News, culture & fun stuff

How to Find Your People

How to Find Your People Let’s get this out of the way: You actually don’t have an audience. Think about the word “audience.” It assumes you, the speaker, are on a stage or some elevated position. And it assumes that a crowd has willingly gathered around you—often paying money to do so—because they want to […]

The Skidmore Branding Glossary

The A to Z Guide to Branding Terminology There’s no way around it: The field of branding is a highly subjective one. Every firm and practitioner has their own POV on how to approach the work and what comprises a good brand. But we all can agree on this: Branding is about 1) understanding your […]

The Elements of a Brand Pyramid

The Elements of a Brand Pyramid Building a brand, one brick at a time. At the core of any good, recognizable, sticky brand is an idea. A simple idea that hooks their consumers and keeps a brand top of mind when it counts. We call this a Capstone because it’s the idea that tops your […]

Finding Your Target Audience

Finding Your Target Audience Here’s the thing: “Everyone” cannot be your audience. No matter how broad an appeal your product has, it’s impossible to please everyone—and you shouldn’t try to appeal to everyone. The narrower your audience is, the more your brand will resonate with those you do attract. Consumers are quick to embrace brands […]

Stop, Hold, Close: How to Win the Aisle

Stop, Hold, Close: How to Win the Aisle As Captain Obvious will tell you, getting noticed on a retail shelf isn’t easy. The competition is stiff. In the best-case scenario, the shopper arrives at the store thinking about your product specifically. But in a noisy media landscape where you and your competitors are all singing […]

How to Get Retail Ready

How to Get Retail Ready Prepping for the big buyer meeting You’ve got high-quality products that people love, with good sales through local and independent retailers. You’ve reached a level of scale and operational excellence that enables you to meet those small retailers’ order volumes. And you’ve put in the hard work to create a […]

The Fine Art of Being Different

The Fine Art of Being Different You’ve heard of “lawyer-ing up,” right? The strategy of hiring ever-more expensive lawyers than your opponent in order to help you fight an upcoming legal battle. There’s a similar phenomenon in the world of product differentiation: feature-ing up. It goes like this: A brand begins to dominate a category […]

How We Leverage Design Thinking to Build Brands

How We Leverage Design Thinking to Build Brands Design Thinking is a framework that guides our work process. That’s sure to prompt a reaction, so let’s get a few things out of the way: If you don’t know what Design Thinking is, start here. There are a thousand Design Thinking frameworks out there. Yes, we’re adding […]

Why Discovery

Why Discovery We’re incredibly fortunate to partner with clients who want to do good work—they put a great amount of effort into developing high-quality products and services and their sales team actively works to secure the best distribution channels. As their creative partner, it makes our job easy. Our work simply adds rocket boosters to […]

Branding Over Marketing for Better ROI

Branding Over Marketing for Better ROI We believe in the power of branding over marketing. Investing 60% of your budget on branding and 40% on marketing is the best way to generate measurable, predictable results that grow your business. We’ve seen—and the data backs us up—that any deviation from this roughly 60/40 formula dramatically reduces […]

What’s in a (Good) Name?

What’s in a (Good) Name? Whether you’re naming an organization, event, sub-brand, or product, the naming process is one of the most harrowing challenges for any internal team. So much of the final outcome hinges on difficult-to-control factors like varying stakeholder opinions, legal viability, and an ever-shrinking pool of available names. Still, naming remains a […]

How to Attract (and Retain) Top Talent

The Value of Brand for Internal Culture A lot of effort goes into creating and maintaining your company’s brand. Like any business, you have employees in multiple departments focused on executing your brand. For example, HR maintains your internal culture, while the marketing team is fully dedicated to creating the external perception of “you.” But […]

A Studio Update and Insights from Expo West

We’ve been busy…  It’s been an exceptional first quarter for the Skidmore team. Our sleeves are rolled and heads are down on work we can’t wait to share. ::rubs hands together:: Here’s a sneak peek at what we’re working on: An indulgent, sweet snack brand that satisfies those little treat moments  Some of the best […]

Award Winning Packaging Design

Hot off of the Presses – packaging design client, Vital Essentials, won a Pet Business Industry Recognition Award in the Packaging Redesign category! Here are some before Source: Vital Essentials’ Facebook Page Source: Vital Essentials’ Facebook Page Source: Vital Essentials’ Facebook Page Just look at these afters! See how we pencil to paper to create […]

2023 Beverage Trend Review

If you are anything like us, you usually have three drinks sitting in front of you: one for taste, one for function, and one for hydration. The beverage category is one of our favorites.  Perhaps it’s the responsiveness and category innovation that makes it so fascinating to follow. With consumers embracing new ingredients, nostalgic flavors, […]

Three Things You Need to Consider if You’re Rebranding in 2024.

With only 2 months left of 2023, it’s time to get planning for 2024! We consider this the most wonderful time of the year—industry insights converging with sales data and trends are like Christmas for us. This year, we’re seeing three opportunities for emerging businesses that will help long-term growth starting in 2024.  Consumer Testing […]

Unleash Success in 2024: Rebranding Pet Food for the Modern Consumer

The pet industry is thriving. With 66% of households in the US reporting at least one pet, that’s a whopping 89 million pet-loving people and potential customers for your pet products— or your competitors. In an industry where the products, claims, and marketing are so similar, it’s crucial to establish a distinguished brand that speaks […]

The Three F’s of 2023 Expo East

I went to Natural Products Expo East again this year and, as always, learned from the people behind the brands about the changes they’re seeing in food and beverage CPG. The trends were trending and the conversations were encouraging, but we couldn’t help but notice the disconnect between products, brands, packaging, and consumers. Let’s take […]

Living Your Brand Core Values

2023 – a fascinating year at the intersection of brand, marketing, and cultural relevance. Company and brand core values are being tested and consumers are leading with their hearts now more than ever. In the last six months, we’ve seen legacy brands who once proudly supported causes that aligned with their values shy away due […]

What’s in a brand’s visual identity?

Spoiler alert: it’s more than your logo.  In an ever-evolving aisle of choice, gaining consumer trust and loyalty is essential to growth. Building a standout brand identity early helps ensure that you capture consumers’ eyes, hands, and carts. That’s why brand development looks beyond your logo to incorporate your positioning, mission, messaging, and vision. These […]

Principles of a Packaging Redesign

Is your brand feeling a bit one-note?  Staying competitive in the aisle doesn’t always mean adding more flavor options to your portfolio. Often, one simple thing is holding you back — your packaging design. Deciding when to execute a redesign requires finesse and understanding of the market, your aisle-mate (aka your competitors), your consumers, and […]

Is Minimalist Packaging Design Effective for CPG Sales at Retail?

Minimalism has had a monumental impact on design. From fashion and interior design to brand packaging, the refined elements of minimalism are everywhere. It seems more brands are removing key components of their packaging design to lean into the cleanliness of bold labels, flat backgrounds, and neutral color schemes – no fun and no flare. […]

Is it Really the Cheesiest? Our Thoughts on the Kraft Mac & Cheese Redesign

Brands engage in a packaging redesign for a number of reasons. Factors like shifting trends, stagnant sales, or brand repositioning can impact the timing on when to hit the refresh button. New packaging launches receive accolades from the design community, only to receive stagnant sales – what went wrong?   According to the DemandGen Report, 94% […]

Brewing a Brand Redesign with Griffin Claw Brewing Company

Celebrating 10 years of great craft beers, Griffin Claw was ready for a new look and feel. Tired of inconsistent designs across the portfolio and a clunky logo, the new brand had to look good in the taproom and catch the eye of the consumer in the craft beer aisle. As fans of Griffin Claw […]

Is a DTC Strategy Right for Your CPG Brand?

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategies boast higher margins while enabling brands to own their story and customer data; allowing them to small-batch test new products and increase customer reviews.

Finding CPG success in Direct-to-Consumer

Direct-to-consumer provides ample opportunities for emerging brands. With more channels and ownability over the process, DTC gives you the opportunity to experiment with your business model as well as product offerings based on consumer insights.

How To Use Three Legacy Brand Marketing Pillars To Set Your CPG Brand Apart

Three Legacy Brand Marketing Pillars And How to Use them for Your CPG Brand As an emerging brand, it’s hard to ignore the saturation of large-scale brand success. With marketing, manufacturing and legacy on their side, big brands have the ability to roll out new flavor SKUs and praiseworthy campaigns without breaking a sweat.

5 tips for creating a customer profile

If you’ve found yourself tasked with creating customer profiles for your brand or organization and you don’t know where to start, it’s important to first remember two key things: Customer profiles do help inform product development, messaging, media placements, empathy, customer experience and moreCustomer profiles do not answer your shoppers

What Makes for a Successful Rebrand or Packaging Redesign?

Embarking on a rebrand or packaging redesign can be a daunting task. After all, it’s literally your identity we’re talking about here. It doesn’t have to be that intimidating, though. And with some expert help, the benefits are sure to far outweigh any discomfort. Follow these suggestions, and I guarantee

Millennial Moms Are Not An Audience

Back when the main marketing channel was television, advertisers had the luxury of their messages landing on the eyes and ears of captive audiences. Now in a world dominated by media—with the average consumer encountering up to 10,000 ads per day—creating messages with mass appeal means paying money just to

So, I’ll see you at Expo West? 

Short answer: Nope, that’s not for us.Thousands of emerging CPG brands all gathered in one place to show off and talk about their product...and it’s not for us? Yes, exactly. Because we recognize our value doesn’t lie in walking the floor of Expo West just to say we’ve been to

Staying relevant with strategic product innovation

More and more, food brands are growing or pivoting their product offerings to meet new consumer trends (we hear mushrooms are all the rage). With a new product, you walk a fine line of maintaining the brand quality and values your current customers know and love AND delivering products new

What consumers are craving in 2022

The right meal can make you feel peace at the end of a stressful day. It can make you feel loved when you’re far from home. It can make you feel inspired and delighted when your mind is completely drained. And in a world where being healthy feels unattainable in

How grocery retailers are thriving in a cookieless world

Marketers everywhere are scrambling to adjust their consumer targeting strategies ahead of the death of the cookie. Big brands are exploring D2C models, niche brands are opening proprietary pop-ups, and new retail media networks are being launched every month.  Retailers like Kroger and Walmart have long been players in the

Emerging brands gain ground on old faithfuls

2021 saw almost a third of consumers more likely to try new products over the year prior, and 2022 promises more of the same. From supply chain woes to social justice movements to family budget constraints, staple brands are now fighting with their emergent counterparts for coveted space in kitchens

The omnichannel shopper is everyone

If you’ve felt like your marketing communications in the last two years just aren’t landing like they used to, you’re not alone. Like it or not, the pandemic has had a permanent influence on how and where shoppers are purchasing the products they need to make it through the week.

Impulse buying: When they can’t resist

Over 50% of all purchases are made spur of the moment, with no prior planning. It's a huge opportunity for emerging brands to capture those impulse purchases, but first, we need to understand what emotions trigger impulse buyers. The beverage category in particular is a great case study of the impulse moment. Research

The opportunity in product innovation

While product innovation has always been a way to stir up interest, the last 18 months has seen an even greater demand for variety from food and beverage brands. 80% of consumers state they are craving something new from their favorite products, with millennials in particular looking to nostalgic brands

Shopping list marketing belongs in your 2022 marketing strategy

With all the recent changes in tracking consumer data, the conversation around marketing and advertising has changed drastically. While email and SMS are now considered table-stakes for any strategy, we believe the most effective direct marketing happens where and when people shop—and for food and beverage brands, this means shopping

Win Your Own Backyard

Here’s the thing very few brokers or growth consultants will tell you: Scaling your distribution too fast can quickly ruin your entire brand. While the opportunity for growth is exciting, if you can’t advocate for good placement or stocking full product lines, your brand runs a high risk of being

How to ensure a successful rebrand launch

Rebrands are a second chance at a first impression. Rebranding allows companies to evaluate, refine, and organize priorities within their business: what is important to them and why, who their audience actually is, how to engage them, etc. Rebrands should be a reflection of that soul-searching. But change is hard,

Learnings from the first week of social distancing

Reflecting back on how our Skidmore team navigated the first week of social distancing, we found that we stumbled onto a few gems that really helped us have an unexpectedly great week. We wanted to share what we’ve learned in the hopes that there are some helpful nuggets you can

Skidmore 2019 Year in Review

Happy New Year, folks! Last year marked our 60th anniversary, so 2020 means we’re entering a fresh new decade as an organization as well. We’re grateful for the past six decades of business and hopeful for what’s to come. Re: 2019, it proved another action-packed, though slightly chaotic, year. We

The battle for shelf space: Lessons from 3 successful brands

As an emerging food or consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand, you might feel like getting that first order from a big retailer like Whole Foods or Walmart means you’ve made it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a huge accomplishment—and one worth celebrating—but it’s just the beginning.   While having the

THINK Business interviews Skidmore Studio Owner & President, Drew Patrick

This interview was originally posted on Jon Dwoskin's "THINK Business" podcast. Drew isn’t your typical finance guy. As owner and president of Skidmore Studio, he’s a thoughtful strategic partner, relationship builder, and fierce advocate for the studio’s creative team. He’s passionate about helping good organizations grow through branding and fostering

Know your customer and technology will fall into place

Originally posted on as a guest post by Skidmore Studio President, Drew Patrick. Back in the day, shopping was a simple affair. People went to the store to buy things. Then the internet happened. In order to keep up, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers rushed to create an online experience for

New look, same creative studio

We, a branding studio, have a fresh new brand identity ourselves. This includes an all-new Skidmore Studio logo, visual identity, and website.  Our creative studio based in downtown Detroit is in its 60th year in business. As we approach a new decade of growth, our leadership team felt a rebrand

Peter Fezzey joins Skidmore Studio’s leadership team

Skidmore Studio welcomes Peter Fezzey to the team to direct all account and new business efforts. Fezzey joins the studio with 15 years of experience in strategic partnerships and business development. At Skidmore, he is responsible for building new business relationships, developing client growth strategies, promoting the studio’s services, and

Skidmore Studio honored as one of the 2019 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch

Skidmore Studio was recently recognized by Michigan Celebrates Small Business as one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch in 2019, an awards program recognizing advocates of small business in Michigan. Companies who are selected to receive this honor are a remarkable group of second-stage companies. Defined as having 6

Client Spotlight: How a small social biz grew into a statewide staple

In 2016, the folks behind Michigan Farm to Freezer trusted us to redesign the core piece of their brand identity: their packaging label. At the same time, the Michigan-based processor of fruits and vegetables moved their freezing facility from Traverse City to Detroit to expand their reach. Two years and