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Designing for clarity vs. designing for curiosity

October 26 2015 / Shawn McConnell

There are a million different ways to solve a design challenge. In every case, the approach you take should depend heavily on the goal. And I’m not talking about the “Increase awareness 35%” kind of goal. I’m talking about the mental goal. What do you want people to feel? Do you want their pulse to […]


How leading brands can use beacons

October 20 2015 / admin

People talk about the physical world and the digital world as two separate places – but they’re not. They’re one place, called the modern world. Consumers live in this world. And as marketers, we need to transcend bits and atoms, to create magical moments and meaningful conversations no matter where, when, or how people engage […]


What marketers can learn from Taylor Swift

October 13 2015 / admin

There is no question: Taylor Swift knows what she’s doing. As an entertainer, a performer, and – most importantly – as a marketer, Swift is killing it. In only a few years, she has become one of the most beloved and buzzed about musicians in the country. With 50.5 million followers, she’s the most popular […]

Consumer Insights

Airlines need to go above and beyond to win millennials

October 6 2015 / admin

Ask millennials what they enjoy spending money on, and “travel” will likely be one of the first things you hear. More than 75 percent of millennials prefer to spend money on experiences rather than material things,1 and 35 percent of millennials said they plan to take one to two large trips in 2015, compared to […]

Consumer Insights

Do millennials find value in a professional sporting event?

September 29 2015 / admin

What gets millennials to the game? We were curious, so we surveyed more than 500 millennials ages 21-34 about their experience purchasing tickets for – and attending – professional sporting events1. And while we know there are all types of attendees, from the social viewer to the die-hard fan, we really wanted to know why […]

Consumer Insights

Your 60-second guide to millennials

/ admin

Every day, we talk to industry leaders who admit that they don’t understand the millennial generation as well as they should. But how do you inspire an audience to go on a journey with you if you don’t understand where they’re coming from? Start off on the right path with millennial stats every marketer should know.


Hail to the chief!

September 28 2015 / admin

Six months ago I shared with you a manifesto of sorts, my personal credo to “Dare Mighty Things.” This statement is based on a quote from Teddy Roosevelt and it is a daily reminder for me to be willing to risk much, even if it means failing more often. A year ago, it helped Skidmore […]


Improving the in-store experience

September 22 2015 / Shawn McConnell

In-store marketing can be the baptismal waters for immersion into your brand. Done wrong, it’ll be completely invisible – or even worse, an absolute annoyance. Done right, it’ll lead your customer to do exactly what you want. So how can you do in-store marketing the right way? Here are a few tips to get you […]


Social Influence: Turning sales into marketing

September 15 2015 / admin

If you’re like most companies, your sales are a quiet affair. Your customers move through the purchasing process privately, making decisions and buying products without broadcasting it to the world. Take Josie for example. She’s attracted by your latest ad campaign, explores what you have to offer, decides she wants your widget and then—silently, invisibly—she […]


Make your advertising matter in the digital age

September 11 2015 / admin

Millennials are living in the digital world. They are fully immersed – communicating on social media, shopping online, streaming movies – and blurring the line between physical and digital more than ever before. While TV reigned supreme as the top advertising medium for decades, the cable cutting generation is in a different space altogether. As […]

Consumer Insights

4 ways to avoid annoying the millennial shopper

September 1 2015 / admin

If you’re a chief marketing officer trying to earn the attention and admiration of the millennial shopper — without inadvertently tripping the “red flag” of annoyance — you’ve got your work cut out for you. In an effort to locate the land mines and avoid missteps, Skidmore Studio recently conducted an online survey asking millennials […]

Consumer Insights

Using big data in email marketing to millennials

August 25 2015 / admin

Even though inboxes are overloaded and the average person receives 70 emails a day, millennials prefer to communicate with brands via email.1,2 This means that companies have a lot of competition when it comes to reaching their audience. And for entertainment and experience-based brands seeking to engage Generation Y, standing out in the retail heavy, […]


Design feedback, from a designer

August 18 2015 / Shawn McConnell

“Add a little more design” “Make this a bit more fun” “Make it sizzle” “Make it pop” When it comes to design feedback, I’ve heard these words and phrases more times in my career than I can count. Clients say them, account people say them, and whether they admit it or not, sometimes even designers […]

Consumer Insights

Unexpected brands find success with the millennial buyer

August 11 2015 / admin

Some things are great pairings. Mention one item, and your brain automatically adds the second. Try saying the words “peanut butter” and not thinking ______? Right? These natural fits also happen in the marketing world. When brand and audience form a natural connection, the job of the marketer is relatively simple. Helping Hasbro Toys reach […]


How to drive sales by improving experience

August 4 2015 / admin

As the CMO of a top entertainment brand you’ve got a sharp eye on your metrics. Above all, I bet you’re tracking sales numbers carefully. Sales are important, sure, but they look backward instead of forward. By focusing only on sales, you’re missing an opportunity to drive numbers instead of just reading about them. Let […]


Crash course in 2015 digital marketing buzzwords

July 28 2015 / admin

The digital world moves quickly. Every day there’s a new trend or term popping up that requires us to determine its relevancy and figure out if and how it applies to our work. These terms change frequently, so we don’t expect our clients to know every current buzzword and be able to drop it into […]


Social media is a two-way street: How to improve your social strategy

July 21 2015 / admin

Anyone who’s responsible for the communications and marketing efforts of their brand certainly understands the importance of having a meaningful presence on social media. But if your brand hopes to engage millennials, having a presence is not nearly enough. In a day and age where 81 percent of Twitter users expect a same-day response, you […]

Consumer Insights

Why millennials are cutting the cable cord

July 14 2015 / admin

For more than five decades, traditional TV commercials were king when it came to advertising, with marketers spending a combined $80 billion on TV ads each year.1 But with new technology emerging and people consuming content in new ways, there is a major shift happening as millennials, a group with more than $2 billion in […]


Predicting the next design trends

July 6 2015 / Shawn McConnell

Every company targeting millennials is asking the same question: How do you connect with a generation that is known to mistrust brands, a generation that refuses to be told what is cool? The smartest companies also want to know how to create visual relevance for a brand when trends seem irrational and design seems unpredictable. […]

Consumer Insights

How millennials view the hotel experience

June 25 2015 / admin

If you’re anything like me, you consider a hotel stay the ultimate luxury. An opportunity to throw your bags at your feet, dive head first into a pillowy mattress, and have someone take care of you. The world is a tough place and sometimes we just want to throw our towels on the ground and […]


User-Generated Content: A marketing gold mine

June 23 2015 / admin

Imagine if you could double, triple, or even quadruple your branded content and simultaneously improve your brand’s reputation without spending a single dollar. That would be amazing, right? No, this isn’t a sleazy sales pitch for snake oil, and it’s not a fairy tale. There’s a ready gold mine of brand content out there just […]


Drive millennial sales like Ford with these 3 tips for CMOs

June 16 2015 / admin

Millennials will spend money with brands that speak to them authentically. They will not spend money on brands that talk at them in tired, traditional, and overtly manipulative ways. Too many marketers focus on only the mechanics and wonder why the results don’t follow. In order to drive sales among 18-34 year olds, CMOs must […]

Consumer Insights

Marketing to millennial moms

June 9 2015 / admin

Many executives think of millennials as one big, homogeneous group. They speak about 18-34 year olds in broad terms and generalize their behaviors. But this generation of 80 million is full of segments worth getting to know. And one of the largest is millennial moms. With a considerable amount of purchasing power, millennial moms are worth […]

Consumer Insights

Three tips CMOs need to reach millennials

May 21 2015 / admin

If you are a Chief Marketing Officer attempting to reach millennials, the job you face is extraordinarily difficult. But if you are the CMO of an entertainment brand, and you are hoping to engage millennials with a meaningful experience, the challenge you face is monumental. Connecting with 18-34 year olds is complicated, but it’s not […]

Creative Services

How to get the best work from your creative partner

April 7 2015 / Shawn McConnell

The best work coming from most studios and agencies will never leave their doors. It’ll live in a flat file in a long forgotten hallway or on a nameless server somewhere. When clients and creatives work together, however, this fate can be avoided. We celebrate this work because it represents our passions. The greatest thrill […]


Where's the marketing at SXSW?

March 24 2015 / admin

It’s that time of year when tens of thousands of people from around the world descend on Austin, Texas for South by Southwest (SXSW), a nearly two-week long music, film and interactive festival. For many, it’s one huge party – but for brands, it’s the holy grail of marketing. Attendees are predominantly millennials and 33 […]

Consumer Insights

Debunking the hipster myth

March 16 2015 / admin

I’ve recently noticed a rising trend around a precarious stereotype: millennials = hipsters. For example, in a meeting I attended about a city’s brand, an otherwise savvy client continually used the words “hipsters” and “young people” interchangeably. A few days later, I heard the CMO of a national brand lump his entire millennial audience into […]


Dare mighty things

February 25 2015 / admin

Pinned to the wall, next to my phone, is a quote by Teddy Roosevelt. The first line reads, “Far better it is to dare mighty things.” This quotation is my daily reminder not to be afraid of failure. To be willing to take big risks – even if it means losing a client. Today, as Skidmore Studio […]

Consumer Insights

Super Bowl Ad Survey: Would YOU buy a beer from a puppy?

February 6 2015 / admin

The Super Bowl has always been a main event for advertisers and consumers. Sometimes there’s a love match, sometimes there’s not. This year we surveyed a group of consumers to understand what people really thought of the ads. While some recognize that other things happen during this time (apparently a sport is involved), the majority of us […]


Design Thinking — Step 3: Extraordinary design

December 15 2014 / Shawn McConnell

This is the third, in a three-part series on the “how” of Design Thinking. In the second of this three-part series, Strategy informed us we need bridge. A bridge so beautiful it will make you weep. So let’s get started. Picture a large bridge spanning a body of water. Go ahead. Close your eyes. Sit back and […]


Design Thinking — Step 2: Extraordinary strategy

December 1 2014 / admin

This is the second, in a three-part series on the “how” of Design Thinking. In the first of this three-part series about Design Thinking, Tim Smith talked about Discovery and how Skidmore digs under every rock, heads outside to talk to customers and walks a mile in our client’s shoes to be sure we empathetically […]


Design Thinking – Step 1: Discovery

November 17 2014 / admin

This is the first, in a three-part series on the “how” of Design Thinking. This blog began as a question posed during a recent studio planning meeting: “Should we give away our secret sauce?” The idea on the table was to go deeper into Skidmore’s Design Thinking process and share how we create the extraordinary. […]


Design Thinking – Good for business & Detroit

October 6 2014 / admin

More quantifiable proof: Good Design is Good for Business. A recent study reported in Fast Company proves that companies that embrace Design Thinking outperform those that don’t by a whopping 228 percent.1 You read that right – 228 percent. The analysis, completed by the Design Management Institute, looked at companies in the Standard & Poor’s […]


Hey, Cadillac – You've got it wrong

September 29 2014 / admin

Two events happened in Detroit this week that exemplified the mindsets which exist within two of Detroit’s very different worlds – the sports world and the business world. The first was an announcement by GM that the Cadillac brand is moving to New York. The second was when one of the Detroit Tigers best hitters […]

Studio Life

Merry band of creatives

September 22 2014 / admin

This month Skidmore unveiled the MerryMen Project, a new program that promotes a philosophy of designing for good. The goal of this effort is to support Detroit-based non-profits and small businesses by providing pro bono strategy and design services. While Skidmore has provided pro bono services to the non-profit community since long before I took […]