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For the Right Audience, a Print Redux

February 25th, 2015

Evercore_IT_Winter2015_low_7We like to say that we’re “media-agnostic,” meaning that we are open to whatever strategy and channel works most effectively. Depending on the audience needs, printed thought leadership may be an important component of a larger, 360-degree, integrated content marketing program. Such is the case with Evercore Wealth Management, which publishes Independent Thinking four times annually.

Our team redesigned the publication in 2014 and through a partnership with the client organization, continues to design and produce each edition. The publication is but one part of a system of content being published by Evercore Wealth Management, with each of the main articles coordinated to appear on the rotating carousel of the firm’s website. The winter edition, featured here, shares insights on Tax-Efficient Wealth Planning, the Investing Outlook for 2015, and Planning to Achieve “The Number” — that milestone which leaves us financially independent.


God is in the details: A sophisticated “tiered reader experience,” crafted with entry points and easily digestible, engaging presentation of content

Working with the client team, we’ve collaborated to package a best-practice corporate journal — elegant design fitting for the audience, with a compelling composition of industry insights, thought leadership, arresting photographs, and current data shown as easy, clear information graphics.


For more information, visit If you have an interest in improving the quality of your content marketing or corporate communications, please visit

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Case Study: Burford Capital

February 3rd, 2015

burfordcapital_2In 2014, our group led a strategic redesign of the flagship website for Burford Capital, a legal financing firm that helps clients with business risk solutions and funding for corporate litigation. The site was just recently launched, reflecting a culmination of many months of work in research, planning, design, and development by IridiumGroup and the client team.

A phase of stakeholder interviews shared insights into the company’s strategic goals, audiences, communications and channels, brand image, competitive set, and content needs of the site.

A proposed navigation, site structure, and wireframes were developed to meet the usability needs of several key audiences on both the legal and the corporate, client side. Burford Capital’s marketing leaders directed the content and navigation. It was important to deliver the proper messaging and desired user experience to all audiences, whether the purpose was to explain litigation funding, convey its business value, report progress to investors, share whitepapers, or to provide a deeper tier of reading and related links.
The discovery that was done with Burford’s executive management team provided critical insights that guided and informed the design. Burford Capital works predominantly in academic, intellectual property and provide a full suite of solutions, but in some ways is also an investment institution. Early in the process, it was clear that the design should be typographical, or word- and content-driven, with a focus on delivering information in a clear, simple, easily accessible manner.

Also, we wanted to provide a visual expression and platform that would appeal to corporate attorneys, CFO’s, in-house counsel and corporate risk professionals. Our team worked to deliver an approachable, engaging, and inviting experience — but also, one with a quiet, restrained, and elegant presentation of data points and information. It was our goal to project a brand image of global thought-leadership in the emerging world of litigation finance and legal risk solutions. For more information, visit:


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One Very Well Financed “Shack”

January 30th, 2015

081114-BBB-shack-burger-thumb-620xauto-75605I don’t purport to understand the inner-workings of Wall Street I.P.O.’s and certainly I never opened or managed a restaurant. That being stated, doesn’t the public offering of Shake Shack reek of something beyond just tasty hamburgers and fries?

In the publishing business, an old trick was to fill the newsstands with your magazine — front and center — but to give special focus to the ones just outside the offices of advertising agencies leading the accounts you needed for sponsorship. Shake Shack clearly did something similar, opening its restaurants in Dubai, London, Istanbul, Las Vegas, and its original home, New York. I’d have to guess that there were regulatory issues with introducing stores in Asia; otherwise, the valuation might be over $2 Billion.

The online menu boasts: 100% all-natural Angus beef.  No hormones and no antibiotics ever.  Our proprietary Shack blend is freshly ground.  All burgers are cooked medium unless otherwise requested.  Add lettuce, tomato, pickle or onion – your choice!

Really? That’s the secret sauce? That’s the magic formula that was enough to raise $1.6 billion at $47 per share?  As reported in The New York Times, this valuation is more than double the initial public offering price that had already exceeded expectations.

With only 36 restaurants in the U.S., and 27 abroad, the formula for success being sold to cash-laden, giddy investors is. . . (drum roll). . .  a better hamburger. Don’t get me wrong — I like crunchy fries as much as the next person, but is there really anything new or disruptive going on here? The business model seems fairly basic, and yet investors are seeing opportunity in funding Mr. Meyer’s venues to the tune of about $100 million — each? Keep in mind — that kind of backing is for a small, traditional brick-and-mortar enterprise that earns on average about $5 million each year. That’s one very shabby-chic shake shack.

McDonald’s, by contrast, has 36,000 restaurants and an established global brand and name recognition that alone is worth the entire market capitalization of Shake Shack. It’s worth a mention that the company has very little debt and also cranks out cash like a McFlurry-dispenser in overdrive.

Obviously, the people coming out sweetly are the dealmakers. The net take in profits earned in any I.P.O. has very little to do with performance of the ongoing brand, or how well it truly competes in the market place. By the time the special sauce trickles down and mesmerizes a few bedazzled, misguided managers and individual investors, the underwriters and original backers will be sipping champagne and snacking on hors-d’oeuvre in their Hamptons get-away — all sans any of the delicious fare served at a Shake Shack.

My assumption is that this will go like so many initial public offerings that leave a select few with an enviable payout, and many star-struck investors holding a bag at the end, wondering, “where’s the beef?”



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Reflecting on IridiumGroup’s 20th Anniversary – and Envisioning 2015

December 5th, 2014

As of January 1, 2015, our company will have completed 20 years in business. I began with an idea of functioning independently — first as Flinchum Inc. and soon thereafter as IridiumGroup. Having worked in publishing and later, in 1994, at Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette, I was convinced that I could deliver exceptional creative and design services that met or exceeded those at top agencies, and do so competitively.

What I never expected were the relationships that came along with that endeavor, or today, the gratitude that I have for those relationships.  Over the past 20 years, we’ve worked for hundreds of client managers, far smarter and more capable than myself, who not only took a chance and gave us the opportunity to lead a flagship brand or marketing asset, but who also encouraged, guided, and mentored us along the way. We learned and developed professionally, as did our clients, from sharing our own experiences. We met their peers, friends, and families in some cases, and became good friends ourselves.

IMG_20141124_125409-ret2-LowResI came to understand that Iridium is not on the other side of the fence trying to “pitch” and earn a new client on the roster. If we’re fortunate enough, we’re hired to join the client team in their own fight to build their brands, increase the equity of their company, and grow their business. In doing so, we all become part of the same team with the same goals: Success for the company we work for, which in turn will lead to our own individual development and viability.

All of these professionals went out on a limb to some degree to present us with the gift of new business. They believed in and trusted us — and we trusted and believed in them. Good will is still an important and hugely underestimated value of any business relationship, and I have always believed in reciprocating this client trust with exceptional work and tangible results.

Internally, I never expected hiring the impressive level of talent I have over the years. I’ve learned so much from the strategists, programmers, designers, creative directors, account and operational managers I have had the privilege of employing. The seasoned veterans and consulting partners to the firm have given me the equivalent of a business MBA. However, most rewarding to me has been serving as a thriving platform to develop young professional talent — dozens of fledgling staffers who have gone on to accomplished positions and who flourish today working on world class brands in marketing, publishing, advertising, and communications.

2015 and Beyond —
Things change, and if there is one character trait that could define Iridium over the past 20 years, it’s been the ability to adapt to meet the market, deliver on emerging needs and customer trends.  Whatever works to build your brand image, retain existing value, and acquire new business — that’s where we focus our creative energy.

It’s been an interesting challenge to manage a small company through two recessions and a protracted global downturn. Navigating the disruptions and chaos of an industry in revolution is quite another. We’ve seen a continuing sea change in how brands are built and sustained:

• Globalization is reshaping whole labor and economic markets;
• Advances in technology have enabled increased competition and saturated agencies to a point of commoditization;
• Traditional services have been turned on their head, creating a progressive shift in what defines the very essence of an agency, design, or public relations firm;
• New business models continue to emerge to serve changing B2C and B2B needs.

IMG_20141205_131602-ret-LowResIridium’s model has also changed with the times. We have just relocated our offices to remain in alignment with a business plan that has been in place for the last three years. Agility is the goal for all businesses these days, and we’re no exception. We have been increasingly working as a virtual company, as our existing employees have relocated to various parts of the world. Our current team resides in the Czech Republic, Seoul, Korea, New York, and Los Angeles, not to mention the extended communications, technology, and strategy partners who consult to our clients on behalf of Iridium. This core group of employees and partners is comprised of professionals who have all worked together for 10+ years — we’re proven through collaborating on hundreds of initiatives together.

These relationships have produced astonishingly success and award-winning results. In 2013, we began considering taking the next step in the “virtual agency” experience. In recent months, we relocated to workspace near our current offices that will enable us to work with a core staff and function as a central hub from which to manage all aspects of each project.

I’m personally looking forward to exploring and developing this model even further. We are working on building our capabilities through relationships with SEO specialists, social media experts, and data analysts working in mobile services. My personal goal is to build IridiumGroup into the world’s first virtually operational agency. I want to maximize the benefits of “local meets global.” Skill sets are becoming increasingly specialized, and this new model presents desirable opportunities for our clients as well as our staff.

We are no longer confined to hire the smartest, most effective talent in New York who work in a traditional setting; we are now able to engage and work with the best and brightest experts, each with deep specialization — anywhere in the world.

20 years. Looking back, it’s been a fascinating, inspirational journey, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Looking ahead, I can only dream of what the future holds.

Please accept my best wishes this holiday season. I feel tremendous gratitude for the gifts that I have, both personally and professionally. I hope your remaining days of 2014 bring happiness, love, and gratitude, just as I hope the New Year will present new ideas and relationships that enlighten and delight you.




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Founder & President,
IridiumGroup Inc.

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