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Dashing Brands

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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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

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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Inspirational Branding

Make the Holidays INSTAGRAM-able

This Holiday Season;  consumers will not just share sweet treats,  delightful gifts and Christmas recipes…
Consumers will share their every Holiday Lifestyle moment on social media.

Your Brand needs that extra holiday-factor that can make it Instagram-worthy for their next lifestyle pic.

Users take care of every detail on their uploaded photos for Instagram.
This season is no different, it might even be the key season of sharing photos.  Every lifestyle holiday moment that could be shared with your Brand, will be shared, at home, street or holiday party.

With all the holiday shopping happening, consumers will be exposed to more products than usual. Pair that with users never ending scrolling within Instagram and you have the chance to double your online engagement and impression numbers.

Products that are winning the conversion game are helping users heighten their Social Status.
Writers Anette Asp and Steven Quartz in their  COOL book even go so far as saying this new quest for status has always shaped our modern culture and our global economy.

We know Instagram (any social media platform for that matter) is a game of status affirmation, and just as Status, Instagram lifestyle images are multidimensional.

INSTAGRAMABLE HOLIDAY Brands are dashing, unique, stylish and seductive.

Instagramable checklist:

  1. INSTA-unique
    As  Mr. Holmes Bake House’s deliciously unique pastry Cruffin and beautifully crafted floors. 
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  2.  INSTA-dashing
    As Sugarfina Luxury Candy Boutique’s handsome packaged Bento Boxes and stunning gummies to go with.
  3. INSTA-seductive
    As H.Rebel’s collaboration with @odernichtoderdoch ‘s cozy beautiful Let’s Stay At Home collection.

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  4. INSTA-stylish
    As NoHOW’s e-commerce site’s gallantly curated and attractive gift selection.


These are Brand best practices who are getting all the glory with Millennials and  the Generation Z  social profiles. After all 2015 TOP purchasing Factor for millennials are 
1# Price and 2# Packaging Design.

You still have a few days of the holidays left, make sure your Brand creates a strong photo worthy lifestyle-connection this season.

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Dashing Brands

STORY: A Dashing HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE

New York City’s unique Concept store STORY is my favorite place for a gallant holiday shopping.

Just as a stylish home out of a Restoration Hardware catalog. Products and Brands are displayed on divided areas based on moods and styles of an elegant home; the store is divided into different home spaces, which make the experience unique.

This concept-retail recreates itself every month with a different sponsor and idea. Founder Rachel Shechtman describes it as a live magazine. For this Christmas 2016 edition, STORY partnered with Microsoft Surface and recreated a charming “Home for the Holidays”.

The first part of your holiday scouting has been done for you. It’s as if a personal shopper has stylized each area to cater your personal Brand– and we all know we choose gifts based on what we like. Brands take advantage of this HOLIDAY spirit and shopping frenzy inside all of us.

Brands must represent the HOLIDAY spirit without falling into a cliché. For this very social-media year, I would say it’s important for Brands to create lifestyle experiences rather than the usual holiday-commercials.

No wonder why this 2016 Xmas, Microsoft Surface partner with STORY. Placing this new laptop amidst an Instagram-worthy scenario. The new Microsoft Surface feels right at -Home for the Holidays.

It’s the perfect stop for every stylish and unique Christmas gift you are looking for. It even has a feel of  The DASHING BRAND . A gentleman’s area, perfect for any essentials you needed for yourself or that special gent in your life. (Santa, take note)

During the Holidays Brands take extra time to create experiences that can capture the already overexposed consumer.
STORY store, makes you feel as if you just stepped inside your favorite Brand’s Instagram feed.

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Inspirational Branding

BRAND’S Breakfast Attack

Fortune magazine called it Breakfast Wars.
It started with All-Day breakfast menus from the biggest chain restaurants, now it’s a trend within every Brand and Food Co.

Don’t you wish you could have BRUNCH all day every day!

Common, you know you do…  I, for one, can’t get enough of sweet pancakes, delicious mimosa,  scrumptious eggs Benedict … and yes even a crunchy nostalgic cereal bowl  does it for me every time. 

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As our lifestyles shift, to a time-starved generation, our morning routines changed dramatically. Breakfast; has become an on-the-go meal as well as an important going out moment aka The Brunch.

With no spare-time and with the love for this flavors, no wonder why Breakfast taste seem to be getting into every food category. Even protein powders are into the trend of Breakfast deliciousness, like Performix newest flavor Fruity Charms.

This market shows no sign of stopping, Breakfast market is keen to grow to $5B by 2017. Mix this projection with the latest growth of the SNACK category and you have a huge opportunity to tap into.

With the popularity of Breakfast food detachment from the morning time. All day times of snacking are quickly becoming a moment of consumption opportunity for Breakfast Brands.  Kellogg Company even created a successful Cafe in mid-NYC,  Kellogg’s NYC repurposes cereal as an all day consumption food.

What would be the next breakfast food product idea be?

You must address your breakfast Brand as part of a weekend Brunch routine.

  1. A charming location – Make sure your product stands out from the crowd by choosing a unique design. 2015 top 2 purchasing factor for Millenials are price and packaging design!
  2. A Stylish Setting –  Make sure your product is Instagram worthy. Check what other Brands do to have a high engagement within the social network.
  3. A unique routine – Make sure your product plays a part on the new consumer’s lifestyle. Millenials are, around the clock eaters, make it convenient.

A shift in design for on-the-go is focusing on this type of “convenient packs”, packs that you can grab throw in a bag and enjoy easily after. Millennials are choosing on-the-go and snack size food as meal-replacement in different times of the day.

Make your Brand interesting enough for you consumer to be proud of both sharing and talking about it.
So don’t be stingy with your design.

How about a Dashing Concept Video to get your creative inspiration flowing.

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Inspirational Branding

Branding tips from CANDY store BRANDS

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Admit it, we all get strangely excited when we walk into a candy store; even if you just pass by, we all get kid jitters looking at the beautifully colored packaging, neatly arranged sugar treats and vibrant typefaces.

Candy Store’s, may they be a boutique or not, are a delight for branding elements.
It’s not easy for a product to stand out, much less between a kaleidoscope of design and every branding element idea there is.

These guilty-pleasure Candy Brands, not just incite nostalgic feelings; they are evergreen Brands that are constantly evolving in styles and seem to get stronger in the fight of relevance within this new health conscious world.

Think about Brands like Dylan’s Candy Bar, Sockerbit, Baked by Melissa or Sugarfina. Think on how you feel when you walk inside the store… Oh Sweetland. A wonderland of  linking insights happening all around us. The key is to understand those links of style-concept ideas and link them to your Brand Objectives and Strategies.

Just the other day I gave myself a treat of Baked by Melissa’s signature mini-cupcake tie-dye. It’s a peculiar design for a cupcake in NY so I decided to research its story; turns out it’s inspired after a Rock Band “Grateful Dead” and the memorabilia around it. How cool is that!

It definitely is still, a sweet CANDYLAND of Brands, and it doesn’t seem to be getting slower anytime soon. We go to them when we need a pick me up, need to celebrate, need a little sweet push to get through the day; all to remind us of sweeter better times.

 

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Inspirational Branding

3 Golden “Name Dropping” Techniques

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I bet you anything that you’ve been here too, taking advantage on your latest client conquest.

If your like me; you are at the point in your professional path where it seams that you spent more time defending your skills and validating your work, than, actually doing it. So you use this almost ancient technique to prove your worth while on meetings.

Is it wrong? OF COURSE NOT! You just need to use it wisely, so the potential-client doesn’t realize you are shamefully doing it so.
Branding
as a Strategic skill and approach is fairly new. Clients have historically been on the strategic side, which influences the hard time (they seem to be having) to understand that our skills, as creative strategists, are somewhere in between, and that our ideas are worth investing in and, most important… It has worked for other clients.

Name Dropping is the key to every closed deal and every approved project I’ve had in the past. Its effective to use as content to explain what you do and how it will benefit the client.

Within the meeting, use this 3 easy ways to help your case in point. 

  1. Name-Drop a Case Study  – Mention your top client past project, starting with the objective they gave you and emphasizing on the challenge it was to creative something new where branding strategy is key.
  2. Name-Drop Personal Achievements – Ease the conversation with a funny or interesting anecdote about a project where a skill you have, played an important role. This helps prove Branding Strategist are men/women with many talents.
  3. Name-Drop Key sector Words – Casually touch upon new and unique Trends you researched or articles you’ve read that relate with the clients filed or long term objective. So the client realizes Branding is a strategic field, applied to creativity.

Keep your eye on Branding Strategy, don’t deviate on design, make sure your stories all link to it and this 3 name-dropping steps will surely conquer your next client or impress your current one.

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Brand's Newest

An Icon for an Icon: Madonna for Versace

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Creative director, Donatella Versace, chose the Queen of Pop to be the brand’s inspiration. No other theme or concept is used but Madonna herself.

Versace, the Italian fashion brand by excellence that is world-known for its luxurious extravagance has a new face for its SS15 Campaign: Madonna.

Shot by Mert & Marcus ( who´ve work with her previously directing her “Girl Gone Bad” video), the black and white campaign shows a stylish femme-fatale Madonna. The photographs portray a very sexy and powerful woman with a very strong look. Image which Madonna has constructed over the years.

When an important Fashion House like Versace invited Madonna and told her for this Campaign to “be herself”, means she has being branding herself the right way. She is being the face of the brand, just as well renowned models that are powerful l in the Fashion Industry like Lara Stone, Adriana Lima, Cara Delavigne and Candice Swanepoel.

This joint venture came with perfect timing. Her new album “Rebel Heart” is being released this year, but in the Music Industry, the music isn´t enough. Artists need to expand their horizons and try other things to build themselves an image that can turn them into a powerful brand. Madonna tried that and conquered the Fashion one. Her constant image changes with very defined concepts made herself an inspiration.

 

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Inspirational Branding

Fashionable Workout!

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Girls want to feel sexy and stylish whilst they are working out. The top Ready-to-wear Brands know how to target this growing fashion style.

 

A few years ago you would walk into the gym and girls would be wearing their XL slouchy t-shirt (stolen from their dads, older brothers or boyfriends), a pair of black leggings or loose pants and a messy ponytail.

Now… it’s all about looking fashionable at the gym. Now a days you walk into the gym and you are surrounded by bold patterns, bright colours and all kind of different sports outfits, sports accessories and fashionable braids and sporty hair styles.

Recent studies have shown that women prefer to spend more money on their sportswear rather than their everyday clothes. We see how more and more brands are starting to experiment in the Sportswear sector, expanding the offer women have.

For example, during 2014 brands like H&M, Bershka and Oysho have wowed us with their Fitness lines, sportswear and gym line, all packed with neon sports bras, animal prints patterns, diversity of hoodie, jackets, sporty cropped top and an interesting mishmash of colours and shapes. All of them offer a great variety of options, to make your workout fun, confortable but most of all to make you feel beautiful whilst taking care of yourself!

It’s all about making women feel STYLISH even if they are dripping with sweat!

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