One of the key elements to effective brand building is having a clearly defined and unique selling proposition that attracts interest, compels trial, and builds loyalty. In other words, communicating something special about your company, its products and/or services in a manner that allows it to stand apart from, and ahead of, your nearest competitor. So why is it, when searching the internet, so many companies rely on websites that look alike, act alike, and fail to distinguish themselves from others? Are they responding to fashion and throwing concerns about functionality and ROI out the window?

One of the primary causes stems from an unwillingness to invest in both creatively inspired design and competent back end engineering. Instead, brand owners rely on widely available, and inexpensive, templates that force users into look-alike solutions. Believing falsely that websites should function simply as a repository for company information, they fail to understand or accept the financial impact that can be achieved from a well-conceived interactive environment.

Today, however, there are numerous studies and statistical findings that clearly identify compelling and engaging design as the primary reason visitors either trust or reject your website. In addition, and while visitors may evaluate the credibility of your company based on visual attributes alone, it is equally important to recognize that download speed and functional efficiency is just as important. These days, if your site does not load quickly, or is too hard to navigate, visitors will simply look elsewhere.

If we start with some of the more compelling brick and mortar retail brands, we can better understand the impact that emotionally charged and creatively conceived design can have. Consider these three well-known brands: Apple, Disney, and Anthropologie.

According to The New York Times, "the Apple Store is the undisputed king, a retail phenomenon renowned for impeccable design, deft service and spectacular revenues." Similarly, Anthropologie is renown for its relationship with design, a loyal clientele, experiences unlike almost anything else in consumer retailing and a very attractive bottom line. When it comes to Disney, their theme parks, retail stores, and hotels are all designed as emotionally satisfying experiences that evoke and sustain very specific moods. Considering all three company's tremendous geographic reach, appeal, and overall enterprise value, it is obvious that an investment in design delivers more than just window dressing.

To create a truly powerful online presence, your website must function similarly, delivering remarkable experiences unlike anything your competitors can conceive. From a credibility and branding perspective, delivering consistent content from one touchpoint to the next is imperative. This means that the wonderfulness you create in terms of brand imagery, key sales messages, access to information, and responsive customer service online must be the same as they are in your store or office.

Of course, you'll also want to display contact names, phone numbers and mailing addresses in a manner that makes connecting with your company easy. While this information may lead to a few annoying intrusions, it's important to remember that it allows potential buyers to make contact - effectively shortening the sales cycle and increasing your bottom line.

While effective websites require the creative and engineering expertise of competent designers and developers, it starts with emotionally engaging and memorable experiences that do more than simply align with whatever fashion happens to be trending. When your customer enjoys being immersed in the environments your company provides, and the interactions they encounter, the resulting increases in revenue and brand loyalty make it all worthwhile.

There's lots more that goes into designing, engineering and maintaining an effective website. To learn more, simply give Jeff Spear a call at: 904 685 2135, or send an email to: To see a few interactive case studies from Studio Spear, click here

Attention food producers and food brand owners. If you did not already know, and if you are selling products in the United States, the FDA is revising its requirements for the Nutrition Facts Panel including format, required Nutrients, and Serving Sizes in several categories.

The final rules have been in the works for a while with not much of a hint as to when they might actually appear. According to the Fall 2014 Unified Agenda of Regulatory Actions, the final labeling rules are scheduled for publication in March 2016.

What's important is that, once these rules are published, any new products will have to adhere to the new labeling requirements right away. For products already on the market, you will have 2 years to comply with the new rules, giving you time to exhaust existing inventories of packaging and labels.

Depending on the strength of your brand imagery and product performance, this could be an excellent time to implement updated packaging configurations, or new packaging designs altogether.

Studio Spear is well positioned to assist with this process. To learn more about our globally recognized packaging and branding capabilities, click here. To discuss your specific needs and organize a quote, please call 866 787 8761 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email:

At Studio Spear, we're always on the lookout for great movies, soundtracks, musical recordings, gallery exhibitions and books. With summer on the horizon, these books are engaging, enjoyable and would be perfect companions on the beach, at the pool, or simply while you're relaxing at home.

[Hundred Foot Journey] 
This charming story beautifully recounts how an oppressed Indian family rises above stereotypes and unjust prejudices, finding love, happiness and incredibly delicious food along the way. If you saw the movie, read the book. There are differences not to be missed.

[Hollow City] 
Readers with a craving for fantasy, whimsy and adventure will enjoy this charming tale of magic and survival. If you have not read the first Hollow City installment, and considering this is the sequel, you are advised to read in sequence.

[Drinking With Men] 
It's not uncommon to find stories about men who enjoy the barroom setting (Can you say Cheers?). This autobiographical narrative reveals the author's drinking career and the interesting people and places she encounters along the way.

[Lunar Chronicles] 
Set in the future, this 5-book series follows Cinder, a half human, half bionic young woman who unwittingly finds herself in the center of political upheaval between Earth and Lunar colonies. These books should be read in order: Cinder, Scarlett, Cress, Fairest and Winter.

[Hotel on Place Vendome] 
Who knew there were so many intriguing, scandalous, politically unsettling and history making activities taking place under the roof of the famed Hotel Ritz during the Nazi occupation of Paris. This book is a real page-turner, not what you'd expect from a work of non-fiction.


[Spear Trademarks]

Looking for ways to enhance brand impact and stimulate enterprise growth? Check out Studio Spear's globally recognized and award winning range of strategic and creative services on its newly expanded and updated website

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About Studio Spear
Studio Spear is a globally recognized and award winning marketing consultancy specializing in consumer packaged goods and lifestyle-oriented brands. The company relies upon thorough research, strategic planning and emotionally charged creative solutions to produce significant and statistically proven growth for its clients. "It's our goal to enhance your product's reputation, generate higher levels of sales and see your brand outperform its competition,” says Spear.

If you'd like to learn more about what Studio Spear can do for you, call, write or email Jeff Spear at:

Studio Spear
PO Box 51291
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32240
Phone: 904 685 2135
Toll Free: 866 787 8761
Fax: 410 486 9492 

Orange Buttercreams
Taken from The First Coast Heritage Cookbook, this recipe is easy to make, sweet and satisfying. Perfect for any occasion.
Makes about 30

2 T butter, softened
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T orange juice
1 lb confectioner's sugar
1 tsp orange zest
2 C almonds, chopped

Using a mixer, combine the butter, cream cheese and orange juice. Beat in the sugar and orange zest, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place almonds in a low, flat dish. Roll the buttercream mixture into small balls, then roll in the almonds, coating completely.

To store, cover and refrigerate in a flat container.

OPTIONAL: For variety, substitute orange juice and zest with lemon or lime. You can also roll the buttercreams in other nuts, toasted coconut or cocoa powder.

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