Somewhere in the shadows of the business world, marketing mad scientists find themselves hunkered down in laboratories, conducting bizarre outreach experiments. They study how certain words influence consumers’ purchasing decisions; how particular colors impact customer emotions, and how specific images build buyers’ trust.
That must be the case. How else would we come up with discoveries like: blue suits traditionally outsell brown suits; and it generally takes five to seven advertisement impressions before a person invests in a product or service.
Are we consumers that predictable, like so many mice in a cage? Or, are there really logical formulas behind getting into the head of the client? Cue evil laugh and lightening strike.
Well, it’s probably a little bit of both. After all, we’ve been conditioned over time to respond a certain way to promotional text and visuals (i.e. the color red evokes a sense of excitement while blue makes us feel calm).
No doubt, human psychology plays a big role in marketing. Customers know what they like; what speaks to them. They can relate to their own language best – pure and simple. Too often, businesses muddle down their brand and message with technical jargon that means nothing to the client.
To see more sales, you must mold your business’s identity after your clients’ comprehensibility. In other words, give them something they can understand. So, let’s get to work.
Enter the musky, dank basement that is THE MARKETING LAB. It’s filled with machines, spewing electricity into the air. On a table in the corner, test tubes bubble over with green and blue mystery liquid. Overhead, a rusty ceiling fan stirs wafts of smoke about the room.
Today, consider yourself the proud owner of all of this stuff. Right here, right now, your business officially becomes a living being – one that you will build from head to toe. You have access to every mechanical wonder in this room. Just remember one thing: Your creation will serve as a mate for the customer.
Yes, you’ll need to include features that the target consumer finds attractive. This equates to business look, personality, knowledge, character, etc. The goal is to build a being that fits in with the customer’s lifestyle… someone that they consider, “My kind of person (business).”
There’s comfort in familiarity. That’s the point of marketing – to deliver a message that people know, understand and want to see more of.
Your creation (business identity/brand and message) should:
- AGAIN, be easy to understand. All too often, businesses use “complex” terms to convey a simple message. There is a misconception that wordiness makes a company sound smart, qualified. The real expertise comes in using “simple” terms to convey a complex message. It doesn’t matter how technical the verbiage if the consumer can’t comprehend. The “stickiness” of a message doesn’t come from its words, but rather the uniqueness of its meaning – the ability for clients to say, “Now that’s something I won’t forget.”
- Reflect the personality of your clients. It’s so important to brand in the image of your audience. That means creating a message and look that mirrors the consumer’s likes/style/mindset. If you’re selling clothes to a young, hip crowd, your corporate identity better be cutting edge. If you’re selling analytical services to pharma corporations, your look and message should seem scientific, analytical and measured.
- Stand out. This one, seemingly-obvious rule goes overlooked quite a bit. A company’s brand and message should ALWAYS aim to draw the attention of its target audience. Just as important, it should convey: “This business is different than others in their industry, and this is why…”
In so many cases, businesses look to their competition’s branding methods – then repeat them. The idea is “well, it’s working for them…” Ironically, that’s the exact reason your look/message should be different. The competition has already filled that niche. There’s already brand loyalty established with the competition’s customers. Your goal should not be to clone that look/message. Your chances of drawing a competition’s clientele with the same approach are slim. More likely, they’ll look at your business as a generic spinoff – devaluing your offerings.
It’s vital for your business’s brand to convey uniqueness and individuality. People notice new – we’re programmed to do so.
- Be timeless. We live in a very trendy era. New styles and power phrases come along every few months. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of a “fresh look” or “latest saying.” But like fashion (and technology), the shelf life of the latest trends seems rather short these days. While you’re marketing approach should be on the cusp and ahead of the game, your business identity/brand should convey a timeless quality. In other words, look modern no matter the era.
After all, this is your company’s tattoo. Many folks will see it, hopefully for a long time to come. Don’t date yourself three years down the road by selecting the stone-washed jean jacket of brands today. You want something that is aesthetically/communicatively grounded, memorable and familiar.