Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

Keylex launches The Candy Store Online. Sweet!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

We are proud to announce that we have launched a stunning eCommerce store for The Candy Store of Baltimore, MD. Built on the popular Magento eCommerce platform, the website sports a creative and fun design and features a full line of candy gift platters, dried fruit & nuts and a wide range of chocolates. In addition, the website carries specialty lines such as a Jelly Belly department, Sugar Free delights, and an upcoming section for corporate gifts.

As with all projects, we started off by creating a unique design that establishes brand recognition. With the crowded online candy marketplace, it was important to design a website that first and foremost makes a positive and memorable impression. After one visit to the website, it is a website visitors are not likely to forget. Next, we focused on usability. We wanted to have a site that is absent of the clutter found on many websites and allow visitors to easily browse the website. We added many convenient features such as in-store pickup and local delivery. Next, we went to work ensuring that the original design was not changed at all implementing the live catalog and  shopping cart system.

Visit the website at and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Monday, February 1st, 2010

Check out this site we stumbled upon today. It’s called and it looks pretty interesting. ClientShow allows creative and marketing professionals to show, pitch and sell their work to their clients more effectively. This could be a great new way for all of us to communicate! The interface looks very user-friendly and it looks like it may be a great way to organize our clients brands in a place where everything can be seen together. While we’re looking into it, take a look for yourself at and tell us what you think!


Take advantage of the economy’s “Step-Down” effect

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

The economy has created an “Economic Step-Down” where businesses and consumers are purchasing products and services at a level lower than they are accustomed to. Fortune 500 companies are stepping down from the Big Four accounting firms to the “Big 100”, end of lease Lexus owners are stepping down to Infiniti, and Starbucks junkies are convincing themselves that Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is just fine. Once look at Mercedes homepage message and you know they’re suffering from the wrong end of step down syndrome.

Mercedes homepage

Companies can take advantage of this trend by stepping up their client base to the step downers. Nearly every business in America is re-evaluating their vendor relationships and finding alternatives that offer the same or similar products at a lower cost. If you offer products or services that you know will save companies money, now is the time to pitch to them. Office supplies, insurance, IT and yes, even web development. So take this opportunity to step up to the plate (pun intented) and make a cold call to a company that can step down to your services. They may be surprised how they are actually stepping up!

Brand Differentiation

Monday, May 4th, 2009

You’ll find that well established brands usually have a clear and unique communication to the consumer. This angle is unique to the brand. No other company that competes can make their promise in the same way without being compared to the first to do it.

It’s necessary for your site to have its own unique selling point. It’s important to remember that consumers will not be familiar with your brand until it has established itself as different than its competition. It is also important that the brand is communicated as being more effective and convenient than its competitors. For example, it wouldn’t be wise to open up a department store across the street from a Walmart these days. They both may sell some of the same items, but Walmart as a brand is so well established that any similar store in the area would quickly become the copycat/underdog (as opposed to opening the same store in a town where there is no Walmart.)

crowded1Take a product that’s an all natural solution to hair regeneration. “All natural” may sound clean and healthy, but it’s is not a great marketing angle. Being “all natural” only goes so far these days, and with the “hair loss-stricken consumer seeking results, the fact that this product comes from nature isn’t likely to sell them on the idea that it will actually work. Look at Hoodia for example: Hoodia Gordonii, a plant found in southern Africa is claimed to be effective as an appetite suppressant. So is Green Tea. Both are all natural, but since the explosion in Hoodia’s popularity over the past year and a half in the health industry, it has become a glorified supplement for those looking to lose weight. It’s gotten to the point where the word “Hoodia” itself communicates weight loss to consumers with no knowledge of its effectiveness or side effects. It’s known more as an “active ingredient” in weight loss pills than a flowering plant in Africa. Green tea on the other hand is much less marketable due to its “all-natural” label. Most people know that they can drink green tea as a beverage, so they assume “How far can this really take me as a weight loss solution.” There is no sense of “mystery” when it comes to green tea. “I can grow it in my backyard, so it can be that powerful.”

Fiji Water is another excellent example. Bottled water is bottled water. You can dress it up, make it pretty, say how it comes from the springs of so and so and how “all natural” it is, but one thing that nobody else can say is that their water comes from an artesian aquifer, located at the very edge of a primitive rainforest, hundreds of miles away from the nearest continent. It’s so “all natural” that it is untouched by man until you unscrew the cap! This promise is what sells Fiji Water as a premium brand – not its packaging or the graphics on the website alone, but the combination of these and brand differentiation.

The angle that this hair solution should take should be similar to Hoodia Gordonni. It can be “all natural”, but it must have an angle to differentiate it as a brand and to communicate its effectiveness as a solution. Keylex would create a “buzz” about a unique ingredient and the discovery of the first all- natural acne product that is actually as effective as a prescription without all of the doctor visits, medicinal baggage and side-effects.

It’s all about the delivery. “Zagging” when everyone is “Zigging” won’t guarantee a product to sell unless it’s done with research, experience and a professional eye.

From Snapple to Crapple.

Monday, April 27th, 2009


It looks as if Snapple has been courting Tropicana behind our backs. Yet another poorly redesigned brand has made it to market. Perhaps it’s the recession or a year-long full moon that’s causing these companies to “rethink their look” – who knows. What’s obvious however, is that we are seeing more and more of what seems to be the “anti-brand” and it’s downright depressing. What used to make Snapple unique and thought of as its own beverage, is all being stripped away to make it as commonplace and plain Jane as possible.

Snapple, the original new-age beverage, has undergone its most significant makeover in its 37-year history.

“We want to ensure Snapple continues to be the Best Stuff on Earth,” said Bryan Mazur, vice president of marketing for Snapple. “These changes to the formula and packaging come with one goal in mind: deliver the same great product, just make it even better.”

So apparently Bryan Mazur would agree that the verbiage “even better” means watering down the taste of their product and it’s branding. Very…”Liptonesque” indeed.

Mazur refers to the move as having a more premium and mature execution. “Gone will be the old logo and packaging, replaced with a sleeker bottle and label design that speaks to its new formula.”

Absolutely! It looks less delicious and more boring! Just like the new formula.

Snapple is dropping corn syrup from their drinks. As the “Official Beverage of New York City”, boasting exclusive distribution in NYC Public Schools and offices, it behooves them be as healthy and straight-forward as possible.

News Flash: Kids don’t beg their parents for homemade Earl Grey on the rocks. PASS THE BRISK.

Yet another brand gone south.

Keylex Book Club: Now Reading: Brand Digital

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

branddigitalOnline Branding isn’t paint by numbers. It requires specific market insight, the ability to think ahead of the curve, and knowing what risks to take, when. We know you may be surprised, but Keylex has designers that actually read! All joking aside, we pride ourselves on our knowledge of our craft and being able to deliver better results based on market differentiation. In other words, we stay educated.

ZAG by Marty Neumeier was an awesome read and jam-packed with useful information. We’d even recommend it as a quick read to all of our clients! Big words, some pictures and diagrams…worth a few hours for the 15 bucks and the education you’ll recieve ;)

This week, we’re reading Brand Digital by Allen P. Adamson. It talks about the new landscape of digital branding, its almost-unlimited choices and all the new terminology. Nike, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever are used as examples to demonstrate how the best marketers are using the web to build and manage their brands. Brand Digital discusses how social sites like Facebook can be used to aid in brand development, whether companies can get a better return on the development costs of television ads if they reformat them for YouTube, how to keep digital promotion integrated with traditional outreach and how to determine which technology to use to reach one audience versus another. There is also a list of new terms all branding professionals should thoroughly understand. Adamson also covers using socialmedia as a live, virtual focus group to establish a clear brand voice.

We’ll keep you posted!

Skittles: Twirlling the baton

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

It’s easy to see why Skittles would want to divert the attention from Twitter, because it is, as you can see, heavily abused by spammers, and a lot of the jokes are simply to tasteless for…well, anyone. That’s the ugly side of social media: a lot of it is completely uncensored and some users see this as an opportunity to get nasty or even vile.

“Skittles Swaps Homepage from Twitter Search to Facebook Page” by Stan Schroeder

skittles“Ugly side” of Social Media? Is there really such a thing, or are some folks too sensitive for the reality that people with varying opinions and social backgrounds are what makes up our country’s mainstream today? Walk down the street or catch a bus in any major U.S. city in 2009 and try to avoid opinionated banter with a little choice language. Do we take any of this to heart or base our buying decisions on the specifics of what these people say? It would be pretty sad to discover if we were this easily influenced. Instead, perhaps we should focus on why so many people feel it is their responsibility to voice their social and political opinions loud enough for others to hear.

As some of you may know (or not know) Skittles has changed its entire website at to a “social Media Hub” where web-savy surfers can access social outlets such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook. Here, they can sound off about their love (or hate) for Skittles. Now, all of us can see where this might cause some controversy, but is controversy really a bad thing? At the very least the stench surrounding the topic (including the stink that we are about to raise) is enough to genereate audience buzz alone!

Something that much of corporate America is still having trouble facing is the intelligence of today’s online audience. Smoke and mirrors no longer work like they used to in marketing and are easier for web savvy consumers to pick up on. Younger generations (like the demographic targeted by Skittles) don’t base their purchasing decisions on negative or positive comments and reviews of a product. They base it on how many people are talking about it. Popularity isn’t always defined by support.

Many of the posts on twitter regarding Skittles aren’t really about the user’s desire to get others to try or avoid the product; They’re about being part of the conversation. That’s the beauty of social media! Raw, uncensored, reality. This is what today’s young consumer responds to, not gobbledygook from the mouths of out-of-touch internal corporate marketing departments. In fact, they laugh at the old-fashioned, being “marketed at” approach. It undermines and insults their intelligence.

Skittles is allowing itself to be associated with its audience. Some people like Skittles, some do not, and some just want to be heard. It’s reality, and young consumers (Skittles’ target audience) understand, respect, and excuse that. While it may be controversial now, it’s the wave of the future in terms of Brand interaction for for the “internet generation”. What’s more powerful than allowing your consumers to represent your brand for you?

Ask yourself this question: Are my brand, products, and services unique and strong enough to stand up to the reality of a market flooded with old-fashioned teqhniques?

If the answer is anything but “100% positively”, consider Skittles the leader of the parade and get in line. A bold move? Yes, but as Apple’s mantra for the 21st century goes, if you want to have a successful brand you’ve got to “Think Different.”

You go, Skittles. Keylex approved!

Cheap is Expensive

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

The ad below was recently emailed by Brooks Brothers. While the approach may seem defensive, the message is timeless.



Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Brand New
Worth a visit if you’re considering a new brand design/re-design, “Brand New” a division of is a top-notch review of branding, today. It’s a blog strictly devoted to opinions on corporate and brand identity work (the good, the bad, and the ugly)

Visit Brand New

Excerpt from “Zag: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Bands” by Marty Neumeier

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

zagbook“Remember the dot-com disasters of the nineties? There was plenty of passion for stock options, but little passion for building a real company to serve the long-term good of a cimmunity. As a result, we saw the proliferation of “junk brands”—brands with beguiling fonts, but nothing real to back them up. The economy soon collapsed taking junk brands with it. The words of ivestor-philosopher Warren Buffet suddenly rang true. “when the tide goes out, you can see who’s wearing bathing suits.”