by Jonathan Haile
In today’s world, we’re bombarded with so many media messages and advertisements that it has become difficult for brands to stand out. Think about it. When commercials come on, we change the channel. If a commercial comes on Hulu, we open a new tab in our browser.
Brands have to be able to stand out; to break through the clutter and reach the people that matter most. These are things that a brand can do to get my attention. While these are my opinions, I’m willing to bet others share these with me.
1. Your brand addresses a problem with a unique solution
Take Boston’s fast-growing men’s clothing company, Ministry of Supply, as an example. Men get up every morning, put on their nicest dress clothes, but by the time they arrive to work, they’re drenched in sweat and left uncomfortable for the rest of the day. The guys at Ministry are addressing this age-old problem by manufacturing shirts that absorb the heat that makes you sweat. The company’s signature Apollo Dress shirt is also wrinkle free.
You don’t see bigger clothing companies doing this and I really wonder why they haven’t caught on. Ministry of Supply is a little clothing company that, I imagine, other companies are going to start paying attention to.
2. Your brand is minimal
Minimalism can take many different meanings for many people, but in this case, I’m talking about the aesthetics. Apple is the perfect example. From the iPhone to the Mac Pro, the designs are simple. They look like something from the future and while more and more people buy these products, each one looks like it was crafted with a great deal of care.
The genius behind Apple’s minimal aesthetic is Jony Ive. You can see how after Apple shifted to this style, other brands followed suit. After all, Apple sued Samsung because their designs were similar.
3. You care about the customer
We’ve discussed, in previous, how Twitter is a growing customer service tool. In some cases, social media can get companies into customer service trouble, but in many cases, it’s nice to see brands interacting with the people that keep them afloat.
4. You have fun, and it shows
Workplaces are, first and foremost, places of business, but companies and brands don’t want employees to hate coming to work. Social media allows brands to show how much fun it can be to be included. We see goofy photos of employees, teams celebrating awards after months of hard, company picnics and celebrations of key customers.
5. Your focus goes beyond selling a product
Corporate social responsibility can have large influence on purchase decisions. Take TOMS, for example. You want to buy new shoes. You can buy from Brand X, who rakes in the cash and manufactures more shoes, or you can buy from TOMS, who will, in turn, donate shoes to needy children.
TOMS’ following continues to grow because it makes the statement that it’s going to make the world a better place when it sells a pair of shoes, or glasses or coffee. It isn’t the only example. Brands partner with Product (RED) to raise money for AIDS research and treatment. Seventh Generation, a natural household products, is committed to bringing sustainable options to consumers. Even Walmart is reducing its carbon footprint by continuing to install solar panels on more and more stores.
6. Your brand DOESN’T use social media
What…? Really…? Yep. Seems like a contradiction to what I said before, but brands that don’t use social media become more impressive to me each day. The lack of a social presence could be seen as being out of touch, but I think it’s bold. Apple only uses Youtube, but simply as a tool to share commercials rather than interact with customers. Trader Joe’s doesn’t use social media (or traditional advertising). It relies on a loyal customer base, a clever website, and a good reputation to keep moving forward.