From tastes to taste-makers, the culinary industry is always pushing the envelope (or is that napkin?) when it comes to the fresh, the novel, and the innovative. Food is something that we experience in so many different ways - whether it's consuming, preparing, sharing, or even viewing - giving us endless dimensions to explore it. Let's take a look at some of the creative directions the world's gastronomes have taken food in recent years and what lessons we can take from them.
It looks like we can finally see the end of the COVID tunnel, and it’s just in time for summer! The StellaPopsciles have put together a soundtrack to help turn the heat up and kick off your summer. From 80s classics to today’s top hits, these picks are sure to put you in a sunny mood. Now get ready to find your summer motivation beat, or just sit by the pool sippin’ on a summer cocktail.
For many people, design is synonymous with appearance. The design of something is what it looks like, right? Well, to some extent, sure. But design goes way beyond just looks: it's also about function and communication. Good design uses visual elements to clearly, appealingly communicate a message or serve a particular function. It should look great but also work well because design that doesn't can have a major impact on the user experience - and your brand.
Your brand isn’t just that cool business name or that fancy logo. While those things are important, a brand is much more than that. It’s about perception and how your customers view you, view your brand, and view your products. The totality of those perceptions are what make the impressions––both good and bad––that your brand will leave behind, imprinted on their hearts and minds forever. No pressure. While a brand is made up of many things, there are a few key functions that all successful brands have.
A brand is more than a logo or your website's color scheme. It's your business's identity writ large and put out into the world. But that identity doesn't just come out of nowhere. From what you look like to how you sound, your brand's identity is built on top of the scaffolding of a brand strategy - what you stand for, what makes you you, and what kind of success you're reaching for.
Don Draper might be able to pluck a genius idea from the air on demand, but research shows that the rest of us take a while to hit upon concepts, themes, or innovations that will actually land the right way. But as the business world inexorably speeds up and there's increasing pressure to continuously develop new and brilliant ideas while adhering to ever-stricter time and budget limits, we need to create space for our teams to come up with truly great ideas. Because let's face it, when it comes to creative thinking, first in isn't always best dressed.
From Google to social media to TV commercials, we're exposed to thousands of ads every day. We see so many ads that we're almost blind to them. That is until one breaks through the noise and pulls at our heartstrings. Suddenly, we find ourselves tearing up, clicking through, and even making a purchase. What is this phenomenon? Emotional marketing.
You could have the greatest idea for a business, product, or app ever — but if you don't have a strong name to support it, you might struggle to make it a success.
But with so many brands competing for attention and revenue, it can be daunting to even begin thinking about a name. After all, there's more to a brand name than just how it sounds or how much you like it. Read on to learn seven important steps to take when naming your brand.
Farmers brand their cattle for a reason: so you'll never mistake one of their herd for someone else's. Every brand is bold, unique, and the sum of years of hard work. It's the same in business. Your brand identity is the equivalent of Farmer Bill's cattle stamp. It's a mark of who you are and who you're not. Cutting corners, compromising, or failing to police how your brand is presented to the world muddies up that brand promise - and your reputation.
One is not like the other—at least that’s how it should be when it comes to your brand. Unfortunately, many brands appear to simply be echoing the landscape around them, virtually drowning themselves in a sea of “not that different.”
We get it, it can be tough to differentiate yourself and your brand when the internet has essentially leveled the playing field for everyone, big and small. You have to crawl and drag yourself from the pit of the deep to make yourself heard above all the noise. No small feat!
Ever wondered about what makes something art and something else design? Basically, art is primarily concerned with aesthetics, and design is about function first. If you're a designer, an amazing-looking chair that you can't actually sit in is a terrible design. But it might just nab an artist a MacArthur Fellowship.
Everyone wants to be the next Apple or Nike. Or so they say. What they really mean is that they want to be as successful, as awe-inspiring and as beloved as Apple or Nike. Because these two brands are irresistible. They’re among just a handful of brands that have superfans – fans that line up for a new product launch or stay up late to watch a new demo.
As we emerge blinking into 2021, we think it's safe to say that we're different people than we were before COVID-19. The human impact of the coronavirus is significant, and as marketers, we want to be attuned to this change so that we can meet people where they are post-isolation. Here are some of the ways we anticipate consumer behavior will be different in 2021, and how brands can bridge the gap.
Experiential marketing is about creating a meaningful connection between a brand and its customers. It’s more than just promoting the product or service, it’s designed for customers to actively engage with the brand and the company’s core values. This can look different for every brand, but common tactics are events, pop up stores, and interactive experiences in specific areas. However, what’s typically done in experiential marketing is likely unsafe and unsanitary in the new normal. So how do we adjust?
We’ve been feeling a little extra naughty this year. Maybe it’s the masks, maybe it’s being stuck inside with our family 24/7, or maybe the lack of toilet paper. So, to get through the holidays, StellaPop rounded up a list of their top 8 podcasts. Beware - listening to these podcasts might help land you a spot on the naughty list this year.
Get ready to plug in your headphones and ignore the rest of the world until Christmas.
Whether you are feeling naughty or nice this year we can all use a little extra Christmas magic (since 2020 was the year no one asked for). The StellaPop team put together the ultimate holiday playlist to get you in the spirit.
Now grab some spiked eggnog and sit by the fireplace because it’s time to get festive!
Successful marketing is all about standing out in the right ways. Great creative campaigns are memorable, appealing, relevant, and actionable. They get your brand out there in surprising ways that attract attention and engagement - and inspire sharing and discussion. Here's how to build a creative campaign that's as distinctive as it is unforgettable.
We all leaped into 2020 with big ambitions and lofty goals. But this year has thrown all sorts of twists, turns, and surprises at us. If you've fallen short of your resolutions for the year, now's the ideal time to start planning a major comeback for 2021. Not sure where to start? Here's our master list of marketing resolutions for 2021 to set you off on the right foot.
As we inch closer to Halloween, we've got all things creepy and kooky on our minds. Among them? Necromancy. Fortunately, in our field, that has less to do with resurrecting dead bodies and more to do with bringing content back from the dead. Here's how and why to give your content a second lease on life.
As Halloween approaches, we're digging deeper into our analysis of humanity's darker side. Today we're going to take a look at what exactly it is that fascinates us about serial killers and why they linger in the collective memory. While we much prefer our content to be killer in the metaphoric sense, we can definitely learn something from the world's "rippers" - real or fictional.
As Halloween approaches, we're all embracing our inner spookiness. We want our decorations to induce gasps, our costumes to elicit screams, and our trick or treats to be utterly memorable. But it's not just on Halloween that we should be thinking about making a killer impression. Our brands should be striving to create content that's a total scream all year round. Here's how to create marketing content that will cause a shiver down your fans' spines - and that will give your bottom line a bump in the night.
Marketing strategies look different based on a variety of factors– the size of a company, its goals, target audience, whether it’s B2B or B2C… the list goes on. However, one thing that should stay the same no matter what kind of business is being run is the presence of a brand style guide.
If you've spent any amount of time managing people, you've probably come to the conclusion that creative people are wired differently. While there may be the odd unicorn who is happy to abide by workflows and Excel spreadsheets, creatives are usually happiest in a less structured, regimented environment. Here's how to create an environment that lets your creative team thrive while also ensuring all that big picture thinking results in something real and tangible.
The world might be on pause, but your brand shouldn't be. In fact, now is an ideal time to push your brand forward with a brand update, refresh, or overhaul. By using these quieter times to revamp your brand identity or refocus your positioning, you can emerge from lockdown with a fresh, up-to-date brand that grabs consumers' attention in all the right ways. Here's what we anticipate to be the top branding trends of 2020 and beyond.
It happens to the best of us: you spend all that time and effort growing your business, and suddenly you've outgrown your brand. Maybe you've refocused your service offering. Perhaps you've narrowed in on a new audience. Maybe you're doing everything right - but your competitors are doing it better. Or it could be that COVID-19 has got you rethinking who you are and what you stand for.
Calling all coffee lovers! It’s finally here - the fuel that will ignite the fire that burns inside all of us. Our first passion gets us up in the morning. Our second passion keeps us up.
Starterfluid Coffee is a heart-pounding, mind-sharpening, sleep-scaring fuel like the world's never seen before, but sorely wishes it had. Because if history had run on Starterfluid all those what-ifs and could be’s would be done and dusted.
It goes without saying that our event and professional development calendars are looking very different these days. All those in-person conferences, workshops, and classes are now taking place online, which means a tremendous shift in how they're delivered. Instructors and mediators are working hard to figure out how to create a community amongst remote participants - not to mention how to create a sense of hands-on immediacy in a virtual environment.
In a perfect world, you build it, and they come. But business owners (and marketers) know all too well life isn't as easy as that. It takes time for a customer to move from the notion that they might want to buy something to the step of actually buying it. Brands need to make an ongoing, dedicated effort to courting customers in order to make that coveted sale. Enter the marketing funnel.
What do successful businesses have in common with ballerinas?
What can entrepreneurs learn from basketball players that might help their companies survive and even thrive amid devastating worldwide health and financial crisis?
It’s called the pivot.
With the work from home world slowly transitioning to a new reality and restaurants closed to sit-down dining. Everyone is spending much of their time indoors, and we're learning to appreciate the lost art of cooking. Turns out, all that time in our prior lives spent watching the Food Network is finally coming in handy. But that's because food isn't just about food; it never has been. Food is about comfort, coming together, trying new things, and exploring the world through taste. At its heart, cooking is a creative act - and a powerful (and tasty) way to keep your creative juices flowing during the lockdown.
Life is anything but business as usual right now. Chances are that your plans and goals for the year are swiftly becoming unmoored as shutdowns continue, clients slash budgets, and your usual channels for getting the word out become less viable.
Everyone has been helping to do their part and social distancing to help flatten the curve. However, with being at home for almost 2 months, almost everyone is starting to feel a little stir crazy and could use a little pick-me-up.
There’s no denying it anymore. A product that’s beautifully crafted and designed sells itself; no heavy lifting required. On the other hand, a poorly designed product can leave you dead in the water. If you value your bottom line, you cannot disvalue design. Just look around you at a few well-known brands.
Creativity is a key factor in business success. Creative minds are able to bring together ideas and concepts in the novel, engaging ways, with the results being unique brands, incredible innovations, and unbeatable market positioning. However, when you spend your days behind a desk, it's easy for those creative muscles to atrophy.
Here's how to channel your inner creativity.
Productivity is a powerful metric in today's workplaces. It's also something we incessantly strive for. There are myriad articles, tools, and even startups designed to help us optimize every moment of our working, and waking, day. But productivity isn't the only marker of a day well spent. In fact, sometimes being overly productive can lead to major gaps in how you think and work. The most commonly identified gap? Creativity and everything related to it.
Social distancing has given us an unlikely star: the Tiger King. A trending topic all over social media, this eponymous star of a new Netflix series has captured the imaginations of the world's quarantined populace. With his blond mullet, sparkly jackets, and unfettered self-belief - culminating in an attempt to run for President - Tiger King is a big, bold, strange and yet somehow captivating personality.
Design isn't just about creating things that look good. It's about solving a problem in an appealing, functional way. And according to McKinsey's recent report The Business Value of Design, it's a good business idea. Their research indicates that businesses that invest in design thinking are twice as successful as those who don't.
The challenge, however, is in being able to demonstrate the value of design. While many designers and companies are aware of the ROI that great design brings, selling it to consumers - or even to higher ups - isn't always so easy.
For years now the public conversation has been focused around "disruptors" - brands that seek to become market leaders through a powerful USP. They're different from disruptors. The conversation is shifting towards a new type of powerhouse: the challenger brand.
A challenger brand is a mission-driven company that sets itself apart with a vision for improving things for the customer. It's less about a winner-takes-all competition mindset and more about progressing the category. Challenger brands challenge ideas or processes, not just other companies, as disruptors do. They're about challenging a what, not a who.
Marketing metrics have moved beyond clicks and impressions and towards attention metrics. Attention metrics measure how a user is engaging with your content. Likes and shares are indicators of engagement; comments are an even better one. Then there are the micro indicators, such as scrolling, tilting a phone, swiping or completing/rewatching a video.
Raise your hand if when AI entered the everyday home and workplace, all you could think about was Disney Channel's Smart House and the AI system overtaking the family and losing it? Or perhaps the 2001 movie AI that was just a little bit creepy? Anybody?
We've more than entered an age of AI where it doesn't just exist in the plot of sci-fi movies. People are using AI products and services in every part of their daily lives - both at home and at work.
There’s no denying that making, well, just about everything a service these days is a “thing.” From productivity and platforms to identify and infrastructure, XaaS (affectionately dubbed—you guessed it—everything-as-a-service) is a market that’s expanding rapidly.
Gartner predicts that public cloud services worldwide will grow by as much as 17% this year. That means numbers growth from $227.8 billion to $266.4 billion overall, with cloud app services and SaaS brands accounting for $116 billion of that number all on their own.
Magic words are one thing, but brand focus is one of the most important concepts in business marketing. However, it's one that brands are often leery of. This is because brand owners think "focus", they worry that they're giving up potential sales and profits by narrowing their offering. Focus goes against our natural inclination to cast a wide net and capture as wide an audience as possible.
But successful brands know that the danger isn't in being too focused, but rather in being not focused enough.
First, facts. You are constantly creating and casting vision, whether you’re aware of it or not. Humans are born creators, we create everywhere we go, by the very thoughts we think and the beliefs we believe. However, if you’re not paying attention, or establishing a creative vision intentionally, there’s really no telling where you might end up! It certainly won’t help you plan the trajectory of your business and brand.
In the age of the Internet, social media, and smartphones, one could almost believe such a statement to be true. However, there’s something to be said for going old school on occasion. The simple truth is that not everyone is Internet and media savvy.
In the same way, there are readers in the world who prefer a real book to an eBook, something they can hold in their hands, even sniff if they want to—there are people who prefer real mail. They want to check the mailbox, not an inbox. They enjoy receiving something they can look over and hold in their hands.
Most high-performing businesses spare no shortage of time and effort in developing a viable business strategy, and a hard-hitting brand strategy to support it. But what about a creative strategy? Too often brands conflate brand and creative strategies, robbing their business of either destination or approach. The businesses that truly succeed are the ones that complement their brand strategy with a creative one.
Creativity underpins the success of any profitable brand, even those not usually considered to be in a creative niche. The reason for this is that the thoughtful application of new ideas is critical to a business being able to improve its processes, offerings, and profitability. Creativity in business is about more than invention. It's about innovating: taking an invention or idea and incorporating it into your business model.
Bravery is quite the buzzword in marketing and advertising these days. People talk about being brave and fearless, but the reality is that bravery goes hand in hand with fear. To be brave actually means to step out into something, to take a risk, in spite of fear… not to take a risk with an absence of fear. If there’s no fear involved, is the step you’re taking really a risk? Probably not. Ergo, it’s probably not all that brave either. What are you afraid of?
In marketing, rules constantly change as advertisers and businesses discover new and fresh ways to market to their right people, and consumers respond, react, and engage with their favorite brands. One strategy that’s getting bigger is experiential marketing.
You might get the gist just from the name, but basically, you’re creating an ad strategy that helps consumers experience your brand. Some call it an immersive experience, while others call it engagement marketing.
Whatever you call it, think of it like this. Why listen to your favorite singer on YouTube if you can see them live, in action? Because we all know there’s something special about seeing a live show that you just can’t convey adequately through a video or an mp3. It’s immersive, and you have to experience it firsthand to really get the full effect.
The most profound effect on our actions, impact that makes a lasting impression and sets our future selves up to perform the same action again and again, stems from emotions, not logic. Emotions operate on an altogether different playing field than cognitive thinking.
Put simply, they knock it out of the park when it comes to effectiveness in advertising and brand building. Instead of appealing to higher minds, brands are hitting people right in the guts, using ads that invoke emotion and attempt to trigger a specific response. Sound a bit like manipulation? Well, it is. But it works.
When we talk about creativity we're not talking about a toddler's glittery Popsicle stick creation - though it's rooted in the same place.
Creativity is novel, non-obvious, useful, and moving ideas executed in a novel, non-obvious, useful, and moving ways.
Approaching business with creativity is essential to your business success. This is particularly true when you're talking about branding and marketing. Why?
There are a number of ways to influence the perception of your company in the public eye. From advertising to marketing to public relations, you have a cornucopia of options before you to solidify your brand and interact with customers. But what's the difference between them all? Read on to find out.
Creative giants have long ruled the advertising world, but times are changing. Small creative agencies are proving that mighty is more potent than massive. Big brands are working with smaller creative shops, swapping bureaucracy for innovation and agility. Small agencies cut through the noise, think outside the box, care about the work, and attract top talent who want to work closely with their clients.
For big ideas, it’s best to think small. Here are a few reasons why you should choose a small creative agency:
You've done all the work behind the scenes. You've met a dozen times internally to strategize, brainstorm and collaborate. But now comes the most important part: presenting your work to your client.
Presentations are a high-stakes challenge. You're trying to sell someone on an idea, and no matter how good that idea is, if its value doesn't come across, then your client won't bite. Here's how to present your project, concept or work in a way that will get buy-in from even the most challenging client.
Walk a mile in my shoes and you'll understand.
We love to put ourselves in the customer's shoes. Why? When making any decision regarding your customer's experience, set the scene as if you were a first-time consumer. Asking a few key questions. How would we have gotten there? What would be looking for? What are the fewest steps to any buying decision?
You know what they say, a project without a plan is a wish.
It happens to us all the time. A client asks us to design an ad, create a brochure or build a website. That's awesome - it's what we do, after all - but before we get started we need to know exactly what we're creating and why.
All of this information goes into a creative brief, which is the roadmap we use to determine the eventual creative output. What is a creative brief? It's a plan on what and how to deliver a project. Why is a creative brief important? As creatives, we're strategic partners. We don't just design for the sake of design. We want to ensure that what we create meets your business goals. A creative brief provides the foundation needed to make sure that we're delivering what you need.
In recent years the C-Suite has expanded to include innovators, designers, marketers and other creatives. The 90s saw the rise of the Chief Marketing Officer as a crucial team member (a role that tech companies can't get enough of today). More recently, designers are starting to rise to the executive level - see companies such as PepsiCo and Johnson & Johnson, both of which have set aside corner offices for Chief Design Officers.
So what's behind the rise of the creative executive, and why should your company take note?
What do you think when you think of luxury? Sure, Louis Vuitton bags, Lambos, and bottles of Dom Perignon spring to mind, but the term may not be as regal as you think. By definition, luxury brands are ones that provide a sense of exclusiveness; they’re brands that have built a reputation out of offering a highly personalized service that typically exceeds expectations.
With the release of Interbrand’s yearly Best Global Brands report earlier this month, luxury was far and away this year’s best-performing category. In fact, luxury products increased an impressive 42% from last year. It seems everyone’s hopping on the luxury bandwagon these days -- from tech companies to budget brands and more.
It's no longer enough for your business to simply sell a great product or service. Plenty of businesses do! Increasingly, consumers shop based on whether a company aligns with their goals, purpose or outlook. To reach them, your business needs to stand for something.
But in a world of content marketing, standing for something is about more than simply listing a handful of pillars on your website. It's about showing those values through your actions, partnerships, and campaigns.
Increasingly, the world's most innovative companies are being led by those with design experience. That's because great design isn't just about great-looking products: it's about solving problems and challenges in practical yet creative ways.
Have you ever planned an amazing event and yet nobody seemed to know about it? When you're planning an event or launching a new product, you don't want to feel like the kid who excitedly anticipated his birthday party to have no one show up. If this has happened to you and your business, don't give up! It's time to try a new approach and create some buzz!
If you're looking to bring high-quality job candidates in the door, it's no longer enough to simply have a careers section on your website. Chances are, the first place a candidate will interact with your company and employer brand is on a job site such as Indeed or a social channel like LinkedIn. So if you're not completely leveraging these sites, you're missing out on potentially great hires.
The instant-gratification generation has been a boon for business and marketers. Consumers are quick to make a decision and make a purchase. This is especially true on mobile. But as it gets easier for consumers to signal their intent via social media, search or browsing a site, their expectations of businesses are only growing.
That’s it! It’s the holiday, you’re ready for a little rest and relaxation, and time is now on your side. All of your ends are tied, all of your P’s are Q’d, all of your geese are cooked, and… well, we’re fresh out of metaphors and cliches, but you get the gist, right? It’s time to take that break!
If you missed part one of this series, be sure to check it out here.
We all know there are some things you just shouldn’t skip over when it comes to building a business that’s profitable. One of those vital elements is your brand. This includes creating it and maintaining it, which is where that branding survival kit can come in handy. In the last post, we covered four essentials necessary for a well-stocked kit. Today, we’ll cover six more.
The Phenomenon of Brand Loyalty
In the world of advertising and marketing, the word ‘brand’ gets tossed around a lot. Some companies think of branding as a cool-looking logo, a rhetorical catchphrase and a uniform color scheme. However, just feeding a brand to the masses, won’t always create loyalty and raving fans. In fact, it’s said that 89% of consumers don’t feel a connection to their chosen brands. Shocking, right?
It’s a law of nature and business. In a constantly changing world, your company must adapt and evolve, or be left behind. This has never been truer when considering the Internet. It’s where business is done today. Here’s a few statistics that may astound you: