Debranding: When Less is More

 

According to Michelangelo, sculpting David was simple. All he did was chip away the bits that weren’t David.  

Brands can benefit from the same approach - stripping a brand back to its very essence can help articulate its core qualities in a way that’s real, honest and simple. It’s an approach known as ‘debranding’, and it’s a much-needed response to brand fatigue.

Our world is loud enough as it is. By dialing back the volume on our branding efforts we can craft identities that speak honestly and meaningfully - without having to shout. Because as it turns out, a little bit of branding can go a long way.


The Art & Business of Design Thinking

 

Design is art with function: it’s elegantly purposeful. By applying design thinking to creativity, you can create things that make a meaningful difference in the world – and that are specifically crafted for an audience who truly wants them. When you apply that same kind of thinking to business, you get results that go beyond ideas and into the realm of the viable. 


Creativity is Magical, Not Magic

 

The most powerful expressions of creativity are the ones that effectively communicate to audiences outside ourselves, and our ability to collaborate and create with others is what sets us apart from other species in a world that’s constantly in a state of change. But what does that mean? And what is the root of the nature of creativity?


Stop Storytelling, Start Storydoing

 

 

Long gone are the days when running a really great marketing campaign involved, in sum, brilliant graphic arts and catchy verbiage. Indeed, it used to be that a carefully crafted execution of these two elements could allow marketing executives to sit back, and enjoy the ride. This is no longer the case.

Today’s consumers want engagement, and with the emergence of social media, the Internet is an open canvas. Brands that fail to make their mark pay the price in terms of lost engagement with potential customers, and trends show that effectively doing so is increasingly a kinesthetic process -- not a static one. This means that in order to form authentic, long-term engagement with users — the kind that drives referrals, publicity, and sales — your  brand strategy must make the shift from storytelling to storydoing.


Ideas Only Work If You Do

 

It should come as no surprise that having an idea is one thing, and actualizing that idea is entirely another. Take it from us; many are the things that serve to stand in the way of an idea coming to fruition, and what's more, these obstacles can be the difference between a truly game changing idea that comes to fruition, and one that never sees light outside your office walls. 

Ideas are what drive us forward as a people. They are paramount to progress in art, in science, and in moral society, and that’s why our team at STARMEN is pleased to share its foolproof plan for getting those ideas off the ground!


How to Make Your Brand Work for Millennials

 

Innovation is perhaps the cornerstone of our modern society, and for good reason. Innovation helps us progress; it heals us, enriches us, and entertains us. It connects us as a people in ways prior generations could never have dreamed. But all too frequently, marketers with raw ambition aim to catapult their campaigns into fresh, new territories simply to be the newest or the most different, all without a clear motive in mind.


Own Your Word, But Own Its Meaning Too

 

In the business of branding, nothing speaks truer to the work that we do than industry legend, Al Ries’, immutable commandment: the Law of Focus. It is a pivotal point, one that allows the purpose of a brand to be actualized in a more tangible way. 

What makes your brand different from others of its kind? Is it more luxurious, or more at the cutting edge of technological innovation? Is it environmentally-friendly, or is it tightly aligned with a unique social purpose


STARMEN Awarded Platinum + Gold AVA Digital Awards

 

We’re pleased to announce our work on the Linda May Properties “Live Your Luxury” campaign has received recognition from the AVA Digital Awards. This project has previously been the recipient of awards from other organizations, including the distinction of Best in Class from the IMA Awards. We are deeply honored by this most recent recognition: a Platinum Award for excellence in website design and development, as well as a Gold Award for our “Live Your Luxury” video marketing campaign.


“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

 

Innovation is perhaps the cornerstone of our modern society, and for good reason. Innovation helps us progress; it heals us, enriches us, and entertains us. It connects us as a people in ways prior generations could never have dreamed. But all too frequently, marketers with raw ambition aim to catapult their campaigns into fresh, new territories simply to be the newest or the most different, all without a clear motive in mind.


The Year Of Making Brands Work

 

We believe that the only way to predict the future is to create it. And at our core, we are an agency dedicated to the creation of positive change through strategic brand development.


Let’s Talk Strategy

 

Brands are beginning to wrap around people in every which way. Much like a first introduction to another person, a consumer's relationship with your brand is launched from the first impression. So, what makes this initial interaction so memorable and impactful? When crafting a brand experience that people can identify with, it comes down to the integrated combination of business strategy and design. 


Our Top 4 Resolutions for 2014

 

2014 Resolutions

The team here at STARMEN is always busy strategizing, and such was the case during our recent New Year kickoff meeting. What made this year's assembly particularly interesting is that we decided to take it a step further, going public with our resolutions. Some may call it a risk, but we like risks, and have a fabulous creative and technical team to help us reach these goals.


Our Newly Renovated Hollywood Offices Featured on OfficeSnaphots.com

 

Our Newly Renovated Hollywood Offices Featured on OfficeSnaphots

Check out our newly remodeled offices featured on OfficeSnapshots.com, a popular blog that reaches more than 300,000 readers each month from around the globe. Office Snapshots showcases architecture and design firms who have recently completed office projects.

Enjoy!

Photography by our friend Vince Robbins


Creative Versatility Shines As STARMEN Wins Three Silver Awards at Two International Competitions

 


STARMEN's Story Featured in the Los Angeles Business Journal

 

Our Story Featured In The Los Angeles Business Journal

MARKETING: STARMEN ditches fixed-rate jobs for retainer relationships.

Story by Subrina Hudson, Staff Writer


Is Marketing A Science, or Art, or Perhaps A Bit of Both?

 

Marketing Isn't A Science?

The way you learn it in marketing school, marketing is a science. How could it not be, with all that jargon that puts everything into neat compartments? Unique Selling Proposition. Positioning. Niches. The four Ps. The Marketing Mix. All those rules of advertising and copywriting. Close fast and early.


3 Ways Blogging Boosts Business

 

3 Ways Blogging Boosts Business

Facebook? Perhaps. Twitter? Maybe. Blog? Absolutely!

Blogs began as basic, often tawdry online diaries fueled by caffeine and wine. Some launched writing careers, but most simply enabled their authors to vent views or scratch creative itches. As the blogging craze grew, however, many corporate marketers adopted blogs to provide regular company updates and insights, and, almost as quickly, many marketers abandoned them. The reason? Regularly writing articles turned out to be challenging and time consuming; writing articles that attracted readers proved to be even more difficult. After all, who wants to read a corporation’s diary? So when Twitter and other microblogging platforms came along, corporate communicators happily replaced their 500-words of weekly wisdom with concise 140-character tweets.

And that's when marketers discovered the real value of blogs.

For businesses, blogs serve multiple purposes that Twitter can’t come close to serving. In fact, many corporations are now discovering that it’s actually harder to create a worthwhile Twitter account. So now we’re seeing a blog revival. Below are 3 key reasons why blogging boosts business:


Beyond Roulette: Rules For Winning At Conventions

 

Whatever day you go to Vegas, you can generally expect to find a flurry of activity in two specific places: the business convention circuit and the roulette table. Unfortunately, too many visitors think the same strategy for success applies to both.

We were in Vegas a couple of weeks ago, hitting the Consumer Electronics Show and a few roulette tables. (Just a few.) In both cases, if you don't play, you can't win. That is pretty much the only similarity – well, that and the engaging hosts and dealers to get you to stay and play. 

The key difference is that, with a convention, it's not enough to be in the right place at the right time — which is the fundamental rule of roulette.


5 Design Tips That Will Make Your Visitors Remember Your Website

 

Can you remember the last website you’ve visited? Unless it’s Facebook or another website you visit often, chances are you don’t remember much about it. 

There are 644 million active websites on the Internet, but most of these websites are so poorly designed that people don’t want to revisit them. Don’t be one of those websites! You want to create a memorable online experience for your visitors, and to have them keep coming back for more. 


Branding Lincoln, the Movie

 

Lincoln Movie Branding

As an Illinois native and history buff since the 3rd grade, naturally I've had a fascination with one of the greatest political figures in American history, the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln

When I found out Steven Spielberg was planning to make an epic film on the last days of his intense life, I knew it was going to be something big, iconic, something I wanted to be a part of, well... I got my chance. Entertainment Weekly released this first photo of Daniel Day-Lewis as 'Lincoln'. First, I was amazed at the resemblence of Day-Lewis' as the commander in chief and then excited because it was exactly the iconic image I knew would make for a great movie poster.

Click below... see the "one-sheet"! 


Defending London's Olympic Logo

 


Executive Director of STARMEN Speaks as Panelist at AIGA’s Professional Series

 

AIGA’s sold-out Professional Series talk, ‘The Importance of Studio Culture & Identity,’ was held at Continuum’s work-space in Venice Beach.  The discussion brought together STARMEN’s Executive Director, Armen David, as well as Braven Greenelsh, Candice Brokeshire, Michael Stinson, and moderator Eduardo Braniff (CEO of Imagination the Americas).


29 Ways To Stay Creative

 

We can think of so many ways to keep the right side of our brains active, but these 29 are a great starting off point!

Thanks to Anna @Dalziel+Pow for sharing.


3 Strategies for Building a Stronger Brand in 2012

 

The New Year always sparks a renewed interest in making changes! As a business, this should include taking a closer look at your brand – both from your perspective, and from your audience’s. Some questions to consider: How do your customers perceive your brand? Is it aligned with how you see yourself? Do people hear and understand exactly what your brand is saying?

There’s always room for improvement. Starting with these three strategies, you can help strengthen your brand in 2012!


Your Logo Is Not Your Brand

 

It’s time to clear up a common misconception: the words "logo" and "brand" are not interchangeable terms. In fact, they are not the same thing at all! 

One of our industry's top mentors and brand gurus, Marty Neumeier, dispelled this myth in his book “The Brand Gap,” stating that "A brand is not a logo, an identity or a product.” A brand is a gut feeling, a consumer's emotions about a particular company or product. The logo is a visual representation of that company or product, one facet among many that culminate in the brand experience. However, it isn’t the brand itself. Your brand comprises everything that defines your company – who you are, what you do, where you want to be, and what you believe in. This is far more than a creative image, as an expertly designed logo is worthless if your brand is terrible.


Design Thinking vs. Designing

 

STARMEN Design Thinking

There is certainly a difference between ‘design thinking’ and ‘designing.’  We hail Helen Walters’ article in Fast Company “Design Thinking Isn’t a Miracle Cure, But Here’s How it Helps” as a must read, especially for anyone in our industry! According to Walters, “design thinking is not fairy dust; you do not get to skip steps to magically solve a challenge.”


Marketing Tips from Mister Rogers

 

Mr. Rogers saw the value of cultivating his own brand. But he did so in a quiet and dignified way that made the tone and authenticity of his show, and his relationship with viewers, unmatched by any television property ever seen before or after. As we consider how many of today's marketers likely grew up with the words of Fred Rogers guiding their way as kids, we can't help but think that we've all too often strayed away from some of those first lessons we heard as children.


Gap Drastically Changed Their Logo - Will This Change Their Entire Brand?

 

gap new logo before and after comparison

We at STARMEN are not ones to jump on 'bandwagons', whether the subject matter is politics, celebrity gossip, sports, or business. However, we're all aboard the latest bandwagon traveling along Gap's tracks to logo disaster. Gap’s new logo and branding campaign have widely been referred to as the “Gapgate controversy,” a questionable attempt at designing a new logo, and an even more tasteless approach at trying to market it. There has been way too much recent attention around the new Gap logo, and as a result, we've decided to come up with our own visual ‘solution.’


Brand Marketing Is Not a Science

 

During our daily industry readings, we came across a refreshing article titled “Our Biggest Brands Can No Longer Be Managed By Nerds,” by brand consultant Tom Hinkes. Companies have been scaling back recently on creatively-led brand solutions, and focusing more on the numbers approach. It was refreshing to hear from a well-respected and experienced brand marketer that great marketing requires a balance of both strategy and creative.


Our New Site Launches Today!

 

As an award-winning creative agency specializing in brand design, we are proud to announce the redesign of the STARMEN web site. But ‘redesign’ doesn't really cover it. We’ve made more than an aesthetic adjustment or surface-level change, we’ve ‘refreshed’ internally and externally. The new starmenusa.com reflects our new ideas, fresh thinking, and innovative approach to our clients’ brands, as well as our latest design work. 


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