Look Like Who You Really Are
Do you look like who you are? This question is not an “if a tree falls in the woods” Zen kind of question. What we are really asking is: "Do your graphics and other marketing materials reflect your brand’s values and position?" If they don’t, you are handicapping your brand and losing sales.
If there is only one lesson to be learned from Apple’s success it is this: “looks matter.” Apple’s graphics visually communicate the brand’s values. They are clean, contemporary, simple, and bright; and they are consistent across all platforms, all the way down to the manuals.
Take a look at the websites and advertising of successful luxury brands such as Bulgari, Hermes, Burberry, and every single luxury automobile brand. You immediately see big, gorgeous, highly detailed product images. The images are photographs or computer renderings so skillfully executed they look photographic. These brands know that people judge brands by the way they look. “High-end” is communicated by more than price, it is communicated visually most of all.
In the Audio/Video industry we too often see high-end retailers with websites that hail from the 90s and magazine ads that look like Joe’s Bargain A/V Outlet. We see brands with products that sell for tens of thousands of dollars using decades-old graphics schemes developed at the infancy of the brand, or poorly executed product renderings in place of photos. We’re often handed ugly self-designed product brochures at trade shows and see expensive products packaged in plain brown cardboard cartons. Big mistakes all.
Everything a channel partner or consumer sees or touches says something about your company. You have to execute each of them as if it were the only thing someone ever sees from your company. It may very well be. Ask yourself – “what impression would potential customers have of my company if this is the only thing they ever see?” Would you look like a contemporary luxury brand, or an out of touch company, or a struggling start-up? Do your graphics remind one of Nordstrom or Sears?
Brands with a “value” position might not want to look too slick or exclusive, nor do they want to look bargain basement. You never want to look amateurish, no matter what your market position. That applies all the way down to little things like manuals and cartons. A typical prevailing attitude is “no one will see that stuff until after they buy it. What difference could it make?” Are you familiar with the concepts of buyer’s remorse or purchase reinforcement? What impression are you making on your channel partners and salespeople? IT ALL MATTERS.
Renderings are a good source of product images especially as you can have them made well before the product goes into production. But they can bite you if you’re not careful. Low resolution images with no highlights and shadows look like what they are – cheap and poorly-executed renderings. Tell your industrial designer or graphics people that you need “photo-realistic” renderings. They take more time, skill and money but they’re worth it. If you don’t have anyone who can do that level of work, contact us and we can recommend people we know who are good.
The odds are that you’re too close to even evaluate what impression your marketing materials leave with viewers. It helps to have someone on the outside who does not know your business at all (like a neighbor or slight acquaintance) look at your website and all of your printed and digital materials and just answer a few questions such as: “Does this look like an expensive, mid-priced or low-priced company?” “Would you have confidence in this company?” “What values do you think this company holds dear?” “Does this company offer high or low tech products?” “Do these marketing materials all look like they were designed by the same people?” You get the idea.
At very least gather all of your marketing materials together with your staff and ask yourselves the same questions. Are you doing a good job of visually communicating who you are? If not, it’s time you do something about it.
About CE-Marketing Pros
We’re a full service marketing/advertising agency specializing in helping Audio/Video brands and retailers compete more effectively. Former marketing executives with two of the most successful A/V brands, Al Ballard and Paul DiComo help brands STAND OUT in a crowded and confusing marketplace.