In a fast-paced, tech-driven world with its foot glued to the gas pedal, it’s no accident that a lot of organizations are bucking the trend by shifting their marketing into reverse. That is, they’re intentionally connecting their brands with perceptions of an earlier time, back when things were (presumably) less complicated. Nowhere is this more readily apparent than in the field of design, where a brand’s visual assets can be made to appear as though they’re straight out of a glorious bygone era.
Nearly every major company has embraced custom content as a means to build brand awareness and form relationships with customers. According to the Custom Content Council, 78 percent of Chief Marketing Officers think custom content is the future of marketing, and the majority believe it’s more effective than traditional advertising, direct mail or public relations.
When businesses hire external creative professionals, both parties head into the new project with high hopes to develop a harmonious, collaborative relationship that turns out award-worthy results. But the unfortunate truth is, it doesn’t always work out. Lack of communication or creative compatibility has caused many a promising project to whither on the vine. Certainly, it’s a two-way street, and both parties are responsible for pulling their weight along an agreed-upon path. With that said, here are five things client companies can do to put their creative partners in a better position to succeed:
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”
“How can I create something that critics will criticize?”
“Seven layers make for a great dip and a hideous approval process.”
Here’s a quick branding pop quiz. In the list below, which companies come to mind when I mention only their industry and their prominent brand colors?
- Orange home improvement store
- Brown shipping company
- Red cola
- Pink cell phone service provider
- Green coffee shop
I don’t even have to post the answers upside down at the bottom of the page – you already know them. That’s how powerful colors can be in developing and maintaining a recognizable brand.
In Nextwave’s experience with Fortune 500 companies (first as internal brand managers and now as a creative agency), color is always a hot topic in design meetings. If applied intelligently, color can be an incredibly influential aspect of
It used to be that high-quality creative work didn’t come easy, or cheap.
To design an impressive brochure, build an engaging web site, or produce a dazzling video, you had to go to a professional with specialized expertise and powerful (and expensive) tools for the job. That’s not the case anymore. The last decade’s technology explosion has essentially automated much of the “creative” process, providing even the most untrained and unimaginative left-brainers with simple shortcuts to pretty respectable results.
Not convinced? Consider the evolution of the camera. Thirty years ago, to get photos that weren’t too dark, grainy or out of focus, you needed to hire a pro with a case full of gear and intricate knowledge of lenses and light. But today a $100 digital camera or smartphone (loaded with sophisticated technology but simple to use) can take beautiful pictures with one click. Throw in some free image editing software, and you’re Annie Leibovitz. The same goes for taking and producing slick videos with inexpensive, HD camcorders.
The most successful companies in the world don’t get that way by being flighty. They do it by perfecting a system that works really well, and then duplicating that set of activities with great consistency to get the same results on a larger and larger scale. By strictly adhering to and continuing to refine these repeatable processes, they outpace the competition and come to dominate their industries.
What comes to mind when you think of branding? You might envision a famous logo, a memorable ad campaign with a charismatic spokesperson, or maybe even the company’s reputation for quality products at a fair price. These are all things that create the public’s perception of a company in the outside world. But the thing is, a brand is every bit as important inside the company.