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Blog Posts by Giovanna Blackston Keren


Too. Many. Choices. Yes, Over-Branding Is a Thing.

Too. Many. Choices. Yes, Over-Branding Is a Thing.

I walked into my favorite hair and body care store last week, looking for my usual hair product — you know, the one that protects hair before you heat-style it. I couldn’t remember the name of the product but I figured I’d easily recognize it once in the store. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As it turns out, the product I use is just one member of a family of products prone to over-branding that all have adjacent but different uses. The family has a common name but each sub-product has a distinct name to indicate its use. Easy, right? No, not easy. A knowledgeable and patient...
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Why It Pays to Aim High: Reflections on the Inauguration

Why It Pays to Aim High: Reflections on the Inauguration

I’ve not always been American. I moved to the United States at the age of 13, reluctantly at first, because who wants to move anywhere at age 13? But in a very short time, and especially by the time I started college, I was fully bought into the proposition of America. At the tender age of 17, my friends back in the UK were finishing their A-levels and already having to close the aperture on their future careers by declaring what they would study at University. I, on the other hand, was looking at a veritable smorgasbord of classes and majors offered by Barnard and Columbia Colleges—two...
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The Case for Supreme Honesty as a Precursor to Killer Brand Strategy

The Case for Supreme Honesty as a Precursor to Killer Brand Strategy

Like anybody who’s worked in the industry for longer than two decades, I’ve enjoyed my share of deeply satisfying client engagements across multiple industries. There is one engagement in particular, however, that I will never forget, and not for the right reasons. It will actually go down in the books as one of my worst professional experiences. And this is why. We got fired for being dishonest. Let me explain. I was working for a large branding firm at the time. The kind of branding firm that everyone in the business knows and respects. Not one that often gets fired. We engaged with...
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Do You Guys Do Messaging?

Do You Guys Do Messaging?

Do You Guys Do Messaging? When clients ask us to share our ‘typical’ brand strategy process, we are careful to respond that there is no typical process as all client needs truly are different. The right-for-this-client scope of work comes as a result of a deep process of inquiry into our clients’ circumstances, budget tolerance, depth and expertise of team, and an assessment of what we think they will need to really make their brand perform in the market. Invariably, the question comes, “what about messaging, do you guys do that?” Indeed, what about messaging? A classic component of the...
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Embracing an Agile Workflow to Yield an Agile Brand

Embracing an Agile Workflow to Yield an Agile Brand

A lot of branding firms talk about the importance of incorporating agility into their clients’ brands. The best brands have to stand for something distinct and meaningful – and at the same time, be ready to acknowledge what is happening out in the marketplace so they can adapt and adjust to maintain their edge. There is less discussion about the process of branding and the need to imbue it with a degree of agility as well. Speed is a given – we’ve all been schooled on how clients no longer have time for long, drawn-out branding processes that will yield a new brand in the market within 12-18...
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