Category: Other

The Start of Something Big

May 16, 2016 — Lisbet Gutierrez

I spent this weekend at The Period Shop — the world’s very first pop up store dedicated to periods, created by our favorite period brand U by Kotex. To say that I’m proud to work with the CBX U by Kotex project would be an understatement. The pop-up shop brings to life the brand mission in a tangible way, and the shelves were lined with our anti-stereotype package designs. See more about how these cool, colorful designs came to be here.

The Period Shop was inspired by a Tumblr post from a young woman, Sarah M., who partnered with U by Kotex to make her vision a reality on 5th Avenue in NYC. Part celebration, part proclamation, The Period Shop is proof that, together, we can change how we think about, talk about, and shop for periods. All proceeds benefit Susan’s Place, a NYC-based transitional residence for homeless women.

And here are photos from my #PeriodProjects experience:

 

 

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Consumer Brands: You’re Either In Or You’re Out

March 15, 2016 — Rachel Bernard

Last week in our series of 2016 predictions, we took a look at coming trends in life sciences. This week, we’re turning our attention to consumer brands—what’s in and what’s out when it comes naming and writing for consumer goods and services.

The first millennials turn 35 this year. They are coming of age as leaders of industries and heads of movements, and nearing their maximum earning potential. They are now the holders of the average household’s purse strings. Not surprisingly, the way consumer goods like apparel, food or personal care products are marketed has shifted dramatically to appeal to a generational demand for transparency, authenticity, and purpose. Here is our take on what will be in and what will be out for consumers in 2016.

OUT: Faux Founders IN: Mascots Creating a fictitious founder has long been a trick namers have pulled out of their magic naming hats as a shortcut to authenticity. Sadly, there is no Mrs. Paul cooking up fish sticks in a quaint seaside cottage. Betty Crocker? A figment of marketing imagination. Dr Pepper was never a real doctor, nor a real person, for that matter. This time-honored naming trope may have worked with […]

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Reimagining the Brand Architecture at the Westminster Dog Show

February 23, 2016 — Maryann Stump

Every year the Westminster Dog Show provides an opportunity to see the vast portfolio of dogs the canine species has to offer. From a brand perspective there’s a problem though – the brand portfolio architecture is stuck in the 1880s.

Sporting Photo courtesy of USA Today

Working Photo courtesy of PBS

Hound Photo courtesy of Fox 5 San Diego

Herding Photo courtesy of US News

Toy Photo courtesy of Forbes

What’s wrong with this list? It’s not nice to call your best friend a toy, for one thing. For another, herding is work; ask any parent. Most importantly, this is not how people shop for a dog. Brand architecture should reflect the decisions consumers make when deciding what to buy. So let’s look at this portfolio from the perspective of actual (or aspiring) dog owners and the questions in their minds as they shop.

Will this dog fit in my living space?

Apartment dogs Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Subset – New York City apartment dogs (aka, have enough head room to clear an Ikea coffee table) 

Photo courtesy of Izismile

Townhouse dog Photo courtesy of Rssing

Suburban dogs Photo courtesy of Areawoods

[…]

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What’s That Name?

December 22, 2015 — Lucila Tessi Kent Lam

As the year comes to an end, we wanted to take a look back and recognize some naming work that, too often, goes under the radar. We want to give credit where credit is due and celebrate the strategies that go behind naming. Below are some of the names that caught our eye, made us smile and made us do a double take.

Best name that would also work for a Bond girl: Verily, the new name for Google Life Sciences, has an archaic ring to it, an innocent tone that’s waiting to be sullied by some randy double entendre a la the James Bond movies of the Pierce Brosnan era. (Anyone remember “I thought Christmas only comes once a year?” No?) But it’s this old-fashioned sensibility—it’s how Shakespeare might have said “certainly” or “truly”—that gives the name a humanness, contrasting with the hard data and sterility that science is commonly associated with. This is life sciences, after all. It’s humans working to make human lives better. And that’s a truly worthwhile thing, isn’t it?

Best new clever name: Move over millennials, it’s all about the centennials now. Centennials was the new name given this year to the generation that […]

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Pirelli Says Behind Every Great Tire Brand is a Great Woman – is the Brand Finally Catching Up with Culture or Leading it?

December 8, 2015 — Christina Papale

The New York Times headline was bold, “The 2016 Pirelli Calendar May Signal a Cultural Shift.” The piece went on to say that the Pirelli brand, a strong supporter and champion of the quintessential male gaze, had taken a radical departure for the 2016 calendar by featuring whole women of accomplishment vs. pieces of female endowment. Brought to you by Annie Leibovitz.

As a woman, there’s a lot I could say regarding this departure. As a brand strategist, I am interested in Pirelli’s brand message and behavior, and what that says about the brand and about us.

In releasing this calendar, it appears that Pirelli is a brand transformed. The New York Times piece presents this transformation in the form of commitment and responsibility. Yet Pirelli, and a few subjects of the calendar, do not necessarily agree. Both Mellody Hobson and Agnes Gund made it clear in The Times article that, “their relationship was with Ms. Leibovitz, not Pirelli.” And Artist Shirin Neshat said, “I didn’t feel like I was selling out by doing this as much as helping Annie support a new idea about female style and beauty.”

The piece also presents Pirelli’s perspective:

“The company itself is careful […]

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Lost in translation

July 16, 2015 — Jennifer Vasilache

When we create brand and product names, we think about how they will travel—across different consumers and even across continents. We make sure they translate appropriately in all the languages that exist in targeted markets. But sometimes, even when you manage to tackle obvious linguistic disasters (no need to remind you of the Nova or Mondelez mishaps, right?), the subtlest pitfalls still lie in cultural savvy. Cultural fluency is key to relevant branding.

Let me give you a personal example.

As a non-English native speaker and semiotician, I am constantly learning, observing, searching, studying, and dissecting new words and expressions that not only expand my vocabulary, but also uncover hidden meanings in my adopted culture.

Everybody knows the importance of idioms when learning a new language. Idioms are your way into a culture; colloquialisms are your linguistic passport. I came from France to New York City seven years ago with the level of English you get out of schoolbooks. But as I was working my way up in my new linguistic environment, I knew I finally got street cred the day I heard myself commenting on my colleague’s work: “It’s awesome!” No more “zees eez hinteresting” or “zat eez not […]

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Evolving Brand Equity: The Resurrection of the Colonel

July 14, 2015 — Christina Papale

Have you seen him? He’s on-air and online, wandering through highway underpasses and baseball fields with a big bucket of chicken.

Why, hello. It’s me. The Colonel.

Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), sold the company in 1964 but appeared in countless ads for the brand through the 60s and 70s – a big old-fashioned man with Southern fried charm. But Colonel Sanders was more than a real-life spokesperson for the brand – he became a larger-than-life brand equity, a Big Daddy Tennessee Williams style matriarch presented as master of his chicken universe. Even with cane in hand, the Colonel had a formidable power. You believed he was a trusted protector of real meals in the age of fast food, and a true chicken benefactor. In the days before Chick-fil-A and Church’s, when Americans wanted fried chicken, they went to the Colonel. They had a relationship with him.

Although the Colonel passed in 1980, the power of his image continued as the central force in the brand’s identity – his smiling mug was part of the logo, on packaging, and in-store. But the meaning of the Colonel shifted with the passing of a real human […]

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You’ve got mail!

June 29, 2015 — Jennifer Vasilache

Who gets excited anymore when they open their mailbox? Do you welcome the mail from your cable company as a delightful surprise? Do you giggle and wiggle at the sight of a letter from the bank? How special does the finger-staining, “current occupant” addressed catalog from Cardboard & Plywood make you feel? And let’s be honest: when was the last time you received—let alone sent—a note just to say “Hi”?

Pixinote, a newly launched printing and mailing service, is changing the rules of correspondence. With your mobile device, you can go to www.pixinote.com (mobile apps are in the works), select a picture from your photo album and jot a note to a friend. Pixinote will then transform all of this into a physical, thoughtful, personalized little note in a cute, crafty looking envelope. It’s as simple and lovely as it gets.

At a time of fast and furious virtual communication, who takes the time to snail mail a note anymore? By putting together the best of two worlds—materialized emotions and dematerialized logistics—Pixinote is reinventing the category by creating a new physical format for the way data is consumed on people’s phones. It gives a body to Facebook status, tweets and […]

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Ben & Jerry’s and beer: How stretchy can you get?

May 11, 2015 — Cindy Lord

First of all, I need to reveal that I am pro-beer — in pretty much all situations. And that has colored my opinion here. And secondly, Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale sounds delicious.

But a lot of folks have wondered, “Is this a road too far?” Can an ice cream brand migrate into beer? And I think here the answer is a resounding, “yes.”

When thinking about brand stretch there are a few big things to consider. The first is “brand fit.” Usually this is about identifying things the brand does well that can credibly migrate to other offerings. Often this is bringing a signature attribute, benefit or image association to a new category. Coach, for example, began as a luxury handbag maker and then used its expertise in leather, and its equity in luxury, to credibly launch a line of high-end shoes.

In this case Ben & Jerry’s is leveraging its expertise as a “craft” food manufacturer and its expertise in creating unique flavor combinations to enter a category that is all about “craft” and unique flavors. Oh, and they both come in pints! Ha!

It can also help if your new offering is targeting the […]

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First things first, nailing the brand called “Hillary”

May 8, 2015 — Sandra Creamer

Earlier this year, I commented on how I would advise the team responsible for branding Hillary Clinton’s political campaign. Well, last month Fast Company commissioned UK-based branding agency Moving Brands to rebrand Hillary after her 2016 bid announcement caused commotion in the design community. The hypothetical rebrand developed creative executions to bring it to life—and yielded a very similar conclusion to mine.

I recommended applying a framework of the role, personality and behaviors that should be emphasized to create a unified presentation of Hillary’s beliefs. I said she should adopt the role of the “sage” and demonstrate personality traits of self-awareness, discernment and discipline to set herself apart from her contenders. Turns out, I was in good company.

The Fast Company article similarly suggests that Hillary demonstrate her role as the wise leader by showing that “there is a better way,” implying that she can help guide America there. Also, the main thrust of the campaign execution comes in the form of a tagline, “make it real.” This speaks to the personality traits I had suggested—discernment (being able to judge what people truly need) and discipline (making it happen). From a verbal style and tonality standpoint, using an imperative verb tense creates […]

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