As Big as Design Gets

As Big as Design Gets

Crazy Horse Memorial

When the Abbey Group of Milwaukee needed creative help, they turned to Creative Director Mike Farley at JSH&P to assist. 

The project is as big as they come… helping generate interest, visitors, donors, and ultimately fundraise for the Crazy Horse Memorial.  The monument, a work in progress by the Ziolkowski Family (Korczak Ziolkowski was one of the original sculptors of Mt. Rushmore), is the world’s largest mountain carving located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is considered The Eighth Wonder of the World in progress — the entirety of Mt. Rushmore fits under of Crazy Horse’s armpit!

“Storytellers” is the branded name for those who contribute to the mission of the Crazy Horse Memorial.  JSH&P helped create the logo design, brochure design and copy editing, as well as full stationery package and fundraising kit, and posters designs — both for resale and as a coloring poster for kids.

Garbage Words

Garbage Words

Most marketing is garbage and you want to make sure your words don’t end up in the trash. If your marketing is full of awesome adjectives (i.e. — best, greatest, advanced, special), know that your audience is not having the same reaction, as when you wrote it.


The ad industry, my industry, has done an exceptional job of making impactful words completely meaningless. If your competition claims the same thing, and they often do, the consumer is left with a big bag of confusion… and the answer to confusion is to toss it out.

Think of it, all of your best stuff, mentally crumpled down into the waste basket.

So how do you capture attention and trust?

TIP 1: Use unique qualifiers and real world examples to help differentiate your brand from the pack. A qualifier like “We’re the no.1 __________” is a whole lot better than the word, “best“. No.1 is provable and leaves little room for doubt.

TIP 2: Choose to be the leader in something… anything, even if you’re a small fry in a big market. If it isn’t sales volume, perhaps it could be customer service or on-time delivery or that you have a process/formula/product that is truly unique in your industry. “We work harder,” is a start… but you can already see the doubt creeping in, so you better back it up with “…and guarantee you’ll agree or your money back.”

TIP 3: Becoming credible in today’s market is paramount, and the best way to gain credibility is familiarity. Your marketing plan and messaging needs to lose more adjectives in favor of finding ways to spend more time with your clientele… like YouTube videos, social site engagement, LI commentary, thought-leadership articles, networking, workshops …and 162 other ideas not mentioned here.

TIP 4: Don’t be afraid to recycle your message. Stop creating new mousetraps, all-the-time. Move your best material into every social silo you can think of. You need prospects to bump into you and spend time with you, so that you can gain their trust to buy from you.

Great stuff, right?


Have you read the Million Dollar Sentence? It will make this article even stickier.

Got JSH&P?

Got JSH&P?


We have a food proof system that helps businesses get on the right path for their marketing — called Powerline.

You’ve heard of elevator pitches and Unique Selling Propositions, but “a Powerline is a USP on steroids.”  Perhaps the best way to explain it, is to document the most famous ad campaign of the last 50 years…

“Got Milk?” is arguably, the world’s most memorable marketing campaign.  Fashioned in 1993 by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Producers, they created a whole new way to think about brand marketing and coined a new term… deprivation marketing.

In essence, what would the world do without your product?

It was a novel concept and one that could have backfired quite easily, but there’s more to milk than meets the eye.*  You see, there’s an interesting process we use, called a Powerline, that helps brands determine who they are, who they target and most importantly, why their prospects should even pay attention.

In the case of milk, a commodity that had been sold for decades on “milk is good for you”, started losing marketshare with the introduction of more beverage choices in the 90’s AND confusion in the market place on whether milk was actually good for you.  An axiom that was, and continues to be under fire.

The Original Milk Powerline:

THAT they should buy more milk for their families,
BECAUSE it builds strong bones for healthier bodies.

But mom was beginning to question this (from lactose intolerance to anti-milk messaging).  So GS&P crafted a very different rationale for California Milk Board consumers…

Here’s the Got Milk? Powerline:

CONVINCE grocery shoppers
THAT they have to put milk in their cart,
BECAUSE without milk, you can’t eat your favorite foods.

Read that again.

It doesn’t say “moms with 2.4 children” or “purchase 6.4 additional quarts of milk”, it just says, someone in the store ready to buy… but might have no interest in putting milk (even a little pint of milk) in their cart or basket.  And why would they?  Because if you put Oreos or Fruit Loops into that same cart, you can ONLY eat them WITH milk.  Milk’s no longer a commodity, but THE brand that makes certain foods taste better!  So much better that you can’t even picture having these foods with ANYTHING else.  Gatorade on your Frosted Flakes?  Orange juice with your Toll House cookies?  No way!  This single sentence helped marketers of milk focus their attention on who they were attracting and why they would comply. 

So what can you do?
Now the trick is to apply this kind of thinking to your own business or brand.  Who do you specifically need to reach out to?  What should they do?  And then, the kicker… why should they believe you?

The CONVINCE line is the hardest to come by.  Frankly, it’s why JSH&P gets hired to take on brands.  We’re pretty good at deciphering a universal truth about the companies we work with and framing a sentence that gives new life to start-ups and stagnated businesses.

Give it a try, write your own Powerline.  You may just have solved the 800-lb. marketing problem that’s been plaguing your team.  Want a good place to start?  Try your hand at writing your own Powerline and find a universal truth about YOU.  

Here’s the very first ad created under this tagline…


*The director of this original commercial was none other than Michael Bay of Transformers fame.

NOTE: The milk mustache campaign was developed by another agency (Bozell) for a slightly different purpose, but recognized the brilliance of the tagline and made it a part of their memorable creative (with the help of Annie Leibovitz photography).


Read more of a “how to” on creating your own Powerline here — an article on LinkedIn.

Fundraising to a whole new level

Fundraising to a whole new level

The Field Museum

A world renown organization like Chicago’s Field Museum is accustomed to working with the very best people and business resources on the planet… so is it any wonder that JSH&P is involved?  Especially, in membership and fundraising efforts that’s record-breaking?

In short, it’s just one of the many things we do.  In this case, we worked under the direction of Bill Cox and Access Direct Marketing, an integrated agency that specializes in non-profit fundraising.  Their systematic approach helps ensure positive outcomes for institutions and organizations that rely on a few well-crafted campaigns that help raise awareness, increase membership and ultimately drive more dollars to their bottom line — assisting them to continue the important scientific research that The Field Museum does every day.

JSH&P provided the creative spark and graphic production to help coordinate fully integrated campaigns, in both direct mail and email/social that helped raise over $200,000 in one day… not to mention, an on-going campaign that has membership levels on the rise.  Good thing, with new exhibits, new construction and a new look on the way, the Field will be well poised to attract even larger audiences to its venue.

Interested to learn more about The Field Museum‘s good work?  JSH&P’s fully recommends taking a trip through it’s historic hall to learn more about the stunning world around you. 

Blogging: The Unsung SEO Hero

Recently, a childhood friend of mine, Rochelle Yolanda Melander, who now runs a successful writing consultancy called “Write Now!” interviewed me about blogging’s importance for her many readers. This is the e-mail she subsequently sent out to her readers…

Note From Rochelle

Dear Readers,

Do you need a book to boost your business but don’t have time to write it? Check your computer: you may have already written it. Blog posts, articles and speeches can all be compiled into a book. If that’s of interest to you, consider attending my workshop,

Leverage Your Content: How to Create a Book from Articles, Blog Posts, and Speeches.

In today’s tip, I interview marketing expert Mike Farley on what tools can help you get known.



Writers@Work: An Interview with Marketing Expert Mike Farley

R: Tell me about what you do.

M: I run a marketing agency in Cedarburg, Wisconsin called JSH&P.  Primarily, I help small to mid-sized business brand themselves in a way that best suits their potential customers.

I’ve spent 30 years, starting out with the biggest corporations on the planet, like General Mills and Heinz, and them moved my way “down” to business owners who need to compete, sometimes with these behemoths, to improve their position in a global environment. It’s not as altruistic as it sounds — for me, it was simply a case of connection. As a fellow business owner, I gain more credibility with someone across their desk, instead of a 20-seat conference table. The work may not pay quite as well, but it’s steadier and more rewarding to know that you can have a profound impact on the health and well being of great small businesses and individuals.

R: I’ve heard lots of people say that the blog is dead or over. Is that true?

M: Not at all. Everyone should be blogging if they’re serious about getting to page one on search engines. It’s the most underrated SEO tool in your arsenal.

R: As someone who works with companies and individuals, how do you see blogs helping people attract clients?

M: “Blogging,” at it’s most basic, is not what you think it is. You see, there is someone who will read every single word of every single post that you make… and it’s not your mother. It’s Google (which handles over 75% of all search results). You may have heard terms like “key words,” “search engine optimization” and “pay-per-click.” The truth is, there’s a no-cost marketing strategy called blogging that’s very strategic and effective for anyone willing to work at it (it will cost you your time).

In essence, Google “wants to get it right” — they want match a search query with a search solution. Trouble is, that’s a very difficult job to accomplish. But everything that’s on your website helps Google categorize what it is that you do, who you work with and the types of clients you most need in your business. Likewise, Google likes new and relevant content — when most websites get launched, they stay effectively the same until a new one is constructed. However, for each new blog post on your site (and subsequently shared within your social channels) gets categorized anew. Think of it, if you added one post per week, think of all of the key words you’d use simply by writing about what you’re interested to share — over the course of a year, you couldn’t help but write about what’s important to you and to your business.

These are your key words; it is search engine optimization …and you didn’t need to pay a penny for any clicks to get it.

R: Aside from a blog, what do you see as the most powerful marketing tools?

M: Branding. Understand that a brand is not just a logo. It’s literally everything that you are and that you want your audience to experience when they spend time with you. And you want them to spend time with you, your book and your characters, don’t you?

Most of us think only in terms of a brand like McDonalds when they hear the term “branding”. But it’s for each and everyone of us personally, too. We all have a brand, even if we haven’t chosen to identify it.

Others see us however they do. Smart, sophisticated, funny, sloppy, late? What terms do your friends know you by? Branding, at its core, is your conscious decision to reflect or clarify something you want exposed to your universe of clients and prospects. When it’s effective, we decide in a matter of seconds from these “chosen” attributes whether or not we will “buy.” The speed at which someone understands who you are and what they can expect from you is at the heart of branding. Think of it, McDonalds owns a yellow “M” in your head. (Red and yellow boxes, a friendly clown, his pals and probably French fries, too).

If you have a toddler in your car (who may not even know the alphabet) and you don’t want to go to McDonalds, you better start playing the distraction game, because your child knows what the Golden Arches means… a toy! On a literary scale, think of Stephen King. His name is larger than his book title. Why? Because he IS the brand.

R: What social media tool do you think authors undervalue—and do you have any ideas for helping them improve their engagement?

M: You should, of course, have a Facebook fan page and a LinkedIn account (which is another place to re-purpose your blog post, btw). Those two are crucial. Add your blog posts. Make timely commentary about your world and how it relates to your writing. You’re working at your business in this sphere. Recognize that you’re now in charge of a global media empire — you really are! What do you endorse, enjoy, dislike and should you comment about it? Think of it, you’re now NBC. You show news, sports, movies and more on your channel. You can take a political position, or not. You may choose to edit yourself or let it all hang out. Your audience will come to see you in the light you CHOOSE to expose. You may want to think about that brand power before you make your next post. That’s your brand.

Socially, you may want to add Twitter, You Tube and Instagram… maybe even Pinterest — frankly, you want to use what your readers use. You go where they live… however, most of us don’t have the time or resources to gain traction in all of these areas. Know that the “big guys” have a team of people doing all of this in the hopes of gaining even more ground on Google — giving them a greater chance at staying on page one and making a connection. But the real secret is this: you love to write, but you have to love your business, too.  You can make “shameless self-promotional” commentary… as in, “If you’ve enjoyed my latest posts, perhaps you’d be interested to buy my book?” Don’t be afraid to ask. Maybe 1 in 5 posts can work a bit harder for you. Need better reviewers? Design how you’re going to get them. Start with your mom and brother on your back jacket and trade them up for your professor, your colleague and eventually Oprah. Want more credibility? What Top 10 list can you make? Then trade up that momentum for the next “best seller list” that you can muster. Eventually, you are that best selling author, even if it’s only in a very small niche. Decide to own it.

R: What are you reading?

M: I’m such a terrible reader. My children accuse me of reading only the first three chapters of every book. Sadly, they may be right. I enjoy reading, but my attention span wanes. I tend to like books with short chapters because I feel like I’m making progress. My favorite in this regard is Malcolm Gladwell. The book by my bedside currently is C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I am a doubting Thomas Christian and figured I could use a little support.

Mike Farley is the owner of the Cedarburg marketing agency JSH&P. He’s worked with Fortune 500 giants and Inc.500 wanna-bees, won numerous industry creative awards and currently assists small to mid-sized businesses with their brand strategy and graphic executions in print, video and web.

Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander has written ten books including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). As the Write Now! Coach, she teaches professionals how to write books fast, get published, and connect with readers through social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at

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Making Something Out of Nothing

Making Something Out of Nothing

Cedarburg Dawgs

Every agency has it’s stories about pro bono work — some good, some bad.  The key in making it work is to have the right expectations, and managing them for the benefit of your business and that of the recipient of your largesse.  Recently, we’ve become linked with a start-up youth football program for 5th- 8th grade kids called the Dawgs.


Football has been a passion of my own for most of my life.  My dad is a Wisconsin Hall of Fame football coach, and I played the game well enough to actually sign a pro contract with the Packers, back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Since that time, I’ve been a volunteer high school coach and instructor to hundreds of kids along the way.  I’ve also been a guest speaker to dozens of programs to assist in garnering a better sports culture to give kids, coaches and parents a better experience.

So when my own home town saw it’s youth football participation drop dramatically, something had to be done.  So a new entity was born to replace the flaws of the old.  Marketing something new can always be done, but if the culture hasn’t changed, you’ve traded one uniform for another, but the problems remain.  This is as true of small business as it is a children’s non-profit sports organization.

So how do you attract 100 kids (and their parents) to participate in a new program when another already exists?

Frankly, a lot of hard work by a few dedicated people who all share in the same philosophy and mission.  Getting on board with a clear message and a fervor to see something good flourish is a powerful motivator.  Coalescing and harnessing that energy is something that becomes larger than yourself and gratifying to experience.  I’m pleased to say that with our involvement with the Cedarburg Dawgs, we went from true zero participants as of January 1st of this year, to over 100 kids in the program in just three months.

How do you make something out of nothing from a marketing stand point?

When there is no track record, no uniforms, no logo, no imagery of any sort to work with, one might think that the game is lost before it’s begun.  Not so, but you better get creative fast… and hone up your Photoshop skills!

The Cedarburg Dawgs is building a strong youth football program built on the mutual trust between parents, kids and the coaches of the organization — where kids can learn to play the game of football in a fun, safe and life-affirming atmosphere.  

MacCleaner anyone?

Are your removable hard drives no longer visible to your Mac?

Fear not.  I have an answer.

But first, the day started like any other.  I had too many projects for too little time and a nice ball of stress bundled up in my belly as I raced to work through each one based on who might yell the loudest for their deadline.  And that’s when it hit me, JUST THE TIME when I can least afford it — my computer was getting slower and slower until the “gay ball of death” had taken over my life.

I cried, “UNCLE!” and closed everything up and restarted.  You know, the last resort of the truly deparate?  Only instead of making my troubles better, they only got worse by 10x.  Both of my removable hard drives had failed to mount… and a mysterious pop up appeared on the starboard side of my screen alerting me that “MacCleaner” was there to the rescue me. I’ve seen this POS before — a phony fix for Macs that installs malware only to get you to buy their “remedy” which simply means they have you for life.  Of course, I don’t bite and get straight to work within disc utility, finder mounting settings and my applications folder to look for any crap that shouldn’t be there.

I remove all that I can find.

I restart again, and one of the drives mounts! Alas, it is now READ ONLY and no longer formatted for Mac OS.  Funny, I could swear I didn’t touch anything. I have a Mac Laptop, I try each drive in it.  They mount!  However, they are now both READ ONLY and unusable.  With over 3 TB of stored files for each one of my clients within them, it’s safe to say that I didn’t really want to take the first Internet advice, which was to “simply reformat the drives to work with both Macs and PCs.”

Reformatting = Erasing.  Not happening.

The Solution:
Finally, I seek out the source, Seagate, the maker of my storage drives.  Buried in their support network is a little program that you can download for free that, once installed, performs it’s magic and your drives — and your work life — are made whole again.

Paragon Driver for macOS

You can find what I used here.  You plug in your devices, then get the download, then run the program and then re-start your computer.  With any luck, you’ll be back in business.  From start to finish, I spent two hours filled with dread and just a touch of panic.  Had I done this last bit, 10 minutes — no sweat — inner peace.

Here’s hoping this helped you get your Mac life back.

The Internet’s Dirty Dozen

The Internet’s Dirty Dozen


I just gave a keynote address to the Wisconsin Self Storage Association using this title.  


Hopefully so.

The point of the talk was simply to provide some small businesses with knowledge and access of some free tools that exist on the Internet.  I’ve attached the handout cheatsheet that I gave to the good folks of the WSSA.  You may find them just as helpful, although you won’t get my witty banter to back up why they’re on the list.

If you want greater information, just send me a note.  I’d be happy to chat.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the rope climbing scene from the Dirty Dozen, well, it just goes to show that with the right motivation, you can do damn near anything!


p.s. > Thank you, Dawn Lambrecht of the WSSA for the invite!

Instant gravitas

Instant gravitas

Ally 360 Marketing

In the world of non-profits — museums, associations, higher education institutions and the like — it can take a very long time to become a trusted resource.  Lead times are often at a slower, more conservative pace — yet the needs and diversity of work is as pressing as any agency.

So how do you break through if you’re new in the market?

Initially launched as Membership Avenue (an interestingly unique name), the sales team found it hard to break through to the folks that could hire them, despite having a great portfolio and years of experience.  The name seemed to suggest something other than the services their target non-profits were searching for.

JSH&P was hired to assist in re-launching everything… from naming, initial brand development, logo design, web design and collateral and promotional creation.  We set out to craft a complete A-list brand from scratch.  We realized that in a referral world, sometimes all you get is the first 4 seconds of a website look to make an impression …from a memorable domain name.

The result was Ally 360, two naming forms combined to instantly convey a sense of trustworthiness and full service capabilities dedicated to non-profit marketing concerns.

Ally360 is one a leader in non-profit marketing, having worked with such distinguished institutions like the Chicago History Museum, Wolf Trap, the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Florentine Opera.