Hip-to-Hip

How to position your brand for your customers.

October 29, 2020

Your brand needs to be cherished by someone. That person is your super fan, someone who will love your brand, buy anything you create, and share it with the world. They are a tribal advocate for your company. Here is how you can make sure you are creating something this person will appreciate:

1. Demographics

This is the easiest part. List some key elements of this person to get a starting point for who they are. This will include:

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

2. External Desires

What are they coming to you for? This could include:

  • A product or service
  • Education
  • Expertise

3. Internal Desires

WHY are these things important and what are they looking to accomplish.

  • A product or service -> to do what?
  • Education -> to do what?
  • Expertise -> to do what?

4. Alliance

Is there a grander battle that you are both fighting?

  • (Blank) should not be this way
  • Social, political concern
  • Global problem
  • Philosophical battle (fighting against data selling, fight for free speech, etc)

5. Stakes

What is at stake if these desires are not met? Some examples:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Loss of time
  • Missed opportunity
  • Weakness

6. Lifestyle elements

Make sure your brand aligns with this person's lifestyle. List out some key things we all use/partake in:

  • How/Where/What does this person eat?
  • What clothes do they wear?
  • Hobbies/Fun activities
  • Toys and gadgets they use every day

7. Muses

What and who inspires this person to get out of bed in the morning?

  • Favorite music artists
  • Inspirational figures (politicians, authors, speakers, etc)
  • Books and podcasts
  • Beliefs and causes (criminal justice reform, environmental advocacy, childhood obesity, etc)

8. Define patterns

Look at everything you've written down. Do you notice a pattern in purchase behavior? Is this person looking for a deal or do they spend on value? Do they care about aesthetics? Are they conservative or edgy?

Are there patterns in the things that inspire them (boisterous attitudes vs strong silent leadership)? How about the topics being discussed, can you relate and speak on these as well?

The point here is to immerse yourself in this person's world and see how you can add to it. More importantly, to see how you can add to it and be easily accepted into their lifestyle, rather than forcing a lifestyle upon them. If that is what you find yourself doing, you need to either reposition your brand for a new audience or mold it to your current super fan.

Your brand needs to walk alongside them, hip-to-hip.

More you say?

Why Boring Logos are the Most Successful

What Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola and all the greats have in common.

3.30.2020

Let's get on the same page. By "boring," I mean logos that are less detailed. They don't have 10,000 colors, multiple elements, nor do they convey every detail of the company they represent. Truth be told, without being placed in a specific context, they are useless (unless you're a logo designer interested in analyzing them). It would seem that it is the elements that surround the logo that give the logo power, its longevity, and then structure would be last on the list.

Surrounding elements
Logos live on things. Lots of things. From app icons, billboards, collateral, even products. These logos are almost always accompanied by some form of messaging or other interactive piece. What's the point? The point is that the logo has little influence in making someone respect a company. Not nearly as much as the surrounding colors schemes, messaging, calls to action, or personality of the brand that it is encased within. If anything, the logo's job is to be there without becoming a blemish.

Longevity
Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola have spent decades (over a century for Coca-Cola) using the same shape as their logo. There might have been slight adjustments in color or structure over time, but nothing that would make you think the mark was completely new. There's a reason for this and it's to drill the mark into people's minds. Thankfully, they have logos that have been able to serve them regardless of the surrounding political climate, era, or trends that make other companies feel the need to change their logos. It's the same reason cartoon characters don't change their clothes, the artists are making it easy for you, the viewer, to be visually primed for their character. By keeping the logo the same for decades, you are more likely to let your guard down when you see that logo, assuming the company is one you cherish.

Structure
This is the last point because a logo it's the cherry on top of the branding sundae. If the rest of a company's marketing, positioning, service record, products, and messages are on point, they can get away with having a less-than-great logo. Having a good one just seems to add the little extra delight or, at the very least, give a potential customer one less thing to have an issue with. This is accomplished be keeping the mark consistently recognizable regardless of where it is placed.

That's what all great logos have in common, they are boring and do their job really well.

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Time Categories

A small change in my calendar settings that led to big insights.

2.10.2020

One of my closest friends lives in London, but he's in San Diego now for his sister's wedding. It was a pleasant surprise. I hit him up and he told me he'd only be in town until tomorrow evening.

Tomorrow evening!? Dang, that's not a lot of time to get together.

I checked my calendar and saw a bunch of scheduled items. All of them are black, so there's no distinction between them. How could I have scheduled so much stuff on one day?

Cue color coding. I created some alternative colors to use to showcase different meeting types I have. Red for in-person and green for digital meetings.
Sure enough, I have three red items today. That's a lot of meetings in a very short amount a time. Don't get me wrong, I love people (a lot more than most designers, I'd think), but this showed me that I'm spreading myself thin for time. This burns the most when I don't have flexibility to see friends from out of town because of it. Something had to change.

So I set a rule: if I see two red/green slots in one day, that's it. No more. A red flag, if you will.

Color-code your calendar.

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