The Retail Environment & Packaging Design


<originally  written and published for the Biondo Group>

Although packaging design is critically important in terms of connecting with the consumer, the retail environment itself, is one of the, if not the most, important factor in how a product “sells through” at POS.

Supermarkets are a critical part of our nutritional ecosystem, they are the gatekeepers of our food supply. Think on this: the top 30 supermarket grocery chains in the world control nearly thirty-three per cent of all global food sales. In the USA there are more than 37,000 supermarkets with annual revenues in excess of $2 million dollars.

It has been reported (by the FMI) that the average large supermarket contains approximately 42,214 food and beverage products, that number increasing year by year.

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Photography, it’s my way of life.

Photography is not simply what I like to do, its baked into my DNA.

Take a look at my cameras and it is clear – I use them.  I use them a lot. They show it, and have scars aplenty, the finishes are worn. They are not the latest and greatest. I know them well enough to be able to operate them in the dark.

For the most part, I like to point them at places and things.  People can turn into pains-in-the-asses when you point a camera at them, so I stick with inanimate objects and scary places when i can.

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I’m busy

I'm busy cleaning up my office

Excuse me, but I’m busy cleaning up my office

It doesn’t happen often, but I’ve got a request (and this applies to me also).

Can we please stop using the phrase ”I’m busy” and all of its iterations and permutations when someone asks “how are you”?


We know you are busy.
We are all busy.
Busy is good.
Busy is moving.
Busy is alive.
Busy is business.
Busy is successfully making our hectic world home.

It’s the nature of our 21st Century Urban, hyper connected lifestyle.

We are both busy, that’s why we are not talking in person, in most probability.

Being busy… It’s not news, its not impressive. We are all busy.
And honestly, if the truth be told, we probably aren’t all that busy…

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New Business, New Normal, No Nonsense


not the hot seat

image: stephen berner

In my business life, I am, when it comes right down to it – a New Business Development Executive.

There, I said it.

Mistakes Made, lessons learned

It’s odd, looking at it now, that in my “Arts” existence, I beat the Social Media and Content drum mercilessly, but yet my professional side has until recently stayed quiet.

I might mumble something here or there on LinkedIn, but for the most part, its only through dialogue with me, that you’ll learn how I can help a business create a sustainable pipeline of opportunity, in a natural honest way – It’s what I’ve learned to do.

Why speak up now?

What caused this change? Why share now?
Why should I say anything at all, and most of all, why should you care?

Marketing-services businesses wanting to increase client head-count and revenue, seem to have given up differentiating between Sales and New Business. I don’t think this is a fabulous idea.

There is a difference between New Business and Sales, at least there should be IMSHO.

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New Business Development: The Liberation of Specific Generality


Back when, I worked in what was referred to as Graphic Design. It was clear what services we offered, when I mentioned the term “graphic design” to a prospect. Brand & corporate identity, collateral for organizations and businesses, signage, annual reports, packaging and displays, trade show materials, business presentations, etc.- this was the stock in trade for the graphic design firm.

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New Business Development: Whose Responsibility?

DSCF1031As hard as it may be to believe, and contrary to many of the Job Descriptions that you’ll find, New Business Development (in a Marketing Services Company), is the responsibility of the Senior team.

But we ignore it.

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What is this site about ?

pull up a stool and stay a bit....

pull up a stool and stay a bit….

This site is a mashup of personal work: primarily its home to a Business/ New Business blog, where I pick at issues relevant to Marketing Co’s.

There are also links to: leatherwork, motorcycle editorial work and abandoned industrial site photography.


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New Business Development: Basic Behaviors for #Success.


Nicole showing #Success behavior…

Success in New Business is not hard to achieve, it simply takes time, talent, experience, stick-to-it-tiveness and a budget – as well as the adoption of some Behaviors.

Marketing services companies (Agencies, Design & Branding Firms, Analytics Shops, Content Developers, Media Co’s, etc) in the New Normal, might consider adopting these basic #Success behaviors.

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New Business Development: Culling Digital Media Walkers from Talkers

In this case, experience does not matter...

In this case, experience does not matter…

Introduction: Determining who has the experience and understanding necessary, to lead New Business Development in a Digital Marketing / Agency or Client company context can be a tough thing to get right.

To make identifying those who’ve got the commitment and understanding that are necessary to do the job, I offer a suggestion on how to make the first cut. I suggest you cull those that “do”, the Digital Media Walkers, from those that “don’t”, the Digital Media Talkers. My lens for this article is for the most part, focused on an individual’s personal relationship with Digital Media, past their job.

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The Magical Rolodex, the Hunter and the Nuge.

making magic

making magic

Synopsis: in about 1000 words, I address the notion of the “Magic Rolodex”, New Business Hunter, and their relevance in the New Normal. I even squeak a Ted Nugent reference in, for good measure.

Hunters and Prey…
Not all that long ago (1980’s – 1996), it was possible for a New Business person to generate, billable work by beating the bushes and hammering away at their contacts. Today, I cringe when I hear the word “Hunter”, but the word Hunter, is one that is still oft used, when describing New Business talent. “He’s a great Hunter”…bringing it home…” Oh yeah.

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New Business Development: What is it? How do you get involved?

This CEO is not waiting for your call...

This CEO is not waiting for your call…

Synopsis: In this article: Differentiating New Business and Sales in a marketing services company context. Description of how PR makes a significant contribution to New Business success and a shared personal story.

Wikipiedia defines New Business Development:

…Business Development is mostly seen as growing an enterprise, with a number of techniques. The mentioned techniques differ, but in fact all of them are about traditional marketing. The main question in these issues is: how to find, reach and approach customers and how to make/keep them satisfied, possibly with new products….

Really, is that New Business?

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What is this site about?

This site serves as a portfolio, and as is true with most portfolios, it is waaaay behind in publishing my prodigious output! I cant keep up, its ridiculous to even try.

Not surprisingly to those who know me personally, a number of personal interests compliment my “new business” business life, and in a decidedly “non-renaissance age”,  I have been described as somewhat of a renaissance man (no smirking please..c’mon!)  This observation made by a friend, is probably due to my mashup of interests: imagery-driven marketing and messaging, content strategy and development, and  storytelling, in a marketing and sales context .

A deep love and a boat load of new business (the nexus of sales and marketing) experience in digital media, branding, publishing, editorial and content development powers me. I like being creative when given the opportunity, and actually look at new business,  as a creative endeavor.

In welcome contrast, to a life focused on the business of agency new business, I am a leather craftsperson, a photographer and a  Harley-Davidson enthusiast.

I am always interested in hearing about new opportunities, so please, let me know what brought you here.
Email me >  stephenberner(@)




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Kirk Taylor’s “Sacred”, a tribute to Johnny Chop

Sacred - by Kirk Taylor, Custom Design Studios

Sacred - by Kirk Taylor, Custom Design Studios

It was a rainy, kind of crappy cold day in March in California when I finally got to get a close look at a bike that I’d seen before, but not gotten up tight and personal with. I’d spied the beginning of the machine taking shape, a frame and a few tin parts, while visiting Custom Design Studio in Novato California some many moons ago and It was pretty cool to be able take a look at the bike in its fully finished state – no longer a fresh, out of the box bauble.

So during a busy weekend at the Custom Chrome Dealer Show in Santa Clara, Kirk and I rolled this machine out onto the loading dock behind the venue, gave it a final wipe and there ya have it, Sacred, a bike built by Kirk Taylor at Custom Design Studios – in tribute to our mutual, departed friend Johnny Chop. Plain and simple.

to buy the book, click on this link please….

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Abandoned America_4: Where We Worked: Nova Dye

Abandoned America_4: Nova Dye

Abandoned America_4: Nova Dye

This long shuttered fabric treatment and dying facility is typical of many East Coast industrial complexes that were built to serve a number of wars and a growing America.  It’s a patchwork of buildings, areas, processes, catwalks and huge machinery, such as walk-in Autoclaves . You have fabric treatment next to fabric dying, next to fabric drying – giant machines, many of them with open flames, pits of solvents and bolts of fabric all butted up against one another – a sure recipe for disaster under any circumstance and if all of the signage in the plant is any indication – fires were a regular occurrence.

to see more of Nova Dye & to purchase the book, available in Hardcover (looks great) and Softcover (a shock just how good this looks!) go to BLURB

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Abandoned America_3: Where We Worked: Ansonia Wire

Another look at what is happening to America’s industrial resources.


click on the picture<

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Stephen Berner presents Eastern Fabrications

A new book on E-Fab is available on Blurb. See some of Lock Baker’s great machines, up close and personal.


click on the picture<

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Stephen Berner presents TPJ Customs

45dgree is proud to present TPJ Customs of Lodi California.

TPJ specializes in designing in and building unique, highly refined V-Twin customs, some of the leanest, cleanest around.
We dare you to find an ounce of fat in a TPJ machine!  Take a look and see if you don’t agree!


click on the picture<

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Stephen Berner presents Kraus Motor Company

45dgree has published it’s first book on motorcycles – and Kraus Motor Company is the company I’ve decided to roll out with first.

Please take a look at this book, it is the first in what will be a ongoing series featuring the best the V-Twin industry has to offer.



click on the picture<

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Abandoned America_2: Where We Worked: The Powerhouse

Abandoned America_2 is out and it is sure to strike joy into the hearts of those who enjoy abandonment & dereliction.

You can get it here on Blurb and as with all of the Abandoned America Series, I wil only print 100 of them and then – they are gone!

I will be happy to sign your edition at no charge and will arrange that with you through email, post purchase.

Thanks for the support folks!


click on the picture<

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Abandoned America_1: Where We Worked: State Psych Hospital

I have compiled my first images from my Psych Hospital visits (ha!) into a Blurb offering.

Abandoned America_1
Where We Worked: State Psychiatric Hospital

Bless the internet and it’s myriad of creative support service Companies like Blurb that allow artists to self publish.
i hope you enjoy this first, limited edition picture book.


click on the picture<

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Life is a Journey


Our country is beautiful.

The journey begins when you leave the comforts of home behind

When you have the time to do as you please; with no firm agenda other than a return date

When your batteries are charged, your memory card empty and your tank full – you can begin collecting experiences anew

A blessing not many can count – be thankful you have this wanderlust in your genes

And have a country vast enough to satisfy

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