Fred thoughts
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Don't follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you
May 2019

You’re embarking on a brand refresh or a new marketing campaign – where do you start? Should you choose ‘fashionable’ colours that appear to be all the rage? Should you play it safe and keep things simple, the less is more approach, so you blend into the background? Absolutely not. You want bold, stand-out visuals for your business that grab attention. Rip up the rule book, have some fun with it and create some new rules of your own.

Already this year we’ve seen lots of so-called design and marketing trends coming through. There’s the increasing use of nostalgic flashbacks. Tesco made great use of this to celebrate its 100th birthday this year. Toasting its centenary with a series of retro-referencing ads.

There’s the spike in the use of 3D effects. 3D marketing isn’t a new concept. The use of paper pop-outs in magazines for example has been around for years. But now with the continuing rise of online marketing it’s having its moment in the spotlight once again with many advertisers using it in its digital form to give their campaigns much more punch.

Then there’s good news for our designer Ellie who loves to sketch beautiful illustrations. Developments in the technology available to us mean that her lovely hand drawn designs can be completely digitalised and incorporated in our marketing. We can even add animation and really bring the drawings to life. We’re in such a visual world now that cheesy stock photographs and images just aren’t going to cut it anymore. Artwork helps keep marketing interesting.

When we take on a new project, we spend a lot of time talking to our clients, working out what their objectives are and who they are targeting. Many businesses think they should play it safe, preferring to stick with what they know and what has been effective in the past. Other businesses recognise that they need to move forwards and ask us to create something completely new and different.

Our clients pay us for our advice and creativity and to help them stand out in a crowded marketplace. There are times when we might have certain ‘style’ rules that need to be adhered to. If a brand already has an identity, then anything we design must complement that. But that doesn’t mean we can’t keep it interesting.

We want our clients to stand out. You won’t find us advising our clients to follow the latest trends, but they do keep our own ideas evolving. There are some concepts that simply can’t be ignored, the advance of the technology available to us plays a huge part in this. Marketing has hit the era of personalisation. With artificial intelligence and augmented reality brands are able to give their customers a far more immersive and interactive experience.

For example when you log in to Channel4 online, not only are you greeted by your name, but it also suggests programmes that it thinks will be of interest to you. Artificial intelligence makes marketing much more personable and allows us to build an accurate profile of each individual.

We’ve also seen a massive spike in the use of augmented reality where brands make use of 3D marketing and the ability to place products in their customers environment through the power of smartphone and tablets. Placing a sofa in your lounge to see how it looks or playing with new wall colours.

When it comes to design and marketing, form follows function. No matter what you’re doing, be it branding, advertising, a new website, it all needs to inform, be symbolic and give the organisation a unique identity. We know that interactive marketing leads to a strong uplift in click-through rates and this is no different. Companies need to keep up with these enhanced features or they will be left behind. The only real certainty is that a successful marketing strategy can never stand still. Companies need to innovate, creating their own style and coming up with new and exciting ways of doing things to keep it interesting. Following the crowd…..well that just isn’t ourstyle.

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