August 31, 2010
Posted By: Sheri

What does it take to launch a fashion line these days? During New York’s Fashion Week, Nolcha’s Beyond the Runway competition has emerged as a solid platform and a reputable outlet for launching top-tier designers from around the globe.

An award-winning event now in its 9th season, Nolcha provides designers with a venue to display their work with four days of runway shows, an eco-accessory exhibition, fashion business seminars, and networking events.  On the last day, one very lucky designer will emerge as the winner and receive a business support package worth over $50,000 to help him or her succeed as an entrepreneur. This year MSLK and a panel of three other judges from within the fashion industry will be there to help make that selection.

Perhaps you’d like to join us for the fun and festivities. As a judge and sponsor of the event, MSLK has received passes to all the shows and after-parties. Please see the schedule below and RSVP here. Come meet fashion designers and other fashion industry professionals!

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August 31, 2010
Posted By: Sheri

As MSLK digs deeper into the world of social media campaigns, it seems that time and time again we are discovering our clients have the same challenges. Small companies see social media as an exciting opportunity, yet quickly become overwhelmed by the variety of media platforms. It may seem like one needs a bottomless pit of time commitment to enter the arena. On the other hand, larger companies who have ample resources to maintain these platforms struggle to let go of their carefully crafted brand image and to open up to the more relaxed format. Larger companies need to learn how to have a casual voice. By doing so, they will invite the maximum customer engagement.

In both cases, the majority of our clients are already convinced that they need a social media platform and marketing arm. They see the benefits, they’ve been worn down by the hype, but they are still struggling with the what, where, and how.

To some degree, their concerns are valid. In social media, content is king. It’s one thing to set up these platforms, but the true cost and commitment is in maintaining them. There are two levels to this effort, the active daily maintenance and the overall strategic planning for this content to ensure your efforts remain on track. MSLK helps our clients do both.

In creating a comprehensive social media program, we look at your goals.  We determine the features that need to be included in your social media platforms and the content that will populate it.

For features, this may include things such as polling software, platforms for fans to upload personal photos, or mailing list captures. We then ensure you have content strategies to activate those techniques. What kinds of polls will you run throughout the year? What photos will fans be uploading? Perhaps we will create a contest like the recent Matrix Mannequin Mania to encourage uploading. These are the tactics that engage fans and that engagement builds virally to their friends and contacts as well.

We’ll also look at the types of articles, tidbits about your brand, and special offers you post throughout the year. What aggregate message will be established? What are you training your customers to think of and associate with your brand?

Because blogs, and now Facebook and Twitter feeds, are index-able, this messaging becomes equally important from a search engine optimization standpoint. Especially if you are a small company, these regular bits of content you are posting and control become important tools for establishing threads for how you can be found online.

As your company grows, we also listen. What key phrases are consumers using most often when they talk about your brand? These phrases should be incorporated into your strategies as well, online and off.

In my upcoming panel discussion at the HBA Global Expo this September 28th at 2:30 pm, I will be exploring the topic of  social media marketing plans further. My presentation, Social Media: Marketing For the 21st Century, will focus on the unique challenges and opportunities within this process.  I’ll then explore five strategies you can use to kick-start your own social media presence.

If you’d like to join me, please register here and use priority code: GPSZ  to save 30% off any HBA Conference Pass and to get a FREE Exhibits Pass to HBA Global Expo and the Spa & Resort/Medical Aesthetics Expo.

August 30, 2010
Posted By: Ryan

For over 55 years, the I.D. Annual Design Review has recognized the best in graphic, environmental, product, and furniture design. We are very proud that MSLK’s own Sheri L Koetting has taken her place among a jury of the field’s leading practitioners. Her voice and sensibility played a large role in the winners chosen this year in the graphics category. Viewing everything through a lens of sustainability, Sheri not only examined the purpose and aesthetics of each piece, she questioned its material usage and life expectancy.

You can see all of the winning pieces on view now until September 10th at the AIGA National Design Center. Read more to view some of the winners and see what Sheri had to say about each of the pieces.

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August 24, 2010
Posted By: Ryan

If you’re a marketer, you’ve probably thrown around those ubiquitous terms, push and pull marketing. The marketplace has seen a major paradigm shift from pushing products onto consumers, to pulling them in, inviting them to engage with the brand in novel and unique ways. At MSLK, we think this is especially important to consider when creating sophisticated branding campaigns in the beauty industry. How can you stop consumers dead in their tracks, invite an interaction or ignite a conversation? Burt’s Bees skincare installations do just that. In a series of three installations that have traveled to public spaces across Canada, the pieces educate women about the harmful effects of most allegedly natural skincare products on the market.

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August 18, 2010
Posted By: Sheri

Proctor and Gamble unveiled last week a renewable sugarcane based alternative to plastic that will be implemented on their Pantene Pro-V, CoverGirl, and international Max Factor product lines over the next 2 years. This is truly groundbreaking news and frankly has me more excited about the future of mass production than I have been in a long time. Here’s why:

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