Via Lucis and ARTstor Collaboration

I’m pleased to share news about Via Lucis, our venture to document Romanesque and Gothic churches in France and Spain through high-resolution photography.

ARTstor digital library in New York is collaborating with Via Lucis \to share approximately 2,000 high-resolution images, taken by photographers Dennis Aubrey and PJ McKey, from their extraordinary and unique collection of medieval Christian churches in France and Spain.

The collection primarily features interior architecture, especially the arches, vaults, domes, and buttressing that define the Romanesque and Gothic styles. The collection also features a selection of images of the Vierges Romanes, stylized wooden statues of the Madonna and Child, from the 11th century to the 13th century. A subset of these sculptures includes the Black Madonnas, which are particularly venerated in Spain and France.

Dennis Aubrey explains, “The intent of the photography is both to document these magnificent structures and to capture the mystery and hidden presence of medieval spirituality.”

“As the member of a military family who lived in France for seven years while growing up, I was always aware of these churches and felt a deep personal connection to them,” Aubrey continued, “This is a great opportunity to be able to share what we have documented with a larger audience, to allow others to experience them as PJ and I have.”

Via Lucis Photography and Via Lucis Press are parts of a long-term project to document Romanesque and Gothic churches throughout Europe. The projects include the photographs in the collection and a forthcoming book, Light and Stone. The book includes the Via Lucis photographs accompanied by text from Dennis Aubrey, edited by Ann Hanson. The images are high-resolution representatives from a library of over 45,000 images of over 300 churches and cathedrals throughout France and Spain.

We consider Via Lucis to be a spiritual descendent of two earlier undertakings – the famed “Missions Héliographiques” and the “Éditions Zodiaque”,” said PJ McKey. “It is a very personal project for us and being able to capture these churches in a way they have never been captured before is inspiring. We bring our own photographic eyes to the churches, but let them speak for themselves in their beauty and history.”

In 1837, the French government established the Commission des Monuments Historiques. The inspector of monuments then commissioned the Missions Héliographiques: a group of five photographers whose task was to photograph various monuments throughout France. The Editions Zodiaque was a publishing house started by three monks from the tiny French monastic community of La Pierre Qui Vire. From 1950-1995 they traveled throughout France and Europe photographing Romanesque churches as photographer-pilgrims. The team printed many superb volumes illustrated with their extraordinary photography.

Christine Kuan, Chief Content Officer & VP of External Affairs for ARTstor stated, “The ARTstor Digital Library is delighted to be disseminating this important Via Lucis archive for teaching and research purposes. European Romanesque and Gothic Churches remain one of the most studied areas in the history of art and architecture and it’s wonderful that this collection will be reaching a wide range of educational and scholarly users at the more than 1,350 institutions in 45 countries we serve today.”

“We are pleased that the photographs will be made available to the scholarly and academic communities through this arrangement with ArtStor,” Aubrey said. The ArtStor Digital Library in New York serves educators, scholars, curators, librarians, and students at more than 1,350 universities, colleges, museums, and libraries in 45 countries worldwide.

About Via Lucis
Via Lucis Photography and Via Lucis Press are part of a long-term project to document Romanesque and Gothic churches in France and Spain. The photographs represented here are high-resolution images of Romanesque and Gothic churches in those countries. The photographers, Dennis Aubrey and PJ McKey, have created a library of more than 45,000 images.

About ARTstor
ARTstor is a non-profit initiative, founded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with a mission to use digital technology to enhance scholarship, teaching, and learning in the arts and associated fields. ARTstor consists of: A repository of hundreds of thousands of digital images and related data; the tools to actively use those images; and a restricted-usage environment that seeks to balance the rights of content providers with the needs and interests of content users.

Small Retailers Stake Claim vs. Goliaths

What an inspiring article by a brand whiz, on how he helped two mom and pop businesses take on their own Goliaths by showing them how to tell customers why they’re better and more unique.

  • Moths to a Flame: For a too-quiet restaurant at the end of a dark road, enticing prospective patrons to tread a dark alley and draw nearer to lit torches. Once in, the food and ambiance won them over
  • Early Birds Catch the Worm: Urging a green grocer to tell his story of dedication and care in selecting fresh produce at the crack of dawn every day using the most elementary of tools, taking on the giant while armed only with polaroids, note cards and a Sharpie.

If you’re a locally-owned business who’s facing down a new Goliath in town, reach a little and stake your claim based upon your key values — dedication, personal care, affordable pricing, convenience. If you also get the chance to sell and serve customers online (previous post), these same rules apply for reaching shoppers far and wide.

Please read Martin’s article at Fast Company; link here.

World’s Largest Companies: Top 25

Quick, what’s your guess on the world’s largest company?

Did you guess an energy provider, a manufacturer, or a financial group?  Of those three, I’d guessed Royal Dutch Shell, and I was wrong.

The largest company is JP Morgan Chase & Co., according to Forbes magazine. It’s hard to think that over 16,000 jobs worldwide were filled at JP Morgan in the past year, considering the state of banking.

See ’em all here.


Retailers of All Sizes Win Global Shoppers

Hanson Marketing recently structured an online retail strategy with global reach for a retailer of natural personal care and gourmet food goods. No matter the size or current reach, any retailer with the right mix of unique solutions and compelling story can go global.

Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) states that “Domestic-only retailers and online pure-plays are using e-commerce to achieve global reach without opening stores by enabling cross-border trade (CBT) from an existing website (e.g., Saks Fifth Avenue) or by building complete, local e-commerce operations (e.g., Amazon).”

Think about what this means, particularly for local, one-shop bricks and mortar retailers and for those operating purely online: the global retail market isn’t just for the big boxes!  If you believe that the products you offer are unique and that your store is the best source for them — after all, this is what you tell your customers everyday, right? — then you’ve got a foundation for going global.

Contact Tom for a detailed case study on how Hanson Marketing formed a global retail strategy with proven growth results.

Campus Marketing: Apple, Barnes & Noble Lead the Charge

In the rarified air of US college campuses, you will find two American companies leading the charge to capture top brand loyalty and affinity. Apple and Barnes & Noble’s direct-to-consumer channels, student ambassadors, and outsourced sales and service leave their daily imprint on millions of students and staff on campus. The result is an annual crop of well educated customers with discriminating tastes and generally higher earnings potential (says the dad of a recent grad, optimistically…)

Barnes & Noble College is the outsourced campus bookstore at over 600 US campuses, touching over 4 million students and 250,000 staff daily. Through the subtlest of branding, shoppers might notice that B&N is running the place. While such outsourcing helps institutions control operating costs — I’m all for that — it’s generally difficult to unseat an incumbent retailer/outsource provider once entrenched. And, along with that comes the risk of complacency in pricing and quality of services, borne by shoppers who pay premium pricing in exchange for a convenient location. In a store where $65 hoodies prevail and the majority of customers live within a half-mile and are shopping on their parents’ dime, there will be no bargain basements.

Aside from their outsourcing services, B&N is masterfully marketing their Nook-based technology resources straight into the college market, wherein its NookStudy is positioned as the online reading and study platform.

Apple grabs incoming students and their folks with promotions, displays and kiosks. Educators and students are the only set of consumers on the globe who can enjoy discounted Apple products, it seems. So, again, the college campus marketplace is an ideal channel for such a globally cool and technically powerful brand as Apple.

Besides the books and bits market, popular food and beverage makers such as Naked Juice deploy college ambassadors, stocking dorm room fridges and social gatherings. Ambassadors are generally vivacious, friendly students who are fun to be around… hence their products are fun to drink/eat. We see early evidence of campus ambassador marketing in grades 7-12, wherein clothing and shoes are test-marketed on the backs and feet of good-looking, popular people who are nice to look at and fun to be around.

Apple, Barnes & Noble, Naked, and other friendly brands know that campus marketing channels are insular, price-inelastic, and ideal breeding grounds for successive generations of brand-conscious shoppers.

“Social Media Means Business”

As an authority on automating successful selling, can’t be beat. They’re also at the center of the brainstorm on how well social media really contributes to successful sales and customer service. vp Peter Coffee spoke at last week’s Ingram Micro Summit. A couple of thought-provoking ideas from Coffee that bode well for every business, from sole proprietor to Fortune 100:

Selling Tools Unite to Form One Social Body

  1. “Social Media Means Business”, cited Dell’s 22,000+ social media interactions daily
  2. “Moving Toward Zero, One and Infinity”, customers marching toward:

    • Zero on-premise infrastructure with zero acquisition cost, zero adoption cost and zero support cost
    • One coherent environment rather than software stack
    • Infinite scalability.’s position is especially valuable, given their commitment to partnerships with ISVs, who develop social media-centric tools; and to MSPs, whose toolkits help realize the 2 ideas above.

btw, I’m working in an office where Facebook access is blocked (really not a bad idea).  As a consumer products manufacturer, we actively use social media, so we have to step out back and fire up our smartphones to see how they’re performing … joining the fraternity of smokers. WiFi and ashtray, one convenient location!

(Thanks to Joe Panettieri at TalkinCloud, whose blog post covered Peter’s talk. Image courtesy

MSP and VAR Channels Seek Slice of the Cloud

This month, MSP and VAR channel experts are tuning in to news and events from Microsoft and Ingram Micro, as both define latest Cloud solutions and the roles their trusted partners will play in deploying each.

Microsoft’s running an online ad campaign titled Cloudcycle: A Hybrid Model, illustrating with vivid clarity the features and benefits and key concepts of cloud solutions.  They’re readying for a 28 June Cloud Suite launch, and a worldwide partner conference next month in Los Angeles.

Ingram Micro just wrapped up a partner summit in Phoenix, wherein they presented tools and programs to MSP and VAR partners.

The questions for MSPs and VARs for both companies surround how much freedom they will have in packaging and billing these partners’ strong new programs, and how much of the profits they can claim vs. share. Even though channel partnerships are now the largest revenue growth source for technology providers, when it comes to sharing the Cloud isn’t always Open Skies.

On Imports and the Trade Balance

At the Cato Institute, director and global trade analyst Daniel Griswold writes that “the goal of US trade policy should not be to promote exports at the expense of imports, but to maximize the freedom of Americans to trade goods, service and assets in the global marketplace.”

Griswold writes on why exports are not the only stimulant for our economy, and why imports do not “subtract” from our GDP. He reminds us all what we first leaned in Economics 101: in calculating the balance of payments, that which flows out must flow back.

A common trap of protectionism is that trade barriers “restrict the healthy, circular flow of international trade in goods, services and assets”. The end result of protectionism is reduction of both imports and exports, thereby damaging domestic economies and weakening the market share for a country’s manufacturing sectors.

Read more in The Trade Balance Creed: Debunking the Belief that Imports and Trade Deficits Are a “Drag on Growth”, published April 11, 2011 by the Cato Institute. For more on Daniel Griswold, visit the Center for Trade Policy Studies

If you’re in San Diego, note that Griswold will participate in an international trade symposium at California State University San Marcos on Tuesday, June 21. Register here.

Blog at