In branding, in marketing campaigns; and in content creation, voice, and mood there is a negotiation of sorts. There is a constant tension (in a good way) between the client’s needs and expectations and my aesthetic and point of view. I strive always to please the client and do my best to accurately represent them, but not at the expense of myself or my voice. If I were to do that, I would risk being disingenuous and the message would feel inauthentic. Phony marketing is bad marketing. And bad marketing is worse than no marketing at all.
“Diane was amazing and fun to work with. I learned so much from her, and would use her talents again in a heartbeat! Her patience with my lack of knowledge and the frustration I had with it was greatly appreciated. The excitement she showed towards the project made me feel like a big name author instead of someone just starting. That alone was priceless.” – Krista CaggAuthor, The William’s Hunt
Entrepreneurs are by nature ambitious, bold, passionate and driven to succeed. These are fine qualities and essential to success. The downside is they have a tendency to develop blind spots where their image and messaging is concerned. At the startup phase, ideas come spilling out; some are good, some are even revolutionary, but some are just plain bad and ill-advised. I will be there tempering your exuberance with the admonishment always to “edit, edit, edit.”
You want a tight message that cuts through the noise and distractions, one your audience will quickly understand and absorb. Your logo should fit your company’s personality but be simple, iconic and quickly recognizable. People are constantly bombarded with a glut of information and you will be competing with countless others for their precious time and short attention. Grab them quickly and make them stick around for the rest of the story.
The best and most successful artists and designers in any field have a strong, fully-developed point of view. When you see a pastel wool suit with black piping you think: “Chanel.”
Whether it’s the real thing or a knock-off, it is still distinctly, classically Chanel. It is timeless and iconic. It doesn’t matter if you are not as familiar with “Invisible Afghan” as you are with “Persistence of Memory.” When you see it, you know it’s Dali.
Any good Corporate Image Design and company branding will be the same. Coca-Cola, Nike, Chevrolet, Apple. Clean, simple logos and messaging that is timeless, universal, internationally recognizable and ultimately emotional. We connect with the Wave, the Swoosh, the Bowtie, and the…well, the Apple. They all mean something to us. And when we’re standing in front of that cooler case in the convenience store, there is a deeply personal reason for choosing Coke over Pepsi. (Or Pepsi over Coke, but remember…I’m a proud Atlantan!) It has everything to do with how the company makes us feel about its product and our lives and how the two fit together.
My design point of view aspires to do the same. Classic, sophisticated, elegant, timeless, bold, edgy, whimsical, iconic – it can run the gamut. But whatever the mood or the aesthetic the message must be simple, the logo must be evocative, and the brand must be memorable. When we work together on your company’s image and Social Media Voice, your message, mission, and personality will shine through. It must be authentic, especially in the deeply personal and closely connected world of Social Media.
My advice to other small business consultants: Not all clients are created equal. For some, $1000 is a discretionary expense and not much to gamble on a new approach or fresh pair of eyes. But for others, it could be their entire marketing budget. The stakes are very high for them, and they have placed all their trust in you. Think about that for a moment, and give it the respect it’s due.