Embracing Nature on World Water Day

March 22 is World Water Day, where all human beings are invited to learn more about water-related issues, get inspired and make a positive impact. The international event dates back to 1992 when the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development made a recommendation: Thereafter, in 1993, 22 March was established as World Water Day. UN-Water sets the theme each year. This year’s theme, “Nature for Water,” explores nature-based solutions (NBS) to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.

“The answer is in nature” raises awareness of NBS. The central message is that NBS, such as planting trees to replenish forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands, is a sustainable and cost-effective way to help rebalance the water cycle, mitigate the effects of climate change and improve human health and livelihoods. Read more

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Something SXSW special just for you


Thirty-two years ago, the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival began in Austin, Texas. Having grown to essentially become all things to all people, the event’s concurrent film, interactive media and music festivals and conferences attract over 400,000 attendees, which includes the lion’s share of the entertainment and advertising industries, as well as the brand marketers wanting to engage with them. This year’s SXSW launches on 9 March and runs on through the 18th. SXSW, Inc., also runs the SXSWedu conference on educational innovation (5-8 March this year in Austin), and the SXSW Cities Summit set for 12-13 March in Austin.

I’ve taken a fresh look at the most important channels to point you in the right directions: Enlightenment awaits! Read more

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Great to know: Lisa Cleff Kurtz, Philanthropist, Education and Arts Activist, and Rainmaker

Editor’s note: Nearly two decades ago, my fate was forever altered due to a chance encounter with the then-San Francisco based creative industry rainmaker, Lisa Cleff. After several months of her mentoring me in the field of sales, I was hired by high-tech PR firm The Terpin Group, thanks almost entirely to her recommendation. When The Darnell Works Agency launched in 2000, not only was she a main client and collaborator, her referrals have resulted in more than a dozen vital DWA client relationships… including those at ATTIK, CBX, PLUS, PostWorks and Sid Lee, to name but a few. Naturally, shining a light on this phenomenal luminary is a great honor for me, especially since the interview itself was conducted by her daughter, Zoe Lindgren, a rising NYC creative in her own right. For your further enjoyment, I also highly recommend this great interview by Timothy Huang, who spoke with Lisa in 2016 about her career – and her role as a star board member of A.R.T. / New York.

How did you get your start in your career? Read more

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February Edition: Ultimate Events Happening Soon

In this topsy-turvy world, deciding when and where to invest one’s time and energy is of critical importance. Especially for creatives and other entrepreneurs where the need to be strategic and innovative is constant, conferences, festivals and other thoughtful gatherings of respected peers represent momentous opportunities for building vital connections and seeing exactly what people are thinking and responding to. This actively researched and updated series is my ongoing contribution toward helping us all learn about Ultimate Events on a timely basis.

Follow this link to the official site for the European Film Market Horizon Events set to run 16-20 Feb. in Berlin. Read more

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Design Competitions from Design Week, Adweek, Communication Arts, Core77 and Fast Company


Several very prestigious design awards programs are currently open for entries – I thought you would appreciate the heads-up and some brief details… which I am presenting in order of the currently published submission deadlines. Best of luck friends! Read more

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