Blue Ain't Your Color, Babe.

Making color a strategic advantage in differentiating your brand.

October 7, 2020

Often subjective in approach, selecting a color palette is not something to be taken lightly. Color is one of the core ways users are able to identify a company from afar. Starbucks green is instantly recognizable, as is the sunset hues of Patagonia or the gold and red of McDonald's. It's unmistakable.

Here is how you approach color with objectivity:

Define your brand
If you don't know what you want people to feel, your selection will be off-base. Know what you inspire within your customer and the emotional qualities you want them to associate with your company.

Seek and Steal
The world is full of cohesive palettes already. Be it an amazing landscape photo, title sequences to a TV show (I used the colors from the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for a keto-Chinese restaurant once), anything really. If you see something that points you toward the feelings you are trying to evoke, steal it and modify it accordingly. Adobe Color makes this process simple. Plus, it beats the hell out of meandering through a Pantone book.

Compare with Alternatives
Color is a fast track to differentiation. If 80% of the alternative choices to your company use corporate blue as their primary color, don't do it. Be rebellious. Try and be something different. The only way to find out is by researching what is out there. 10 minutes of scouting gives more insight than you'd think.

The color palette for your brand is out there. With a little bit of direction from understanding your brand and guardrails established from what's already in your marketplace, you can make color a strategic advantage is differentiating your brand.

More you say?

Demographics in Branding

Creating the foundation for a focused brand.

11.2.2020

Demographics are the first piece discussed in understanding who your target audience is. Mainly because they don't require as much critical thinking and are evident without much additional thought/analysis. Here is a list of the attributes that one would include in the demographics of their target audience:

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Geography
  • Marital Status
  • Education
  • Employment/Occupation

What purpose do these pieces of information help us solve in creating a brand? Well, the answer is quite simple: you are going to talk to people differently and through different mediums based on these answers. More importantly, knowing the demographics of this ideal superfan enables you to focus on who will be using your products/services.

Target One:

  • Sex: Female
  • Age: 34
  • Geography: Wichita, Kansas
  • Marital Status: Married with two kids
  • Education: Bachelor's in English Literature
  • Employment: Columnist for a local magazine / $80,000 per year

Target Two:

  • Sex: Female
  • Age: 23
  • Geography: Santa Monica, California
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Education: Bachelor's in Nursing
  • Employment: RN for local hospital / $66,000 per year

Even with these descriptions alone, it is clear that the lifestyles and day-to-day happenings in these persons' lives are going to be different. They will have different preferences, lifestyles, beliefs, cares, aspirations, etc. We start with these demographics because it allows us to put up the blinders to other groups that are not as important to the brand being created.

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See Yourself Like I See You

The one story you are forgetting to tell that will make all the difference.

10.26.2020

There is a lot of science and research to building a brand. Knowing the right things to say, the right colors to differentiate yourself from the competition, all that other stuff that is tactically important to the job. It is important, absolutely. However it is easy to approach branding with all head and no heart, which is where things go wrong. Most likely, it is because entrepreneurs and change-makers overlook a giant piece of the puzzle: themselves.

That's right, you. You have a story. You have been places others haven't, you have a personality, and you have envisioned a world different than the one you currently inhabit (that's why you're in business after all, to change the world). You are a rebel because you've decided that the current way things are is not satisfactory. You are driving change.

My ask is this: don't lose sight of how important your story is. It is your biggest asset in building a brand.

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