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Ricardo Ramos Lazcano

Brand's Newest

The future of Creativity is DATA

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I couldn’t pass the opportunity of writing after this two articles hit the web this past week.
There is no hiding the fact that A.I within the marketing space is both scary and exiting.
A.I creativity can both damage and enhance our sector.
IBM’s A.I Watson computer has jumped from market to market, using extensive data to make accurate business-choices that once were only done by top strategists and data analysts.
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Within different subject lines, Adweek and GQ managed to pinpoint on a once semi-underground subjects.
The power of DATA.
The sign of a FAD becoming a TREND is when mainstream magazines like Adweek and GQ make it a subject line on a news piece.  Articles like this become code for every strategist to say “Should we be doing that too?”
It’s through this amplified media I predict we’ll get more examples of data used for creativity that we should keep our eyes on.
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I’m sure you were as impressed as I was by the news that Amazon acquired Whole Foods.
After all why does a digital giant want with a brick and mortar niche market?
If you read Hungry for your data GQ Article, it doesn’t address the distribution power behind Whole Foods, but it talks about the power behind the DATA that the company holds. 
Whole Foods holds precious data from the real world, that the digital giant seeks and needs. A new way to understand the way to enhance both digital and store shopping is by knowing how we shop in both worlds.
This acquisition is basically foreshadowing the future of retail strategy within the digital data space.
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As strategists we must  understand how to guide our clients into a data driven creative/strategic world.
To help them navigate new data analytics softwares or services in order for these to help us develop effective strategies from day one.
What I liked about the Creative data campaigns From Data to Tada AdWeek article, is that we’ve seen a few examples of data being used for creativity, but none as amplified as the once they list.
When you get a topic to become a compendium of thoughts within an article… That’s when it gets amplified!
This data creative examples are the future of case studies we must understand and replicate for the future of our clients.
Data is knowledge, and Knowledge is power after all.
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Brand's Newest

Brand Review : Barry’s Bootcamp Instructor

©James Woodley Photography
www.james-woodley.com

BRAND Immersion : Intrinsic Brand value’s analysis

Fitness classes have developed the need for society to get back in touch with our bodies not just at a physical level, but spiritual as well.

Their cult-like lifestyle is intoxicating for a reason. You walk out a new person, a person filled with the positive energy of men and women in every walk of life.

When you are in a room with people that have the same emotional goals as you, even if you don’t engage in conversation, you connect to them at a deep energy level.
At one specific moment we all become a collective energy for change.

To become someone better, to feel good within, to be proud of ourselves both physically and mentally.

Your body and mind go into a trace with like minded positivity.
This energy is so fulfilling, so strong, so empowering it becomes addictive.

©James Woodley Photography www.james-woodley.com
©James Woodley Photography www.james-woodley.com

 A healthy dependency to happiness by symbiosis.
History is full of examples both in ancient and modern civilizations of similar tandem rituals.

Humans are known to gather around a single object or symbol to move or dace within a certain rhythmic sound. It’s within these moments of trance, were a true connection to the gods was felt.

Ceremonial rituals to worship and devote all energy to a certain divinity.

If you’ve ever been at a Barry’s Bootcamp class, you clearly feel all energy in the room being focused on one idol. The trainer in the room becomes a symbol of our own need to change.

All our trust goes to one idol, all our devotion. One idol whom we aspire to be.

This wellness movement has come to idolize trainers and fitness models as such. We give value to the one person who can facilitate our physical and emotional goals, a spiritual guide who knows all the secrets we seek to posses.

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Barry’s Bootcamp trainers not only create a string allure around them, becoming social media kings and queens, they become part of our lives. Their figures become an influence to to our daily choices.

We are in a moment where tuning into our spiritual beings is not only a trend, but a necessary part of our lives. We admire and praise people who are in sync with their wellbeing selves and seek to follow the path of a wellness change

We value wellness goals as much as professional ones and lookup to individuals who have turned this into a career. 

It’s when all the negative energy goes out of our bodies that we have the space to actually listen to our creative being.

It’s when we are truly connected with ourselves that we can hear the calling of inspiration.

It’s when we allow more room for our mind and body to fill with positive energy that positive ideas burst in, connections happen and the insights begin.

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Inspirational Branding

ode to the Insight

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A visionary concept found hiding at plain sight.

The INSIGHT,
an elusive ghost.
A myth, a spirit,
a morning fog that arrives as easily as it escapes.

A matter for the Gods,
a spiritual guide of the masterminds.
It is within the Insight that we make the intangible, tangible.

Easy to see it as a bygone gift reserved for the creative few, the lucky ones who’ve shouted through it, eureka!

We keep encountering tools that guarantee success if the process and steps are blindly followed.
We keep finding inspirational tools that over promise aiding our strategy with pointless exercises.

We keep loosing ourselves as we use this so called miracle methods, only to find ourselves back to square one and with no new Insight in mind.

Have we become eternal idea-daydreamers?
Have insights become a mere word with no relative meaning?

Getting this spark of inspiration is easier said than done.
It comes down to you, your knowledge, your ability to connect ideas, but most important… It comes down to the contrasting lifestyles you experience.

We constantly seek new inspiration,
new products,
new design,
new concepts.

Our never-ending look for Brand concepts that will awe our creative minds and ignite the spark we so desperately seek lies within the Anatomy of the insight.

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Brand Journey

Will fictional Characters inspire more Brand Strategy ideas?

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We’ve seen the Instagram stories, the filtered insta-worthy posts and read about it on every lifestyle web magazine out-there. Its SOLD OUT, lets talk about it.

Starbucks unicorn flavored Frapuccino is a Brand move we’ll be talking about for years.

Call it a craze, a stunt, a sugar-rush on steroids, Starbucks marketing move has been a mass success.

Lets just get passed all the social chat about the over sugary taste, its magical powder and its cute rainbow unicorn colors.

What we should be talking about, is Starbucks’ swift insight development moves or how quickly they take on social trends to reinterpret and adapt it into a new commercial move.

Starbucks is no stranger to taking on trends and striking gold from them, last year they hit us with the popular secret menu’s Pink Drink and this year they’re officially adding it to their summer menu.  Capitalize again on the now evergreen Millennial Pink trend.

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This was a very clear take on a trend of rainbow foods and unicorn interpreted concoctions perfectly listed by Well + Good earlier this year.

Just as David Butler said in his book Design to Grow, back in 2015 the only way we can respond to a fast-changing market is a quick response to trends with a quick insight development strategy.

“Combining the advantages of scale with [the momentum of] agility”.

We’ve certainly seen co-branding food related actions in the past with know tv/film characters, like my personal favorite, last years Capn Crunch and Kith Treats partnership. Partnership who took our nostalgic devotion for the sugary cereal and applied it to our Urban Apparel weakness.

2_bb44dde0-f3e0-4cd3-bc6e-4a31bdc2a050_1160x.progressiveIt is no secret that Nostalgia plays a powerful role in moving social trends.

From our favorite childhood colors (that we no longer dare to ware) to endearing fictional characters we befriended (and secretly still adore) and the fully colorful sugary sweets be devoured (and still do when we are down).

Our favorite fictional heroes are back to lift our spirits once more.

Hopefully inspiring our imagination and concept strategies like last holiday season’s COACH “REXY” the dinosaur, who inspired creative co-brandings like Coach x Colette Kid’s urban collection.

We must look for inspiration amongst these nostalgic characters and elements first had, be ready when these social insights appear and act quickly to adapt our Brand Strategies before the trend dries out.

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Follow the Rabbit

DBC’s new identity has me thinking: Where did the CONCEPT go?

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Where has the value for market research and consumer insights go to?
How is it that clients and agencies alike are giving less thought to this first and (to my humble opinion) most important step for any Brand Strategy.
 DBC_mockupaka – THE BRAND CONCEPT 

Crunched times, hard deadlines, small budgets…  All clearly affecting the “concept”. But NONE of these is an excuse to jump this key strategic process!

Ok Ok … I agree I have to think of the man/woman behind the Brand or Account.
Brand Owners, we shall call them, are the experts behind their strategy. Owners that of course (and rightly so) have revenue and ROI’s in their mind.

Safe to assume, the first thing that pops into their mind when you dare say the words concept are:

“How long will it take”
“How much will it cost me”
“We don’t need a concept for this part”my personal nightmare

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While starting to redesign The Dashing Brand Club ’s new identity, I didn’t have to start from scratch, wonder what direction I was going to take or worst, just seeing if I can come up with something good out of nothing.

All I had to do was, check the Brand’s initial concept document where a clear defined personality and Brand values were established Proving that a well thought concept is an effective way to reshape a Brand’s new identity without the risk of loosing a Brand direction

Concepts are of the same value to strategies, as the Adobe Suite is to Graphic Design.

Is not a matter of time.. is the creative toolBrand Strategists use to create.

postersDBCOur Brand creative-thinking comes from the insights we develop during the concept making process.

What is best for the Brand, what is good for the Brand, what does this brand even look like?
Are questions answered only through a clear CONCEPT.

The only side I’m with, is the Brand’s side. I can’t help It… it’s even in my professional title Brand Strategist.
I believe I can even come up with a creed:

Thou shall create a strategy that expresses and fulfills the Brand’s Creative Concept as well as its Strategic Business needs.

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Inspirational Branding

From an existential crisis to BRAND ZEN in 48hrs

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I won’t say it was easy, but it definitely felt like an awakening. A true serendipity moment.  A set of events aligned to achieve a creative inner-peace.

IMG_7152 copyLeave it to the universe to take an existential crisis, turn it all around and create an atmosphere of creative inner-peace and Brand zen mode in just 48hrs.

IMG_7058 copyI had this anxiety feeling, for what felt like the longest time.
A couple of months overthinking your every move will take a toll on everyone’s creative being.
I second guessed myself in love, life, and work, creating a spiral of deadly words against myself each and every time.

IMG_7078 copyThe complaining and overthinking came as second nature to me and all I accomplished was to sink deeper into this quicksand of my own doing.

Day in and day out. Until that is… my very own Brand Zen moment was created.

Brand Zen is triggered by achieving a creative inner-peace.
A peace you a accomplish when you surround yourself by your true/deepest passions.

IMG_7174 copyI owe this awaking to the Rivertown Lodge Boutique Hotel in Hudson, NY.

Everything I love about design, branding and elegant decor spoke to me, all while spending a relaxed morning in the lobby’s cozy living space. Surrounded by vintage furniture of Swedish 70’s furniture and custom designed decor by Brooklyn-based Workstead studio took my mind to a tranquil state.

IMG_7063 copyThis dashing uptown escape reminded me of the reasons why I love the life I’m leading and that indeed I am steering it towards an exceptional outcome.

It took this charming place of grand stylish savoir-faire to wake my senses and evoke my love for Brands once more.

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New York City’s Kim Bucci and Ray Pirkle’s hospitality veterans channeled all my Wes Anderson-ness weakness into one uptown escape Hotel, hard to believe it’s their first one.

Rivertown Lodge bewitched me.
Its original movie theater sign from 1928, iron beddings, cherrywood walls and brass light fixture will linger in my branding-memories to come.

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Inspirational Branding

29 going on 30 … cue the funfetti indulgences?

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Is it ridiculous to say that I’m actually having an existential crisis at this age?
Is it too farfetched to think that at 29, I’m already getting feelings of doom?
How common are these feelings with our generation? Is it just me? Am I the only one?

Cue the funfetti indulgences!
My favorite creamy, soft and indulgent treats from Dashing Brands to get me through turning 29 and the reminder of how close the dreaded 3…0 is.


The first Brand I go to is Halo Top – Birthday Cake
The golden lid, rainbow polka-dot design, and quirky quote make all the creaminess with just 280 calories per pint that much better. All it needs is an attached golden spoon Halo Top take note.

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1 pint after and the rambling continues…

All through my 20s, 30 just seemed far away. I kept picturing the-30-me as a complete adult, a grown man that figured out who he is and where he is going. A man that has it all together, Love, Life, and Work.

Well… The Universe is getting a great laugh for none of these are remotely close to being figured out, and yes, I do like to complain.

You guessed it, I’m part of the most educated, least paid and terribly unsatisfied generation, the millennials. The generation that collectively feels creative and has extra projects here and there.

A generation not defined by our profession, but by our passions.
A generation not defined by titles, but the willingness to create to become someone greater than who we are.

And what’s a better mix of two passions than KITH Treats – Fruity Pebbles vanilla swirl.
The coolness factor of KITH‘s footwear lifestyle brand and the sweet nostalgic flavors of our childhood favorite cereals, remind me of simple times when I could control my feelings.

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With all these feelings of sweet creativity been awakened in me, you would think I would feel I’m on the right path.

I know that I might be blowing things out of proportions, yet articles like Forbes 30 under 30, designers like Adam J. Kurtz named on PRINT Magazine’s 15 Under 30  and of course, who can forget the new youngest Director to win an oscar Damien Chazelle for La La Land.

It’s this same strength of our generation that keeps me both motivated as well as in a constant panic mode.

I told you, this existential crisis was no joke.
Have I not been innovative enough in my career? Will all this hard work eventually pay off?

I keep having to remind myself that I must be on constant guard and self-evolution. Learning from every great story of our generation, both entrepreneurs and creative heroes alike. We most see them as inspiration and be proud of the fact that we are a collective creative generation.

I guess I’m telling you as well as myself that your Dashing Indulgences and Creative heroes can only help your path to great creative achievements. They will keep me awake at night for sure, but hopefully, I get to dream of funfetti ideas to pursue.

And to end my inner quarrel I leave you with the best of both worlds, ICE & VICE – Rainbow cake cookie.
A true new yorker Brand that mixes street style lifestyle, pop culture colors and uncommon flavors.
May we all be a little like ICE & VICE.

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Inspirational Branding

An open Letter to: Wholesome Brands

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Visiting the newly opened New York City Whole Foods and walking every geometrically-perfect and structurally curated aisles had me over-thinking once more.

It might be this new location’s beautiful Bryant Park views that gave me a different set of strategy perceptions.

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Couldn’t help to wonder, for all this wholesome, healthy, free-from brands and products; how many clients/buyers truly read and trust their labels?

After seeing healthy claim after healthy claim, in every style of copywriting…  I can only ask…a

Are all this health conscious consumers around me, seduced and triggered to buy by each Brand’s claims of all natural, no preservatives, no-GMOs, bio, bio-friendly, gluten-free, no sugar… etc?

That said, I’ve even been noticing with some of my client packaging stating very liberally the All Natural claim.

So…

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DEAR WHOLESOME BRANDS, 

I know the market growth for “natural” products is no close to slowing down, in fact, the last 2016 Natural Products Industry forecast predicts a worth of $2552 B by 2019 (64% growth from 2013).
Yet there is a growing concern within the Brand Strategy community regarding the claim All Natural.

So far the FDA has not engaged in any rulemaking or formal definition for the term “natural” but is do to review and make a decision on the multiple public comments they’ve received this year.

I strongly believe, that as Brand Strategist, we must advise you and your wholesome Brands.

We believe that to have all natural claim included in your packaging might be a risk (unless you can transparently prove it). This is not a cause for alarm, but with more consumers seeking the true meaning of this claims, it is safer to re-word or re-phrase the claim.

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It is dangerous to believe that our consumer, (but more important, lawsuits groups) will never ask questions about your Brand’s packaging claims.

Consumer groups have already created education content on the matter, calling some of this claims “useless”.

If you agree, let’s open up a conversation with your and your Brands.

A re-wording branding project must be enacted soon. Each of this claims most be reformulated into words that work with both the FDA and the Brand’s needs.

This way your Brand’s reputation and statements stay intact and your consumer’s trust will stay long after the FDA finalizes their rulemaking on these claims.

Sincerely, 
The DBC 

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Other Facts:
 – The FDA was pressured to open an investigation on the term due to continuing consumer concerns and lawsuits regarding All Natural. This happened after the controversial legal action against 5 personal-care products.

– FDA opened the investigation in April 2016.

– This investigation followed a review of “misleading claim” cases from 2015 with Kind Bar and sparked the biggest food-related lawsuit yet, against Quaker Oats in May 2016 for their “100% Natural”.

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Brand Journey

Retail is Dead. The Fitness Hub is taking over

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Food emporiums are too mainstream.
Coffee shops are so passé.
The Retail is dead.
This 2017 the Fitness-hub is here to conquer and rule the wellness consumer.

No longer just a place to get a good sweet and booty workout at the end of the week.
Consumers have started to shift from the traditional all-inclusive gym membership and going to specifically design workout hubs.

The trend will not stop, indeed this 2017 will probably see new fitness tribes, new workouts, new offers for clients willing to spend money to get the body they seek.

Crossfit locations are known to be the trend starter of this fitness/wellness consumer. Crossfit creators where able to connect a needed sense of community with a need to boost some fitness and well diserve wellness into our lives . 

Last year we saw the continued boom of  lifestyle-CULT places like:
Barry’s Boot Camp,

SoulCycle,
Brooklyn Boulders &
ShadowBox.

2017  brings in a new kid on the block.
Rumble Boxing
, the newest addition to this very front trend of fitness lifestyle by 
Barry’s Boot camp ex-trainer Noah Neiman.

If we analyze the need and the reason behind their growing success, we might find the key to the future of retail.
NO. Retail is not dead.

It’s merely just evolving, and reshaping into a true Lifestyle HUB.
A HUB where we see a convergence of all our newest needs, the needs of the biggest generation there has been. Apparel, Food, Entertainment and Fitness.

Yes (rest assured), consumers still want to shop and dine outside the comfort of their homes.
They just don’t want to find the same type of services and products they can find with a click of a button.

As Brand Strategist, we must learn to see the insights of this ever growing trend of Fitness HUBs in America.

In this hyper-personalized society, consumers seek to shop and enjoy the products they will display and be proud to share on their social media. There is no question on the reason behind the Supplement Bars, Branded Protein Shake and extended merchandising that defines set tribe.  A tribe who seeks to belong to and show the world who and what they are all about.

Products and services carefully design to appeal both the direct consumer of the fitness camp and the social media user being showed the Brand online.  

The calling: You must belong to this FitnessHub in order to display proudly our products.

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Brand Journey

5 ways to slay 2017 #together

The horrors and disappointments of 2016 are over!
A new year begins.
A year that will put every fiber of our moral code to the test.

2016 was emotionally exhausting & disturbing for many.
This new year will be a challenge; we all fear what’s to come and has already started. The neglect, the hate, the phobia … feelings we thought were on the verge of extinction.

Let’s make the best & SLAY 2017 together.

1.Out, Proud and FEARLESS  

Values of unity shared within our LGBT community and our allies must prevail and shine stronger than ever.
We need more Brands that stand for and share the lifestyle that this unity represent.

As Brand Strategists it is our duty to support Brands and insight new ones who will be a product/service refuge and support for the next years to come.

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2.Trust your inner QUEEN

We need more Brands run by openly gay men and women, we need more LGBT entrepreneurs launching their ideas into the word. More than ever we need gay-lifestyle Brands that showcase how our community is and forever will be present and relevant for the future success of all Americans and this country.

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3.GLITTER BOMB everything

The LGBT community most not shut down into a sequined rainbow bubble.
We must show the world we are creative, stylish, successful and most of all-inclusive with our products and services.

Being gay has allowed us to become a cool hunting, trend-seeking, fad shading machines. 
Abilities we learned during the years we stayed in the closet, having to be aware of everything we said and used. 

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4.Look for the DASHING touch

I don’t want to say the world is not a fabulous place, but it needs more of our community’s charm and never-ending search for STYLELet’s create new brands that are ALL elegant, ALL inclusive,  ALL loving brands.

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5.Get your heels on and SLAY!

I want to do my part and promise to give our community the tools to begin their Brand journey. THE DBC this year with become your go-to for simple Brand development tools.

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