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Sylvain Labs is an innovation and brand design consultancy.
By applying our imagination to complex business problems and opportunities, we develop brands and re-imagine products.
Our tools are science and whimsy.
We stimulate innovation by identifying salient opportunities, and developing the right ideas at the right time (we call it Optimus Time™).
We help companies find their true value, aligning their internal missions with external forces.
We apply our imagination to complex business problems and inspire greater efficiency and performance.
We help accelerate growth for startups and entrepreneurs by leveraging our experience with bigger, established clients.
We activate our creative instincts and opinions by developing and sharing content that gets us excited (housed on The Alchemist).
How can we deconstruct a driver’s journey to better understand and solve their needs?
While the cars of today are more technologically connected and advanced than ever before, they are simultaneously not meeting drivers expectations of what technology can deliver. But with technology cycles speeding up, and delivering on new and ever more complex needs, technology has the opportunity to deliver an experience for drivers that extends beyond just transportation
We conducted in-depth ethnographic research with drivers across the globe—United States, China, and Europe—both in-homes and in-vehicles. We explored their behaviors, their relationship with technology, and the intersection of the two to cut to the core of what drivers really need. With a solid foundation of several hundred provable needs, we built a platform to organize needs on both a regional and global scale. We then developed over one hundred product concepts to satisfy these needs, and helped identify the technology necessary to bring them to life.
What is the future of news and where does Bloomberg fit within it?
While Bloomberg is one of the largest media organizations in the world – their network of content spans the Bloomberg Terminal, Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg Businessweek, etc. – the future leaders of business weren’t turning to these traditional news sources. Bloomberg needed to connect in a meaningful way with the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Through a strategic needs-based analysis of the new entrepreneurial elite, we developed a broad range of disruptive news/information products and services. <br> The products were brought to life down to the level of wireframing, mock-ups, and information architecture. The new products and services cut to the heart of the evolving face of business and the evolving tool set required to serve it.
How do we prevent a billion dollar soft drink brand from going flat?
People love Sierra Mist but the brand didn’t own the cultural cachet that Sprite and 7up have cultivated for decades. When we dug into who was actually talking, posting, and tagging Sierra Mist online, we discovered people already loved the brand for its confidence, curiosity and unexpectedness - we just weren’t celebrating it yet.
In an effort to break the category convention of influencer endorsements, we lead the reinvention of the Sierra Mist brand, including target definition, brand strategy, product reformulation, brand identity, packaging design, and creative communication. In Fall 2014, Sierra Mist will launch it’s new self, by delivering an experience that is as multi-faceted as their target— from public art stunts and regenerative billboards to original film content and digital shorts. This project was done in conduction with two partner agencies, Vans General Store and Little Fury.
How can we transition from a local all-natural yogurt startup to a global all-natural food powerhouse?
At best, Chobani was known as an emerging greek yogurt brand and, at worst, Chobani wasn’t known at all. Their philosophy on food, that “people have great taste, they just need better options,” opened them up to become more, but they needed further guidance to do it right.
Over the course of two years, in partnership with the innovation group, we laid the groundwork for new ventures and product development at Chobani, including innovation and pipeline strategy, product development (Flip, Bite, Café, as well as far out new-to-the-world concepts etc.), line extensions, acquisitions, and brand strategy. The brand is now positioned to conduct innovation with greater ease.
How can Converse and the Chuck Taylor Allstar create a deeper emotional relationship with their main target audience, young, deeply creative Converse enthusiasts.
Converse was interested in finding a way to improve the design of their shoes and deliver on comfort while still delivering on the one thing “Chucks” have in spades— cool.
Through a series of different qualitative research methodologies, including focus groups and ethnographies, we gained a deep understanding of the target audience and their relationship with Chuck Taylors. By understanding the asymmetrical relationship between psychological comfort and physical comfort as it relates to “Chucks” and the idea of cool, we were able to develop a series of strategic recommendations to deepen Converse’s significance with young creatives, without losing any of it’s existing brand equity.
How can Chevrolet develop a strategic approach to sponsorship that can make the most of their newly inked deal with Manchester United?
Chevrolet is one of the oldest and most respected automakers in America, but in other regions of the world it is a relative unknown. In an effort to grow awareness on a global scale, Chevrolet signed a deal to become both the official automotive sponsor and “kit sponsor” of Manchester United, an organization with the largest reach of any single sports team. The only problem? Chevrolet didn’t know anything about soccer (football) culture—a culture where supporters are the beating heart of the clubs.
Through global insight development, competitive analysis and cultural exploration of football, we crafted a partnership strategy for Chevrolet and Manchester United that would ramp them up into football culture over the course of two years. The goal was not to be just another fair-weather sponsor, a simple transaction, but to demonstrate a deep love for the game and return the intimacy between the supporters and their team.
How can we make the number one beer in America more "number one-ier" in the on-premise nighttime occasion?
Bud Light was feeling pressure from spirits and premium imports during energetic nights out with friends. Twenty-somethings out looking for a good time were in search of a drink with more punch and prestige than the easy-drinking of Bud Light.
Through a year long collaboration with the innovation team at AB InBev, we conducted consumer research, defined the target audience, informed the product experience—the liquid, packaging, name— as well as the larger brand strategy for Bud Light Platinum. The result was one of the most successful beer launches of all time, and a slew of me-too products including Miller Fortune.
How do you create a brand and product portfolio that differentiates itself in the highly competitive premium headphone marketplace?
With access to music at an all-time high, consumers are graduating from the standard headphones that come with their mobile devices and buying more and more expensive headphones than ever before. Many of the more “premium” options available on the market today are still made with low quality materials and are tuned to a substandard level. With sound quality quickly growing in importance, there were no players bridging quality sound with quality design.
We helped build the brand and product strategy in partnership with the founder and partner agencies. Our goal was to seize a clear place in the market, identify the potential target, and build a product experience whose form and function served this market.
What happens to a teenager when everything they do, say, and publish online is met with unbridled love and adoration?
We realized in 2012, in large part thanks to Instagram, that there was a growing “middle class” of fame among the ranks of teenagers online. This realization raised tons of questions: Is this detrimental to healthy teenage development? What is happening to drive fame obsession? What are the motivations and desires among teens seeking this? How connected is this to identity and self perception? And what are these kids really like?
We set out to find one of these teens, and through luck and heavy stalking, we met Shawn Megira, a 15-year old from Long Island with over 80,000 Instagram followers. We interviewed him, along with his family and friends, and documented his everyday experience. We also interviewed experts on teen development and culture, such as a developmental psychologist from NYU, a social media influencer agent, and the managing editor of Us Weekly and In-Touch. The documentary was covered around the world including coverage by the (i.e. Washington Post, Vice, F. Arts Daily, etc.) and the #1 morning show in Australia.