Creative direction, design management, strategy, team building, brand management and evolution.

After successfully leading creative development in a competitive pitch that resulted in the agency winning both the Olive Garden and Red Lobster accounts, I assembled a new creative team to support the business and designed process and workflow from the ground up.

Olive Garden had become accustomed to very literal conceptual development from past experience with its previous agency. To effectively reposition the brand in consumer minds we needed to reorient the brand team’s expectations of creative development in order to allow for relevant concept exploration, to solve several usability challenges, create streamlined workflow, solve on-set challenges with the studio and evolve the brand.

Consumer research revealed that guests had difficulty reading the menus because food descriptions were always listed separate from photography. The solution to both usability and design issues was reached by creating a process that began with illustrations as the media for showing concepts in layout paired with a wire frame form factor that was informed by operational metrics. 

This approach helped the client to make strategic decisions about menu composition based in operating metric separate from the influence of visual elements. By employing illustration in the concepts the client was able to move past an expectation that work shown for shoot approvals would become a literal translation on set. 

Once this new workflow had become the norm, the creative team, photographers and stylists were able to regularly conduct exploratory shoots that enabled the brand to evolve toward a contemporary photography approach paired with new visual language as a key step in repositioning the brand to customers as fresh and current.