Every summer at CBX, we welcome a talented group of interns to work across our design, strategy and client management departments. Alongside working on client projects, we task our interns with a group project to work on autonomously together. We ask them to combine their individual department expertise and work on the project as if it were a real-life client brief. Our ask: Develop a product and brand experience marketed to the C-suite.
Here’s a recap from the group themselves. Thanks to our class of Summer 2017: Sarah Mitty, Marie Daigle, Megan Brown, Eric Higgins, Darby Philbrick, Lindsey Case, Rachel Bergmann, and Emily Schaefer.
Phase 1: Assessing the ask
As a group that joined CBX eager to learn about as many aspects of branding and design as possible, we were excited about the broad and intriguing ask. Specifically, the opportunity to tackle an all-encompassing brief that would allow each of us to participate in duties beyond our departments. After our initial briefing, we collectively agreed the biggest challenge of the ask was how to market a product to a group we knew very little about. As a group of Millennials, we had few insights about C-suites, and realized our best […]
Becoming a “licensee” allows brands the opportunity to extend into a new category or industry, modernize, stay relevant and build upon their brand value. When choosing the right licensing opportunity and when implemented effectively, it can have tremendous benefits. As of late, we’ve seen this with Minion-mania. It’s been said that Universal will make more off of licensed products than the Minions movie that just came out in July. Sounds tempting, right? But before jumping in, let’s take a step back and evaluate licensing.
The way I see it, licensing is a very personal tool used by brands. I often think of it as a relationship. Two people joining as one and representing what each other stands for. You look to benefit from each other, you meet each other’s friends and as a couple you work together to make each other happy. But unlike a relationship, you have the opportunity to plan for success prior to creating the partnership.
Here are five guidelines for brands to keep in mind when thinking of entering a (licensed) relationship:
What are you looking to get out of this?
Licensing should be used as a strategic business tool. Brands that want to license someone else’s intellectual […]
Showcasing branding at its best: reactions to the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage
April 14, 2012 — Eliza S.
Bringing deeper meaning to branding isn’t exactly a groundbreaking idea (see Dove’s “Real Beauty,” Procter & Gamble’s “Thank you mom”, Chipotle’s commitment to Food with Integrity; all of the Google commercials…and almost any other successful effort over the past decade). Meaning is basically a necessary ingredient for branding that works.
But amid the celebrations for the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage last week, dozens of brands reacted in an incredibly poignant and noteworthy way—showcasing meaning and emotion and heart.
There was Ben & Jerry’s renaming of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream to “I Dough, I Dough;” the rainbow that appeared trailing Uber’s vehicle icons as you waited for your ride; Google’s rainbow search bar, Facebook’s rainbow filter to add to profile pictures, and many, many more.
The tone was overwhelmingly consistent—inclusive and celebratory. Each brand just found its own way to express it. And as the responses poured in, they became part of the story.
In retrospect, their sentiment shouldn’t have been surprising. Many of these organizations openly supported gay marriage and partnerships (either in extending employee benefits to same-sex couples, or in publicly signing onto a legal brief in Massachusetts in 2011 asking an appeals court to […]
Whiskey’s always been a bit of a troublemaker. From the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s to the freak-out over the whiskey made with antifreeze (Fireball), it’s the spirit that’s kept us on our toes the most (or at least with our heads in the toilet).
In recent years, whiskey’s been stirring up another controversy: What do you call American Scotch? Of course, those who know whiskey know there is no such thing. Scotch whisky is made in Scotland. It’s right there in the name. It’s as descriptive as it gets.
But we’re talking about those whiskeys that are made the exact same way as Scotch—the same recipe, the same process—but on American soil. At its essence, Scotch is single malt whiskey, which means the whiskey is made from malt and comes from a single distillery (again, whiskey wins at descriptive naming). So what do you call American single malt whiskey?
A lot of American distillers just call it “single malt” or “American single malt.” Never mind that when whiskey drinkers think of “single malt,” they usually think of Scotch. American single malt whiskey is in a golden era. Micro-distilleries are popping up all over the United States and thriving. In […]
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 […]
First things first, nailing the brand called “Hillary”
April 14, 2012 — Eliza S.
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 […]
Craft Beer: How I Explain the Importance of Good Branding
April 14, 2012 — Eliza S.
The recent emergence of craft beer illustrates the significance of branding. As many now know, craft beer has become one of the hottest growing categories on the market, and with this growth comes fierce competition.
Here’s a little bit of context: In the past four years alone, the craft beer industry has grown from 1,625 breweries in 2010 to 3,418 breweries in 2014. That’s an increase of almost 210%! Needless to say, this spurt has left brewers scrambling to find new ways to stand out on crowded shelves and rotating draft lines. But the question remains, how can small breweries drive brand awareness in an industry flooded with marketing dollars from beer giants like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors? Well, despite limited advertising budgets, craft brewers have quickly discovered that strong branding and packaging design can be their biggest ally for differentiating and promoting their product in market. According to Ian Knowles of Spruce & Norton, an NYC-based craft beer investment firm, “The new generation of beer drinkers are looking for depth of character in the brands they purchase, they look for sincerity in the product offering and how the story is being told. Ultimately, this starts with a strong brand identity, […]