A lot of fuss is made over dating and courtship. It is only human I guess. With the excitement and giddiness of a first date comes preparation and for some reason the over use of hairspray and cologne. This seems especially true of ones’ younger days.
The lead up to the big night or day out is often filled with a barrage of self-styled personal critique and a slew of questions. Will he /she like my hair up or down? Should I shave? What is their favorite band? What if I say something silly or trip up? What if they do not like me? Then there is that great “What should I do so they like me more?” world tremor of a question.
It sucks all the air out of the room and drains the life out of any hope of success.
Panic ensues and more hair spray or cologne is added. Now therein lies the real problem.
It’s not the over use of hair products or cologne but rather the self-applied uncertainty of one’s acceptance and attempting to window dress one’s self to match the imagined expectation of the other person in this courtship dance.
From the perspective of the other, this may seem and is just plain silly. Perhaps you were introduced by a friend. Maybe they sought you out because of shared interests or because the wanted to get to know you. Possibly they were pursuing a richer longer relationship, broadening their horizons or approached you based on your looks alone.
Branding is not much different.
Beyond the consumers primal need for a defined product or service when they need it, if there is a choice they are going to make one. These choices are going to be made based on outward projected appearances, word of mouth references, preferences for long term or short-term relationships and shared value systems.
It also needs to be clarified that a brand is not just a logo, a name and a swatch of colours. Rather a brand is both the response of the individual and the greater public to the perceived businesses ideals and living values of a business. Brands evolve and mature. Perceptions change so do trends.
Design thinking and the thorough application of it in aligning internal business values and strategies to the outward public projection of the business itself becomes critical. There has to be room to evolve the relationship with the business’ consumer. There must be surety in what the business stands for, what it represents and what the business itself values above all else.
The design team employed on a brand strategy must work tirelessly to hedge against brand stagnation, and to represent the true self of the business.
As with dating it is not dressing up to match the expectation of what you should be but rather to present exactly who and what you are. It is after all the reason someone was attracted to you in the first place.
Spend time exploring exactly who you are and what your business values are and let that shine through your visual and contextual design considerations – it will attract individuals and groups that share the same values.
Self-described as a “Prolific scribbler, coffee drinker and happy.” Gareth Smart is a Design Lecturer at the Inscape Education Group