TerraVox Wine



Wine snobs beware, Missouri is being noticed more and more for the quality vintages produced from grapes grown in our rocky Missouri river soil. Willoughby would like to extend a well-deserved congratulations to our friend, client and winemaker, Jerry Eisterhold of Vox Vineyards.

A theory of fear & creativity

Moon Man

Like a part of the spectrum we know exists but cannot see, creativity is an elusive metaphysical property. Like gravity, we need creativity to function. But how can you select the best creative solution when it can be as abstract as anti-matter?

Every business leader wants creative solutions, saying “I’ll know it when I see it!” They have visions of landing on the moon. But when creative solutions are presented — they default back to earth.

As creatives it is our job to reach for the moon and sell our clients on buying great creative. Too often, the C-levels, Directors and Managers are selecting what they know will have least resistance. After all no one likes change. This leads to ho-hum executions that don’t stand out and don’t move the needle.

How do we push them outside their orbits? First we have to help them understand their fears.

A study conducted by Cornell University on the Bias of Creativity reveals a challenge we creatives have in selling our harebrained ideas. When participants were given a creative option vs. practical option they select the status quo. This appears to stem from our desire to reduce uncertainty. Considering our clients pressure to deliver higher earnings, improved profits and outcomes, creativity is the dark side of the moon.

“Our findings imply a deep irony. Prior research shows that uncertainty spurs the search for generation of creative ideas (Audia & Gonzalo, 2007l Tiedens & Linton, 2001), yet our findings reveal that uncertainty also makes us less able to recognize creativity, perhaps when we need it most.” — Bias Against Creativity.

So how do we reduce this friction?


Be truthful with your clients from the beginning. Reassure them that you are in their corner and ready to walk them through what may feel uncomfortable at first. Taking that first step into the Uncomfortable Zone isn’t easy, especially if they aren’t empowered by their own superiors to make creative decisions. Give them the power to communicate your vision if needed.


Start with the close-in, the safe. Show the client what happens if they go status quo. If you don’t show it, they will ask or wonder, “What if?” But then step it out. Show them what they would least expect. Visualize the anti-matter with words, video, prototypes. Don’t pitch an idea solely with words. As you present each element pause and ask them if they have any questions.


NASA didn’t just land a man on the moon in one day. They sent several unmanned rockets with a few fatal mistakes along the way to learn and prove they could make the mission a success. Similarly you may need to phase into the final creative solution. Prove it works by testing it on various touchpoints. Talk with the stakeholders to ensure it can be adopted successfully. Be excited and they’ll be excited.

If you can mitigate the fear with baby steps, you may succeed in selling in that winning idea.

Reaching Out From Within


It’s no secret we love supporting our friends and our community. We are huge fans of SuEllen Fried, one of our community’s early leaders in bullying prevention and now founder of Reaching Out From Within, Inc., an organization sponsoring self-help programs for prison inmates to enable them to become role models for non-violence while in correctional facilities and beyond. The program helps inmates understand the roots of violence in their lives, empowers them to come to terms with their actions and gives them support both within the correctional facility and after they leave.

More than 600 current inmates attend ROFW group meetings facilitated by volunteer inmates. These weekly meetings also have volunteer sponsors from neighboring communities as well as a group of community volunteers who mentor ROFW members released on parole. This intensive mentoring begins before the inmate is released and for 6 or more months after they leave prison.

Sparked by a trip to the Lansing Correctional Facility, renowned photographer, Nick Vedros was inspired to photograph 22 beneficiaries of Reaching Out From Within. Each image uncovers the humanity, the vulnerability and the hope in each man dedicated to turning his life toward positive change.

The “Faces of Change” photography exhibit will be at the Kemper Museum until February 7.

Courage2ChangeWilloughby is delighted to be a partner in design for both Reaching Out From Within and the “Faces of Change” exhibit. We are inspired by the dedication of SuEllen and all the volunteers who believe that all lives matter and everyone deserves a second chance.

Read more about the exhibit and Reaching Out From Within here.

SuEllen is also an Honoree in the 2015 L’Oreal Women of Worth Celebration which highlights women around the US who are making a difference in their communities. You can vote for SuEllen online until November 20. The winner becomes National Honoree and will receive an additional $25,000 for her cause. We vote everyday!

Trends in Restaurant Design

When it comes to restaurant experience design, today’s QSRs are faced with the need to create dining experiences that will appeal to the Millennial and Gen Y demographics that now represent more than half of the QSR market. The challenge is to do it without pushing away existing customers — including Baby Boomers.

A Brand’s Life

Yes, brands live. Some would argue the most iconic brands even have a soul. Granted, brands are not people. However, they are similar to people in that they pass through many of the same phases (and face some of the same challenges) we do.

Forks & Corks 2014


Forks & Corks is an annual food and wine tasting event benefiting Harvesters Community Food Network. We worked with Vahalla Studios to screenprint a set of limited-edition art posters to be auctioned off at the event.