ISSUE NO. 24
why is this in your inbox? We believe that at some point (if we’re not working on something together already) that you will need creative thinking in the design and development of some marketing materials. We love building long-term relationships and understand that this only happens with repeated success. AXIS visual has been supporting the business community for 15 years and has many valued long-term relationships. If you have any thoughts or questions about how we work or how we might approach an upcoming marketing challenge, give us a call (610-527-0332), drop us a note, send a carrier pigeon, whatever you prefer.
Here the shortlist of what we do:
- Branding / Logo Development
- Corporate Communication
- Publication Design
- Website Design
- Print Design (All Kinds)
- Package Design
- Exhibit Design
- Email Marketing
- Product and Service Literature
- You Name it
The above work is a campaign for the launch (no pun intended) of a new printing capability for DG3, a global communications company. We created posters, the design for a WordPress site, an invitation, a chocolate package, among other items. For this project we worked directly with Markitects, Inc. (an excelent marketing and PR firm) to deliver a powerful and fun campaign.
The following articles are a continuation of our series on Design In Context. Design, or at least “good and effective” design doesn’t exist as simply arbitrary aesthetic choices. It isn’t what just “looks cool.” To effectively use creativity in business it must be developed with the consideration of many different issues. This series explores the different areas (or contexts) that a designer or graphic marketer needs to consider in order to develop effective marketing materials for their clients. The previous articles are in this series are:
A number of years back I heard a story where the generally agreed assumption was that you could never use the color black for selling ice cream. After all, ice cream is lite, it’s creamy, it’s pure, it’s cool, it’s clean and it has all these qualities that people traditionally did not associate with the color black. Then along came Breyers with a simple idea “We want our product to stand out on the shelves, to be noticed first amongst all the other competitors.” The result, the black ice cream package. I would’ve loved to of been a fly on the wall in the various meetings where the designer was selling the idea to the art director, and then the art director to the creative director, and the creative director to the client, all the way up the line. It must’ve taken courage at various points along the approval path for a previously unaccepted approach to be entertained and then accepted. And the result of their bravery? It worked. And it changes the industry context of packaging ice cream.
Many industries have a generally excepted look, feel, color palette and approach to it’s marketing style. This is established by the past marketing of their services and any number of competitors that are also marketing similar service. This excepted look is also a function of the business area that each company is in. For example, a bank or accountant needs to deliver a feeling of trust and may choose to create a more conservative message for their potential client. A movie or entertainment product is not restricted by the same client desires and expectations. In their cases, a message of fun and joy might be the dominant concept. Software companies, landscapers, retail stores, restaurants and just about every other industry you can think of has some parameters to most of their visual marketing. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty companies that break these established rules. Some do it with a great deal of success, others are less fortunate. Generally, the more conservative the industry the fewer “rule breakers” there are. In addition, this industry look changes over time as our society evolves and as companies succeed with new marketing ideas. Apple Computer has put a lot of time and effort into making their products and even their packaging look clean, simple and easy to use. They have created a new paradigm in the look of technical products. And as other companies follow Apple’s lead the door will be opened for other paradigm shifts.
Some of the questions that a graphic marketer should ask themselves when awarded a new client to work with are things like: What is the industry doing? Are there standards for that industry? Should we bend or break those rules and if so how far? The answers to these questions will determine the arena that the designer should work within. Of course, this is also in combination with the information about the specific company or client. Their experience with marketing, their feeling about how they want to be perceived by their customers or target market, and their general attitude about their company all come in to play in directing designers approach. But I will talk more about company context in the next article.
Wow, is it the “next article” already?
The approach to design and marketing is also dictated by the specific company or client that a designer works with. Are they big? Are they small? Have they been in the industry for a long time? Are they a leader in the industry? Are they a new entry to the industry? What makes them different? These are all questions about the tangible company, about their history, about their product. And the answers to these questions help direct to designer or marketer when building the appropriate campaign or advertising strategy. For example, a new comer to an industry probably wants to be a little more of a risk taker and deliver an image that separates them from the existing crowd of competitors. A company that is the leader in their field might want to maintain their existing approach in marketing and not appear flighty or unstable, although there are certainly times when an established leader needs to go through a reinvention to spark a new customer base. We saw that with Cadilac not too long ago.
Another huge driving factor in how to creatively market and promote a business is often overlooked. This is the company “personality.” This is different from the tangible traits listed in the previous paragraph. These personality traits are frequently created by the leadership in the company, sometimes deliberately, sometimes not. They usually trickle down throughout the company and build an approach to the way people in the company conduct their business. This “personality” could be adventurous, risk taking and open to new ideas, or it might be more conservative with a very specific set of rules to do almost everything. A company might want to (or need to) be perceived as progressive and forward thinking, or it might want to deliver a message of safety and security. This type of thinking about a company is also determined by industry context (see the previous section) but I have seen companies whose personality was completely opposite of what their industry context would suggest. This certainly makes for a challenging creative process and one that requires a splash of psychology. If a company’s personality remains rigid, immovable and opposite of what all the other more tangible marketing contexts would indicate they unfortunately frequently miss an opportunity to do effective marketing by developing “safe” marketing tactics that neither hurt or help their bottom line. However, if both the company context and personality are in line the sky’s the limit.
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