December 3, 2015
Posted By: Marc

Sharing is cool. It makes people happy. You know what else is cool? GIFs!— the fun, animated images that’ve been making people’s screens happy since 1987. GIFs have since been one of the fastest ways for mirth (and memes) to be shared.

MSLK wanted to join in on the fun. So we created a fun series of beauty-themed GIFs meant to be shared by all on their social media networks. Now that Facebook and Twitter allow animated GIFs in their news feeds, you can  be the most interesting person on social media.

Check out http://gif-giving.com where we’ll uploading a new GIF every day through December 25th. When sharing, please be sure to use the hashtag #gifgiving. 

Happy Holidays,
The MSLK Team
November 6, 2015
Posted By: MSLK

MSLK-Holiday-Card-Stand-1A
The holiday card inspiration round-up continues with MSLK-designed holiday cards! Over the years, we have designed holiday cards that double as small gifts, allowing us to connect with our clients on a more personal level. From letterpressed gift tags to a card that transforms into a unique card-holder, these pieces represent our passion for smart design and commitment to sustainability. Check out today’s collection of cards and get inspired. Read more

November 3, 2015
Posted By: MSLK

MSLK-Holiday-Card-8
As designers with insatiable appetites for cool formats, playful typography and clever copy, we are always collecting printed matter that we love. Our collection has accumulated over the 17 years we’ve been in business, and for the first time ever, we are sharing it in bits and pieces as inspiration round-ups. The holiday season is quickly approaching, so today it’s all about holiday cards! Read more and get inspired to create a great holiday promotion.  Read more

October 27, 2015
Posted By: MSLK

MSLK-On-the-Grid

MSLK was asked by our friends at Hyperakt to participate in On the Grid, a site that allows travelers to experience cities through the eyes of creatives. Prominent designers from across the globe are contributing to this growing resource, reviewing their favorite bars, restaurants, shops, and galleries within their own neighborhoods. Each post is truly a feast for the eyes, replete with immersive photography and snappy descriptions. We are, of course, proud to be the ambassadors of Long Island City — the cultural heart of Queens. Here are a few of our favorite places: Read more

October 26, 2015
Posted By: Ryan

MSLK just launched our newest case study video for Sparkle Collagen, an ingestible beauty brand. Sparkle is consumed as a beverage and contains a collagen peptide supplement that reduces fine lines and improves skin-elasticity. Discover how we helped launch the brand from the ground-up, from the initial strategy and naming, to the packaging, website and social media campaigns.

October 5, 2015
Posted By: Marc

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MSLK partner and Drake University alum, Sheri L Koetting was just featured in the alumni magazine, Drake Blue, in a wonderful article about those who’ve gone onto rewarding careers in the arts.

 

September 29, 2015
Posted By: Marc

Sheri L Koetting Speaker WebsiteHave a look at MSLK’s recently launched site for our very own Sheri L Koetting. The site was designed with the sole purpose of highlighting Sheri’s speaking engagements and writing, and is geared towards programming directors of conferences, and symposia. Much like Sheri herself, the site is fun, dynamic, and colorful. Please visit the new site on your desktop, as well as mobile devices: http://sherikoetting.com

September 29, 2015
Posted By: Marc

GCI-Magazine-6-ways-to-position-you-a-haircarebrand-to-connect-with-salons-mslk

By winning the hearts and minds of professionals, brands simultaneously evolve their stature and gain insider access to the salon’s clientele. Sheri Koetting was invited by GCI Magazine to share some of the ways in which she’s learned how haircare brands could better connect with salons, which is in the September 2015 issue.

Read more

September 10, 2015
Posted By: Marc

Simple-and-Clear-The-Art-of-Refining-Your-Brand's-Message-MSLK

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” This adage seems to make perfect sense, from a marketing standpoint. No one wants to settle on a bad idea that leads to no measurable success. Too often, brands try “even if you succeed, try, try again.” This results in brands which appear to suffer from ADD. Brands with multiple messages — no matter how individually great they are —  will still find there is consumer confusion. We see this happening in advertising campaigns, packaging, websites. Shockingly, this happens with logos, where there are endless variations, sometimes related, sometimes not.

Initial marketing success is often found by relying on help from friends and  relatives. Typically, there is little or no budget allocated for marketing. When brands experience rapid growth, they often end up with separate marketing strategies for online and print. This rarely happens by design. It’s likely the result of no plan, or lack of communication. 

The larger issue is that there is no one within the organization in charge of the messaging. Without any documentation of what is “on-brand” vs “off-brand,” nothing is communicated. Smart brands abandon this slow, inefficient, and expensive process. A simple and clear approach is what’s needed to refine the brand’s message.

The Brand Audit
When messaging can be viewed all together, brands can understand how many messages exist. MSLK’s Brand Strategy process studies an organization’s messaging across all media. During this process, themes usually emerge. Social and online statistics can also be become powerful tools for insight into the most effective messaging to use.

Just One Thing
For design and marketing, “Just One Thing” is our internal mantra. We believe having one great thing is more powerful than five. In branding, this can mean a simple logo rendered in a distinctive color. A memorable material used in a product’s packaging could be the “One Thing.” Sometimes, it could even be as simple as a word. The key is simple and distinctive within the context of the marketplace. 

Coping with Internal Fatigue
Successful brands often become bored by their own successful campaigns. (Or packaging, logos, whatever…) The knee-jerk solution is to scrap it for something new. This happens most with internal marketing departments, the desire to create something new.

Experience shows that a well-laid marketing plan should serve a brand well for years. If you’re tired of the same messaging for the past two years, this does not mean that your audience feels that way! They do not interact with your brand with this intensity day after day. Unless this sense is coming from the outside, you are likely just beginning to reach people. It is usually a matter of refining the focus, and trying a few minor variations on it to keep things fresh. Seasonal promotions are great reasons to use theme and variation.

The Key to Simplicity is Focus
Simplicity can be difficult to embrace. It forces you to limit your options and focus your efforts. Steve Jobs built the world’s most successful company based on simplicity and focus:

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

 

July 9, 2015
Posted By: Marc

Sheri recently made a presentation at the Westchester Digital Summit on “Defining Your Brand Audience and Need.” After her presentation, she sat down with Chris Dessi, the CEO of Silverback Social. Amongst other things, they discuss the creative process, working with brands and the importance of Style + Substance™

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