Seconds to Seduce You: Brand Disruption


The corner of 35th and Fashion Avenue is one of the busiest in New York City. Hundreds of thousands of people make their way across the intersection daily, bombarded with stimuli—advertisements on every surface, streetlights, honking taxis, traffic cops in neon safety vests and that ever-present New York City smell.

Almost every day, I walk from Penn Station to my office on 35th in the bustling heart of Mid-town Manhattan. After a 25-year career in package design, I see what most can’t: this intersection is not unlike the experience at any grocery store or drug store. With thousands of SKUs and brands to choose from, consumers encounter innumerable stimuli every time they shop. When shopping in a crowded retail environment, consumers have five seconds, on average, to make decisions.


So, in a landscape as busy and competitive as New York City, with only seconds to seduce you, how can your brand disrupt? My firm The Goldstein Group developed a proprietary way of deconstructing a brand to its component parts—colors, shapes, symbols and words—then rebuilding them to shine on shelf and online. We call it the Shelf Sight Sequence™ and it’s the guiding force behind intelligent brand design.



Successful disruptors know that a visually appealing package is tantamount when shaking up a consumer category. When Eric Ryan, the entrepreneur behind the wildly successful brand Method, looked at the vitamin aisle at his local Target, he saw a dull jumble of bottles. Not one was making an impact and what’s more is that consumers were often confused as to which supplements to take—key insights he took into his next venture, Olly Vitamins.


The global dietary and supplements market was valued at $124.8 Billion in 2018. But despite being one of the highest-selling categories in drug stores, there was very little innovation. That is, until Ryan introduced Olly in 2014. Within one year the brand was breaking even, within three years the company was bringing in $80 million in sales.


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