Category: Interactive & Technology

What Next? 2016 Predictions for Naming and Writing

February 16, 2016 — Jennifer Vasilache

In our last post, we looked back on naming and verbal trends for 2015. Now it’s time to look forward. In this first piece of a series of four blog posts, we share our predictions for what naming and verbal trends we can expect to see more of in 2016.

In this edition, technophile meets word-nerd. This is where CBX Verbal Strategy experts track the latest, most advanced, I-can’t-live-without-it devices and technologies unveiled by industry insiders in the New Year. We are excited and inspired by these cooler than cool innovations, and we are decoding their names to find out what’s hot in technology naming trends this year. Here is what we’ve seen, and what we would love to see going forward.

Super. Human. Technology: Show Your Human Side Move along Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the hottest topic this year. AI is the graceful technology that gives computer systems human-like capabilities such as visual as speech recognition. AI is fast-moving into the mainstream and our everyday experiences, which we see reflected in the names. Say hi to some friendly new faces in AI: Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa, Arlo Q the connected home camera, and Lily the drone. So […]

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Blue Flame

June 26, 2014 — Thom Unterburger

Guess whose phone we won’t be talking about (much) next year

It would be easy to dismiss the timing of last week’s announcement of the Amazon Fire smartphone as a cheap attempt to deflect attention from all the bad PR Amazon has been getting lately. Yet, even if it were true, that would be the only cheap thing about it. Turns out the phone is super expensive, especially considering its vendor.

Anyone who follows Amazon’s business knows it is the most horizontally expansive retailer out there and that it deliberately doesn’t make much money on anything. Instead, Amazon is playing a very long, low-margin game of nickels and dimes from repeat consumption across as many product lines as it can offer, at scale. With over 200 million credit cards on file, it will make it up in volume, the story goes, which is why creating as many Amazon shopping venues as possible (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Kindle) is key to its model.

To wit, when Jeff Bezos introduced the Kindle Fire tablet in the fall of 2012, he said, “We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices.” That’s smart positioning against an […]

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GoPro: A Marketer’s Dream Brand

February 4, 2014 — Joshua Books

If you haven’t had the good fortune lately of experiencing an extreme and adventurous POV video in one of your news feeds, you’re missing out. GoPro, a fast-growing, U.S.-based camera company, is revolutionizing the way people capture life experiences and see the world.

Take this lion safari for example:

In 2002, Nick Woodman, GoPro’s 38-year-old CEO, created a waterproof wrist camera as a way for amateur surfers to photograph their antics riding waves (at the time, only their professional counterparts were professionally photographed). The tiny, portable device became affectionately known as “GoPro.” After selling initial GoPro models out of his van to surf shops all around California, he later raised enough capital to create a smaller, more technologically sound product.

A budding entrepreneur, Woodman later used his GoPro to hone his video-making skills on the Formula One racetrack. While event staff tried to charge him $100 for a rental and recording fee, Woodman kept recording… and the rest is history.

Today, the GoPro brand has risen to impressive heights with professionals and novices alike. It has secured high-profile athletic sponsorships with such legendary surfers as Kelly Slater, and remained a favorite among countless content creators on YouTube. It’s even […]

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Love at first type

May 6, 2013 — Eliza Sadler

“You’re not on OkCupid? Why the hell not?” Two years ago, a colleague of mine, her mouth agape, eyes widened and brow furrowed, posed this challenge about dating in an online age: “How else are you going to meet people?”

At the time, her concerns, and the prospect itself, seemed ridiculous. Little did I know that swarms of New Yorkers had already hooked up via digital means.

So here goes my “Hi, my name is Eliza and I have ‘dabbled’ in online dating” (cue awkward shrug and eye roll) confession.

During the time that it’s taken me to become just partially cool with the whole thing, online dating has rapidly transformed.

No longer are people motivated out of desperation, a hook up or dare we say, companionship. Now, it’s all about the tribe. It’s about knowing what you want and clinging to people most like you. It’s about the shared band (or brand) of people. The mystery for the most part is gone (#tear). Just look at the new, tribe-specific sites popping up today:

– If you consider yourself a classy lady (their words, not mine), specifically, an Ivy League student, aspiring model or young actress, and you want a […]

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How to Innovate Like a Successful Startup

November 15, 2012 — Sandra Creamer


Twitter did it. So did Instagram and Fab. Some of the most successful technology startups in recent memory have one thing in common: They’ve applied principles of creativity, innovation and design to their process in order to arrive at a winning idea.

If you’re wondering what’s in these companies’ secret sauces, just know that the ingredients are exactly what we practice in the creative agency world. Here are some centered design principles used by recent Silicon Valley startups to turn their brands into huge successes.

#1. Don’t be afraid to create a beautiful experience.

Fab was originally a niche social networking site, but they later pivoted based on a single insight: People want beautiful design in their everyday lives.

The fact that we are multisensory creatures should be a lesson to brands: When developing a new idea, prioritizing how design can enhance the overall experience is key to success. This might encompass the website experience itself, or the presentation of that experience (e.g., the look, tone, and feel of any and all of the brands’ visual elements). Fab capitalized on this fact, as did Pinterest, and both became online sensations as a result.

Key takeaway: When thinking about how […]

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Branding in a gif.fy

July 30, 2012 — Lulu Carter


Nothing makes me laugh quite like a #whatshouldwecallme .gif that mirrors my roommate’s reaction to someone changing her 90’s playlist in the car, or one that calls to mind the feeling of selfish despair, after I have discovered that my last single friend in New York City found a new boyfriend .

There is something so on point and discerning that .gif provides, other than filling the void of bland text humor. Not only has the self-deprecating theme of allowed thousands to relate on a more personal and honest premise through animated visuals, it has also inspired so many people to re-blog these notorious .gifs, possibly distilling a “truer self” along the way.

The flood of new .gif based Tumblr sites:

are essentially branding situations rich in emotional context through visual personas and facial idiosyncrasies. These .gifs run the gamut of highlighting our darkest hours, daily victories, and subtle annoyances, entertaining “a day in the life” spectacle that most of us can identify with.

From the beginning of mankind, we have attributed complex meaning to facial expressions, an extraordinary and progressive trait unique to human beings. Expressions have always served as a chief social device for emotional […]

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Instagram or Instabrand?

May 8, 2012 — Joshua Books

The $1B acquisition of Instagram by Facebook a few weeks ago is testament to how valuable digital space is in the 21st century. Brands of all different natures are jockeying for additional awareness across a multitude of social networks. 50 million users have downloaded Instagram, for free – and that’s not stopping anytime soon, gaining approximately five million more users per week. Like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, Instagram has become a creative vehicle for communication and interaction, globally.

Everyone from Kim Kardashian to Cole Haan to the Boston Celtics have Instagram accounts. I recently attended a concert series called Cosmic Opera that ran a contest in which Instagram users who tagged #CosmicOpera and posted theatrically dressed photos of themselves at the show could win tickets to future concerts. And thanks to the application, I can wake up on Monday morning knowing that electronic music artist Skrillex ate mashed potatoes and asparagus on his tour bus in Dublin at three AM, then smoked a cigarette.

All this begs the question: Does having an identity (like Skrillex or Cosmic Opera or even Joshua Books) in the digital space make you a “brand,” and are your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, […]

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The Color of Sound

February 22, 2012 — Joshua Books

Meg’s blog about Christian Louboutin’s use of the color red got me thinking about another product that has recently benefited from color branding: headphones.

Eight years ago, Apple’s iPod TV commercial changed the way consumers see music. The dark silhouettes dancing against bright colored backdrops brought the contrasting white iPod and ear-buds to life.

Here is just one of iPod/iTunes ads run by Apple in recent years:

Apple marketed products under the rainbow logo for more than twenty years until 1998, when a corporate identity rebrand introduced the monochromatic/white color scheme. This change sparked a revolution in the iconic nature of their products.

After the iPod was introduced in 2001, white headphones became a virtual status symbol, and a badge of insider knowledge. Pinpointing the opportunity to brand this accessory was a stroke of genius (like so many other strokes of genius that can be credited to Apple), And thanks to Apple, the headphone craze has exploded internationally, as innovative branding has transformed a utilitarian necessity to a form of self-expression.

Living and working in New York City makes it difficult to let trends go unnoticed. Which is why my ears perked up when I started hearing […]

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The changing Face(book) of retail

December 15, 2011 — Geoffrey Blair

The face of retail has been changing for quite some time. As consumers we are fortunate to have multi-channel opportunities to purchase nearly every product imaginable. Thanks to the wonderful world of the digital space, E-commerce has brought harmony to those not wanting to enter a brick and mortar location to purchase a product. It has also put products not readily available at local stores within arms (or even fingers) reach. says that 72.6% of Internet users will buy online in 2011, so we know this is a growing area of interest.

Given that we’re in a digital world, most of us are likely to be online more than just a few times a day. (Of course, not during CBX hours…) That’s where Facebook comes in. A few years ago the social networking site launched an E-commerce platform. They are allowing brands to sell their goods on their site. Brands can sell there products in two different ways: either directly on the site – as with Gillette, Heinz and Walmart – or by bringing you to another site by clicking a link featured on the brand’s Facebook page, as with Pampers and Macy’s. If you “like” any of […]

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Brands I Love: Three Technology Brands That Make My Life Easier

November 10, 2011 — Sandra Creamer

It has snowed in Manhattan already and it is only October. Add to that the fact that I am incredibly lazy and hate the cold, and you get a person who is not exactly excited for winter. That is why I love three technology brands that have made, and will continue to make, my life much easier and more enjoyable, no matter what the weather.


Number 1: FreshDirect

FreshDirect is such a smart web site. The company knows that people don’t want to go out and shop, and they know people don’t plan ahead for food, so this brand makes it easier to do both. I can order my entire week’s worth of meals and have it delivered simply by clicking a button. For one, it is like having one of those fancy meal diet home delivery services, for much less money. I order salads, soups, healthy snacks, stir frys, fruits and vegetables, and it is always so convenient. I sometimes have the delivery scheduled as my wake up call – when they knock on my door I get up. Best of all, I can easily order from my iPhone, so boring work meetings are much more […]

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