Smells like branding to me.

Yes, you can own a scent.

Anybody who’s ever walked into an Abercrombie and Fitch knows what I’m talking about. They have a proprietary scent that is probably as recognizable as their logo. Years ago, we were looking at a Darling Homes model home near Houston. That home smelled SO good and SO homey that when we contracted to build, I inquired about it. Turns out, that scent was developed specifically for them. They owned a scent.

I like restaurants that smell good.

Because I work primarily in the restaurant branding business and I’m also a consumer, I’m keenly aware of how important the smell of a restaurant is.  Scent is an important part of the customer experience and it works best when it is integrated with the overall branding. Tip for newbies – yes, your restaurant should be clean but it should not smell like cleaning supplies.

Last spring, we were awarded work for the international yogurt franchise, Yogurtland. During the project, we researched scent systems and discovered ScentAir who has been in the business for more than 20 years and has offices on three continents. They work with hotels & resorts, retailers, restaurants, offices, and casinos to name a few.

Our journey to find the perfect scent for the yogurt brand began with a discussion about what emotional connection we wanted to make with customers. The obvious answer is sugar – the ultimate dopamine-delivering scent of something sweet. Since froyo doesn’t really have a specific scent, we selected from samples of baked goods scents like those with vanilla and brown sugar. The scent is delivered via a small unit that plugs in and operates via an app where you can control the frequency and intensity.

I can think of so many brands that I could identify by scent alone – Auntie Anne’s, Starbucks, Subway, Nestle Toll House Cafe, Cinnabon, Burger King, Jimmy John’s (the “Free Smells” neon is genius).

What if packing peanuts smelled like peanuts?!*

If you think your ONLINE brand can’t take advantage – think again. Brands are using scents in their packing materials! Amazon – listen up – there’s opportunity here -ask me about scented ink!

*Would you have to include an allergen warning I wonder…

MJ Moreau – Package Design Nerd

You want me to talk about packaging?!

I’ve been a package design nerd for my entire career so when I was invited to speak about packaging at a GCIA (Global Culinary Innovators Association) event in San Diego, CA, I was in!

I was asked to participate on a panel as a packaging expert to talk to a group of international corporate chefs about sustainable restaurant packaging. Think paper cups, take out containers, pizza boxes, etc. At the time, Studio B was knee-deep into a 16-piece fast casual restaurant packaging project for plant-based fast food brand Earth Burger, so this was perfect timing. I shared the stage with Dan Nolan of Good Start (Sustainable) Packaging  and Rick Findlay – a grocery packaging pro with awesome Whole Foods stories.

Sustainable packaging

I wish I could say that sustainable packaging is an option for every brand. It’s just not, yet. The demand, however, is encouraging the industry to look for more earth friendly solutions – on the daily.

Expert status equals time in the game.

Working with restaurant and retail brands always involves some form of package design. Whether it’s a take out bag or a full-blown pallet display full of swim goggles for Costco, the package can be the primary brand vehicle. Studio B designs roughly 50 retail or restaurant package items a year. We have great vendors for short and long print runs and we manage the process from design and function to final printed product.

Is your package design shelf-ready?

If you need design for a new product or an update to your existing products, we’d love to take a look! If you’re on the fence, DM Deric Cahill of Wicked Bold Chocolate who calls me a packaging genius. He can attest to the value of a great package. We (and Perry Fink) helped him get from the farmers market to the end caps at Whole Foods with more deals in the works.

Shout out to Jeff Sinelli for recommending me and Kevin Ryan, ICCA/GCIA for letting me participate in this awesome event.

Weed, Sandbox and Branding in the METAVERSE

Three white House of Grass weed hats sitting in a row on a blue abstract background.

Weed. The newest thing in lifestyle branding

Despite its reputation, marijuana is a legit segment loaded with brands selling the benefits and lifestyle. From cute, innocent little gummies that help you sleep, to uber cool street wear by Cookies, big brands are getting in on the growing consumer base which, by the way, includes senior citizens says the New York Times . Not only is it big business on this planet but the metaverse could be the new frontier. Read what FastCompany has to say about pioneers like Snoop, Vans, Gucci & Nike.

Studio B is in the business of branding. In this case, the brand is House of Grass– a dope hat company–that opened an online store during the week of 4/20. Aimed at weed enthusiasts, golfers, skaters, hat-wearing fashionistas, the “House” launched with 4 hat styles and 4 designs–all crisp, all white. It’s an apparel brand with distinctive decorations and a convenient little tag that can hold your golf tee or a blunt. The brand is at ground zero for marketing but they’re open to the future.

Branding in other worlds

Let me paint a picture for you. You build your website and activate your social and maybe you even have an actual brick and mortar store in THIS world. But what about brand building in the other worlds? What? Crazy? Stupid? Well, hellllloooo, the concept of the future is suppose to sound crazy – that’s how it works. According to the brand team at House of Grass, they’re working on a pop up shop inside Sandbox right now. “It’s more about learning how it works and getting comfortable there than actual sales. BUT, we have seen how an online experience results in a physical delivery of goods, so, we won’t rule out sales!”

Open a store in the metaverse!

Enter Tyler, Anel, and Jerry – real estate agents offering space for lease in Tron Tower – inside Sandbox. It’s a few blocks from Snoop Dogg’s district – just past the Chipotle – wait that’s Roblox – I’m getting my metaverses confused. Tron Tower offers space in their futuristic multi-story building where you can office, open a storefront, exhibit art, or just have a bachelor/ette pad when you need to get away from it all…Ahhh.

Curious? Chill out and click some links:

weed and golf

weed and fashion

chipotle inthemetaverse

Check out this HubSpot blog post that features terms you need to know and early metaverse opportunities for brands.

Snoop Dogg’s NFT collection

Fast Company’s take on the topic


Studio B develops brands anywhere people shop. Get a dope hat here .

Girl walking next to Black and White illusion wall in Deep Ellum in Dallas, TX. Wearing a blue shirt, jeans and house of Grass Fuzzy Buddy Hat.