The Power of Connection
I love the power of connection. Have you ever felt that “click” when you've just met someone and find out they had the same favorite band as you growing up, or that their grandparents lived in the same town as yours? Nothing builds instant friendships as quickly as common ground.
Good design does for businesses what common ground does for new friendships; it connects people on an emotional level. Think about behemoths like Apple or Nike: not only can you recognize their branding from a mile away (and probably without even thinking about it), you most likely have a connection with those brands that goes beyond just what the product provides.
For example, I remember the day my dad brought home a tiny little Macintosh computer with turn dials for the contrast and brightness.
By today's standards, it was little more than a word processor – but I was seriously captivated by this tiny computer. Fast forward eight years or so, and the iMac came out. Do you remember those brightly colored side panels with the see-through casing?
I was spellbound.
It wasn't just because I could someday own a bright blue computer: it was because the world of computing had just opened up into endless possibilities, and I could tell just by looking at it.
I could now have a digital photo album and a (very limited) library of video games on my computer. Did the see-through side paneling change my actual experience with the new device?
But did it become really obvious when my friends came over that I had the latest and greatest technology?
The design matched the experience, and it stood out both aesthetically and technologically.
After Macintosh rebranded to Apple and released the iPod, I saved up my money for months so I could buy the third generation; you know, the one with the click wheel? I loved that thing – but why?
MP3 players were everywhere, and they did virtually the same thing, for a much cheaper price. But it din't matter.
I lost my teenage mind because the iPod offered an experience that the others didn't.
All of a sudden, it was “cool” to have the latest tech, and Apple was ahead of the curve. They created products that looked so good, you assumed the experience would be just as good.
And when the experience matched the expectation that good visual branding put in place, you told everyone about it.
When I first began diving into design, I realized that this is what good brand identities do. They offer a visual taste of the experience to come.
When you can connect emotionally with people through your visual brand, you win people over to your cause , creating a new market advocate that didn't cost you a dime.
We all know that word-of-mouth marketing is the eternally sought-after “Golden Goose” of advertising – yet just asking your clients to talk about you, or creating an incentive (even if it seems really awesome to you) isn't going to be enough to keep people talking day after day.
Think of it this way: When you see a movie you love, you tell people about it – and it never comes across as a sales pitch. Why? Because you genuinely care about the experience and message. Branding can tap into that.
If you know what your “special sauce” is, and can communicate that through your visual branding, you're going to create brand advocates that are passionate about your business. Not because of what you're selling, but because of how you're selling it, what you stand for, and the experience you give them.
Looking for more on why experience is so important? Read this article on meaningful design.
It's time for some real talk:
You can have the most amazing idea product, or service in the world; but if no one is paying attention, well, you might as well let the dream die.
As harsh as that reality is, being in business means you're always competing. Always. The only way to get ahead of the competition is to differentiate yourself. And that has to happen in your first interaction, when they see your storefront, or a social media post on Instagram, or business card at a networking event.
The truth is, I never would have never obsessed over that iMac if it hadn’t been for the presentation.
Are you losing business because you’re not matching your brand with your experience?
Are you working a lot harder than you need to because your brand is holding you back?
If you could increase your annual profits by 10%, what would that mean for your business?
Could you start saving and investing for the future?
Let your story be evident through your branding. If you do this right, people will know who you are, what you’re about, before you ever pick up the phone.
Ready to let your branding do the talking?