Simplifying your brand is like decluttering your house. You know it's going to be good for you, but like that awesome kitchen gadget you bought on late night TV maybe you really will use one day. Here's our advice for kitchen gadgets and cluttered brands: if in doubt, throw it out.
Our clients are often completely on board with simplification until it comes to pulling the trigger. Sometimes they're worried about brand equity with an old style, communicating their offerings, not showcasing every little detail or being heard with less. Simplifying your brand may seem like a risk, but it's actually the best investment you'll ever make. Here's why.
A moment of silence, please
Our world is only getting louder. Consumers are marketed to by many more brands and across limitless channels. Adding more noise won't convince them. It just makes them zone out. Or worse, it makes them lash out. Simplifying, on the other hand, amplifies your brand by giving it space to speak.
Think less color, less copy, less design and room to breath. Think fewer gimmicksploys and more emphasis on offerings and benefits. Simplification lets you focus on the core offerings of your brand - and lets consumers do the same.
Take Moleskine, for example. Rather than advertising far and wide, it partners with major cultural organizations to make limited-edition collectors' notebooks available right where its core audience hangs out: museums, galleries and bookshops. It's relevant exposure without the shouting.
Less is more authentic
Simplification is also known as "de-corporatization". Today's consumers are interested in personal connections. They support brands that reflect their own beliefs and values. They want to know about product provenance, corporate governance and eco-friendliness.
The more corporate, the more branded a brand, the harder it is to make these connections. Simplification strips back the corporate facade, helping you better connect with consumers. It feels honest, approachable and personable — all the things that today's consumers want in a brand.
Take WholeFoods. Its stripped-back design, hand-lettered typography and carefully laid-out stores create a sense not of being in a supermarket, but a produce market. And with its emphasis on highlighting local products and team members, it delivers a sense of authenticity that justifies its prices.
Staying on brand just got simple
A brand is all about associations. Consumers expect a particular experience from a brand, and when you deliver you're being "on brand". The simpler your branding, the easier it is to stay true to your mission, vision — and to your promise to your customers.
Simple branding doesn't mean less value. The opposite is true. It gives you a clear starting point from which all of your communications and campaigns can spring. That means less potential for miscommunication and more for clarity. It makes life easier for both consumers and your staff.
Consumers value consistency of experience. Delivering on your promise generates loyalty, reduces price sensitivity and encourages them to spread the word.
Take Dollar Shave Club, which has customers sign up for a monthly razor subscription. Customers know exactly what they're getting, when and how. Simple is its selling point, and underpins everything the brand does.
Simple compounds growth
Great brands aren't static. They're constantly growing and evolving to suit the shifting needs of consumers. When you take a simple approach to branding you build in the flexibility your brand needs to continue its trajectory of success. The ability to pivot, narrow or shift your focus is built in, and you won't give consumers whiplash with out-of-nowhere overhauls and rebrands.
Keep things simple, and you'll be able to grow a focused company that delivers on its promised customer experience — and its bottom line.