I don’t often post my opinions on creative industry trends because I don’t relish arguments or accidentally offending people, but maybe I should be a bit braver and share my thoughts more often. I’m compelled to do so now because I recognise that I should practice what I’m about to preach. You see, I read recently that some brands are finding success by ditching attention-grabbing advertising campaigns and instead looking to resonate with effectiveness and efficiency, focusing on brand promises, customers and sustainability; all summed-up as “becoming bland champions”.
It seems that having a brand persona equivalent to the quiet guy in the corner, meek and unassuming, is preferred to standing out. It mirrors a trend I’ve noticed where Marketers resolve to just doing the same as everyone else and play it super-safe. It makes me wonder if that’s a reflection of today’s society where cancel culture makes everyone afraid to voice an alternative opinion and think differently. Perhaps like me, they’re afraid to accidentally offend someone, especially because that someone might be a prospect. But why should focusing on brand promises come at the expense of a bit of clever promotion and stand out? It might require a bit more thought but I’m certain sustainability and customer service can be communicated in a way that stands out, if it’s memorable brands can even take ownership of such a stance.
Sure, brands need to understand their audience and use a certain level of familiarity to get attention – a prospect in-market for a particular product might miss an ad that’s so disruptive it doesn’t feature any reference to the thing they’re looking to buy. And I understand that all brands are different and at different stages in their evolution with varied tones of voice and USPs. The more established, prestige brands can possibly afford to sit back with a sense of superiority and let consumers come to them, safe in the knowledge their brand identity is strong enough to deliver without ad campaigns boasting a satisfying creative concept or impactful key visual (possibly). But most are not in that space, they need to engage and excite, continue to build awareness and followers, be a bit brave. Just because someone might follow you, doesn’t mean you don’t have to work as hard to get their attention. Chances are, they follow all your competitors too. Does ‘bland’ perform well on social media? Or does bland find credence because we live in a world where advertising is measured by impressions and reach rather than enquiries and sales? Surely it’s even more necessary to stand out to someone who’s robotically scrolling through endless feeds of indistinguishableness.
So my advice is if everyone’s posting grey, post something orange. Zig when everyone else zags. That’s always been the best way to increase recognition and build brand awareness. Stand out to be outstanding.
For creative marketing that zigs (or zags), get in touch with us at We Are Acuity
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