Planting a new brand platform for Cypress International

Founded in 1978, Cypress International is a consulting firm that supports its clients with deep experience in and understanding of business opportunities in the defense and homeland security sectors. The Cypress brand’s visual representations all were homegrown, and lacked a crisp, cohesive, updated look reflecting the firm’s growth, prominence in the defense contracting field and the full spectrum of its offering. 

Cypress International's Refreshed Logo

Cypress International's Refreshed Logo

Introduced to Cypress’ senior team by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), ROI was retained to renovate the entire Cypress branded presentation, first developing a comprehensive style guide with a new logo and color palette, then rolling out in a new website; print collateral; PowerPoint template and letterhead program, all in under eight weeks.

Cypress International's New Website

Cypress International's New Website

Interstate Delivers

ROI’s client, Interstate Moving l Relocation l Logistics, is a 73- year-old, local-to-global moving company headquartered in Springfield, VA and a DC area icon. A few years back, Interstate hired ROI to help refresh the brand platform and to launch sales promotion marketing targeting consumers moving “soon.” The result has been a mix of radio, online, dimensional mail and, most recently, cable TV advertising that is driving valuable leads by the bushel-full.


Early on, we determined to position Interstate’s CEO, Bud Morrissette, as the spokesperson and personification for all that the company is, does and stands for. Still featured in all media, Bud truly comes to life as a friendly, engaging, good guy to work with in this spot, airing since February 1, 2016:


Sales teams from major venues across the U.S. spend their days wooing convention business from major trade and professional association meeting planners. After awhile, there’s the danger that their pitches and “dog and pony” shows will suffer from a rote approach to selling.

DC INSIDERS™, ROI’s new marketing service for major convention and visitors bureaus, launched on February 9, 2016 with the express purpose of providing innovative, signature, MEMORABLE sales tactics that will help CVBs “turn on” their meeting planner prospects and, in the process, position theirs as the preferred, “go to” venue for an association’s next, big tradeshow or meeting.

ROIgiving 2015


Here at ROI, we get very excited when the end of fall approaches and the winter holiday season is finally upon us. Thanksgiving especially is very close to our hearts. Traditionally, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the ROI team celebrates together with a company potluck that has come to be known as “ROIgiving”. There is an eclectic assortment of food, Elvis hits are played on rotation and the conversation is ALWAYS entertaining.


It is also important to us that we give back to our community and those that are in need. Last Friday “team ROI” headed to Manassas to support Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS)/SERVE and their important Operation Turkey initiative. Through Operation Turkey, NVFS/SERVE provides Thanksgiving meals to more than 1000 families in the Prince William County area! Between volunteers and the NVFS/SERVE staff over 20,000 pounds of food was sorted and distributed with the surplus going to SERVE’s Hunger Resource Center.

It was a fun, rewarding and unforgettable day. Please visit the NVFS site to learn more about how you too can help those in need.
A big shout-out goes to Tina Ashkouri— our Operation Turkey leader!
From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Good For Them!

By David Nellis

Bravo!! At least one retailer has the brains and guts to close the Friday after Thanksgiving.

By now, most of you have seen REI’s ad announcing that their stores will be closed on Black Friday. The chain retailer, which has 140+ stores nationwide and employs more than 12,000 people, wants its people to stay home and enjoy family time outdoors. REI also is giving its people full pay for that day off.

ROI is, at its core, a retail agency. Elliot and David grew up in retail sales promotion and most of our clients classify as retailers selling goods and services in crowded, competitive arenas.

And, while we warmly embrace capitalism, “retailism” and the responsibilities we have to each and every client each and every day, we also embrace the concept that, “Work is work and life is life.” 

We, too, close the day after Thanksgiving — with full pay — and have done so for years. While many ROI clients are open for biz that day, we make sure to get everything possible done for them in the days preceding Thanksgiving, so that we can close our doors that Friday after, not leave anything for them undone and allow all our people to revel in four straight days of “fam time.” (Plus, all clients have our contact numbers at home and on the cell, so that any true, marketing emergencies arising still can be dealt with immediately.)

The holidays are for family and friends, and the rewards of that day off are huge.  More companies should recognize that fact.

You go, REI!!!!    

Validating Our Existence: The Power Of Branding

By David Nellis

Saturday night was Halloween. A bunch of kids came to the door – we have the usual Darth Vadars, Captain Americas, pirates, ballerinas and the like.

One kid had on a red shirt and tan pants. I asked who he was dressed as.

“Jake, from State Farm.”

Then I asked, "what’re you wearing, ‘Jake from State Farm?’”

“Khakis,” he replied. 

I love that commercial. (Wish we had done it!)

And I love that kid, that budding marketer, for getting it!


And The Winner Is … ROI!

By David Nellis

We’re fond of saying that, while creative awards are great, the real awards and rewards for our work come when clients' marketing programs are measurably successful, when their registers ring with sales and when they feel good about our work on their behalf.
And that’s true, but … it’s still pretty nice to win prestigious creative awards, too!
ROI just nailed two Silvers from The Davey Awards, honoring the best in web, design, video, advertising, mobile and social media from small agencies the world over. And, although the Davey Awards are for smaller companies, the judges have big reputations. The Davey is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a "Who's Who" of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms representing such organizations such as Condé Nast, Disney, GE, Keller Crescent, Microsoft,, MTV, Push., Publicis, Sesame Workshops, The Marketing Store, Worktank, Yahoo! and many more.


ROI’s two Silver Awards represent work for two clients, one, the DC Brewers Guild, is a new organization and, so, a new ROI client. The other, Danaher Corporation, is a global, Fortune 150 company for which we have worked (annual reports, special programs etc.) since 2007. 

2015 Silver Award - DC Brewers' Guild Logo
Corporate Identity, Logos


2015 Silver Award - Danaher COG (Conference On Growth) Program
Print Collateral, Other
A HUGE shout-out goes to ROI designer Carolyn Belefski, who was the brilliant design lead on both of these award-winning projects!
Additional shout-outs go to ROI’s creative director, Sean Causley, for all the leadership, guidance and creative freedom he provides to his team and to production director Tina Ashkouri for all the behind-the-scenes production magic she provided to ensure that Danaher’s COG program was such a huge success.
Way to go, team ROI!

ROI Teams Up With Purple Heart!

The Purple Heart holiday ornament promotion — initiated and coordinated by ROI — raises awareness, needed funding and hope for the leading organization serving America’s combat-wounded veterans.


The Purple Heart Medal honors patriotism, sacrifice and courage. Established by George Washington in 1782, the Purple Heart is the oldest award still given to men and women of the U.S. military wounded in combat. Purple Heart Foundation is the fundraising engine of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a congressionally-chartered, veteran service organization foundation. Its programs include service officers helping veterans access and receive their VA benefits, scholarships, PTS / TBI support, suicide prevention programs, women’s health issues, partnerships to provide service dogs to wounded veterans and much more.

Max Nellis, ROI principal David Nellis’ second-oldest son, is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan. Luckily and happily, Max came home and now lives with his wife and two kids in Stafford, VA. Many other returning combat vets — and many others who never returned — were not as fortunate as Max was to escape injuries in combat. That fact was emphasized to David by his friend, Jim Hatch, son of a former Marine and actively involved in helping former service members find employment across the DC area.


So, David, Jim and the ROI team cooked up an idea and approached Purple Heart. Our thought was for ROI, on a purely pro bono basis, to bring all the right players together to create the ornament. First step was to find a noted, American artist to design a signature, high-quality holiday ornament that could be sold for Purple Heart’s benefit as an heirloom to grace the homes of many Americans for years to come.


We approached nationally renowned, jewelry artist Ann Hand (, who lives in Georgetown and is married to Lloyd Hand, U.S. Chief of Protocol under President Johnson. She heartily agreed to jump into the project pro bono and within a few, short weeks had produced a stunning design for the ornament, one readily approved by Purple Heart's board of directors.

Produced in the U.S. by the Charleston Mint, the ornament truly is one-of-a kind. Proceeds from sales will support Purple Heart’s mission of helping all veterans and their families this year and for many years to come.


Along with a transactional website (built with backend help from ROI’s longtime web marketing partner, ActiveMedia ( and its founder and CEO, Laszlo Horvath), ROI created a spectrum of soft and hardcopy promotional materials to promote ornament purchases from among Purple Heart members (45,000), active and retired military and their families and all Americans who honor and appreciate the sacrifices of our soldiers in our nation’s honor.

Our work to ensure that Purple Heart enjoys an awesome selling season this year and for many years down the road is just begun. We’re happy to help and proud of each and every Purple Heart recipient whose service to America is incalculable.

Want to purchase this incredibly beautiful, porcelain ornament? Willing to tell friends and family about it? To do so, please visit