Category Archives: Uncategorized

For Every Excuse a New Strategy

Stan was the first person to recognize my potential, and throughout our time working together, took pride in finding opportunities for me to learn and grow. His outlook on everything was infinitely positive, and to him a problem or challenge was an opportunity to identify an objective and address it through strategic thought and creativity.

When clients shared their business successes with us, Stan would congratulate them by saying “Glad you’re capitalizing on those opportunities.” But more often, opportunities came in the form of clients complaints about the most recent pain point in their business. Stan’s consistent response to these… “It’s just another opportunity.”

As business owners it’s easy to want to avoid the problems we encounter. We can justify them any way we want, but ultimately we are just hiding the true cause beneath excuses. It is our job to find the learning and improvement opportunities inherent in each challenge we face.

Try this going forward…

1. When thinking about your business, swap the word “Problem” for “Opportunity” permanently.

2. As opportunities arise, write them down. Sort them into “Long Term” and “Short Term”, determine how they fit within your “Big Picture Plan”, and make plans to implement them at the appropriate time.

No more excuses! Remember, a problem is just an opportunity to think strategically and creatively about a newly identified objective. In other words, an opportunity for success!

What’s your next big opportunity? 

I’d love to give you feedback on your next big opportunity or help you identify them. Please comment below or  contact me directly on Twitter.


Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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The Big Picture

December 12, 2011… The world has lost a great man… and I lost my mentor and dear friend, Stan Harris.

He was the most genuine, polite and talented human being I will ever know. The lessons he taught me are innumerable and ingrained, inspiring all the work I do today.

My Mentor

As an avid photographer, Stan had a knack for composing images so that every element played a specific role in the photograph. I distinctly recall one photo of an old farmhouse, framed by trees, and supported by a quaint country bridge in the foreground, taken while visiting his daughter Sam in Arkansas. Separately, the elements would’ve looked incomplete, yet together they were captivating, and begged you to learn more about this old building.

When it came to business, Stan saw it through the same wide lens. By asking all the right questions, he would bring a client’s objectives into focus, while all the other details faded into the background. After listening to a few new client consultations, it became clear that many businesses had buried themselves in the details, and, to keep the analogy going, lost sight of their “big picture” goals. They had gotten too close to their cause and developed tunnel vision to the point they could no longer see the forest for the trees. They needed someone to open their eyes and help them refocus, and this was Stan’s gift.

So, when it comes to your business and its marketing, try and do the following every quarter:

1. Take a step back and review the “big picture” with a wide lens.

2. Bring your business objectives back into “focus”.


3. Close the “shutter” and capture your plan for the next three months.

Stan will be greatly missed by many, but he will never be forgotten. He was the inspiration for this blog, and by sharing his lessons, I hope you all can learn as much from him as I did.

If you have any questions, comment below or ask me directly on Twitter.

Until next time…



Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Uncategorized


A Tasteful Twist

This week is a window into another passion of mine, food and the restaurant business. This is an industry fraught with failure, which I attribute to a combination of an unclear concept and an inadequate or improper marketing strategy. So many restaurants believe they can become a neighborhood favorite by simply combining faithful menu items, a kitschy format or theme, and low prices. In reality, this just makes them one more of those restaurants in the community with no differentiable qualities, that really doesn’t make you want to come back. In short, they venture to be everything to everybody, MARKETING NO NO #1, and more often then not, fall short in delivering on one of the crucial elements of a good restaurant, service or food, resulting in insufficient business.

As the length of our work days continue to increase, the time available to wind down after hours becomes more precious. For working professionals, this often means the only time to relax is over a meal at the end of the day, representing a tremendous opportunity for restauranteurs. This group calls every city in the country home, they are looking for an everyday place to put their feet up, a place where they can meet friends, and a place that has them thinking about the next time they will be able to get there. They want quality in food, beverage, and service, and they don’t mind paying for it! And they come here as much for the great food, as they do for the atmosphere, ambiance, and the feeling they get as soon as they set foot through that door.

Living in Reno, it is really hard to find decent eats, so on a recent trip to Denver I took some time to explore the city and discovered Euclid Hall, a restaurant that delivers on absolutely every level of its conceptual foundation, the modern gastropub. A gastropub is a pub style restaurant that offers typical pub favorites, like salty beer snacks, soups, sandwiches and salads, enhanced by an enlightened culinary perspective, served in a modern pub setting, and accompanied by an extensive selection of craft beer, wine, and cocktails. This is a concept that resonates with the growing young professional segment of our population. And, at Euclid Hall, the decor, menu, and service all work in complete harmony to support this culinary concept, attract the right clientele, provide an incredible dining experience, and build a sustainable business for the owners.

Here is a review of Euclid Hall that truly “SAYS IT ALL” about this great restaurant.

I recently flew into Denver for a job interview in with Beaver Creek Resort in the Vail Valley. Following a pre-dawn flight in on a Monday morning, a 2 hour pre-dawn drive up to the resort, a stellar performance throughout a full day of interviews, and a 3 hour drive back to Denver, I was desperately in need of some relaxation! I also needed to citify myself before returning to the Biggest Little City, and some quality culinary exploration was the only ticket. My girlfriend had been researching restaurants in Denver and found Euclid Hall on Yelp. I checked out the menu and made plans with some friends for the evening.

The Ambiance and Decor:
When I walked up, I could tell this was a special place. Euclid sits on a quiet street just outside Larimer Square, and is housed in an old building with some interesting history,simply adorned by an understated white neon sign on the second story.

The steep entryway stairs lead your eyes right into the busy open kitchen full of serious looking cooks. My ears quickly tuned into the inviting sounds of a busy pub and the great music coming from overhead, and my nose was filled with the incredible smells wafting through the space. My senses were alive in a way they hadn’t been at a restaurant for quite some time, and I was excited.

After I came back to reality, I noticed the warm exposed brick, accented by modern polished aluminum decor and tables, and the very cool opening in the ceiling uniting the two levels of the building. We were taken upstairs by the host and greeted by Chad, our culinary tour guide through Euclid Hall.

The Food:
We started with beer, and I asked questions about IBUs of specific beers on tap, which were answered with incredible proficiency. We landed on a belgian style wheat beer that was perfect with everything we ate.

First round included: Crispy pigs ears, an  E- Dog (corndog with a housemade turkey sausage), and the Hand Cranked Sausage Sampler (one link each of German Style Weisswurst, Beef Shortrib Keilbasa, Boudin Noir, and Hopwurst)

The pigs ears were great. I was expecting a big fried crispy ear to come out of the kitchen (ala Michael Symon or Chris Cosentino) but instead a small basket of lightly breaded strips arrive on a wooden cutting board with homemade ranch and buffalo sauce. The ears must be prepared by pressure cooking or braising them for a long time to acheive the tender texture, and then breaded and fried to crispy perfection. They didn’t really have a flavor of their own, but the sauces were great and they were the perfect beer snack.

The sausages, grilled to perfection, arrived on a bed of german style cabbage, and side plate containing four types of house made mustard (horseradish, spicy brown, bourdeaux and a classic whole grain yellow). All the sausages had the perfect snap and wonderfully unique flavor profiles.The two best were the boudin noir, full of garlic and other spices, and a fantastic texture, and the Short Rib Kielibasa, which was perfectly smoked and incredibly juicy from all of the delicious beef fat in the raw shortrib product. The Hoppwurst was interesting because of the actual hops in the sausage, but the weisswurst was fairly bland.

Left to Right: Crispy Pigs Ears and Handcranked Sausage Sampler

Round 2… Chads choice… two of the most inventive dishes I have had in a while… Roasted Cauliflower Salad and Lamb Poutine.

The cauliflower salad was incredible. The roasted cauliflower was placed in a long dish on a bed of Shishito Pepper Marmalade (a sweet and spicy pepper from Japan) and garnished with green onions and tempura crunchies. The combination of the marmalade with the extremely tender and slightly charred cauliflower and the texture from crunchy tempura bits was perfect. Though it will never come close, I will try to make this at home.

The lamb poutine was great. Well done fries are served with perfectly seared lamb and tender braised lamb, covered in a smoked red wine type gravy, and garnished with tangy goat cheese and micro sorel. The combination is incredible, and the sorel added the perfect peppery bite to cut through the richness of this dish. I only wish there was more of each ingredient on our plate because it was tough to achieve the perfect bite.

Left to Right: Roasted Cauliflower Salad and Lamb Poutine

Round 3… Dessert…
Sourdough Waffle Ice Cream sandwich with salted butterscotch ice cream, interesting and delicious, though dont expect the sourdough to show itself when eaten with the ice cream, make sure and try the waffle seperately to see what it’s all about, and the S’mores Pot au Creme, incredibly light marshmallow fluff floating on top of an incredible chocolate custard and served with a homemade graham cracker. The perfect way to end a meal.

Left to Right: S'Mores Pot Au Creme and Sourdough Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich

The Absolute Acknowledgement of a Great Restaurant:
Having gone on this journey with two friends who may have never set foot into this place, or any one like it had it not been for my visit, I asked what they thought as the meal wrapped up.

The resounding statement was, “The pigs ears were really good!”, which was remarkable coming from someone who would have never even thought to put them in his mouth before that night, and “We’ve really never eaten this way, ordering, sharing, and exploring a menu with friends. This is certainly something we would love to do again.”

If you are in Denver, you owe it to yourself to go to Euclid Hall. You are guaranteed to leave happy and looking forward to the next time!

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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Uncategorized


Budweiser’s New Sport = New Money and New Jobs For Local Economies

Budweiser’s New Sport = New Money and New Jobs For Local Economies

April 20, 2011, Budweiser launched an international campaign to introduce the world to Poolball…

“an idea that links two great passions of men, nightlife and soccer. 
A giant pool table over 7×3 meters long, with 15 redesigned soccer balls. Two teams of 2 friends standing on top of this huge table playing with the same pool rules. The difference is in “Poolball” you use your feet to shoot and not the club.”

According to sources at Ogilvy Argentina, campaign creators

While the game began as an experiential marketing event for the brand in Argentina, hosting 300 teams of two who competed live on ESPN and Fox Sports, the game has gained quite a following in the United States and beyond, and many bar and pub owners internationally are quickly attempting to replicate this game.

Recognizing the growing popularity of Poolball, Budweiser, an American company, has created and opportunity to bring millions of dollars and new jobs to local economies in hundreds of cities across the United States, by establishing the United States Poolball League, or USPL.

Official Logo of the Game

The USPL will work with municipalities to begin the process of building the first permanent Poolball Fields in the world! USPL will provide these municipalities with detailed plans and material lists, which the municipalities will put out for bid to local contractors, and Budweiser will provide the funding necessary to complete construction.

Cities will create local USPLs, hire staff, and recruit recreational Poolball teams to play in a format similar to the established World Adult Kickball Association and city adult softball leagues. Monies paid by teams will go to fund the league management and necessary field maintenance, creating jobs and revenue for local companies who take on the maintenance contracts.

Budweiser will be the de facto national sponsor of the USPL, and any leagues that may spin off internationally, and as such, will design the sponsorship inventory for the fields and have permanent placements on each field. Budweiser has announced that they will allow the local leagues to generate additional revenue for the league by selling sponsorships to non-competing brands and local companies. Budweiser, in a continued effort to market their products to an age appropriate audience and discourage under aged drinking, has recognized that these fields will be permanent fixtures in the community, visible to both adults and children, and therefore the signage will be designed such that it can be hidden during times of inactivity.

If you want to bring Poolball to your city, submit a request with link to this article on the Anheuser Busch Idea Site , Call Anheuser-Busch Headquarters at 1-800-DIAL BUD and mention this article, Email Anheuser Busch  a link to this article, contact AB Employees like Keith Levy- VP of Marketing, Brand Managers, Sports Marketing Managers, or Event Marketing Managers you may be connected to on, and talk to your local distributor about this fantastic opportunity! Lets get this on the AB Radar Screen!

* This article is fictional, but with your help, we could make it a reality! While Poolball was created by Ogilvy, the idea to create the USPL and bring jobs and money to our local economies was dreamed up by Tragash! With the right kind of support, we could help Budweiser make this game, the jobs, and revenue a reality for our local communities. Please share this article with as many people as you can, like it on Facebook, Retweet the heck out of it, and send it on to AB any way we can!

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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Who are you? Building the foundation of your Brand

“First we need a logo!” said someone at the board meeting.
But what is a logo?
According to Wikipedia…
“A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition.”
“Recognition”, an interesting word choice and place to start.
What exactly is it we are supposed to recognize?
Below are a few logos…
What do you recognize when you see them? Do they conjure specific thoughts and feelings immediately?
Beervana: Brand Dissection: Pabst Blue Ribbon Photo by

When you glance at the Pabst Blue Ribbon Can, you see the Red White, and Blue of the American Flag, the Blue Ribbon associated with first place in American Competition, and artistically rendered hops, all telling the story of an American made, award winning beer that America can be proud of.

Monster Energy Drink    Photo by

The Monster Energy M, a loudly colored image of a monster tearing through the darkness with major attitude, is the perfect image of their consumers, who live out loud with the goal of tearing through the noise of everyday life by truly being individual.

These logos are icons that carry with them a set of attributes, carefully defined by the companies, with which you, and other consumers associate, identify, and relate to everyday.

By carefully crafting a brand strategy at inception, these logos have come to mean everything about their brand to consumers worldwide.

So many businesses begin their branding process from the top down, loosely defining what they do instead of identifying who they are

Who you are, a set of attributes including your image, attitude, identity, value proposition, and more, is the foundation of your brand, the identity with which your consumers will relate, and ultimately, what should guide every action you take.

Ok, here’s the first Tragash Takeaway

Create an attribute outline of your product, brand, organization, or even yourself (after all, you are a brand too!).

Start by answering the question… Who am I?

Be very specific… You can never be everything to everybody.

Until next time…Thanks for tuning in!

If you have a specific marketing question you would like answered or a concept you would like covered, follow Tragash on Twitter, @tragash, comment and subscribe to the blog, or email him directly,

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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Meet Tragash!

Thanks for tuning in to a Twist of Tragash, a blog covering real marketing solutions and real applications, inspired by real business, with a little bit of real life in the mix!

I’m Tragash… A University of Florida Gator graduate with a knack for marketing, transplanted from the humid swamps of south Florida to the beautiful High Desert of the majestic Sierra Nevadas. I live here with Ashley, my beautiful girlfriend and fellow Floridian, and Riley, our insane dog. We have spent the last few years exploring this area, seeking out everything it has to offer, especially great eats, music, and outdoor activities. We understand life is nothing more than the sum total of your experiences, and we take every opportunity to live it up and try it all.

Tragash, Ashley, and Riley

The Reno-Tahoe area is an amazing place that has afforded me opportunities to grow personally and professionally. In 2009, I served as the Executive Director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, establishing strong relationships with community leaders and local businesses, educating them on how to use marketing to leverage charitable affiliations and increase customer engagement. Things were going well but as a result of the recession, the local office closed mid 2010, sending me on to my next adventure.

So I began to dialogue with business leaders throughout the community about the virtues of innovative marketing and new media. We discussed their marketing woes and I shared my ideas in the hopes of securing consulting contracts. But in today’s economic recession, in a town as small as Reno, getting a business to invest in marketing, let alone a consultant, has been tough.

So, to keep the wheels turning, I’ve been handing out FREE SAMPLES of marketing consultation, and these are the stories I will be sharing with you. Some of my ideas have been put into action, and others have been set aside for a rainy day, but this is stuff anyone out there could use, and I hope they do!

Think of me as a virtual marketing consultant. Don’t be afraid to comment or ask questions. I am here to help.

As this blog grows, I hope to hand out more FREE SAMPLES to any business that needs the help! So if you, or someone you know, owns a business that could utilize my service, please have them subscribe to the blog and tweet me @tragash, or email me at with FREE SAMPLE in the subject.

For more commentary on marketing trends, good eats, culture and life in the Reno-Tahoe area and beyond, follow me on twitter, @tragash.

Until next time!


Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Uncategorized


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