07 Aug Branding Out: Why It’s Essential to Show Who You Are
We are, almost, fully in the clear from the dark cloud left by the cultural “boogie-monster” that was the recession. The economy is once again thriving, pocketbooks are being whipped out and if you listen closely you can hear the high-pitched sounds of angels’ singing “Hallelujah”—or perhaps that’s the newly, gainfully employed. It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur and it’s also a crucial time for businesses to showcase their personality and products. And what are these consumers drawn to? Unique branding. Let’s think about that word ‘Unique’. It brings to mind class, individuality and let’s face it, money. There’s always a shiver of terror down the spines of business owners when they think about re-branding themselves, or branding themselves for the first time. So many have learned a hard lesson from the recession: much can be lost very quickly. They might be thinking, What happens if I devote time and money in the beginning and I go belly up?! It’s a normal fear to have. However, where has any business gotten without facing its fears?
Not very far.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
Look at it this way–your brand really represents you, and who YOU are. Visual branding is your calling card–it’s your handshake. You wouldn’t stroll into an interview without a lot of primping and care into how you’re presenting yourself. And what’s the usual goal of a job interview? To set yourself apart—to stand out! The same concept goes for your visual branding agenda. If you are bland, or worse, if you are just like everyone else—blah–you’re not going to be standing out and you’re not going to raise your image for new and existing customers.
Take Tiffany and Company for example, the name is synonymous with small, pale-Belize colored boxes with dainty ribbons that hold precious cargo. For a company who’s been around for decades, Tiffany’s makes it a priority to reinvent itself each year. They are known for their commitment to ethical and environmental consciousness and instilling continuity, (with cherries on top). They know their branding is the key to staying in the consumer’s peripheral at all times. And as they are the leading jewelry seller in the nation, it’s safe to assume their strategy is working.Whether someone can purchase an item or not, they can always attach themselves (and fantasize) about the products through social media sites, especially Pinterest, which all utilize the classic font and colors that have become synonymous with Tiffany’s. And for a company with such a traditional history that stems from 1837, Tiffany and Co. is a leader in keeping their visual branding modern and welcoming to EVERYONE.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek
The modern consumer has a smorgasbord of epically detailed reviews and options at their fingertips. It’s no longer about ‘needing’ a product, but ‘wanting’ it (think Veruca Salt without the attitude). You must make them want what you are selling in order to get the business. And businesses today have a leg up, if they so choose to hike it—the visual brand you desire, and need, is there for the taking. The bridge that connects the consumer to the product is, and always will be, the image that’s projected. A company who skimps on brand development may feel they are playing it safe, but all they are doing is blowing an air-horn while yelling, “We lack confidence and we don’t know who we are in the marketplace!”
It’s not a good message and it definitely doesn’t make people eager to buy what you’re selling. They’ll avoid you like a medieval plague.
Creativity is Intelligence having Fun. –Albert Einstein
You may have the best product or service but a customer may only be seeing beige binding and bland copy without effective branding. Remember, the iPhone came out the same year as the recession hit. Bottom line: If a product is branded properly and in an engaging fashion, then the consumer will make the purchase. If they don’t like your image, they’ll gladly travel the extra few miles and pay a slightly higher price somewhere else.
Visual branding is all about individuality and making your mark in the cultural scheme of things. The economy is no longer in a desperate state of struggle; customers want to be a part of a fun environment that they can trust. And lack of creativity is the fastest way to push yourself off of the consumer’s radar. What’s the fastest way to get yourself ON their radar? Great visual branding.
Remember: You can never get back the revenue you could have made by investing in yourself, but by devoting time and finances to the process you can begin the creative ebb that will help you connect to your target audience. This can’t be done with a simple color scheme and kooky font. It takes effort, individuality and, yes, it might take some money.
However, the result is priceless.