Strip back to move on

Toyota have recently done it. VW, Nissan and BMW did it before them.

As the digital world begins to shape how consumers interact with brands like never before – many a brand manager is coming to the same realisation: we need to make it simpler. Gone are the bevelled edges, metallic finishes and drop shadows – to be replaced by clean, vector lines and flat colours. Toyota have even removed their name from under the new badge – the ultimate shorthand. 

But why is this happening and what does it really mean to the customer. While some of it is trend based for sure – it’s also being driven by how brand identities are predominantly being seen now – and that is online. The consumer’s shortening attention span and noisy media channels mean that brands need to work harder than ever before to gain clarity. Our screen-based relationships have fundamentally changed the way we interact with brands which has lead to a significant shift in the way they are created and managed.

Good branding acknowledges our collective 2020-goldfish-like memories – it reduces complex brand narratives to a sentiment that chimes. It knows that time is of the essence so it conveys a value proposition in the most direct way. By keeping it short, concise and boldly minimal. 

And it’s not just car brands – everyone from Nutella to Starbucks has lately been instructing their brand design agency to hack away at their busy identities to leave stripped down, more memorable icons. Colour palettes too are being more carefully considered. When your audience are screen-based, good brands empathise with that and know that clever, retina calming corporate colour suites are another way to the customer’s heart. 

The last year may have been too much for many of us – but going forward less and less will become more and more. Bloated brands with complicated stories will find it hard to stay afloat – simply because the audience’s capacity to engage is at an all-time low. 

To keep on top of these changes, regularly reviewing your own brand and measuring its effectiveness across all your channels is vital. Are we legible, credible and believable? Is our brand story clear and really easily understood? Does it work seamlessly across our channels or are there areas that need improving? Are we memorable?

These are just a few of the things we explore when working with brands to ensure they connect and lodge themselves in their audiences’ psyches. We explore in great detail the various ways their targets will interact and aim to bring the identity to life in the most compelling ways for them. We make brands that work hard to carve out their territory in the online world – whilst making it look effortless (for them, not us!).

Got a slight sinking feeling?

Then act now to make your brand trim and digitally buoyant. It’s like taking a swim at the beach – by the time you realize your brand is in trouble and thrust that hand in the air to attract the attention of the online lifeguard – it might just be too late.

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