LIVE Brand Case Study: Live Love Snack
So very excited to have three of my teammates, my colleagues at Tether, join me, and I want to introduce them real quickly. We're gonna take you through a case study and this is Elmer De La Cruz, and he is basically, the two of us together is one whole. He completes me, you get it? OK. And Andrew Will. He's, Elmer's a design director at Tether. Andrew Well is a senior designer at Tether. And he has a husky voice, you'll see. And Bo Gellaland, he is a writer at Tether and I don't know if you recognize him, you know, he's multitalented, he was the, you know that video that you saw of, those that didn't see it, you have to go back to the earlier segment, but about the chair thing? So that was a made up language. Bo, that wasn't real. Bo just made it up. He just kind of jabber jabber, and that's really hard to do. Bo's amazingly talented writer. So we're gonna take you through a case study, and this is a brand, an existing brand that came to us, and they were very excited to work with us, ...
and so, Elmer and team are gonna take us through this case study and take it away, Elmer.
All right, thank you. Home stretch, everybody, OK. Who loves snacks? Who doesn't love snacks? Who loves chips specifically? Come on, chips, potato chips, Doritos, whatever, OK. So, how many of you can kill a whole bag by yourselves in one sitting? Everybody, of course, of course. I can, too, as you can tell. So, it's pretty much a guilty pleasure. You know, you feel really super guilty about finishing that bag of chips. It's unhealthy, it's oily, whatever. Enter Live Love Snack. Live Love Snack, what is Live Love Snack? Live Love Snack is a healthy, multigrain popped snack chip with nutritious attributes. Say that five times.
Nutritious attributes, OK. That sounds like corporate speak. What does that mean, Elmer?
Well, it means that you can pop this bag open and eat this whole bag and feel good about yourself. Supposedly.
You can, we've tried them.
You can. So this is Live Love Snack. As it is today. And it's, the problem that they presented to us was, well, we've got this great product that lives really well right now in the natural food world, OK? But, our client wanted to get into the mass market. And test the waters out there. So what do we do? So, the problems initially were, well, we don't really have a really impactful brand. You know, our identity is played down quite a bit. There isn't much appetite appeal. We're trying to communicate 17 different things on here equally, so we've got the flavor name, we've got these nutritional benefits, we've got popped multigrain chips. All of these things kind of fighting each other. And those things don't necessarily mesh really well in the mass market. If you've noticed the snack aisle, you walk down and you'll automatically know where your Doritos are. You automatically know where your favorite potato chip is or your barbecue chips or whatever it is, Pringles. That's gonna be an issue with this particular brand. So, that was the, overall, the big problem, or the big challenge for this particular brand. So the real assignment, these are kind of the big business objectives right now, tall order, but our client wanted to be $100,000,000 company by 2019. Everybody wants that, obviously. Create a design entity that can extend out into other platforms like crisps, thins, crackers, bars, other types of snacks. Another tall order. And a smaller, but equally as important, create a brand that can extend out into multiple touch points like merchandising, website, social, et cetera, what everybody wants. So huge task, OK, huge task.
The next part, let me get into this. What they want to do is reposition this health snack to compete in a mass market, because usually they're very separate, so first things we start to think about here, just sort of, what is the landscape? What are the challenges going to be? And one of the first things we really have to consider is of course the audience. The audience, in this case, was millennials, which, of course, are coming up, and getting older, and they have more money, and so they're much more popular demographic these days. For millennials, they're looking for an emotional connection to brands. Most people are, but this is becoming more and more true. They of course, as young folks, generally want brands that are fun and relatable. They want authentic stories and people, this comes out in a lot of studies and surveys a lot, actually, this is a really big deal for millennials is being able to connect with the people, and feel like it's an authentic, real people that are creating these products and that they're just not dealing with a faceless corporation. Of course, if you're looking for a new snack, you want something tasty and new, and nutrition is probably gonna be a bonus. Secondary audience, pretty secondary, but moms is gonna be in there, when you start dealing with snack food or a lot of foods, moms are gonna be somewhere in that audience scale, that's almost a given. So we didn't want to alienate them, really, too much. Because if you're going too hard for that youth demographic, you can kind of sometimes alienate older demographics. But they want to, also, find something that their kids are gonna be excited to eat. And they're also concerned with the health of their kids. So, we just sort of looked really quick. This is a little bit simplified, but the strength and weaknesses, the friction that this snack is gonna have to overcome is that the ingredients don't necessarily seem delicious. People aren't really sold on kale yet, although, you know, done right, it is very good. It is kind of a premium price point. It's gonna be a little bit more than your average potato chip or you know, Tostitos or whatever you see on the shelves. And it's a very unfamiliar brand versus very, very established players, which is a really big challenge for any new business, but we were up against that. On the strengths side, the reasons to buy, we're thinking, it's all natural, simple ingredients with a purpose, they're whole or multigrains, they're popped, and it's a healthier snack.
So, take us through, now, a little real life, so everyone can get a sense of, so those are all words that were on a page, so what did the team do? I talked about going into a room with white walls, OK, now what happens?
At this point, we sort of just start brainstorming a lot of things. We were really thinking about positioning, how things are going to fit into the marketplace. On one end, you've got super unhealthy snacks, on this, other snacks, so we just sort of mapped this out physically a lot of times. We will often spitball a lot of ideas about just sort of the tone of voice or what is the angle? A really good brand that's gonna stand out is gonna have a point of view. And so we want to start fleshing that out and thinking about that. And part of this is getting to know the client and getting to know what it is. I mean, if you want to create an authentic brand you have to really start with who the client is, and what they're trying to do, so you can create something authentic.
OK, so that's great. So a good way to think about this is whether it's a virtual space, or it's a physical space, like a white room, or it's your white desktop, so you're gonna start populating that, so the first thing you put up there is the challenges, the thing that we just went through. So you have that, that's your opportunity, that's your challenge right there. Now, you look at the competitive landscape. So what we do is we get pictures of competitive landscape, we'll go in, we'll take shots of, if it's a product like this, we'll take shots of the shelf. And we'll bring those in and we'll put those up and we'll go, OK. So it's like you're standing in the grocery store, thinking, that's really, really helpful. And then, we'll start doing the brainstorming.
Yeah, and a piece of trivia, actually, we should just add in, speaking of being authentic, is when they came to us, the name was on the table, isn't that correct? The name was on the table, we could have gone in, we could have renamed it. But the case is that sometimes brands show up, and there are elements that are really good, and there's no reason to change something just for the sake of changing it. So in this case, we had a lot of heart for the name, and we thought, we can do a good story around this, let's keep it and move on. Then you don't have to lose that brand equity you've already built and you can just expand from that.
Great, well, let's see what the design platforms start looking like.
Design platforms. So. Words, words, words, words, words. We've talked a lot about words. Now, it's time to start wrapping some pretty pictures and lipstick on stuff, right? So design platforms. This is an exercise that we go through, not necessarily to create a package, but more or less to create a look and feel that can be indicative of what a package might look like in the end. So, design platform or visual platform could consist of typography, it could consist of photography, color, graphic elements of any kind. Did I say colors, colors. And even, you know, a narrative that's attached to it or even a tone of voice. So, what we do is present a range of design platforms that comes out of all of the research that we've done. And Andrew will take you through.
So, like Elmer said, everyone here has heard of mood boards, right? That's kind of what we're doing. But we're adding a little bit more of a tone, of voice and character to them, as well. So, what we did was we took three separate kind of characters and brought them to life. You know.
Yeah, well, I'll just sort of give as an example. This first one's called Personified. What we like to do at Tether is just because, I mean, we really do think about these as telling stories, there's a lot of these directions start off with just a little miniature story. Like what is, and we start with the basic, it's the brand, there's so many different ways we can take it, but so, this first direction's Personified, really kind of letting the snack speak for itself. This is where we start to develop a sort of point of view and a tone of voice and giving some direction to where the designers might take it. So there are a few more, actually, should we click through? You want to talk about the visual side?
So this will give you an idea of where we're throwing out parts, or a mood board, but it's a little bit passed a mood board. So they can start to see what, you know, we can start to get a feel of what they like and what they don't like. Without actually getting into the nitty gritty of real package design because often times when you go that far, people take it too seriously and they think that's the final design.
Yeah, so one thing, that's a great point. So a lot of times you'll show something like this and they go, "So, is that the package?" You go no, that's the brand. We're doing a brand look and feel. So they can imagine this could be, you know, from website to digital banners to print ads, to packaging, so all the communication will be pulled from this look and feel.
Exactly, so it works good, sometimes, and better on other times. But usually it's a good tool to get there quicker. To get that feel and figure out which direction they want to go without going down the rabbit hole of every little piece. So this is the first one, Personified. You know, we're just looking at simple colors, I mean, we've got hand written type, the big talk bubble where, you know, we're letting the product really tell its own story, so that was kind of the big idea around this one. The second one was super, super, super snacks. And Bo can talk about that.
Yeah, well, you can probably read at home, but it says, since this stuff is so jam packed with superfoods, like what if we amplified that, make that a big part of the story, and make this all about being a superfood, bring in maybe some heroic super heroic language, something like that, and you'll notice, I don't think we point out, up at the top here, the brand characteristics, look, tone, and feel, these are sort of changing a little bit to go with each story, too, so we're trying to, at this point, we're just sort of feeling out how we might carry this through in assigning some characteristics that the rest of the creative team will follow through, if this direction's chosen.
So, you can see, you know, we start bringing in some of the, you know, superhero kind of vernacular. Like bringing little shields in, icons, talk about their ingredients, stuff like that. And just the tone of voice with the packaging. And really, the big hero product shot, which ultimately, they ended up wanting to flesh out this direction, so.
Let's go back, just for a second, if we go back to the description. You can't possibly come in contact with this brand or its packaging and not think super. So every level, it's super. It's jam packed with good stuff and so, when you look at this visual, so you read the words. And that's why words are so great. If the words are evocative enough, so using colorful words, emotional words, evocative words, you can almost read the words and you can almost see it come to life. So I think this is a great example of that.
Yeah. They got really excited about this. So the third one is the science of snacking. (laughing) That's a good sign, right?
For centuries, mankind has quietly dabbled in the ancient art of pantry alchemy. So, it definitely is working a little tongue in cheek, some humor in there. But this is one way of sort of also pulling out those ingredients and the benefits in a fun and playful way. Because it gets really boring to be like, oh, kale's so nutritious for you, it has antioxidants and all these vitamins, like, no, let's just put on maybe like the Muppets you've got Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Burner and just have a little bit more fun with it.
So, another take on what that could possibly look like. You know, as a mood board. You know, we've got your more illustrated ingredients. And a little bit more straight forward product shots. Playing up on some of the other vernacular of science. That's the idea. So then we go into, they've started to pick one of these directions. And then we get into the meat. And the hierarchy.
Yeah, it's not quite time to slap this on a package just yet. The next step is actually to start thinking about the consumer. Since we're getting into a mass market, it's a totally different environment than a health food store, right? Different people, different types of people are shopping for different types of things, they're looking for different brands that might be more colorful, instead of, you know, the little ingredients, so we're gonna be looking at celebrating different elements now instead of some of the more detailed things that you would find in a health food store. So, the first thing is, well, there's the hierarchy of the elements on the package itself. And if you noticed with, if we go back here with the original package, they're communicating a lot of different things at the same level. You know, everything was speaking at the same level in size, and maybe in color or placement. In a mass market environment, you know, sometimes the brand really speaks louder than some of the other things. Or maybe the product speaks a lot louder. Or maybe they use color. OK, so one filter that we've used on packaging to kind of, you know, check ourselves a little bit, is this filter of 30 10 and three, OK. We like to think of a package as kind of a journey, or we like to unpack a package as you're walking towards it. So, that we're ensuring that not every element on the package is speaking at the same level, OK? So at 30 feet, you're igniting curiosity, OK? Why am I coming over here to pick this thing up? I mean, maybe it's a bright color that's really attractive that I want to walk over to and just kind of see what's going on there. At that point, the package is being very disruptive, or it's interrupting, which is great. You know, because you look at the snack aisle, and it's a sea of, I like to call it a sea of hurl. It's just colors and words and whatever, so the first thing you want to do is interrupt or disrupt, OK? One other thing is you want to create a brand block, whether that's a consistent color of blue or a consistent color of whatever, or a graphic element that helps the brand just kind of stick together on the shelf. So whether that's a big white stripe or super sized elements that are consistent across the board, that's, you know, what we want to do, we want to build a brand block or a flag, OK? The other thing that we're thinking of at 30 feet is considering the adjacencies. You always want to look at all your competitors. What's to my left and what's to my right? Am I looking the same? Or what? In some cases, you know, some companies want to do, because they want you to make a mistake and pick up yours, or do you want to look completely different? So you want to consider your adjacencies. You want to, again, you want to disrupt and be different from everybody else. Or the same. 10 feet, now you're inviting exploration, OK? It's called you over, now it's all about, OK, what kind of choices are being presented to me from the specific brand to some of the elements on there that you might want to start considering like flavor or type of food or whatever that may be. And now, you're starting to connect with the product emotionally, OK, so it's, you know, maybe it's messaging on there that makes you laugh or it makes you smile or just kind of like attracted to it for some reason, that's at 10 feet. OK, now three feet, this is what's gonna make you take it off the shelf, maybe read it some more, and eventually put it in your shopping cart, right? How do you decide? Now you're starting to pick it up. You're viewing, you're comparing this one to that product. Oh, this has got less sodium or it's got, you know, more vitamin whatever it is. Those are the types of decisions you're starting to make at three feet. And you know, obviously, advantages or disadvantages over your adjacent products. So, that's what I mean about unpacking. You know, you've got like, you've got about two to five seconds to make a decision, so all of this happens like really quickly, but it's you know, you're still walking from here to over there to think about all these things, unconsciously.
That's real speed dating, isn't it?
It is speed dating, five seconds. So, the next part of the assignment, or the process, is now that we've thought of, you know, this three step speed dating process, we get into the actual hierarchy of the information on pack, and you know, before this, we've talked to the client, we've asked him, well, you know, what are the important things that you want to communicate on pack, you know, is it the ingredients, is it the product, is it your identity, is it, what is it? And more often than not, he's gonna go, well, the logo, the ingredients, the name of the thing, this and that, they all need to be number one. And more often than not, they just don't know. You know, and so we're, as the experts, we're here to tell them exactly what we feel like is important to them, based on all the challenges and things that we went over initially.
OK, so yeah, as Elmer said, this particular client had done this before, obviously, they had this package. But maybe they needed a little bit more help with figuring out what the hierarchy, what they really wanted to say, so we just went through a little study to try and give them the tools to empower them to help us make the decision for them, right? Because it's their company, they know better than us, but we know the market, so between the two of us, we'll come up with the right answer. So what we did was, we just did a little hierarchy study and just took their package and broke it down, and told them what we saw because, you know, as anybody knows, when you have something in your hand for long enough, you stop seeing it. So they needed somebody outside, like us, to come in and just point out kind of the obvious, that maybe they weren't seeing anymore. So, we did it with their bag, and then we went through what they were feeling like were some of their, where they wanted to go. And looking at the hierarchy on other packages. So, Baked for example. Skip back to the previous one. Look at the list there, skip to the next one. Look at the list there. So, you can see the difference. Like, these guys, they've nailed it down, they've honed it down, they've figured out what their hierarchy is, and they're going after that. And that's what this exercise was to do, was to help them have the confidence to get to this place, where they can just say what they really need to say, and not have to say everything. So if we just flip through these, we just picked a few. Some of the ones that were working, like the Baked. Some of the ones that were a bit more vague, like Wheat Thins. Food Should Taste Good, nice brand. They've got a lot going on here, but their hierarchy's pretty good. You know, you don't feel like you're fighting for everything at the time. Pop Chips, a brilliant one. It's one, two, three. Out. That's why they sell so much of it. I'm convinced, anyway. So. So once we've done that, we looked at some of the competitors, now we want to help them figure out, well, now it's your turn, what are you going to say? So we just listed out some scenarios. Black and white, so they didn't have to worry about design or think about any of the colors or anything like that, it's really, it's just about what is the information you're trying to say? So this to me is one of the more important things, when you're dealing with, they're not really a start up, but they haven't been around that long, so they haven't gone through this sort of process before. And they needed this tool, just to be confident in their decisions.
Yeah, I love this slide because as we spoke earlier, it is kind of that art and science, so there is rigor. There is, you know, brands only exist because they're successful. If you don't sell stuff or get converts or members or whatever it is, you're not gonna be around anymore. So it's important, you gotta sell stuff. So doing this kind of rigor with the client, you get that hierarchy, so that you can now paint it in, you know, in an artful way.
Exactly. Which, if we go on a couple more slides, here. So, at the end of the hierarchy studies, we wanted to get into design, but we didn't want them to get too caught up in a particular way design was executed, but more of the style, the feel, you know, the tone of it, right? So we just took one like kit of parts, and just did it, this is not a non design, but this slide was simply to illustrate the point that you could take any design and make the hierarchies different. Right? So it's a setup to get into the design presentation so that they don't get too hung up on the logo's not big enough or, you know, I want this information bigger than that and I don't like that color. So, it's just to reiterate the point that we can take a kit of parts that we're building here, and we can reformulate them, lots of different ways. And this just was an easy way for somebody to look at it and get it really quickly.
That's good. Well, in the last five minutes, let's see some of what those design options are. Where we ended up.
So, we ended up presenting four options in the end. Option one was a, basically an evolution of where they were. It's the safe one. The other thing that was, you talked about this earlier today, really important to see it in context. This is, you know, a faked out shelf set, but it shows you how it's going to interact with everybody around it, so. Option two, it was a closer look, based on the superhero vernacular. Again, how it looks in the shelf. Option three was based off of the personified, and we really wanted to give the brand a personality. And be speaking through the product. I mean, this could have been so fun. We really liked the potential of that one and where we could go from a storytelling standpoint. Four, the journey, it's the snacking journey. It's like, this is a pretty safe design, but we turned it on our side and as you can see, the next slide, it just disrupts the aisle, it's like, all of a sudden, it's the only one out of hundreds of chip bags, that's on its side. So you know, it becomes, looking at it a different way, it becomes a story that you can tell. So, here's the four options that we presented for this round. And they chose number two. And here's the final design before being released to production, so. And this would show you where they started, and what was this process? This is a pretty quick process for us. This is about, what was it, six weeks? 10 weeks?
Yeah, it was probably less than 10 weeks, actually, yeah.
So we did all this pretty rapidly. But feel like we ended up in a pretty good place.
Really, really nice work. I love, this is a great example of, it's a great product. And we actually have a great client. Steven Singer, who we worked with, he's the owner of the brand, he started the brand, and he knows his stuff. I mean, he's been in the industry, and so he, to his credit, he knew the importance of branding, so that's why he came to us. He had a great product. He had something out on the shelf, so there's a lot of promise there, but you can see, I think, awake was another great example, you see that difference between, it's the same product, it tastes the same. This tastes the same, but you look at it, and the promise of what it will taste like is very different, as you look at before and after, and I think that's the power of what we do. You know, we can change people's opinion with our designs, and with our creativity. Get them to pick something up, or get them to stop doing something or try something, I think that's very powerful. Do we have a couple minutes, do we have a few questions about this project?
Let me just bring those up, so, folks really had, I guess, their biggest question is like, how do you guys seamlessly work together? You seem to be in sync, like great minds think alike. How do you achieve that, as a team?
We sleep in barracks, bunk beds.
No, we don't.
I think, just one thing is that, we brought, Corey talked about this, in the last project, is that when we get into a room, we all are equal. So we all have particular skillsets. Bo wasn't trained as a designer. Andrew wasn't trained as a writer. Et cetera. But when we get in the room, we're all the same. We just generate ideas, we throw ideas up. And just as likely, a designer will come up with a name as a writer. And just as likely, a writer will come up with a concept as a designer. So we're truly a team. So we throw the power of all these different backgrounds and disciplines together, that multi-discipline thing again, and we all come together and just start generating ideas, and that's when all the important stuff happens in the beginning. The refinement of those ideas, that's almost, that's like a specialist. That's someone who can take that and do, you know, the fine Photoshop and Illustrator, InDesign, all that stuff, which is extremely important, but getting all those creative ideas and that hum going on, that's where all those ideas pop out. Some of them are totally off the wall. Some of them are down the middle, and some are off, you know, are more conservative.
And one of the things I'd like to add to that is not only is it important in the beginning, but one of the things I can't stress enough is get out of your chair. Walk over and talk to somebody. I mean, just doing that is what makes the whole team work together, just getting up, walking over and talking to 'em.
Yeah, like for me, personally, I'm not a big fan of interoffice e-mail. I don't, half the time I get an e-mail form Elmer or Andrew, there's a question, I will get up, well, I mean, when I'm busy. I said half the time. Half the time I will prefer to get up and walk across the office and sit down and talk to somebody, rather than respond to an e-mail, even if it's just a quick question because things come up, you have more ideas, there's more--
--nuance you're not missing, things change, and, you know, there's always the bonding. We get to know each other better.
Yeah. Face to face is nice.