How To Create A Brand That Connects With Customers
Case Study: Ugmonk
Currently, one of my favorite brands around is Ugmonk, a design-driven lifestyle brand ran by Jeff Sheldon.
The entire experience Jeff has created around his brand is one of true passion and detail. From the handcrafted wooden ampersands and canvas bags to the leather wallets and simplistic t-shirts, everything has Jeff’s fingerprints all over it.
It’s not just the minimalistic designs and quality product that keep me coming back either. It’s the experience you have when you purchase a product and receive it in the mail.
For example, when you usually receive a clothing order from an online retailer it’s customary to get a bland, white shipping envelope that contains your shirt stuffed inside along with your receipt.
Ugmonk, on the other hand, send your product in a cardboard box, stamped with the company logo. When you open the box you’ll find bright blue tissue paper as if you’re opening a present, not just any old package. Along with your order, you also receive other goodies like stickers and discount codes for future purchases.
Why go through all that trouble? Surely it must be cheaper to just throw a shirt or wallet in an envelope and send it on its way. And while that may be true, Jeff and Ugmonk have realized that a brand’s true power comes when it can create an experience for the customer.
How to create the same positive brand experience:
One thing that can kill a brand quicker than anything is inconsistency. This inconsistency can stem from image and font choices to copy and color selection.
For example, the local coffee shop that posts beautiful shots of they’re coffee to social media but their Twitter account uses their logo for the avatar while their Facebook has a picture of a barista. Neither of these is wrong on its own, but when they are used together it can dilute the image they want to portray. By using the logo on Twitter they may come across more corporate, while the image of the barista gives more of a local, small shop feel. Again, neither of these are wrong, but the real power of a brand comes when it is able to deliver a consistent message and feel across all platforms.
To ensure consistency in your brand, make sure to use language and imagery that resembles each other across your ads, website, and social media. Even if they aren’t always used in the exact same way, sticking to the same fonts, colors, and image type can go along way in boosting a brand’s power.
Now, more than ever, people are craving authenticity. People resonate with humanness and vulnerability. That’s one reason Instagram is so popular right now. People love the connection they get when they follow a celebrity who posted a picture of them walking their dog or a favorite brand that shares photos that feel less like an ad and more like a friend sharing picture.
The key to a brand coming across as authentic is for that brand to know who they are (internal beliefs and values) and why they do what they do (who is the audience they serve and why). A lot of brands, even large brands, can mess up by losing track of who they are and why they do business.
This is the big one. This is why companies pay thousands and even millions of dollars to rebrand themselves. They want to be different. They want to stand out from the competition.
So how do you stand out? It seems obvious, but the quickest way to differentiate your brand is to figure out what makes you different. What experience are you offering your audience that no one else is? Remember, a brand goes deeper than just pretty graphics. To truly stand out, you have to do things differently than everyone else.
Let’s use graphic design for example. Do a simple Google search for “graphic designer” and you’ll quickly be bombarded with results of various articles and portfolio websites. So how do you stand out in a sea of competition? You have to do what others are not doing.
When the competition is simply throwing up images of their work and leaving it, you can write case studies and blog posts explaining how you work and why you’re the right choice for their next project. Instead of offering two or three concepts and multiple revisions for a logo design, you stick to your guns and offer the best solution possible and take the time to explain your reasoning.
It’s only when you dare to break away from the norm that your brand will effectively stand out from the competition.
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