2017: the Year of Unbranding?

The Guardian reports that the large UK bookstore chain Waterstones has opened three small branches without the chain’s branding. The three stores are individually named—Southwold Books, Harpenden Books, and The Rye Bookshop—located in small towns that previously lacked a bookstore, and have a smaller footprint than the typical branded store. […]

Navigating the New Sugars Added Label Requirements

The FDA recently announced changes to the Nutrition Facts label, with more details about sugar. Starting in 2018[1], the FDA will require Nutrition Facts labels to distinguish between sugars found naturally in ingredients and sugars added, both in grams and a percentage of daily recommended value. The FDA is recommending […]

Three Marketing Implications of the GMO Labeling Law

With a nationwide GMO labeling bill now signed into law, brands are attempting to sort out what the new requirements will mean for their products. Although the FDA has until summer 2019 to establish the full rules for the law—and even longer to enforce them—the length of supply chains means […]

Does Googling Count as Market Research?

Google vs Market Research As a college student circa 2005, I was brash enough with my newfound power of knowledge that I told my mother that Googling “didn’t count as research.” A few years later my mom asked me, somewhat pointedly, if that were still true, and though I had […]

Brandcrumbs: Why Brand Naming Fails

(This brand naming post is part of an ongoing series of posts we’re calling Brandcrumbs, which are bits and pieces of branding advice left over from our regular conversations about real-world brand positioning challenges.) Brand naming is one of my favorite things to do at MarketPlace. I love the process […]

Three Things Food Startups Need to Know about the Food Industry

Although the food industry has historically been dominated by entrenched major brands, startups and venture capital have begun to move aggressively into food and beverage and agriculture, rightly perceiving the industry to be both exciting and profitable. High-profile food startups like KRAVE and Blue Bottle Coffee have found success bringing an entrepreneurial, […]

The Preheated Oven of Food Industry Marketing

Since our beginning as food industry consultants 15 years ago, we’ve remained focused on the food industry. We’ve done so partly because the food industry is where we started and what we love. But we’ve also done so because we place great importance on the value of focus. Effective food […]

Friends Beyond Benefits

From GMOs to FD&Cs, whole grain over multigrain, no brominates and definitely no aspartame, it’s getting harder for the average consumer to know what to think. This isn’t to say that cleaner labels aren’t good for our collective wellbeing—just that it’s a lot to keep straight. You could forgive consumers, […]

On Brand Gestalt: Making a Brand More than Human

I’m a nerd. I grew up with a Nintendo controller in my hands; I’ll stay up until the small hours to catch Vincent Price or Hammer Films horror marathons; and my personal geography is dotted with mountains of unread books—on topics ranging from 17th century Dutch painting to the history […]

When to Fight Over Logos

As a brand development agency, we handle a lot of visual identity projects for our partners—both consumer-facing and B2B. Those projects are often the first tangible deliverable of a well-rounded branding campaign. As a designer, I love taking on that responsibility, especially the work that goes into crafting a logo—that […]

Look Good, Feel Good, Brand Good (Valuing a New Website)

We regularly say that a company’s website, designed and developed correctly, is more than a marketing tool; rather, it’s a brand asset that benefits all marcomm efforts and increases profitability for years to come. Typically, we develop websites as a result of or in tandem with a brand identity project (logo, […]

Five Heirloom Tomatoes You Need to Try

My love of garden-grown, heirloom tomatoes is well documented. However, since it’s late summer, prime tomato-harvest season, I’m not the only one with tomatoes on the mind—recipes are being published aplenty, and the Washington Post recently ran a fascinating history of the “tumatle from Themistitan” (for an explanation of that […]