This column started out as a how-to guide for marketing to Millennials - individuals who were born after 1980 and are coming into adulthood (and flexing their buying power) in the new millennium. As more and more information was uncovered, and aside from their youth and a few of the trends that appeal more to them than older consumers, there were a lot of issues that resonated equally.

Before any sweeping generalities are made, and summed up quite nicely in an article written by Joan Schneider for the Harvard Business Review, Millennials are "naturals with technology and can simultaneously use their phone to order a cup of coffee at Starbucks, Instagram a photo of their name spelled incorrectly on the coffee cup, reply to a friend via text, and talk to their co-worker about the company softball tournament." Not only is this is an amazing accomplishment, the same could not be said about more mature individuals from Gen X or Baby Boomers.

It's also important to note that the largest and most active population of consumers is aged 22 - 51. Since the youngest of this group - the Millennials - have an undeniable influence over brand sustainability, finding ways to cater to their needs is an essential part of any well-conceived marketing program.

Don't forget, packaging design is critical to brand impact and sales. While every generation of shopper is influenced by design, and according to Packaging Digest, "Not only are Millennials a driving force behind a changing product mix, but their purchase decisions are prompting manufacturers to differentiate their brands with creative and unique packaging. Of course, these demands place significant challenges on brand owners as they work to stay ahead of a curve, beset by a generation attuned to instant gratification."

We must also recognize that, while undeniably important to Millennials, the internet is influencing the way everyone does business, regardless of income or age. Sure, Boomers still enjoy the experiential nature of shopping and will take the time to frequent brick and mortar stores. The undeniable truth is that, as the shopper gets younger, an increasing number of their transactions are taking place online.

When it comes to health and wellness, there's no denying we all care about our health and are actively seeking out goods and services that will make us look and feel better. In agribusiness communities, growing foods that are clean, non-GMO, and nutrient rich is a top priority. As we look down the supply chain into formulation and processing, issues including the kinds of ingredients used, where all of the raw materials come from, how the food is manufactured, and the environmental impact of these activities are all influencing purchasing decisions.

Even in the specialty food arena, where you can find decadent, luxurious and innovative incarnations of confectionery, cheese, condiments, ice cream, cooking sauces and cakes, everyone agrees that health and wellness has become a priority. According to a 2016 industry overview just released by the Specialty Food Association, "In the past two years, specialty food consumers have been more likely to cite dietary or health reasons as drivers to try specialty foods." The report adds, "The market for superior foods, and functionally enhanced products will grow, even in non-traditional categories like chocolate.

From a marketing perspective, how we reach buyers must still include both traditional and new media outlets. While Millennials, and even the emerging iGeneration, are up to date on the latest social media channels and rely more on digital devices for their information than older generations, the lion's share of purchases are still being made in brick and mortar environments where non-digital tactics still hold sway.

It goes without saying that, while certain demographics have clear priorities and preferences, properly integrated marketing campaigns are still winning the day for brands and brand owners. If your own brands are performing below expectations, or your marketing messages fail to resonate with your key audiences, Studio Spear has the resources to turn things around. Simply call us: 866 787 8761 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email:

There's a lot of confusing information about new FDA packaging guidelines and the changes that will be in effect on Nutrition Facts Panels. Here are a few insights that may help you along:

Existing products (labeled and on the market) as of July 26, 2016, are not required to have the new Nutrition Facts until July 26, 2018 for large companies and July 26, 2019 for companies with sales less than $10 million. If, however, you are currently making changes to your labels, then you should be using the updated Nutrition Facts panel.

If you are in the process of introducing a new product, you should be using the new Nutrition Facts panel.

You might be interested to know - some of the serving sizes have changed, especially when single packages could be consumed at one sitting. A pint of ice cream was previously defined as 4 servings - now it's 3. More importantly, and considering that I am not alone when it comes to ice cream, pints will also require information for individuals who view this container as a single portion.

There are lots of changes taking effect. If you're not sure what's changed or what's required, Studio Spear can assist. And although enforcement of these guidelines may take some time to ramp up, there's no reason to delay. To learn more, simply give us a call: 866 787 8761 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email:

If you enjoy Tom Petty's music and wanted to know more about the people who came together to make it, this documentary is not to be missed.

As long as we're on the subject of Tom Petty, his latest release has him working with his band mates from Gainesville once again. While this is not the lineup of musicians that collaborate with Petty as the Heartbreakers, the music is every bit as enjoyable.

An impressive lineup that includes Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, Dave Grohl, Sir Paul McCartney and more, this is a fun romp through the rock and roll hits that made these artists famous.

Anything featuring k.d. Lang gets our attention. It's nowhere near the hard driving sounds of the other albums featured in this list, but it is well crafted and worth a listen.

We have yet to explore Trombone (Troy Andrews) Shorty's full catalog but, if it's anywhere near as energetic, lively and just plain fun as Backatown, we'll be very happy indeed.

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About Studio Spear
Studio Spear is a global branding agency specializing in consumer-oriented 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 

Bijou Violet
A bijou (French for "jewel") is a cocktail made with gin, vermouth, and chartreuse. The blackberries and St. Germain make this an entirely different, yet equally refreshing, affair. With holiday celebrations on the horizon, the Bijou Violet is a perfect welcoming drink.

3 blackberries
3 mint leaves
ice, to fill
1.25 oz. gin
.75 oz. St.-Germain
.5 oz. lemon juice
soda water, to fill
lemon zest, for garnish

Place the blackberries and mint in the bottom of a cocktail glass and muddle. Add ice, followed by the gin, St.-Germain, and lemon juice. Top with a splash of soda and stir. Garnish with a twist of lemon and serve.

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