Category: In The News

The Church of the Apple Store

August 30, 2018

How Apple escaped from the doldrums of Sears to create the coolest retail space on planet Earth.

Virginia’s Tysons Corner Center, opened in 1968, was one of the country’s first shopping malls. But on May 19, 2001, it would notch another first. The line began forming in the predawn hours, as many as 500 people assembling in the darkness. After that number doubled, security guards stood by to keep the crowds from violating the maximum-occupancy laws. In time, the line stretched through the mall itself, doubling back like a serpent and pouring right out onto the sidewalk. “I have lived in this area for 17 years,” said one man. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Indeed, nobody had. “This” was the opening of an Apple Store—the very first one.

Opened in May of 2001, the first Apple store (top) was the culmination of the vision of Steve Jobs (inset), who’d tapped a number of retail gurus to help plan a signature space that would free Apple from its longstanding problems at the retail level.

Seventeen years later, it’s hard to imagine the retail world without these gleaming minimalist boxes of blond wood, brushed steel and astounding revenue. […]

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If You’re Looking to Attract Gen Z, Technology Is the Way

July 25, 2018

Generation Z, the generation after millennials, is the first generation that has truly grown up in a purely technology-driven world.

Accordingly, Gen Z — more so than any other generation — is primed to respond strongly to technology offerings. Tech is an important tool to gain and keep these consumers.

Convenience store retailers must remember “this generation, even more so than millennials, has only known a mobile world,” noted David Brewis, chief marketing officer at New York-based Amplience, a provider of ecommerce retail solutions.

“While it’s no secret that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are being pushed to embrace omnichannel models, they’re now going to have to capture this new generation of shoppers on mobile first,” he explained.

Generation Z — made up of those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s — currently accounts for 25 percent of the U.S. population, making it a larger cohort than baby boomers or millennials. Ranging in age from pre-tween to 21, they already claim more than $40 billion in buying power and are predicted to be the driving force of the consumer world by 2020.

If retailers want to connect with Gen Z shoppers, they need to “meet them where they’re at and […]

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Itching the Impulse: How Effective Pop Marketing and Design Influence Shopper Behavior

July 6, 2018

With consumers receiving brand and marketing messages from so many different outlets, it is more important than ever to have consistent brand equity builders—color, logo, patterns, tagline—across all touchpoints.

That’s where point-of-purchase (PoP) marketing comes in. PoP marketing is a proven method of marketing in which messages are delivered to a brand’s target customers at the point of purchase either online or in a retail store.

“Building a strong brand equity system that extends consistently to all media touch points is hugely important,” says Lesley Stordahl, creative director at branding agency CBX. “That most certainly does not mean ‘matching luggage.’ With shopper journeys diversifying more every day, establishing brand awareness and consistency is a much bigger battle than it was 10 or so years ago.”

Moreover, gone are the days of “stack ‘em high and watch ‘em fly.” That’s why it’s important to bring an experience to life—letting shoppers have a sensorial connection to a brand through touch, taste or even smell.

“Shoppers are looking for curated experiences, stories that fit into their world,” she shares. “Both brands and retailers need to find new ways to educate and/or excite.

From candy-colored waves of La Croix seltzer when you walk into […]

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Strong Brands Help Retailers Adapt to Change

May 7, 2018

In today’s digitally inclined and rapidly changing shopping landscape, strong brands can help pet retailers come to terms with the increasingly purpose- and values-driven mindset of the consumer. Simply put, today’s consumers have shifted from buying brands to “buying into” them. Now more than ever, brands represent users’ values, beliefs and points of view. Because of this, both private-label and mainline brands need to think more about the types of conversations they can initiate with consumers.

Strong brands can even help retailers adapt to the forces of disruption that are reshaping retail, from the rise of the millennials, to the growing popularity of Amazon Alexa. In the pet category, the potential rewards for getting this right are high indeed: According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association, 68 percent of U.S. households now own pets, and Americans spent nearly $69.4 billion on pet products in 2017. To win market share, retailers need highly targeted strategies. Here are some key considerations:

Demographics Millennials are the country’s largest living generation. In 2016, there were an estimated 79.8 million millennials compared with 74.1 million baby boomers. While they dominate the population, millennials are having the hardest time […]

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Your Brand Is the Patient’s Experience

April 23, 2018

The future success of biopharmaceutical businesses will depend at least partly on their ability to create meaningful brand experiences from the start of a drug program. By “brand,” I don’t mean logos and taglines. I’m talking about meaningfully unique experiences that directly affect clinical and patient needs — specifically, to address the growing demand for self-administered injectable therapeutics.

Whether you are a biosimilar developer trying to carve out differentiated value or a market leader looking at your patent protection in the rearview mirror, brand experience can improve your ability to capture market share effectively and deliver your life-enhancing molecule to the people who need it. After all, when a drug is subject to clinical parity among its competitors, its value comes from factors that increase the likelihood of each patient recipient’s administrating that therapy the right way, at the right time, every time.

Consumer experience and patient adherence are growing concerns. Consider these factors: One-third of all new drug approvals are biologics. An aging population needs solutions designed for universal access. Payers continue to push for out-of-clinic solutions. Consumers continue to expect that no disease should crimp their lifestyles. The result is a need for end-user, design-driven solutions that allow […]

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How Design Is Giving American Politics a Brand New Look

January 17, 2018

Design in American politics doesn’t sound like it would be anything special—a little red, white, and blue, some stars and stripes, and you’re set. It’s practically what’s expected, so is there really any need to innovate beyond that?

Well, if 2017 was any indication, the answer is a resounding, “Hell yes.” And NYC brand and design agency CBX truly took this to heart when designing She Should Run, an organization that aims to expand the talent pool of women running for office in the United States.

“They didn’t want to look all the way like a political campaign,” explained Lesley Stordahl, Creative Director at CBX. After all, She Should Run is so much more than that—it goes beyond pushing people to nominate other women to run for office but also encourages, motivates, and inspires women so they themselves feel confident enough to run. It’s no surprise that women are underrepresented at all levels in the 500,000+ elected offices across the country. And without women in these roles, the cycle perpetuates itself, leaving young girls without role models in political office.

So how could CBX design She Should Run to help change the culture of women in politics at its […]

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How Medical Packaging Can Stop Sucking and Start Saving More Lives

January 15, 2018

Belsomra is a hell of a drug.

For an insomnia medication, this was a real breakthrough. The pill is an orexin inhibitor that targets the pathways of the brain which keep us awake, effectively shutting them off and telling the brain to go beddy-bye.

But because of the type of drug it was, it had to be packaged in a blister pack, not just to keep a prying child’s hands away, but because it would ruin the efficacy of the drug. Seems reasonable enough, right?

Now imagine that you haven’t slept since you don’t know when. Maybe you’re worried about losing your job. Maybe you have a couple kids that take up every last minute of your day. Maybe you have a set of nightly rituals and if one goes wrong, you know you won’t sleep tonight. Did you draw a warm bath? That First Rain incense burning? The heightened state of anxiety that plays out is just as routine as the sleepless nights.

“These are people whose lives and health are in jeopardy,” CBX Strategy Director Brian McDonagh says. “So here’s a medication that may solve all of your problems, but best of luck getting it out of the […]

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Can Diet Coke’s New Skinny, Rainbow-Colored Cans Attract the Millennials It Covets?

January 11, 2018

A reboot 2 years in the making

Thirty-five years after making a splash with the introduction of Diet Coke, the Coca-Cola company announced that the marquee product is getting a “full brand restage.” Starting next month, consumers who pass by the beverage case will see Diet Coke in new product dress: A skinny silver can sporting a bold center stripe whose colors correspond to four new flavors.

According to a company statement, the new look and taste are aimed at “re-energizing and modernizing Diet Coke for a new generation of drinkers.”

The most noticeable part of the rebranding will be the package design, which Coke developed with a creative assist from U.K.-based shop Kenyon Weston. Though the new cans contain 12 fluid ounces just like their older counterparts, they sport a slender profile that’s more evocative of Red Bull or Starbucks Refreshers than mom’s standby diet soft drink. (Diet Coke’s original packaging will not be discontinued; the new cans will instead be offered as an option in the existing lineup.)

While slender cans may function as a kind of subliminal cue to the low-calorie beverage inside, Cola-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke Rafael Acevedo told Adweek that his […]

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Amazon: King of the Jungle

January 9, 2018

With its acquisition of Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion in cash last summer, it’s evident that Amazon is hungry for a slice of the $668 billion grocery market.

But just how big of a bite does Amazon want to take of the market? And how much of a stake will Amazon, already a major player in several non-food private-branded categories, seek in the burgeoning consumer packaged goods store brands segment, which is reinventing itself with innovative and exclusive offerings every day?

Amazon representatives would not comment on the company’s goals in grocery and private brands for this story, but several industry pundits predicted after Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods that it was just a matter of time before Amazon ruled the grocery industry. But former Amazon decision maker Brittain Ladd, who left the company recently after working there for two years where he helped develop strategies to expand Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry, says that while Amazon has the potential to surpass Walmart and become the nation’s top grocer, he is not so certain the Seattle-based company will attempt to do so.

Through its 460 brick-and-mortar stores received in the Whole Foods deal and its online dominance, Amazon wants […]

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Designing For Women Without Being a Sexist Jerk

December 11, 2017

Remember all the hoopla over Bic Pens For Her? In one of the great, sexist product misfires of the past decade, Jezebel pointed out the sheer ridiculousness of a writing implement that could—gasp—finally be used by women.

Well, surprisingly enough, it was such a tremendous disaster that they’re still being sold. One quick Amazon search will give you all the proof you need that Bic For Her is alive and well, perhaps driven by the stubbornness of pen executives who refuse to think they were wrong and/or are possibly entertained by the hilarious Amazon comments they still continue to inspire to this day. It’s this particular kind of sexist branding and packaging that relies upon grossly outdated ideas and tired tropes that leaves many creatives asking:

How do we design in a way that will actually speak to what female consumers want?

Depot’s work on Bare skincare

“I think we look and listen to where women are at right now,” says design studio Depot’s founder Angela Spindler. “Things have changed and I feel we are now more than ever in a state of flux. Boundaries are blurring or disappearing. We don’t like being labeled or tidied into convenient categories, so […]

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