Top 11 blog posts from 2011

5 social media guidelines for restaurants


Getting a bigger slice of the feedback pie [INFOGRAPHIC]


3 tips to establish a brand voice


Why Digital Marketing and Branding Go Hand-in-Hand


Sensory Branding Video

Table tent uses

In honor of National Beer Drinking Day…

Establish consistency with a brand handbook

Going green? Font matters

Wine Tasting- A sensory experience

Creative QR codes

19 Takeaways from “Brand your business like your favorite restaurant”

This past Wednesday, we partnered with the Arizona Technology Council to present a panel of branding experts to discuss building a brand experience like your favorite restaurant. Our panelists included Kate Unger, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Kahala, a franchising company (owners of Cold Stone Creamery and Blimpie brands, along with 12 others); Deborah Topcik, Director of Marketing for Z’Tejas, Inc. which owns and operates 11 restaurants in six markets; and John Banquil, Regional Manager for Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill. Below, we have have posted 19 takeaways to recap the event.

Cold Stone Creamery is launching with International Delight – ice cream flavored coffee creamer sounds amazing!

Take advantage of product placement opportunities like Cold Stone Creamery did with Ryan Seacrest. Ryan sent out this tweet: On the way to @kimkardashian’s wedding…traffic so bad on the 101 I had to stop at cold stone creamery…coffee lovers in my belly…I will quick change in the car…I always keep a suit in trunk!

“We’re comfortable with our food – we want to make sure our staff is doing the right thing for our brand every time” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill

On social media…

  • “Make it so people can see behind the curtain, give them sneak peeks to upcoming menu items.” – Deborah Topcik, Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill
  • “Social media doesn’t replace people. If a manager sees someone in 4 times in 2 weeks, do something for them! Don’t just rely on check-ins.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s
  • “Someone sits at the bar tweeting, we can respond right away and make them laugh – that’s a personal experience.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s
  • Talking to your staff about promoting via social media is a fine line – you never know what they’re going to say.

“Our Taco Time stores are individually branded towards their communities. It was difficult to do, but well worth it, and fit in with the original store.” – Kate Unger, Kahala

“The Ling and Louie brand is about relating everything back to Ling and Louie, including the servers we hire and the way we communicate.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s

“Make sure there is added value to discounts. Your discounts should not be telling the discount story.” – Deborah Topcik, Z’Tejas

“Always stay ahead.” Kate Unger, Kahala on frozen yogurt in Cold Stone Creamery.

“You have to make sure what you want to do as a corporation is what makes sense for franchises in their markets.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s

“When people feel informed, they feel better about decisions.” – Kate Unger, Kahala

“There is a holiday for everything, and it’s a fun way to establish your brand through marketing.” – Deborah Topcik, Z’Tejas

“We want to be out of the box, out of the ‘wok’ if you will.” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s

“Cold Stone Creamery started in Tempe, at an ice cream shop that made ice cream creations on a cold stone” – Kate Unger, Kahala

“Blimpies was the first sub shop in the country, that’s where the tagline ‘America’s sub shop’ comes from.” – Kate Unger, Kahala

“Lance Armstrong started Livestrong at Z’Tejas in Austin – the first location, we benefited from it, but it was all chance that the launch happened there!” – Deborah Topcik, Z’Tejas

“It’s all or nothing with discounts – we stick to ‘not boring holidays’ to go along with our brand” – John Banquil, Ling and Louie’s

Special thanks to the Arizona Technology Council for setting up this event!


Color Psychology: Purple

Purple is heavily associated with royalty, wealth, prosperity and sophistication. This is because the cost of purple dye was expensive, and only the very wealthy could afford to have purple clothing. Today, purple is seen as uplifting and calming to the mind and nerves.  At the same time, it offers a sense of spirituality and encourages creativity by expanding our awareness.

While viewing the color purple stimulates brain activity used in problem solving, too much of the color purple can promote or aggravate depression in some. It is one color that should be used extremely carefully and in small amounts by those who are vulnerable to these depressed states. Purple also supports the practice of meditation, promoting harmony of the mind and emotions, contributing to mental balance and stability.

Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red, and according to surveys, almost 75% of pre-adolescent children prefer purple to all other colors. For that reason, bright purple is a good choice when promoting childrens’ products. Using purple can also lend an air of mystery or magic. Light purple shades like lavender, can be viewed as feminine or romantic. Dark shades of purple can be considered a wealthy color.  Adolescent girls are most likely to select nearly all shades of purple as their favorite color.

Psychology of the color blue

“Blue is the only color which maintains its own character in all its tones… it will always stay blue; whereas yellow is blackened in its shades, and fades away when lightened; red when darkened becomes brown, and diluted with white is no longer red, but another color – pink.”  – Raoul Dufy, French Fauvist Painter, 1877-1953

Blue is associated with corporate America because so many large companies’ logos are integrated with blue. Intel, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and IBM all have blue in their logos. These companies may have chosen blue because it enhances communication with others and aids intuition. Blue is also the least gender specific color, appealing to men and women equally.

Use caution when incorporating blue into designs. Too much of the color can be cold or uncaring. Blue causes the body to produce chemicals that are calming and sedating, too much blue may cause too many chemicals to be released.

Blue around the world

  • In Mexico, blue is the color of mourning
  • Pablo Picasso’s “Blue Period” contributes to his transition from a classical to abstract artist
  • Blue symbolizes paradise in Iran
  • In China, blue is associated with wood, east, and spring

A Great Example of Re-Branding: Apple Inc.



At Miss Details Design, we are Apple fanatics. We use Mac computers, we lust over iPhones, and when the logo of iTunes changed, it was a topic of conversation in our office.  Since we weren’t all working together when Apple Computers Inc. rebranded to Apple Inc. in 1997 and changed the logo around the same time, we figured now would be a good time to look at the rebrand.

Removing the colors from the logo gave the company a clean, fresh look and also made the company appear more modern and sophisticated. When the company removed “Computer” from the name it removed the limit that the company only specialized in computers. It enabled Apple to develop new and innovative products in other areas, such as the iPad, iPhone, and iPod.

Apple has come a long way since 1997, becoming a leader in not only the personal computer market, but also creating a successful platform for mobile apps (with the App store) and music (with iTunes), breaking into the mobile phone market (iPhone), capturing market share in tablet computers (iPad), and making music portable (iPod).

Coke vs. Pepsi





The famous Coke vs. Pepsi taste wars were a great way to prove that a brand image can impact the taste of something.  Did you know when a blind taste test occurred (meaning the participant was not told which beverage Coke or which was Pepsi) the results were split? Just as many people favored Coke as favored Pepsi.  When the participants were told which product they were drinking, the results changed dramatically.  Coke was much preferred over Pepsi, with two-thirds of people favoring Coke, and only 1/3 favoring Pepsi.

What causes this gap?  It is due to the solid reputation Coke has cultivated over the course of 100 plus years, reinforced through advertising and marketing that portrays a happy, comforting, and positive message.  When a person knows they are drinking Coke, these marketing messages have insinuated themselves into the human nervous system so deeply, they actually influence a persons taste preferences!

Coke’s positive message is solidified by its appeal to the senses through marketing. The music they use in their commercials, like “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” the feel of the Coca-Cola bottle, and the emotion their marketing messages display, like the journey through a vending machine in the 2006 Super Bowl ad. Even the guerrilla marketing campaigns Coke engages in, as shown in this video.  These marketing messages have helped uphold the brand image of Coca-Cola. The beverage has benefited by maintaining a leading position in the soft-drink market through the sensory marketing materials used.

Which do you prefer- Coke or Pepsi?

Are your colors creating the right kind of experience?







We are surrounded by millions of colors everyday, and each one of them evokes an emotional response within us, whether conscious or subconscious (sometimes referred to as color psychology. ­Have you ever noticed that stepping into a room with blue walls makes you feel calmer? Or when surrounded by large amounts or red you feel aggressive or hungry? Both of these are examples of emotional responses to the colors around you.

Every color is related to an emotion or specific activity in the brain. For example, purple stimulates problem-solving brain activity, while yellow sparks creativity. So, in addition to the aesthetic components of visual compositions, colors actually inspire your emotions.  It is especially important to consider this when designing a business system, marketing materials, logo or environment for your customers or prospective clients. Using the wrong colors or wrong color combinations can be detrimental to your business. Clients may feel disconnected from your company if the color(s) used are neutral to the viewer or worse, off-putting.

Here’s a quick list of how each color makes people feel:

Black: authority, intelligence, evil, seriousness, seduction, mystery

Blue: (blue is the most universally liked color) calm, trust, dependable, mature, cool/cold

White: pure, clean, (in some Eastern countries white is the color of mourning)

Gray: practical, solid, old, depressed

Red: attention getter, energy, love, aggression, hunger

Pink: (pink is the most calming of all colors), sweet, soft, safe, love

Green: growth, youth, learning, money, calming, envy, luck, fertility, generosity, peace

Purple: royal, fake/artificial, mystery, wisdom, dignity

Yellow: happiness, creativity, optimism, (too much can cause aggression)

Orange: energy, warmth, ambition, new dawn

Brown: reliability, stability, natural

Want more info? This is the first in a series of color focused blog posts from Miss Details Design.

Can you smell that?





Can you imagine a life with anosmia?

Probably not, because you have no idea what anosmia is, and if you do – we’re impressed.  For those of you that don’t know, it means you can’t smell. Think for a moment what it would be like to lose this sense.  No aroma of freshly baked cookies, cut grass, or roses; no detection of sour milk, a gas leak, or smoke from a fire.  Our sense of smell is important to our other senses of as well.  When we have a cold or stuffy nose, we lose up to 80% of our sense of taste.

It’s clear that our sense of smell is useful, but how does it relate to business?  Using smell in branding can really help a brand stand out.  The sense of smell is most closely linked to our memory – probably because it influences 75% of our daily emotions. Think about an up-scale open house. The sense-savvy realtor may have put cookies in the oven just before the showing was about to start.  The scent of freshly baked cookies probably evoked a positive memory in every person walking through the house, whether they noticed it or not.  Those potential buyers may not remember the realtor’s name or what the neighborhood was called, but they will remember how walking into that house made them feel, and that feeling will stay with them long after they leave the house.

So, what does your brand smell like?  Some are easy, Starbucks smells like coffee and Crayola crayons have a distinct smell; but some are more difficult.  What is the scent of a landscaping company?  It doesn’t have to be as cut and dry as an actual smell, a brand’s scent can be more abstract.  It might be a feeling of relief that comes from freshly cut grass – something that has a scent.  You can use this aspect of your sense profile to develop marketing collateral and find imagery, colors, and other designed aspects that are consistent with your brand.

Still skeptical?  Think of a baby, it has a very distinct “baby” smell.  Now answer this: does Johnson and Johnson smell like a baby, or does the baby smell like Johnson and Johnson?  Talk about being sensitized!

What is sensory design?






You may have heard us talking about it, seen it on our website, or read it on our blog or newsletter- but what is sensory design? We’ve defined it as “the strategic process of creating designs; where the brand experience triggers one or more senses, evoking an intuitive response.” This definition has a lot of words, so let’s break it down and explore how the process can benefit you.

Part 1: “The strategic process of creating designs”

We look at the designs we create as more than just a pretty picture (or pretty pixels, if you will). We dig deep into a brand’s story, essence, and components before the actual designing begins. Our clients fill out questionnaires and surveys about their brand, and we use this information to create our client’s new brand identity.

Part 2: “to engage the user in a multi-level, dynamic, tailored encounter”

Engaging the user is the primary goal for all of our designs. Consumers are surrounded by brands that struggle to stand out. When they connect with a brand in a unique way, a memory is created that lives on. Imagine a design that evokes the memory of visiting your family cottage every summer as a child.  That is the sort of unique and tailored experience that we strive to create.

Part 3: “where the brand experience triggers one or more senses, evoking an intuitive response”

This part is hard to articulate, so we’ll set the scene for you. Imagine it’s early in the morning, and you hear a grinding noise.  While probably not the sound you were hoping for, it is still welcome.  Shortly after the grinding stops, the scent of coffee hangs in the air, and you begin to wake. Your desire for a caffeinated beverage overwhelms your sleepiness.  Now imagine you remembered this entire experience, and experienced the same feelings, just because you saw the logo of say… Starbucks.  That’s sensory design, and that is how we try to imagine the brands of our clients.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our new philosophy, and answer any questions you may have!  Please leave comments below, or contact us!