Happy Easter my dear friends! Whether you are celebrating a Holiday or not, I wish a happy and relaxing day, filled with love and sunshine.
Branding can seem like such an elusive concept in the eyes of somebody looking to break apart from the crowd and trail blaze its unique voice and products into the world.
And the truth is that branding has changed and evolved so much throughout the course of years that it is even harder to pin point what exactly it is composed of, and how can one know if one branding solution will make this company successful versus the other branding solution.
I can totally see why the skepticism and why – to some – branding might seems like a weird, hooey, intangible, kind of thing that is not based on true science or anything of substance.
Almost two decades ago, when I was just starting out as a designer, I was very confused by this whole “branding” idea. I didn’t understand it and I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. It seemed something reserved for designers or creative directors from another spheres that seemed to have some crystal ball that was making them craft these unbelievable concepts, visions and strategies, which not only yielded huge leaps in the income of the companies they were designed for, but also brought prizes and trophies to the said designers.
As I started accumulating more skills, that’s pretty much when my curious mind started wondering what is their secret and how can I become one of those amazing branding wizards.
After years of working with a vast mass of brands and clients and also being part of teams from very various fields and backgrounds, I started realizing and observing what made some companies more successful than others and what solutions usually make or break good brands.
And that secret is: great attention to details.
Every successful brand that I know has a very carefully crafted image that is polished and perfected to the smallest detail.
Nothing is left to chance in a good branding. And that is exactly what makes a brand feel premium versus the more “run of the mill” ones.
The choice of icons on their website, each phrase of their written content, the pictures displayed on social media and their website, the type of social media posts, the look of their pens and stationary, the packaging of their products up to the very label they use for shipping, the quality and the message of the videos displaying their products or services, how well optimized their mobile app is… And I could go on for hours. All these details matter!
Also, every successful brand makes their customers feel special and important. The way they present themselves and talk to each potential buyer or existing customer feels very personal and exclusive to them. The way to do that is by never using elements that were pre-made or are used by other people.
Every single detail – from the biggest to the smallest – is part of a brand’s story and part of the experience being created for the people who will buy from that company, the people who will become fans of that brand, the people who will, indirectly, invest their money and time in that business.
So to recap: the way to make an experience memorable for somebody is to make it feel personal and tailored specifically to them. That is being done by great attention to details. Putting effort into making everything custom (including not relying on pre-made elements that are being used by a million other people), is what makes a branding identity feel premium.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. Please subscribe to my newsletter if you would like to learn new tips and tricks before anyone else and be up to date with all the projects cooking in the Klangwelt studio.
For the longest time now, luxury brands seemed like the most coveted yet unreachable thing to possess or experience. For the longest time I feel like luxury brands made this fatal mistake to make themselves look too unattainable. And while the affordability factor still speaks to a select few, the rise of social networks and the web in general made luxury brands more visible than ever.
Customers nowadays don’t just crave, but demand, that you show them the insides of your brand.
Thanks to social networks based on images or videos, like Instagram or Snapchat, we can now get a sneak peek of the design process of an exclusive haute couture dress being sewed, or a bold statement necklace composed of hundreds of diamonds. We can also view into the lives of the people who decide to invest into these items and others more, and we can feel closer than ever to that lifestyle.
So how does a luxury brand convey the air of mystery and exclusivity, while remaining current with the times and presenting themselves from a fresh perspective to new waves of customers and demographics?
Let me explain…
In the past few years the talk in design circles has been all about “human-centric” and “user experience”. What does that mean to a normal person? It means that you put your best efforts forward in order for your customers and fans to have a great experience and feel good whenever they get in touch with you, your product and – overall – your brand.
A few ways, in my opinion, in which a premium brand can humanize their user (or customer) experience and branding are these:
1. Pay attention to what your customers are saying and what they like the most
Whenever a person feels heard and understood, he/she feels valued.
And a premium brand is all about value. You are offering an experience so amazing, that price becomes a non-issue for the person looking to attain that experience (whether through a product or a service).
Negative feedback should not be ignored either, as you can learn from it or just prove that what you are doing is great.
2. Interact with your customers or potential customers
This speaks, again, to making them feel valued and important. If that means hiring an extra person to take care of customer service, so be it.
Another great way to interact with your customers is by sharing user generated content whenever possible (and when it aligns with your brand’s guidelines and visual style).
3. Dedicate a large focus to digital
Nowadays everything becomes more and more digital, so in order to future proof your brand, it’s a must that you take your digital efforts seriously. That means constant attention to quality content that gets put out in the world with your name on it. And yes, consistency.
4. Don’t neglect the person on the fringes of your target audience
Just because someone might not be able to afford to experience your brand right now, it doesn’t mean they won’t be able to do so a few years down the road, or even a few months from now on.
A huge part of a solid premium branding is inspiring potential customers to raise their standards or their quality of life in order to be able to experience some of the more finer things in life, whether that is simply just more free time or their own private jet.
Even better: give them a cause or something meaningful to aspire to.
5. Connect with people on an emotional level
The most effective branding identities and advertising campaigns are all centered around emotion. The stronger and deeper, the better. So think about what exactly moved you deeply and made you want to create your brand or product to begin with. Create a wonderful story around it. Which leads me to…
6. Tell stories. And feel real.
People love stories. If you have a great story about you or your brand, don’t be afraid to tell it every time you get the chance. You can make it very professional, but maintain a trace of authenticity because people love everything that feels real and they can connect with or relate to.
7. Don’t be afraid to rock the boat and shake things up
Life is all about flow and adaptability. Sometimes is better to shake things up than to be stuck and paralyzed by fear or inaction.
One of the things characterizing the world today is the fast consumption of information and short attention span. Therefore, you need to reinvent your brand on a constant basis if you want to avoid being perceived as “stale” and deprecated.
These are my first 7 action steps to humanize your luxury brand. Do you know one that I missed? Let me now, I always love great conversations!
Is your business or your profession one that changes people’s lives?
At first glance, you might be inclined to say: “Well… no?” But let’s look a little closer!
No matter if you are a small independent fashion brand, a big couture house, a skillful performer, a top cosmeceutical product, a starting beauty blogger or a luxury spa chain with offices sprinkled all over the globe, your end goal is to reach and touch people’s lives. To give them an experience that feels transformative.
What you do every day has an impact on your customers and since you put so much effort into creating unforgettable experiences for them, experiences that will make them want to come back to you again and again, why not treat having a great online experience with the same importance?
In today’s digital economy, don’t make it hard for people to find you online!
Nowadays people spend more and more time on their mobile devices and their computers than they do strolling around the city searching for new businesses to discover. So don’t make it hard for them to discover you online! On the web, people can find you in a fraction of a second and they can end up buying from you within minutes if your website is well designed, easy to use and navigate, mobile friendly, and offers engaging content.
Great design is only one side to good branding, but – ultimately – great design changes people’s lives.