Category: Visual Trends

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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“Athleisure”, Not In Vogue

April 15, 2016 — Rachel Bernard

Even mighty Anna Wintour with her power to make or break designers can’t kill the word athleisure. There was a time in 2015 she could have, but that time has passed. Beyonce just launched her brand of athleisure IVY PARK. And that has everyone using the word. And if anyone can SLAY Anna, it’s QUEEN BEY. It has 75K hashtags on Instagram, over 401K hits on Google. And the second entry hit on Google for the term—an article titled “The 5 Golden Rules of Athleisure” published in January this year by…wait for it…VOGUE. Wintour herself has contributed to the term becoming “in vogue” as they say.

Usage in Vogue is all it takes to make Athleisure an official word in the fashion world. And its acceptance in Merriam Webster this year makes it an unofficial word for the rest of the world. That said, it’s not truly a real word until the Oxford English Dictionary makes it so. So far they are still holding out on Athleisure. However it’s only a matter of time. The OED loves “blend” or “portmanteau” words like Athleisure that bring two words together to create a completely new word. They brought Fauxhawk, Jorts, and Flatform […]

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In 2016, Healthcare Is All About Optimism

March 1, 2016 — Lucila Tessi

Last week in our series of 2016 predictions, we took a look at B2B companies to see how they use verbal strategies to communicate what they do in a more meaningful way. This week, we’re turning our attention to the new communication that’s emerged from the latest and greatest trends in healthcare. 

We’ve seen a new wave of trends emerge that are changing the way we think about healthcare. What’s driving this change? People. As consumers, people are empowered by choice and are used to being heard. We’re now seeing patients engage with the healthcare system with their consumer expectations. While the industry has received a great deal of political attention with policy changes and debate over regulation, what’s remarkable, is that if we move past the political chatter, the healthcare industry’s voice is optimistic.

Evolution MD One company that’s leveraging smarter, more customized care is Sherpaa. Through their app, you can send a message to a physician to see if an emergency room visit is necessary or not. As the name cleverly suggests, this service acts as your guide to “smarter healthcare” and to hoping it’s not as bad as it looks. The company Medicast has shown that empowering […]

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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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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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Laughing (With or) At You?

November 2, 2015 — Brian Burr

We’ve all experienced embarrassing moments; a clumsy misstep sends you tumbling to the floor; an errant turn of the fork transforms your new shirt into a Jackson Pollock painting; a faulty wheel on a push cart sends half a pitcher of sangria to the ground outside the elevators on CBX’s fourth floor… (OK, maybe that last one was just me).

It’s important to remember that embarrassing moments only define you when you let them. Compose yourself when your face is flushed and your ears are burning so that people laugh with, instead of at you. Being able to play off the moment and laugh with everyone demonstrates an authenticity that people find endearing.

This idea is not exclusive to human-to-human interactions. In a marketplace where consumers are constantly searching for real connections with brands, a little self-depreciation can go a long way.

Brands using humor in their messaging is nothing new, but lately we’ve seen more brands turn the focus of the jokes back on themselves. Things that marketing teams would have once worked hard to hide are now leading the conversation.

Take Dressbarn’s Fall 2015 campaign. After decades of battling consumers’ hesitancy to bridge the gap between women’s fashion […]

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How Do Brands Cross the Gender Divide?

October 19, 2015 — Kent Lam

When Bic for Her hit it shelves, its intended audience did not rejoice. “Finally, a pen that’s designed just for lady-hands!” said absolutely no one. Instead, it was rightly ridiculed.

When a brand tries to cross the gender divide, the number one rule is to make sure there actually is a divide. (And as far as science can tell, there are no differences in how men and women use pens.) After all, in the personal care category brands gender-bend all the time—for instance, Gillette crossing over to deliver razors for women when it was known primarily as a man-brand. There are enough perceived differences in how men and women care for their bodies to warrant these gender-specific products.

So how can a brand swing both ways, and do it well?

Focus on the new benefit Communicate the benefit in a way that’s appealing to whoever you’re targeting. The shapewear brand Spanx touts that its body-hugging under-shorts are soft and slimming when it’s speaking to women. But, its Spanx for Men line talks about making men “stand taller and feel stronger.” The brand is getting directly to the results that the different audiences (allegedly) want: Women want to feel slim and […]

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C is for Changes

September 2, 2015 — Rachel Bernard

This has been a month full of exciting changes for Google. First there was the announcement of a new parent company, Alphabet. Then there was the spinoff of Google X into a standalone life sciences company. And yesterday, users were greeted with a fresh and playful new evolution of the Google logo.

So what do all these changes mean for the future of the brand? I think Alphabet will spell out a new era in taking much bigger risks.

Creating a new corporate entity is often a protective move to shield a brand from potential harm. The advent of Alphabet creates a separate place for the business to invest in the innovations that may seem too risky and perhaps too strange for a well-established and highly valued brand like Google to endeavor. Innovation is uncomfortable at first—it often looks scary or even silly until it becomes the new normal. For example, would a strange-at-first idea like Google Glass have earned greater permission if it had incubated in a start-up rather than Google, a brand that carries a defined set of expectations? Perhaps.

These changes should signal to investors that the brand is going to stretch significantly. In their announcement about […]

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Dining for Design’s Sake

July 1, 2015 — Natalie Shear

Choosing a place to eat in the ever-evolving and expanding food scene of New York City can be a daunting task. There are thousands of choices, many of which are convenient, affordable, and pretty tasty. But for myself and many of my peers, choosing a place to eat is about much more than the taste and price tag – it’s actually about being a part of a thoughtful dining experience. In addition to good food and good service, that experience is a result of good branding.

Creating a memorable dining experience (or any type of physical experience for that matter) is done by making connections; connections between the identity of the brand and the physical space, connections from that brand to the customer. From a restaurant’s mission statement to its décor, right down to the logo and the menu, our expectations have changed, and we want that connection in our day-to-day dining experiences.

There is a scale of breadth and depth at which restaurateurs are using branding to create a unique experience that’ll make them top-of-mind. On the shallow end of the spectrum, the experience may be primarily aesthetic – a restaurant is memorable because of its use of integrated […]

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Serving up a slice of delicious

February 19, 2015 — Jane Sayer

I honestly don’t know how this happened but somewhere along my career path I became the food girl. Literally, from soup to nuts, I’ve worked on it. And besides being to blame for the many fluxes in my weight management (I challenge YOU to search for dumpling imagery and NOT eat them everyday for a week) I have enjoyed every minute of it.

The many restrictions put on food packaging that some might find challenging, I find exhilarating. Ad campaigns have free range to get creative––take, for example, the wonderful Oreo commercials that aired over the last year or so. And then compare that to the Oreo Packaging––it’s not BAD exactly––it’s just very literal. Because ambiguity is the enemy of food packaging and we don’t want any surprises when we open that box, unless, you know, they are really GOOD surprises. But still it’s the possibilities that keep me intrigued. Some of my more brilliant ideas could see the light of day one day right (pig wearing a bow tie as a pork sausage mascot anyone?)?

Some brands have successfully broken the paradigm, such as Campbell’s Go soup and the now defunct Kashi Good Friends cereal that feature people on […]

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