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 […]

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% […]

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

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,

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

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

Every brand’s guide to slang, memes, and Internet Speak

Does speaking internet count as being bilingual? If so, we at Skidmore Studio are skilled translators capable of guiding you and your brand on a journey through this vast territory of garbled, unstable language. The slang, memes, and writing style of the web are incredibly important tools in any modern

3 food-focused clients we’re extra grateful for

There’s a lot to be thankful for this year. We have a new owner. We’ve experienced 200 percent growth in office dog attendance. And every time we step out the front door or take a walk around town, we see how Detroit has gotten a tiny bit more vibrant. One of

Brand over marketing: The 60/40 split

Here’s an idea that may be controversial: You should be investing more time and effort (and therefore $$$) into your brand than your marketing. Sure, we’re a little biased (we’re a branding studio, after all), but the data backs it up. “Media in Focus,” a report on the effects of

Mastering the “Stop, Hold, Close”

As one of the most important brand–customer touchpoints, a brand’s packaging needs to stand out from the competition, while also answering how the product solves a customer’s needs. Here at Skidmore, we use the “Stop, Hold, Close” method – a process for getting the most out of that sliver of

Lessons from insurgent food brands

Thanks for your interest! Click to view and download the WHITE PAPER "The Grocery Aisle Insurgents" Download

Striving for extraordinary partnerships

Recently I was asked, “What makes a really good client?” My initial reply was to spout off a series of thoughts I developed over the years working with clients of all shapes and sizes. Statements that were primarily from the studio’s perspective, like...They need to be big thinkers. They need

Menu writing tips from a hungry copywriter

Menus are everywhere – the cozy chalkboard at your neighborhood café, the oversized menu at the local burger joint, the minimalist menu at your favorite upscale restaurant. Big or small, simple or complex, beautiful or merely functional, menus are arguably the most important touchpoint between a restaurant’s brand and its

Talking to your audience

Most brands these days are learning how to walk the walk and truly uphold their brand values, but can they talk the talk? In this week’s episode of Branding Bites, Shawn and Kacha share their knowledge on how to better identify, talk to, and connect with your audience. Rather read than watch? Check out the transcript below! // TRANSCRIPT

3 things all insurgent brands must do

We all love to root for the underdog. It’s why the Rocky films have grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide. Rocky Balboa, one of the most beloved underdog movie characters of all time, beat Apollo Creed, Mr. T and that huge Russian dude, with a simple philosophy: Don’t play by their

Detroit dining and bonbon branding

Detroit has been featured in some of the country’s most respected publications and topped lists of America’s hottest food cities. And as Detroiters ourselves, we can confirm: the food is incredible. But there is also much to learn from the brand building efforts of some of Detroit’s most successful restaurants

Restaurant apps, biscuit theaters, and Airbnb

In this week’s episode of Branding Bites, Shawn and Kacha dive into the world of restaurant apps to discuss which restaurants are delivering a great app experience. And as always, they share their thoughts on everything of note in food, beverage, and branding this week! Click play for their answers

Branded videos and virtual reality

There is a lot of focus on branded video content in the food marketing space right now. Take Chipotle’s School of Guac, Cap’n Crunch’s Earliest Show, and Jack in the Box’s Cravings Hotline for example. In this week’s episode of Branding Bites, Shawn and Kacha discuss branded video content and

Building a cult brand and redesigning Taco Bell

In this episode of Branding Bites, our strategy director, Kacha Azema, and our design director, Shawn McConnell, got together to talk about what's happening in restaurant marketing this week. Tune in for their responses to questions including: How successful were Frontier Lager's recent #findflavour Instagram ads? (at 0:13) How can

Celebrating a centennial by keeping in step with the times

Last year the National Parks System attracted 305,000,000 people. That’s more visitors than Disney theme parks, the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NASCAR combined. And this year is looking even better. You have to admit - for a government agency to pull these kind of numbers, it’s pretty impressive. How does

How to win the Labatt Games & other brand activations

Just a few days ago, I was crowned a winner of the Labatt Undomesticated Games. If you know anything about the event, you probably want to hear my team’s strategies for dominating the oversized slingshot. But that’s a secret I’ll never tell. Instead I want to share my thoughts on

TL;DR and other reminders to keep your copy in check

As a writer and a millennial – and one who specializes in millennial-focused copywriting, no less – I am painfully aware of the challenges faced by brands writing for this audience. We hate advertising1, use fast-moving language steeped in internet and pop-culture allusions, and –­ due to infamous amounts of

To podcast, or not to podcast

If you want to reach millennials, there’s a pretty compelling argument that podcasts are a place you want your brand to be. Thirty-five percent of millennials listen to at least one podcast a week,1 and 63 percent have bought something they heard advertised on a podcast.2 With these kind of stats,

The celebrity spokesperson is dead…or is it?

If you believe what you hear, the celebrity spokesperson is dead. Talk is rampant in blogs and at conferences that the savvy millennial consumer doesn’t respond to paid endorsement. They say that customers want to hear from other customers, that UGC is the silver bullet. And while peer-to-peer marketing is

Creating magical moments at every consumer touchpoint

Let’s say you’ve got a billion-dollar brand that produces magic at every turn. Your innovative approach is second to none, and people of all ages tremble with excitement at the mere mention of your name. But somehow you’re not seeing the kind of results you want to see. Maybe there

Nothing compares 2 Prince – in music or marketing

Last Thursday, while at lunch, my phone blew up. Texts and emails and media alerts all pinged at the same time as a friend and colleague rested his hand on my shoulder. That was the moment I found out that my idol was gone and the world had lost an