Guerilla marketing, the tactic of pulling stunts to get attention for your brand, is a prime way to stand out from the crowded marketplace. Sometimes it even saves money compared to traditional advertising. Barter, trade, or donate, and allow your audience to participate in your fun.
There are five excellent specimens of guerilla marketing campaigns for inspiration highlighted on Smarta. IKEA places thousands of picnic blankets and baskets in Central Park (as well as furnishings all over New York City) to remind people of the way design makes life better. Half.com gets a town to rename itself after the brand for a year, provides booty for residents. T-Mobile starts a disco in London’s Liverpool Street Station and airs it on a TV commercial.
What can your brand do? Think about your mission and your audience. What would they respond to? Are you trying to stamp out carbon footprints? What are some stunts that could help your cause? Think giant feet in the town square, hot air balloons, or stickers on everyone’s meter boxes. Think big, and don’t censor yourself until you get to logistics and costs. Let the ideas fly first – you never know. I mean, who would have thought that a town would agree to rename itself after a dot com?
Branding is entering some new territory these days. Maybe not entirely uncharted, but sketchy and undermapped. We’re at the point in history where we are designing logos for concepts instead of organizations, and I’m intrigued to see where it goes.
On Fast Company’s design site, science and technology writer John Pavlus explores the international collaborative effort to design a logo for human rights. He writes that the concept isn’t well enough articulated to elicit a strong logo, and he may be right. But there are some pretty well articulated organizations getting involved, including judging by the UN itself, and the contest on humanrightslogo.net is using an increasingly popular crowdsourcing strategy to gather designs that might be able to pinpoint the issue. (See examples of logo entries below and in more detail on Mashable.)
It could happen. The Human Rights Campaign for LGBT equality gained traction with their yellow equal sign on a dark blue background, and I still see the stickers on cars everywhere. As Pavlus mentions, the recycling symbol is another good example of a concept logo, and is devoid of intellectual property or copyright issues. He riffs that recycling is a concrete concept as opposed to the rather diffuse idea of human rights, and there may be a point there. The HRC defined a group of people as the target. Another equality campaign, the Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA Yes” green and white logo), is pushing for a particular piece of legislation, both concepts a little easier to wrap one’s head around than a nebulous idea of human rights.
Is there an agreed-upon definition of what constitutes human rights as far as the humanrightslogo.net folks are concerned? Maybe not, but there are probably a few basic tenets we can all support. And since the UN is part of the package, there are no doubt many high minds working on a definition.
Regardless, the whole idea behind the logo, as well as its rather impressive list of participants, may be enough to draw attention to an issue, which is sometimes an important end-goal in itself.
On a less lofty but still important issue, the new USDA food plate sans pyramid demonstrates mass recognition of the idea that easier to digest (pun intended) concepts with quick visual cues are just better for developed countries’ lifestyles at this juncture. These representations raise the point that our society is becoming more visual and more attention-deficient due to constant information saturation, and reminds us that easy visual cues like logos still have weight in branding.
Something an individual can virtually hold in his or her hand allows for easier brand digestion, and color and design often do have more impact than words. So much the better if the concept they represent contributes to humanity in some fashion. Design might just save the world after all.
In a fascinating article entitled “Does Your Brand Have a Lame Personality?” on Talent Zoo, Tommy Walker starts out seemingly contradicting some of the basic tenets of branding that I have posted here on Royal Pain. Shocked and dismayed, I read the article voraciously, trying to discern if there was some new idea in branding that I hadn’t seen coming. Has the UVP (Unique Value Proposition) been replaced with a multifaceted personality that works with different audiences in different ways? Maybe. But by the end of the article, I breathed a sigh of relief, for my foundation had not been rattled. Emboldened definitely, but not shaken.
I am intrigued by the concept Walker raised of being a “living, breathing” brand, just as a person has many aspects to his or her personality. He asks, “[D]o all of your friends like you for the same reason?” It is worth pondering how the many faces of Eve can happily coexist in a brand that still manages to define itself. And finding the answer to this puzzle as well as why those friends do actually like you is where the 007 bit comes in.
But before we get to that: the UVP. I’m not quite ready to do away with it. I still think that you should choose a genre and customer personality that best fits you and commit to something, because the worst kind of person is the chameleon who puts on a different show with everyone he meets.
However, if you take Walker’s meaning as a nod to the way we present ourselves a little differently at home than at work, or the way we might love to attend the indie crafts market and show off our tattoos, but we also have a hard-driving business side that feels equally comfortable in a good suit… Read the rest of this entry »
In a stellar article on branding from Talent Zoo, Andrew Davis writes about what he believes are the two key points in branding: Singularity and consistency. As the article discusses the importance of simplicity, I love that he pares branding down to these two words. He writes, “Singularity means that you keep your brand narrowly focused and constructed around one central idea or theme. Consistency means that you keep this focus unchanged.” This premise makes total sense, and is one that is often ignored or not understood by many companies.
If you’re trying to make a name for yourself as an entrepreneur or small business, or you’re a big brand trying to capture more of the market, the game is the same: KISS – Keep It Simple, Sweetheart. (We southerners prefer the nicer version.) Customers need to be able to associate you with something specific – that’s what a brand is. You should be able to tell your story in seconds, if necessary.
“Keeping the brand narrowly focused ensures simplicity,” according to Davis. “And, simplicity means you can begin to ‘own’ a term in the mind of consumers. It’s this term that consumers use to define your brand.” This term is also what you would buy up in Google Adwords. It not only gives your customers something to grab onto when you have a long-term focus, but it helps you design a marketing plan and narrow your target audience.
And keeping “the focus unchanged” does not mean you can’t expand your offering or grow your market or take on new ventures. It means you need to know what you stand for and help customers stay loyal to you by continuing to stand for it. There’s enough whiplash change out there for all of us to wallow in. Offer a safe haven (or a fun one, or a seriously twisted one…) for your customers, and be truly singular in a market filled with underachievers.