WordSmiths - The Smith Brothers Agency Blog


Living on the edge in a CPG world.

Last week we launched our blog series exploring America’s favorite breakfast food – “UnbelievaBOWL: The Current State of Cereal – Part One”. Today, we’re back on a #TryItTuesday ready to grab our spoons, dig in a little deeper and see how different cereal brands compared according to the team at Smith Brothers.


We’ve all heard it.

At the end of every cereal commercial from the time we were kids until today – the reminder that the bowl in front of you is “part of a complete, balanced breakfast.”

But with 15% of American’s skipping breakfast entirely, according to a National Center for Health Statistics survey, how important is breakfast anymore? And more specifically – how important is cereal?

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes a an emerging network of Internet-connected machines with sensors. Powered by scalable cloud-computing services, these devices are providing us with detailed data that we previously couldn’t have conveniently quantified.

You most likely have one in your pocket. Stuffed with sensors like GPS, altimeters, gyroscopes and wifi, your smartphone is capable of learning all kinds of things about you in an effort to provide you with custom suggestions, or track and quantify your activities.

Google Maps, for example, can use your GPS to guess your common home and work locations and start giving you traffic updates. Similarly, Siri will give you recommendations near your location if you ask for restaurant “near me.”

But some of the biggest benefits of the IoT will be on the business side. With the IoT, Big Data is only going to get bigger, and the potential touchpoints and specificity of the messages for each consumer will be honed and sharpened.

Take Amazon Dash Button, a small wifi-enabled device that lets you reorder things like laundry detergent at the push of a button. Several brands have partnered with Amazon to have these buttons reorder their specific products.


Amazon also offers an order subscription service that I, for one, avoid since I’m not quite sure when I’ll run out of something. With one of these buttons, Amazon could begin to learn the frequency at which I run out of detergent. One day, I may log into Amazon to see this message:

“We’ve noticed that you reorder Tide Detergent approximately once every 45 days. Would you like to set up a ‘Subscribe-and-Save’ reorder frequency for that time?”

This kind of customization is already happening, and most importantly, consumers are going to start expecting it more and more. At the same time, we’re getting more devices and more data to tell us what consumers are doing and what message will most likely resonate with them.

With devices like the Apple Watch, it’s going to be even easier to communicate with the consumer at exactly the right time.


Imagine if that subscription message came as a notification on my Apple Watch via the Amazon app, right at 8:15 PM when it determined from my GPS that I have probably been home from work long enough to get comfortable and have dinner. I might be more open to checking out their offer then.

The possibilities will be beyond even this simple example. Everyday devices are becoming “smart,” so that they can add convenience and value through contextual operation. Smart thermostats will learn when we’re home and turn down for rest of the day. Smart refrigerators will notify us when we’re out of almond milk. Smart vehicles will start up as we approach.

As more devices collect data on the way we do things, the more opportunities there are for consumers to opt-in for highly customized interactions with their favorite brands. And brands will have the opportunity—and responsibility—to provide their loyal consumers with timely communication and services that enrich and personalize their experience.


A Beer With: Kristen Herrmann


When Come Ready Nutrition picked Smith Brothers to design the packaging for their new line of nutrition bars, we knew it would be a challenge. After all, no category has exploded more quickly over the past few years—and your average store is packed with a mind-boggling variety of them.

Here at Smith Brothers, we look forward to any opportunity to take a snack break – and, to try something new in the ever-changing world of food marketing. So the stars aligned perfectly for this week’s edition of Try It Tuesday – where we sampled several interesting varieties of better-for-you tortilla chips, in honor of Cinco de Mayo!



The 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon is taking place this weekend; to make sure all of the runners at Smith Brothers were prepared the SBA Wellness Team scheduled a Lunch and Learn about running. We asked Brad Henderson, President of the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, avid marathon runner and triathlete, and neighbor to discuss some tips for preparation and recovery.

In the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to work on 4 full website redesign & development projects at Smith Brothers Agency. My greatest takeaway from each project has been the process we used as a team to get the site from strategy to launch – and oddly enough, not one project has used the same creative process twice. In my opinion, this inconsistency in process has helped our creative team to consistently make outstanding work.

See what I did? I made a mistake in the headline of this post. And I did it on purpose.

Publishing an error on a client’s social media platforms is a terrifying proposition – a deep-seated fear that lives in the minds of almost every social media manager. From an obvious typo, to accidentally posting something meant for a personal account, the possibilities of screwing up are endless. And, it’s pretty easy to do.