Getting Started With Branding Part 2 – Simplicity is King
In Getting Started With Branding Part 1, I talked about branding and how you treat your employees, and your customers reflects upon your business and your brand. In the example company, they stopped doing things that worked that they had done for years. They changed everything around and basically ignored their loyal customers. Ripping away established procedures in such an abrupt manner is a bad idea, and it shows by how empty their stores are now. People are upset that they aren’t visibly saving with coupons. They can’t grasp why the department store would implement such drastic changes, when they had been reporting record profits. This brings me to my next point…
Things Need to Make Sense
I know this sounds pretty cut and dry, but creative branding and strategies become convoluted more often that you think. In the previous paragraphs I have mentioned the mistakes a major department store has been making. Here comes another example. Psychologically, people are used to common ways of doing things, but this department store decided to change the way that they handle pricing. Instead of creating prices based on regular price and having a dot, or symbol for clearance items, they chose a color scheme. Normally, you would think of clearance as being red, or a red tag meaning that prices have been slashed. Not at this store. At this store, red is the regular price, and blue is means that the item is on clearance. Talk about confusing!
If you are going to do something different, new, or innovative with your brand, make sure that it makes sense! The best rule of thumb is to keep it simple. People don’t want to have to think long and hard about what something means or how to interact with your company or its products. It has to be simple and intuitive.
Multi million dollar corporations pay big money to gain insight into consumer trends. Think about the experience you’ve had when visiting a nation-wide department store. Most stores are consistently built, so when you see it, you recognize it. Using the Apple Store as an example, it is the only store in the mall with an illuminated apple, and silver trim. You can spot the Apple Store from across the mall, because it is well branded. it fits into their overall branding objective. I doubt you’ll ever see an Apple Store built with a rustic theme, with deer heads, animal furs, and flannel spread throughout the store. Everything is carefully chosen to accentuate the products.
Apple Stores are minimal, which coincides with their products. They believe in simple design with great functionality. You see that when you visit their stores. They aren’t filled with clutter or overly complicated. The tables where products are displayed are clean, and the products are readily accessible for visitors to try out. Getting to touch, hold, and experience their products, and getting your questions answered is what any consumer would want. In every aspect of their branding, they have kept it simple.
If you visit their website, the front page is usually dedicated to their newest, hottest product or service. The rest of Apple’s website is simple. You have simple images and simple text. The site structure isn’t overly complicated, and it is easy to find what you are looking for. Their site is broken down into easy categories, such as Store, Mac, iphone, ipod, ipad, itunes, support and a search bar. Those are the main topics that the majority of visitors will be looking for, and they are right there, in the navigation, making it easy to find what you are looking for. Any extraneous links are kept in the footer to keep the main navigation clean.
An example inside page, Mac, is broken down into products and services at the top. The main links are broken down into different product categories, such as laptops, desktops, mac minis, and the Mountain Lion OSX. Everything is categorized and broken down into easy chunks for visitors to process easily. With their growing sales, it shows that simplicity is king.
Branding is a huge topic that companies have spent million of dollars trying to figure out. While you may not have millions of dollars, if you keep things simple and make intuitive and easy for the consumer, you can build a strong brand. Combined with consistency and good PR, great branding can make any company excel.