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Facebook Me Gently With A Chainsaw

August 14, 2018 — Dustin Longstreth

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“All we want is to be treated like human beings, not to be experimented on like guinea pigs or patronized like bunny rabbits.” – Veronica Sawyer, Heathers

Thirty years ago, when Mark Zuckerberg was just another 4-year-old in Gymborees, the now cult classic movie, “Heathers,” hit the theaters. In it, a clique of quintessential mean girls, each named Heather, outwardly present themselves as the embodiment of well-intentioned social graces, while behind the scenes they fine-tune their expertise in the dark arts of social manipulation.

Today Mark is one of the richest, most successful tech-entrepreneurs in the history of the world. And the company he created, Facebook, is a full-on Heather – treating the world as its very own Westerburg High.

Over the past decade or so, we’ve seen Facebook go from being the cute and innocent new kid on the block, to the wunderkind for savvy marketers looking to connect with the young and educated, to the most dominant company in the world when looking to target…anyone.

Now every brand out there wants Facebook as a friend or a fuck. They’re worshiped at Westerburg…. and they’re only a junior.

But their meteoric rise has come […]

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Brooklyn Inspires @ Northside Innovation Festival

June 13, 2018 — Ali Arduini

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Last week, we immersed ourselves into the Northside Festival: a convergence of music, business, and art, that showcases the most creative minds and talent of the global innovation community. Through a series of keynotes and panel talks, the “best and brightest” congregated in North Brooklyn to share their latest insights on emerging tech, media innovations, creative design, and the culture changes emerging in our digital world.

With a constant aptitude to learn about industry trends and “the next big thing,” we spent the week carefully listening to the highly-credible speakers discuss their wisdom and future industry predictions at unique venues across Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

In true Brooklyn fashion we grabbed our 7-dollar locally-roasted coffee, popped open our tiny Macbook Airs, adjusted our Warby Parkers (ok, that one’s an exaggeration), and got to note-taking. Here are some of the trends and topics discussed:

Brand Reputation

Brands are becoming patrons of culture rather than just facilitators Trust is the new currency: The New York Times has recently focused on labeling their articles more clearly to better distinguish news versus opinion pieces, resulting in better clarity for readers to help de-clutter the confusion on #fakenews. Brand loyalty can […]

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Fuse 2018: A Deep Dive into Design and Consumer Brand Experience

April 16, 2018 — Ali Arduini

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Gaining new insight on design and brand strategy is essential for us to continue to be experts and innovators in our field. That’s why we sent our Engagement Director, Damien Moore-Evans, to the Fuse 2018 conference to observe the latest tools and knowledge leveraged by some of the top performers in the industry.

A spotlight on pioneers and scene-stealers from both well-known brands and design startups, Fuse set to “celebrate disruptors and game changers within iconic and startup companies. Those who are changing the face of design and the way consumers experience and interact with the brand.”

With the fairly unpredictable nature of this industry, we understand the need for brands to cater to the ever-changing consumer. Even the most well-recognized brands have to be open to modifications, and we’ve seen it firsthand with recent redesigns including our work for Cheerios, Land O’Lakes, and Pillsbury. Many speakers at the conference stressed this importance for change, and the conference also included a multitude of other tips on how brands can stay at the top of their game.

Here are some of our favorite takeaways:

Data-driven content is the only way to avoid failing behind Pantone: Color […]

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A Glimpse into the Future of Retail Experience

April 11, 2018 — Krisana Jaritsat

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Recently, we sent out Engagement Director, Damien Moore-Evans, to Chicago to attend Global Shop 2018, “the nation’s largest retail design industry trade show, which combines store design, visual merchandising, retail technology and shopper marketing leaders under one roof.” From our work redesigning the flagship Houston location of Saks Fifth Avenue, to more recently creating the bakery of our dreams for New York’s favorite miniature cupcake, Baked by Melissa, we’ve been thinking a lot lately about store experiences, community spaces, and the evolution of the brick-and-mortar. While the debate will undoubtedly continue on the path of the ‘store of the future,’ we’re pretty certain what we witnessed and heard at Global Shop will resonate in the years to come.

Here were the most interesting findings from Damien:

Gen Z is shaped by 911, cyber bullying, and unpredictable political climate. In spite of this, they are ambitious realists. 64% cited shared values with a brand for the reason they engaged with that particular brand –Harvard Business Review From showrooms to ‘Do-rooms,’ retailers are making a bigger push for overall better shopping experiences -Eight Inc. The expectation economy continues on. Brands are shifting their behaviors to better coincide […]

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StraightTalk #3 Recap: Content & Culture

April 4, 2018 — Krisana Jaritsat

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When you look around the current media landscape, to says its “changed” would be an understatement. Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of new media platforms, content producers and content platforms all buttressed by technology. The sheer volume of content being produced by content creators (and who we deem as content creators) is hard to fathom and even harder to decipher in terms of its value, integrity and contribution to society. What we do know is there is an appetite for content from audiences. And no one party is more equipped to satiate those appetites than brands.

At CBX, we exist in the world of brands- how to make, shape and market them. As content becomes a more powerful and integral force in people’s lives, populating their conversations and day-today behavior, brands have an opportunity to insert themselves into those activities. But they need to do so carefully as audiences today are more discerning and apt to call BS should anything appear disingenuous or inauthentic.

At our third #StraightTalk event, where we invite thought leaders and experts we admire from their respective fields to banter and dissect a topic together, we […]

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Q&A with Bryan Tucker, Editor in Chief of The Kicker & Co-Head Writer of Saturday Night Live

April 2, 2018 — Krisana Jaritsat

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At our third #StraightTalk event, we welcomed Evan Minskoff, Head of Marketing at Tumblr and Bryan Tucker, Co-Founder of  The Kicker and Head Writer at Saturday Night Live to discuss content and culture with CBX’s CMO, Dustin Longstreth. Before we kicked off the evening, we grabbed each of them for a quick-fire “Q&A With,” which we’ll be publishing separately.

First up is Bryan Tucker, whose background reads like comedy gold: stand-up comedian and sketch actor, comedy writer for TV sketch shows including The Chris Rick Show and Chapelle’s Show. He is a nine-time Emmy nominee and the recipient of a Peabody Award and three Writers Guild Awards. Currently, when he’s not writing skits for Saturday Night Live, he is Editor in Chief of the sports comedy content website, The Kicker. In short, the guy knows content.

With Bryan, we were keen to get his unique point of view on the power and value of content in today’s information-rich and digitally-perpetuated landscape. Having created content for a variety of mediums for both a massive brand such as Saturday Night Live and a more nascent brand such as The Kicker, what was his take on how audiences interacted with […]

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Our Thoughts on Expo West 2018

March 15, 2018 — Damien Moore-Evans

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Last week, we sent a crew of five to Natural Products Expo West,  one of the leading trade shows in the natural, organic and health product industry where over 80,000 industry professionals gather each year. Our team was there to mingle with a few of our clients (hi Hain, Mission, General Mills and Hormel) and see what’s new and trending in the natural space. Here are some thoughts from Damien Moore-Evans, our Engagement Director and Vannett Li, Strategist

 

This year, more than years past, we’re seeing brands make a more concerted effort to be culturally relevant, and a greater emphasis on activations that connect with audiences in  immersive experiences that reinforce the brand’s promise. 

While Expo West obviously showcases those in the natural and organic worlds, the breadth of brands/products and the differentiation of ingredients and benefits they’re touting only emphasizes the growing nature of this category.

Collagen was an ingredient many brands highlighted which we found interesting as it is typically associated with beauty regimes; however, as we know the beauty sector only continues to soar, it makes all the more sense that collagen-infused products would find its ways to the supermarket aisle. And what […]

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How Culture Drives Brands

February 20, 2018 — Christina Papale

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A few weeks ago, it was announced that the Cleveland Indians would put an all-stop to using the Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms by 2019. The cartoon-like logo depicting a Native American was first introduced in 1948 but over the years, the team name and symbol have been called out as insensitive and racist to Native Americans resulting in many a debate and protest. In fact, pressure to remove Cleveland Indian brand symbology has been ongoing for the past 50 years. So why the change today?

In our highly connected and attuned society, it is more important than ever that a brand be keyed-in and connected to the fast moving cultural barometer at-large.

Culture inherently moves like an ocean, its forces and waves breaking as “a storm to the norm.” Think watershed or counter-culture movements.That’s why all brands, regardless of industry, should be paying attention to cultural conversations; and if brands are smart, they will be leading changes for good vs. reacting. When a brand doesn’t keep up with culture, it runs the risk of the worst brand offense: irrelevancy. We’ve seen our culture break many brands that were too slow to evolve. […]

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Design Packaging: Emerging Visual Codes (Part 3 of 3)

February 9, 2018 — Krisana Jaritsat

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In Part 3 of our 3-Parter blog series examining packaging design, Vannett Li and Krisana Jaritsat look at emerging design cues brands are exploring as they try to stand out on both a literal and digital shelf.

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Packaging’s role on shelf is to attract, engage, and sell. When brick and mortar was the de facto shopping destination for consumers, standing out on  sometimes, a literal shelf in a supermarket or grocery store was one of the primary goals of how brands approached traditional packaging.  Category cliches and functional claims were prioritized over the brand resulting in a sea of uniformity and neon violators shouting “NEW”, “ORGANIC”, “IMPROVED”. Physical constraints of the shelf discouraged innovative structures. An overwhelming amount of brands assaulting the consumer from every angle prevented marketers from launching bold and daring designs in fear that the consumer won’t be able to reliably find their brand. Shopping in store was purely transactional.

However, as shopping migrated online and e-commerce exploding, new considerations had to be made by brands. Design decisions had to reflect and address such issues such as whether your goods were sold on websites like Amazon versus DTC on your own website or how your […]

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Design Packaging: Brand as Representation (Part 2 of 3)

February 7, 2018 — Krisana Jaritsat

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In Part 2 of our 3-Parter blog series examining packaging design, Krisana Jaritsat discusses how thoughtful packaging can serve as a bigger marketing and media experience for consumers.

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Back in early 2016, when Evan Spiegel, the co-founder and CEO of Snapchat (or more accurately, Snap, Inc) was asked to describe his Gen Z and Millennial favored social media platform, he stated “it was a camera company.” According to a Piper Jaffray Report in 2016, Spiegel’s “camera company” was named the most important social network by teenagers. Not the company whose mission was to help connect the world (that would be Facebook) nor the company cited years ago as an entertainment platform by its founders (that would be Instagram). No, the most important tool in a teenager’s arsenal was one that helped document and share their lives in ephemeral images (alongside a dancing hot dog) via their phone or a pair of circular $130 sunglasses.

Now certainly, what a difference the past two years make. Once a darling of the tech world, the common conversation around Snap these days ranges from whether their IPO was overvalued, can the company innovate fast enough to compete with competitors or the increasing […]

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