If you haven’t gone out and gotten a valentine for that special someone in your life, Fuzion has got you covered! Download and print our free designer-themed valentines here!
Here at Fuzion, we know that every brand we work on is an animal of its own. Through our thorough research, we devise strategies to address your unique needs and bring your brand to the forefront. We’ve put our thinking caps on and have come up with some (FREE!) creative (and possibly crazy) ideas to help you promote your brand this Valentine’s Day.
The National Retail Federation says that consumers will spend a near-record $19.6 billion this Valentine’s Day. That’s an average of $143.56 per person. OK, so you might not be in the greeting card, candy, or flower industry, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t get in on the action. During Valentine’s Day you have an opportunity to engage with your customers, and also find new ones. Even the least sexy brands can run a successful Valentine’s Day campaign and get their name out there. Here are five Valentine’s Day ideas to grow your brand.
1. Create a Marketing Campaign
You might need to think a little outside the heart-shaped chocolate box to link your brand to this love-filled holiday, so here are some ideas to help get those wheels turning:
- Mattress Store – Moving in together? You’ll need a bigger bed.
- Bank Loan – Every woman wants a diamond ring, and she wants to invite how many guests to the wedding?!
- Insurance Company – A symbol of your love. Invest in your future.
- Electronic Store – Buy a new TV and avoid the fight “football vs. The Bachelor”
- Appliance Store – Get a dishwasher, it’ll free up quality time for the two of you.
- Outdoors Store – Go on a romantic outdoor adventure!
- Baby Store – You might need us in 9 months. Buy now and save!
The Bronx Zoo is certainly thinking outside the box with their “Name a Roach” campaign.
2. Create a Valentine’s Day Product Line
Create a special limited-time Valentine’s Day product line. Think matching couple sets, or heart-covered packaging that does double duty as wrapping paper. It doesn’t need to be all lovey-dovey either; consumers will spend $7.5 billion on friends, family, pets, classmates, teachers, and co-workers combined this year. Create products for all types of relationships!
Lush is crushing it with their wrapped and ready-to-give packaging.
3. Everyone Loves a Sale
Who doesn’t love a good deal? Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to offer a two-for-one sale. Offer your customers a free gift for themselves when they buy one for the one they love. This is great for products, but it can also extend to experiences. Restaurants, salons, and spas can benefit from offering their clients a discount if they bring in a friend or loved one. Don’t forget about the single people out there either. Offer a “Galentine’s Day” sale for besties looking to spend the day together.
4. Share the Love On Social Media
This goes without saying, use various social media platforms to share your promotion. Show of your new products. Tell people about your sale. Get your customers engaged with your brand! Create user generated content by getting your customers to talk about their love stories. Turn your follower’s bad breakup stories or worst Valentine’s Day gifts into a competition and give away prizes to the the most horrifying ones. Don’t forget to use hashtags and encourage everyone to like and share each other’s experiences.
5. Give Some Love to Charity
Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be all about buying chocolates and gifts. Take the opportunity to show your love for causes you believe in. People are more willing to spend money when they know it’s being put to good use. Let them know that a certain percentage of their purchase is going to charity. If you’re not in the business of selling things, partner with a local charity and host an event. For example, have an animal shelter bring their cats and dogs to your business and host an adoption party. Get creative and spread the love to those in need!
Written by Fuzion President Wayne Blatchley
We love these creepy vintage Valentine’s cards! Talk about how times have changed. Just doing a quick search on Google revealed some vintage cards that make you scratch you head and say what the hell were they thinking? Some are just creepy enough to make your skin crawl. Like boiling your Sweetheart so you can eat her up. Or maybe the prepubescent Pennywise the clown from IT! JC, no wonder people get freaked out by clowns. I can’t help but think of our designer Amy, who is a vegetarian, and the ever-so-cute calf “veal so happy” as a farm boy licks his lips in the background (ok maybe he’s just standing with his hands in his pockets). What’s up with the ultra creepy guy in the cape? He must have escaped from DC Comics vault of really BAD superhero ideas, “RAY MAN.”
Well hopefully you won’t receive anything quite as creepy as any of these maudlin cards for Valentine’s Day. But if you have designs on some new branding or perhaps would “love” a new website, give Fuzion a call and we can make a date! And if you still haven’t gone out and gotten a valentine for that special someone, we’ve got you covered! Download our designer-themed valentines here!
55% of Americans will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. But why? The history behind this holiday may be a little surprising. Its roots go back to a raucous ancient Roman fertility festival held in mid-February, called Lupercalia. We don’t need to get into the details, just think naked Romans and whips. Later the Catholic church chose this time to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day in order to Christian-ize the celebration.
But who is St. Valentine anyway? Not much is known about him, partly because there were three Christian clerics named Valentine. The most plausible namesake of this holiday had been executed on February 14 for performing marriage ceremonies in secret after Claudius II had banned marriage, thinking single men would be more willing to become soldiers. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as a day for honoring the martyr.
It wasn’t until the 14th century that the holiday became associated with love. In those days, people also believed February 14 was the first day of birds’ mating season (tweet tweet). The first written valentine was sent in 1415, from France’s Duke of Orléans to his wife while he was a prisoner in the Tower of London. It wasn’t until the 17th century, that people in Great Britain started the tradition of exchanging cards or letters. The tradition soon made its way across the Atlantic to the New World.
In the 1850’s Esther Howland, an artist and printer, became the first publisher of Valentine’s Day cards in America. Her elaborate lace cards cost between $5 and $10, and could even sell for up to $35. She soon became known as the “Mother of the Valentine.” The industrial revolution ushered in many advancements in the printing industry and by the turn of the century valentine cards were being mass produced. In 1913, Hallmark Cards came on the scene, and the modern idea of buying cards and chocolates for the ones we love was born.
If you haven’t gone out and gotten a valentine for that special someone in your life, Fuzion has got you covered! We’ve designed a free printable valentine just for you! Download it here!
5 Reasons You May Need a New Logo
Written by Fuzion President Wayne Blatchley
Logos are fickle things. They need to be recognizable, inform your customer about what you do and who you are, and also be current, so you don’t look like you’re operating out of the Stone Age. But with ever-evolving graphic design trends, when is the right time to refresh your look? Here are some signs a logo redesign should be in your near future.
1. I don’t get it.
So maybe it was clever, or maybe it wasn’t as clever as you thought… you should never have to explain or apologize for your logo. For years I never got the old D’Angelo’s logo. One day it hit me; the “L” was a sub! Was I dense or was it just not a good logo to begin with? If that’s your logo, you may be due for a logo overhaul!
2. Time to retire that Leisure suit?
A previous client of ours had logo that was designed by his tween son. He was now in his 40’s. Though he had changed quite a lot through the years, as did the company, the logo never had. It was long overdue for a major facelift. The marketing team was terribly embarrassed by its antiquated look, but wanted to tread lightly as the son was now part owner of the business. There was some fear that they would lose their brand recognition, but a clean new logo kept a tiny taste of the old and sent a powerful message that they were modern worldwide organization.
3. It doesn’t fit anymore!
Maybe when your current logo was designed, your mission statement was in a totally different direction than your current goals. It seemed perfect for your burgeoning business at the time, but it doesn’t quite have the same esthetic punch or even seem to relate to what you do now. A good logo should be appropriate. This doesn’t mean if your selling cars, your logo should have a car, but if you’re an accounting firm you probably would not want a balloon font with rainbow colors as it wouldn’t be appropriate. Simply put, a logo is to identify your business, nothing more.
4. Do you copy that?
Tiny fonts, too much detail, too many colors or gradations? All of these can be problematic when reproducing a logo. Today’s logos are used across multiple platforms, from digital and print, to products. If it’s too complicated, it just won’t cut it. A good logo should work well in black & white and if it doesn’t, it probably won’t work well in color either. In fact, when my designers submit logo concepts, I want to see them in black & white. Color can be distracting and deter a possible good logo direction; i.e., “I’m not such a fan of orange, so that orange logo does not work for me.” Also, the simpler it is, the better it is. A good logo should be able to be reduced to a 3/4″ and still be legible. Tiny fonts and details can get lost in reduced sizes. Whereas 3-D looking logos were in a few years back, with drop shadows, reflections and borders, simpler, flat logos are all the rage now.
5. Times they are a–changing.
With consumers being more health conscious, many fast food companies through the years have tweaked their names. Kentucky Fried Chicken was shortened to KFC. The word “fried” had decidedly unhealthy connotations. Recently I read that Dunkin Donuts was thinking of dropping Donuts from their name. Sales of donuts have been dipping (forgive the pun) through the years and health-conscious consumers are not stopping to bring that box of donuts as treat for their fellow employees anymore. Will it be DD or just Dunkin? I guess we’ll see.
To that point, obviously, you need a new logo when there is a name change. Should it be revolutionary, throwing out any link to the past or evolutionary, maintaining a bit of the past with the new look? Many companies are concerned if they change a logo too much that consumers will lose recognition of their brand. There have been some logo changes that brought on the wrath of the wary consumer who, for the most part, don’t like logo changes. Starbucks in 2011 simplified their logo, dropping any ties to the name and coffee. It became just the mermaid. There was an instant backlash from consumers, but not only did the new look stay, it saved them a bundle on printing, as the logo was now one color.
Why change at all?
Like a good logo, it’s simple, tastes change with time and corporations strive to be relevant to their ever-evolving consumer. Can Fuzion help you with your new brand or inject some design Botox into your tired old brand? You may be just a nip and a tuck away to a fresh new brand.
Americans have become aware of the huge impact of sleep on overall health. We are starting to view our mattresses and bedding as an investment to our own wellbeing, and are now willing to pay a premium for them. In 2016, bedding became the most purchased home goods product and the internet became inundated with new mattresses and bedding brands selling directly to consumers. With so many companies vying for the attention of consumers, how does anyone set themselves apart from their competitors? That’s the exact question Infinity, a bedding manufacturer, was trying to answer.
This is where we come in. Like all of our projects, we began with research. We headed to the world wide web and out to local retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond, Cardi’s, and Jordan’s to see how other brands were presenting themselves to the public. Typical competitive packaging featured lifestyle photography, an abundance of copy, and confusing diagrams. Identifying key areas that would evoke an upscale modern look, we reduced verbiage to simple bullet points, added icons, and chose a striking black and white palette. The new branding featured dramatic graphic elements, high-end product photography, and a conscious decision to put the typical model shot to bed. Although E-Sales were crucial to the brand, we didn’t skimp on the retail details, adding tasteful silver foil accents for a luxurious pop at the brick and mortars. And the cherry on the top? We added a convenient carry handle for these somewhat bulky products. Another award-winning design in the bag, or should we say, “in the box”?
Famous rebranding failures, successes, and yet to be seen
We can all probably think of a logo rebranding that we hated more than one that we liked. When a company decides to rebrand, it can be very good, but as we have seen in the past, they can go very badly and with much more infamy than a successful logo. Let’s take a look at some infamous logo rebranding disasters and why they didn’t work, and some winners and why they succeeded.
This is probably the most infamous rebranding in the past 10 years, which resulted in a $30 million sales loss in just a little over a month! The new look came and went so fast, just under 2 months, that probably most consumers never saw or remembered that short-lived brand shuffle. Luckily for me, the designer in the next office has an actual before and after carton on her credenza… sort of like a shrine to bad branding. As you can see, there are really no recognizable elements from the old packaging on the new. After spending millions on an ad campaign for the rebrand, the backlash from consumers was swift and merciless. It seemed that no one in marketing considered how attached consumers were to the old look with the iconic straw in the orange. The new look was so far removed from the original that consumers didn’t realize it was Tropicana and walked right by it, or mistook it for a cheap store brand. Lesson learned, the straw in the orange came back and still graces the refrigerator cases at your local grocers to this day.
Pepsi has gone through many brand changes since coming to fruition in 1903 as a drink to aid in digestion. Originally called Brad’s Drink, Pepsi has struggled to find its face. The newest logo change came after 5 months of design and a million-dollar price tag (I would have done it for a half million). Pepsi’s launch faced an onslaught of negative reviews from critics and consumers alike but unlike Tropicana, the new branding has stuck around. Their major competitor Coca-Cola has not gone through as many rebrands, but they are also struggling with slumping sales.
The New Diet Coke.
Sales of bottled water and sparkling low-calorie water continues to increase, while diet sodas are taking it hard in the gut. As I’m writing this article, interestingly enough Coca-Cola just unveiled their new Diet Coke campaign with a plethora of new flavors, new logo, and a new slimmer can (no pun intended), but still holds 12oz. The rebrand and flavors are aimed squarely at the finicky millennial market. Each flavor has their own tongue-in-cheek tagline. Zesty Blood Orange “Because Zesty is Besty,” Cherry “Because Cherries aren’t so innocent” (I’m not going there), Twisted Mango “because sane mangos are boring,” Ginger Lime “because ginger and lime are friends” (I thought Mary Ann and Ginger were friends), and regular Diet Coke “because it’s fizzing delicious.” President Trump loves his Diet Coke, but now he’ll have 4 additional flavors to choose from for his 12-a-day habit. The new cans are desperately trying to scream, “we are young and hip.” We’ll see if this new look will succeed or fizzle out like Coke Zero, which was replaced by Coke Zero Sugar, strangely, both with identical ingredients.
First of all, I didn’t really think that Uber was around long enough to need rebranding, but the powers that be wanted everyone to know that they were not just in the people moving business, and that they were evolving. I’m not sure I’m getting all that with the new logo. I still have trouble identifying the icon when looking for my Uber app and have passed right by it. Some have compared it to a Packman, some to other unmentionable apertures. The design process was kept in-house overseen by CEO Travis Kalanick, who is not a designer, but “read up on it.” What was universally panned at the launch has become normalized over time.
Master Card – Thumbs up!
After a rebrand that failed badly in 2006, the new logo revealed in 2016, hit a home run. One of best-known icons since its inception in 1968, the 2 intersecting circles have been updated with brighter colors and is still recognizable even without the wordmark. The consistent use of the simple overlapping circles through the years maintains consumers trust in the brand. Something that Tropicana learned the hard way.
They say word of mouth is the best form of advertising, and for our client, First Start Holdings, Inc., a recommendation was enough to spark interest in Fuzion. Co-owner, Jonathan Weiner, came to us looking to brand their new line of organic baby teething biscuits, toting the brand name “Nosh.”
Enter Fuzion. Working closely with Jonathan and his team, Fuzion dove into the branding of Nosh with some serious research, both primary and secondary. We developed a brand strategy, finding the voice of the new brand and what our core consumer, the millennial, expected from it. Through numerous surveys and working closely with the Nosh team, we shaped the brand identity and name-stormed the perfect nomenclature for their teething biscuit. Nosh Baby & Toddler Munchables were born (and we still can’t believe it was available). With a farm stand black chalkboard look, simple hand-drawn illustrations and engaging lifestyle photography of babies enjoying their Munchables, Fuzion shattered the bland retail space in the baby snack food aisle.
Fuzion concentrated on a strong web experience and social media, linking the brand look, the humorous voice (no teeth required) and too-cute-for-words lifestyle photography (shot by the talented Angela Coppola) across all platforms. Launching at 400 Babies“R”Us in September 2016, Nosh has realized explosive growth both in the U.S. and internationally. Currently Nosh is selling in over 4,000 stores in the U.S. and 6 countries. With retailers begging for more products, First Start Holdings, Inc. are launching a host of baby and toddler organic snack foods from premium brown rice puffs to foodie flavored gummies.
If you are interested in having Fuzion present “How Millennials Are Changing Brands” to your team, please contact Wayne or Esther at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If you’re not local, we would be happy to present Via GoToMeeting.
Recently, Fuzion was invited to pay a visit to one of our oldest clients, Fit & Fresh of Providence, RI. Fit & Fresh, formerly Medport LLC, started out making cases for diabetics to keep associated paraphernalia conveniently in one place. It has since evolved into a company built around a hugely successful healthy lifestyle brand, with stay-cold food containers and insulated lunch bags for every occasion and taste.
Since Fuzion’s launch in 2008, we have worked closely with Chuck Miga, Executive VP and his team at Fit & Fresh on various branding projects and designing new products, patterns and packaging.
The reason for our visit to Fit & Fresh was two-fold, one to meet and introduce ourselves to the growing staff and second, to share our presentation on “How Millennials Are Changing Brands.” The presentation was attended by the sales, marketing, design, and product development teams, and was presented by Esther Tseng, Fuzion’s Associate Creative Director. Avoiding the inevitable Death by Power Point, Esther gave a very condensed version of the months of research, designs, and surveys that led us to finding the voice for our new brand and how millennial buying habits shaped it. It was followed by a brief question and answer period.
If your interested in having Fuzion present ”How Millennials Are Changing Brands” to your team, Please contact Wayne or Esther at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If you’re not local, we would be happy to present Via GoToMeeting.
At Fuzion we are real cut-ups! For 10 years we have provided clients with meticulous hand crafted (a.k.a. cut out by hand) packaging mockups. As you can imagine, this is an arduous and time-consuming task. Multiple comps resulted in sore fingers and an occasional errant slice, ending in a trip to the emergency room and a few stitches. Listening to our clients that were requesting a methodology for package mock-ups that was not as archaic as perhaps rocks & scissors, Fuzion is proud to announce the addition of a brand spanking new Esko CAD cutting table to our arsenal of creative gadgets. For even more excitement, if you can stand it, we have added a seasoned professional to our Fuzion staff to bring his package engineering expertise into the fold (pun intended). David Foster has joined the Fuzion band of merry designers and we are very pleased to have him aboard. With over 40 years of experience, and an equal amount of very bad jokes, we are very excited to offer in house package engineering.
Back to our NEW cad table, if all goes as planned, Fuzion’s new CAD table will be up and running by December 1st (after all it is coming all the way from Belgium). Soon, a request for 20 package mock-ups will not require a Band-Aid! With the ability to provide small run package mockups in our conveniently located Pawtucket studio, we hope to be a more powerful partner for all our existing clients and to those whom we have yet to meet. Call us for a quote. Be the first on your block to own a CAD cut prototype package from Fuzion. You are sure to be the envy of everyone that has to travel far for their comp needs.
Change happens every day. Here at Fuzion we recently had a shuffling of the deck, and co-founder Joe Cacciola has decided to move on to pursue other interests. We wish Joe good luck and we will miss him.
So what does this mean for Fuzion, exactly? Well for starters, fellow co-founder Wayne Blatchley will take the reins as President and is now the sole owner. As far as day-to-day business at Fuzion, not much has changed. We will still offer award-winning product development and branding, while continuing to delve deeper into strategic marketing and what makes a brand tick.
Along with changes at the helm, Fuzion has gotten a fresh new face. We’re excited to show you what we have coming up in the future, and hope you follow us along on our journey through our new monthly newsletter, The Fuze. We will keep you abreast of goings on, new trends, and the latest that Fuzion has up its sleeve.
With the recent and exciting changes at Fuzion, we’ve decided to give ourselves a fresh new look. Everyone needs to upgrade and change things up a bit at some point. Just think back to your own style back in Middle School and you’ll quickly realize that rebranding is necessary!
We are proud to present the new Fuzion logo. Take it all in! Isn’t it a beauty? When coming up with this logo, we wanted something clean and contemporary. The two shades of contrasting blue gives off an exciting pop, while bringing in an air of sharp sophistication. The ‘Z’ itself has become more versatile as it can be used as an icon and as a pattern in the future.
We dropped the word ‘Design’ from this logo because we wanted to show that we offer much more than just design. We are evolving, which is really the focus of this rebranding. Rebranding is a necessity for all businesses to grow and keep up with the times. We’re already known for our stellar work with toys and packaging, but we also wanted to show that we are diving deeper into new markets like strategy and branding as we move forward.
Nobody wants to look stale and outdated, and things move so fast these days that keeping up is key so you don’t get lost in the shuffle. We believe that this new look will get our message across of how we have evolved over the years.
On September 22nd, as part of the Annual Design WeekRI, Fuzion hosted a Happy Hour, and if we must say (and we must) it was a smashing success, with over 50 attendees of new friends and old. Our bartender (and designer), Dave Costa, served up refreshing Fuzion Mules in frosty copper mugs emblazoned with our new logo, which was also a complimentary gift for attending the event. Some of Fuzion’s finest gave tours of the studio while our guests chatted and enjoyed a gourmet repast. The highlight of the evening was a presentation by our Associate Creative Director, Esther Tseng, on how to sell to the finicky millennial. A good time was had by all and we’d like to say thank you to DESIGNxRI, and all that attended for making the evening such a success.
As Fuzion moves forward, we would like to congratulate owner and President Wayne Blatchley for recently graduating from the Goldmans Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. He was one of 24 Entrepreneurs in RI in the 3rd Cohort of this 12 week stellar program that offers a mini MBA in business. Wayne noted that it was lot of hard work and discipline to complete the course, but it really gave him a perspective of how he can do little things every day in his business to make it more successful. The biggest take away for him was learning to work on his business, and not in it. He is already applying his growth plan by adding a digital cutting table to Fuzion’s arsenal of creative tools. It will enable us to produce more package mocks-ups, faster, and at a higher quality than before. It was something our clients were asking for, and Wayne had been thinking about for years, and the 10K Small Business program helped him devise a growth plan to make it a reality. Our new CAD table is being shipped from Europe as we speak!
In other news, we continue to grow our knowledge base of trends in the graphic world and to that point, Esther Tseng has been accepted into a Design Forward program run by DESIGNxRI. Design Forward offers a comprehensive strategy to strengthen and support the design sector skills, talent pipeline, and career trajectories in Rhode Island and we are just as excited as Esther, that she is taking part in this great program.