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Your Life is a C.A.N.V.A.S

Millennials are a generation that takes matters into their own hands. They’re all about individualism and creative expression. They always look for products that they can redecorate and add finishing touches to. But not everyone is gifted in the arts and crafts department.

Project C.A.N.V.A.S (CAN Visually Achieve Success) is a shoe company that produces stylish, one of a kind shoes. The brand allows consumers to express their personality by building on the plain, blank C.A.N.V.A.S. From there, the design is only limited by the consumer’s imagination. And for those who need a little bit of help, Project C.A.N.V.A.S offers customized shoes that are hand painted and designed by different artists.

Today’s younger consumers are all about being individuals. If there’s something they can do to make one thing theirs, they’ll do it. They value brands that encourages them to be different and stand out!


The Giving Keys

Consumers have become aware of the day-to-day hardships of their fellow citizens. Many initiatives send love and support overseas. But have we addressed our own problems, right here?

The Giving Keys is a company that provides monetary help and encouragement to those who need it, thanks to actress, singer, song-writer Caitlyn Crosby. Caitlyn employs homeless people who are determined to change their lives and get out of poverty. The employees are taught how to create different accessories from used keys with engraved inspirational words like “worthy,” “hope,” and “love” just to name a few.

The goal is for consumers to buy an accessory and give it away at some point to someone who they think needs the message on the key. By doing so, consumers are not only changing lives of their homeless neighbors, but are also giving emotional support to friends and family.


Brand Equity

Expanding your business into new categories can be difficult, but when consumers have tried and trust your brand, they give you permission to enter into new territories.

During our immersion at the SuperZoo Convention in Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, we saw equity brands branch off into the pet category like Shout Pets, Burt’s Bees Natural Pet Care Product, and Nerf Dogs with virtually no resistance from consumers. Why? Because if you believe a company can produce the best products for your family, of course they would make the best products for your pets? For instance, consumers trust that…

Shout will take care of the pet stain on their carpet as well as it takes the stain out of their clothes
Burt’s Bees Pets will deliver the best natural pet care products
Nerf Pet will produce toys that pet owners can enjoy with their pets


Organic to the Nth Power

The word “natural” is seen in countless products across countless categories, and we’re beginning to wonder if the word is losing its meaning to consumers.

As we continued our CosmoProf immersion in Las Vegas, we found products with intriguing and eye-catching claims like:
Balanced Guru Essential Oils: “Certified Organic”
Emani: “100% Vegan Cosmetics”
– Leaders’ InSolution: “Coconut Jelly Mask.”

These are new ways of delivering “good for you” messaging in order to have stronger impact with apathetic consumers. And for you curious consumers, we asked the representatives of Balance Guru and Leaders’ Insolution if their products can be eaten (since they claim to be almost 100% natural), the response we received was, “Yes, although they might not taste very good.”

Investing in adding the “Natural” claim to your products may have lost a little bit of its value, but it doesn’t mean that “natural” is no longer relevant. There are emerging, more complex ways to talk about “Naturalness” that take the claim to the extreme…100% and are sure to grab attention… as long as your claim is 110% real of course.


Get a Bike, Get Girls

In most major cities around the world, people are always on the go. They don’t have a lot of time to spare, and are constantly taking matters into their own hands. For these busy bees, there’s nothing’s worse than hailing a taxi for 15 minutes.

Chicago’s Department of Transportation understands this problem, so they developed Divvy, a bike rental system that allows consumers to rent a bike 24/7 using their touchscreen kiosks with a purchase of a 24/hour pass or an annual membership subscription. These bikes are meant for trips within a small radius, like a 30-minute bike ride to the store, work, school, or to impress the hot girl that just passed by. Once the consumers reach their destination, the bikes can easily be returned at any of their hundred locations. Similar programs in London have met with huge success!

Divvy has allowed consumers to make things happen whenever and wherever they want. With this strategy, Divvy has become a part of their daily routine.


Pride of Origin

In the past couple of years, we have seen products that take pride on where they are made, but what about a brand that takes pride on their local ingredients?

LDuring our research at the CosmoProf Convention 2013 in Las Vegas, we came across Natura Siberica, a brand that forages the Siberian forests to create the first Russian organic cosmetics. Natura Siberica maximizes the natural survival mechanisms of Siberian Herbs on severe climates to create the best organic treatments for consumers’ face, hands, and feet. Their products include rare ingredients such as: Snow Cladonia for rejuvenation, Manchu Aralia for hydration, and Siberian Pine Oil which they pair with other Siberian herbs to enhance skin elasticity, moisture, softness, and other added benefits.

Although the use of Siberian Herbs is not as popular as Moroccan Oil (YET!) in cosmetics, there’s a trend in finding the core competencies of local regions or countries in the world, and bragging about their natural powers.



Reality TV shows becoming more and more popular and companies are understanding the brilliance in investing in the gestalt of the show or the show’s personalities beyond just paying for commercial time during the show.

Lately, we’ve seen products whose brand equity originated from TV series or TV personality, such as Forsaken perfume (Forsaken Perfume) inspired by the hit HBO show True Blood, and Avion Tequila ( which was first launched on Entourage. The list expands into other categories including cosmetics, fashion, and home products. For each of these products, the show title or celebrity does the heavy lifting in marketing and leads the success of the brand.

This trend may be a branch off of our Designer Collaboration Ex-Op, but the idea still stays true: Aligning yourself with a famous or emerging star or show can amplify visibility for your brand and develop a winning chemistry that takes your brand to a new and improved place.


Street Honey

Often times putting up your sign and an attractive window display just isn’t enough, it’s too passive and dependent on consumers noticing you.

Smart marketers especially those in Montreal in June, figured out how to engage and attract consumers in a way that celebrates multiple events at once. They had an opportunity to celebrate the Grand Prix and World Championship Boxing at the same time. So they decided to have a massive street festival filled with music, food, and drinks.

Similarly, Buffalo by David Bitton (, a denim and full fashion brand, started a Street Party/Mini-Riot to get consumers to notice their brand. There’s nothing that their target consumer 18-34 year olds like more than loud music, demonstrative partying and having fun. So Buffalo’s employees jumped outside of the store and began dancing to the store’s loud music while handing out incentives for customers to shop. Going on offense when everyone else is waiting for consumers to walk in.

There’s no point in waiting for the customers to come to you when you can bring your brand to them


Hoodie Kings!

Millennials are re-defining how the world works and how decisions are made, and smart companies notice. Millennials are fun, energetic, and like to make up their own rules, all while sticking with what they know and love.

The Hoodie Shop ( , located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, is a store that caters to Millennials and sells clothing articles with hoods on everything. Aleah Speranza and Peter Shapiro mashed their nightlife expertise and entrepreneur nature to create a line of products that echo the younger generation’s careers and lifestyles.

The store’s concept is truly unique, adding state of the art equipment that allows the store to host events and parties right in the store!

The entrepreneurs’ vision of a store is to provide a place where their customers can shop and hang out! Giving their consumers what they want simply shows that consumers is king!


Name that Brand!

When I say the words “jaguar,” “coffee bean,” and “forever twenty-one,” do you automatically think of the brand instead of the animal, food, or moment these words are associated with? If so, then these brands have created brand recognition through naming.

The first mental impression your consumers make about a brand comes from its name. It informs consumers about the product or service associated with it; and more importantly, a name telegraphs the identity of the brand. For instance, Dirty Dick’s creates humor, EAT. provides a sense of simplicity with their food, and Angel & Crown Bar feels like the perfect place to get the best beverage selections.

Regardless of the category, naming does the heavy lifting for a brand, so remember to choose a name that consumers can easily identify when they’re asked to “Name that Brand!”