Lemonade Marketing Firm

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Written by Casey Perkins

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Since first hearing this quote in high school it has popped into my head many times. The author is Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay on Self Reliance. I came to love this quote because it spoke of being different, creative, and of a willingness to evolve and grow. Emerson was a Transcendentalist. These thinkers wanted to get away from the busyness of life and reconnect with the natural beauty of the world.
What the Transcendentalists were: Creatives.
What the Transcendentalists were not: Marketers

I haven’t worked in marketing long, but if I’ve learned one thing it is the importance of consistency. So I found myself trying to reconcile my Transcendentalist tendency towards creativity that is always changing and the consistency necessary for good business.
It’s a fine line for sure. However, I am learning that there is a happy medium. Here are a few ideas I have for remaining consistent without compromising creativity.

1. Do you have a brand identity?
This is an essential question before going on. It is absolutely necessary that you create and develop a branded identity for you company, your product or service, or yourself. This is the fun part… here’s where your creativity gets to run rampant! However, once you decide what your brand looks like, you have to stick with it. The hard part: you will probably be tired of your brand by the time the public sees it for the first time … DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING! This is where consistency first comes into play and you have to resist the urge to start changing things.

2. Learn to make small variations.
If your creative juices are flowing and you need to make something new, the first step is checking that the new idea matches the existing brand. Put yourself in your customer’s place. When they see this new piece of creative will they immediately think of your existing brand? A prime example of small variations can be seen in logo design. Most companies have several variations on their primary logo. For instance if the main logo is horizontal with three colors the variations might include a square design with only one color and a black & white version, etc. Once you’ve reconciled your idea and your brand, it’s time to start creating.

3. Pay attention to details.
This is the tedious part of a creative’s job, but it pays off big time. Being consistent with your creative projects doesn’t just mean matching the brand identity. You have to start at the smallest part and work up to the overall customer response. Let’s take logo design again. Three main components that must remain consistent are color, font, and proportion.
Color – invest in a Pantone® Color Bridge® and use the color numbers to keep everything consistent in all of your creative projects. If you didn’t major in art and don’t have a love/hate relationship with the color wheel … get to work on that. Learn about complimentary and coordinating colors and use them. Finally, make sure your colors match your overall brand identity (a bottled water company called Nature Fresh probably wouldn’t use red and orange, etc.)
Font -  It is crucial that you choose a font scheme for your brand and then stick with it. People will begin to associate everything you hand them with your brand. If every piece of creative has a different look then you will overload your consumers.
Proportion – this is possibly the single hardest part of keeping consistent. When you’re asked to design an ad that is 11.375 by 8.465 inches and include 500 words of copy, a 120 by 120 pixel photo, and the company’s existing 3 by 5 inch logo it starts to get tough. But hey, you’re a creative. That’s your job. Don’t compromise a logo or the brand’s identity. Put on your thinking cap and make it work.

So let’s look back at that quote: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” I think the keyword is “foolish”. Be smart about your design choices. Make sure all members of your company are on the same page about the brand’s identity then follow through. Be willing to evolve your look, style, and brand but don’t change it … see, it’s a fine line, but that’s what makes it fun.

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