Ricardo Ramos Lazcano

Inspirational Branding

A Brand Manager in Design School


Yes, I went back to school. It might be crazy to do so, but Its the right moment for a Brand Manager to learn the thinking-process behind a designer’s creation.

I have to admit I’ve always been a little jealous of designers, when ever I passed a project or a new strategic research and they got to single-handedly create my initial ideas. Its true, that as Brand Managers we are meant to aid the creative process and guide an initial design approach. Yet the Graphic Designers ability to take that strategy and create a design right on the spot has always struck me as pure genius.

One of my main jobs as a Brand Consultant is to analyze all sort of creative market Trends from packaging to corporate communication. And this past year the strategic point of view of experts in our field has been: “Brand Managers will begin to think more like designer” art.  Maybe its the do-it-all mentality or the design savvy consumer, that is pushing Brand Strategist to learn more about the other side of the coin.

I use to give such a hard time to the designer who worked in my team and  I confess I used phrases similar to our clients “it’s just one small change”, “you just have to make the type bigger” even the dreaded “can you change the color”. After a few weeks with typography design, I can understand their frustration with the smallest change; since you have to analyze every type, space and grid in the design.

After only half a month in design school I find myself with a new found respect for my fellow designers, and more than ever, I’m keen on learning the thought process behind their amazing Design AHA moments!

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Inspirational Branding

HUNK Branding


Finally designers aim to make MEN feel hot, looking good and sexy.

Couldn’t help to notice that this Spring/Summer 2015, is coming with a high dose of Abs and this time displayed in more handsome outfits than ever.

We are definitely seeing a big change in men’s fashion style and not just in the grooming department, but in displaying that Abdominal V.

Male models never looked sexier, we use to have only a couple selection, today we get newer more provocative Brands every year, all coming with a unique and new way to show the coveted obliques, who would say MEN would have this many choices.

MEN are rapidly becoming the new “Make me feel sexy” demographic, so… how about a Victoria Secret type Show with all this HUNKs in TRUNKS … Aussiebum take note!

Thanks to brands like Parke & Ronen who take the lead, this garment is more bold and daring. Branders we must stay alert on this HUNKish Trend, the next generation of Big Brands will most surely be MEN’s only, plus men can show those ABS we all love.

Im happy to report, this men’s (below the waist) style, will only get stronger. Lare 2014 pattern Trends are only getting stronger.

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Inspirational Branding

What is Brand Engagement’s next step?

Beyond Engagement

Consumers no longer see Engagement as meaningful! So what goes Beyond Engagement?

All Brands are in a constant, never-ending search for the next big thing; the next strategic trend that can allure new consumers and further attach faithfully ones. Yet, the truth is our consumers are getting used to most of this actions.

Brands seek an alignment between their Brand Idea and the consumers  lifestyle, they seek a meaningful Engagement. So the real question is, what new way should we create to make a better connection?

It is provably in the ever-growing Digital Revolution that we will find the answer. Consumer are always ON, and thanks to the organic relationship social networks are creating with followers, this media is creating a never before seen connection.

Meaningful engagement starts to exist as Brands interact directly with their followers on these networks. Followers are getting the same warm feelings by getting answers and messages from there Brand, just as when you get a real Greeting Card on your mail – something nice that went beyond the needed to make you feel special and loved.

The Next thing is to use this connections as Storytelling, as a two-way conversation of TRENDS between Brands and Consumers. What best way to find the latest craze than having a friendly chat with your Followers and Brand Devotees.

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Inspirational Branding

The Secret behind a perfectly warm, chewy and sugary BRAND!

How to bake a Brand

I’ve always wished there was a secret recipe to Brand Creation out there, I mean with so many cooking blogs and foodies out-there in the city, you would expect that one of them would have written about it …. right? Well, here is my try to MIX this two world and get the right recipe.

Just like everyone enjoys a freshly baked cookie, everyone can enjoy your Brand. It does’t matter what type of Brand you are or to what audience you sell, you need to be MOIST to be loved; and by “moist” I mean extra soft right in your CORE.

Call it the WHY, Purpose or Motif, all Brands need to hold a CORE meaning to their everyday.  We all love the homey smell, the memories it gives and that fuzzy feeling of being cared for and loved. The Brand we buy its a treat for us, its a moment of eHow to bake a Brandscape into that world, created by the Brand, and we feel like we belong.

On that Note, Here is my BRAND Recipe:

1/2 ml of  FEELING

1 dash of EXPERIENCE


Mix well with LIFESTYLE


And finally … Sprinkle heavily with HEART

Im sure every type of recipe has been explored by baker-bloggers… Yet you can’t say no to the smell of fresh baked goodness of a Heavy Hearted BRAND.

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Inspirational Branding

Color Branding

Color Branding

It seams that this year is the year of COLOR, we see Branding exploring deep color insights to express and differentiate their Brand Identity.

I personally blame (or thank) the, lets call it, “Instagram Revolution”. Its filters, brightness, saturation, and the rest of its many tools; have lead to a color conscious customer. This tools where known and used primarily by designers, granted they are a very rudimentary versions of the real thing, but still none can deny that now, this words are in our everyday language.

Consumers are putting extra value on color-design, they care and link color with sentiments towards their favorite Brand.  Lets Brand-Spin and use the color wheel, the color theory, the color coding, and even (why not) the color psychology.

We are not far from seeing such trends in food like “Eat the Rainbow” migrating slowly to Branding Strategies, that will provably be the main concept behind an entire Brand Creating project.

We are becoming more color smart, its up to Brand Managers to learn and require more concept ideas based on color-theory.

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Inspirational Branding

User Generated Creativity


Stand up and give a hand to a new market-term, this is the era of the User Generated CREATIVITY. The Digital world with its many tools and gadgets is allowing our inner Creative Genius to fully express himself, share its creation and instantly get feedback.


UGC needed a makeover, I believe the days of the classic acronym are gone. Content can be boring and most times with out context or story. Brands are steering todays strategies with a Graphic vision in mind, they know consumers are visually attracted to products more than ever. Consumers “Users” are paying attention to design in order to further-please their followers, they want to design the best pic, the best selfie, the new meme, the new style pic. This stylished pics hold not just the key to powerful target insights, but they are Visual Storytelling. They are not only telling, but designing the story of your Brand. Brands and User alike are welcoming this new wave of Fresh and Buzzing Creativity.

Thousands of undeclared Style Designers, Visual designers, Brand curators and Art Directors are CREATING this beautiful pics and proudly attaching your Brand’s Hashtag to it.  They are putting the effort of thinking the best way to visually show your product, They visually curate this images with the same care they take there own selfies. Its an understatement, then, to say that new Engagement  Strategies must have as core LEAD, to pull this Creative Content into their Brand’s touch-points.

Brands need to interpret this visual cues left like golden keys on the social landscape, and without a doubt the next big analysis tool will do that for them. Fare Warning to you cool-geeks out there skimming the next Startup.


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Inspirational Branding

Brand Essentials


Essential’s Pics, once used only by Instagrammers, are now being used by Brands and Retailers on Social Media. Their carefully and curated layouts show snippets of the Brand’s Daily Life. 

Featured by @Gap
Featured by @Gap

As Brand Managers, we are known for using almost anything as a support to our Main Concept. Using this “Essentials” method as a Branding tool can surly become an interesting Brand Concept support.

Here is where you get creative and Imagine what would your Brand’s Essentials be.  Imagine the objects your Brand would take to work, on a trip or at a shopping spree; picture how they would be layout and create a symmetrical mood board. You can tell a lot from the type of objects, color palette and distribution of the items you choose.

This could also be applied as a Team Building exercise. We all know that a Brand’s true Personality is hard to describe. Choose from Essential cut-outs objects that represent your brand, give them to your team and ask them to reverse-engineer a story; where is your Brand using this items? Why did your Brand choose them, etc. This way the Brand’s Insight gets clearer.

Essential Pics popularity keeps growing on Social Networks,  yet I think we have not seen their true communication potential.


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Inspirational Branding

Brand Perfect Pair


We all know about the great and eternal quarrels in Branding, Donkin’ Donuts vs Krispy Kreme, Canon vs Nikon and the OH so legendary Coca Cola vs Pepsi Cola.


Yet Brands do not fight in our daily lives, we enjoy Brands together, they balance each others mood and their personalities blend. Brands need to embrace and act on these Brand Pairs (Dashing Brand Term) that go perfectly together.

Ok I’m not saying that a bit of fighting is wrong, as a matter of fact it is even a Branding Strategy, to choose ones Brand Enemy in order to create a healthy competition and internal team spirit.

Still, Brands should not just embrace on corporate and boring co-branding actions, they should create partnership with their own Brand Pair. We do not costume or use one and only one Brand at a time, I mean common even if you tell me that you like your coffee at one specific place and that you are bound to consume only their branded caffein, you are likely to find even at that purple-sofa-grande-cup place other complementary Brands.

Brands should pay attention to our everyday Brand Pairs, they probably hold the key to the target-insight they are looking for.

Here is a couple of my personal Brand Pairs (don’t judge):

Jack Daniel’s and Coca Cola : When I’m feeling Rebellious

Moët & Chandon and Laduree : When I’m feeling Spoiled

Starbucks and Apple : When I’m feeling Inspired

Herballife and Nike : When I’m feeling Healthy

Nutella and Anything : When I’m feeling Melancholic

Next time you are wondering what your Brand’s Personality IS, think about the Brand you would Pair it to and in what situation you would do it.

What are your daily Brand Pairs?

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