Shivangi Narian

Shivangi Narian

AdvertisingBrandingDesignIndustry RelatedMarketingPackaging

Adding Color to Your Brand Story

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It is said that the sight of a Tiffany Blue Box is enough to make hearts beat faster. Epicureans around the world desire this light blue box tied with a simple ribbon. As a result, this shade of robin’s egg blue has become synonymous with luxury — so much so that Tiffany and Co has trademarked the color. This unique shade is a perfect example of how a color becomes intrinsically entwined with a brand’s story.

Color and Storytelling

90% of customers make snap judgements on brands and products based solely on color. This is why color is as important as a name and logo in branding your business. Try to imagine Victoria’s Secret without its iconic pink imagery, or Cadbury Dairy Milk in a green wrapper rather than purple. It feels wrong, doesn’t it? Colors are so closely associated with brands and products that most companies reserve an entire section of their brand guidelines just for its specifications.

Why do companies give so much importance to color? Because of its remarkable psychological impact on consumers. Certain colors have implicit significance and evoke particular emotions. For example, the red used by Nescafé is warm and inviting, but the same color on a stop sign means danger. In fact, color alone can tell you a lot about a brand. Victoria Secret’s pink symbolizes femininity, while the purple of Dairy Milk brings to mind richness and luxury. In both these examples, the choice of color highlights a key feature or quality of the brand.

While it is important to keep color psychology in mind while choosing your the right palette, your selection should also reflect your brand’s character. A luxury brand will shy away from an optimistic yellow and lean towards a rich gold. Even brands within the same industry might make drastically different choices. The United States Postal Service (USPS) uses blue to represent trustworthiness and reliability. Meanwhile England’s Royal Mail favors a bright red, which stands for dependability and persistence.

The Great Storytellers

Every brand is extremely diligent in choosing the colors that define it. These shades often reflect its core values, and over time, come to stand for the brand itself. The following two companies have used this exquisitely to tell their story.

Chanel

Chanel is defined by various permutations and combinations of five colors — black, white, beige, gold, and red — and has intertwined these colors with the brand in every way possible. They are evident in every Chanel product, symbolize different sources of inspiration, and even tie back to Coco Chanel’s personal life. Take a look at this video for a glimpse of how the brand keeps its signature colors at the forefront.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola’s iconic red is hard to miss, and that’s exactly the point. What started as a design choice based solely on aesthetic value, evolved into a way to shine a spotlight on the product. The color is even used to draw attention within Coca-Cola offices, with pops of red indicating important locations such as meeting rooms and common areas. Learn how Coca-Cola uses this iconic shade to build its visual identity in this video.

Choosing your Color Palette

You know by now that the colors you choose to define your brand primarily depends on its personality and the meanings associated with each shade. However, aesthetic value should not be discounted. Before you pick your palette, it’s best to learn more about color theory.

First, consult a simple 12-step color wheel. Select well-balanced, complementary colors.  These bold, eye-catching combinations are formed with shades that are directly across from each other on the wheel. Other color combinations include:

  • Analogous: Three colors directly next to each other on the color wheel
  • Split complementary: A primary color and the the shades on either side of it’s direct compliment
  • Double complementary: Two sets of complementary colors, equidistant from each other on the color wheel
  • Triadic: Three colors equidistant from each other on the color wheel
  • Monochromatic: a single color and its various shades and tones

Once you have your color palette in place, experiment  with different shades until you find a combination that’s easy on the eyes and fits your brand’s personality. Ideally, you should go for a neutral base color, and two complimentary colors to create a contrast. A third, contrasting color can help highlight important information in your brand communication.

Colors can influence customer perceptions and purchase decisions — a glimpse of the right shade can stimulate brand recall.  And the best storytellers know how to take advantage of this. Whether it’s Axis Bank’s Burgundy Banking or McDonald’s iconic golden arches, colors have become a way for to build brand identity and tell the story.

AdvertisingBrandingMarketingSocial Media

10 Brands with a Story to Tell

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Since the dawn of time, stories have captured the human imagination, making us empathize with characters we’ve never met. In recent years, even brands have turned to storytelling to enthrall the audience and pique their curiosity. Television and other video advertisements in particular use stories to make products relevant. Here are five visual storytelling routes your brand can follow for an entertaining and engaging campaign.

Sharing a Legacy

If your brand is an industry old-timer, your rich history is a story just waiting to be told. Two brands that have used this to their benefit are:

Johnnie Walker

Ad: The Man Who Walked Around the World

Agency: BBH London

The popular whiskey brand released a video featuring scottish actor Robert Carlyle — detailing the company’s growth from homebrewed whiskey stocked in a local grocer’s to one of the most recognizable brands worldwide. A man walking a mountain path talking about Johnnie Walker doesn’t sound particularly compelling, but the carefully choreographed screenplay and symbolic cinematography make this ad shine.

The Automobile Association

Ad: We’ve Seen it All

Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB

To celebrate its 110th year, The Automobile Association released an ad that takes us on an amusing trip down memory lane, featuring their more interesting jobs — from saving a War reenactment to towing a politician in front of Whitehall. The bizarre incidents are sprinkled with that good ol’ British humor we all love; and at the very least, make you raise a bemused eyebrow.

Sticking to a Theme

Sometimes the core ideal of your brand is enough to inspire a story that resonates with your target audience. It’s easy to fall into cliché with this route, but offering a fresh and unique story like the following brands will put you a cut above the rest.

The Guardian

Ad: Three Little Pigs

Agency: BBH

This ad gives the age-old fairytale a new twist. In it, The Guardian follows the investigation of Three Little Pigs, who are taken into custody for boiling the Big Bad Wolf alive. The unique take on a classic tale uses familiarity to engage the audience and highlight The Guardian’s promise of complete coverage. Unfortunately for these three pigs though, the story continues beyond ‘happily ever after’.

Jordan

Ad: Every 2nd Counts

Agency: AKQA

Most brands in the sporting category promote similar core values. For Jordan to stand out from the crowd, it needed a thematic variation to stick in the viewer’s mind. AKQA in China did exactly that, prompting the viewer to ask themselves — what if you couldn’t move forward unless you succeed? It goes beyond the usual montage of inspiring imagery set to a voiceover and creates an ad that could easily be mistaken for a short film.

Highlighting a Product

A good story doesn’t have to be about the brand. Instead, it can highlight a feature of the product or service you offer. Ads that follow this route are a dime a dozen, but there are a few brands that masterfully craft a story that places their product as the hero.

Audi RS7

Ad: Duel

Agency: Venables Bell & Partners

At its core, this over-the-top, action-packed TV spot is a simple story about a beautiful car. What sets it apart from hundreds of other automobile ads is the way the story is told. We start at the aftermath of an epic battle and quickly work our way back to the start. Interestingly we don’t learn what the ad is about until the very end, when the car is finally revealed.

Google

Ad: Reunion

Agency: Ogilvy Mumbai

Here, Google tells a heartwarming story of friendship while still keeping Google features front and center. The seamless integration of its services serve to enhance the story without seeming out of place.

Staying Relevant

Sometimes the trick to making a story relevant to the viewer is to draw on current events. Amul ads are a classic example of this, but there are other brands that have used this strategy successfully too.

Cheerios

Ad: 3rd Shift

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi USA

Can a cereal company put out a heartwarming, topical commercial in 30 seconds? Cheerios highlights the sacrifices many Americans make to stay employed in an unstable job market and turns them into an emotional moment between father and son. This ad shows that a poignant story doesn’t have to be longer than a few seconds.

Procter & Gamble

Ad: The Talk

Agency: BBDO New York

With racial tensions in the US so high that they’re making international news, it’s not hard to see where Procter & Gamble drew their inspiration from. The ad shows black parents over the years speaking to their children about the challenges they will face. It’s the dual purpose behind this ad that really makes it stand out — telling a story that is long familiar to a sector of the audience and inspiring a change among the rest.

Creating a Connecting Thread

There are times when one ad is not enough to tell the story you want. Follow the lead of these brands and stretch your narrative across a series instead.

Sakeru Gummy

Ad: Sakeru Gummy vs Long Sakeru Gummy

Agency: Unknown

Japanese commercials have a reputation for being… interesting, for lack of a better term. This series of ads certainly lives up to that reputation, and has recently been doing the rounds on the internet. The secret to its success? A story which plays out like a soap opera, equal parts dramatic, cheeky, and downright hilarious.

State Bank of India

Ad: NRI Banking

Agency: DDB Mudra West

A more subdued example is the State Bank of India’s NRI banking series. This narrative stars a young man who faces his family’s ire as he hasn’t come home in time to help with his sister’s wedding preparations. The beauty of these ads lie in their simplicity, as they pull in the viewer by presenting a familiar story.

What are your favorite examples of visual storytelling? Leave a comment and let us know!

Digital MarketingMarketing

Four Things ‘Where’s Waldo?’ Teaches Us About Marketing

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What does marketing have in common with a children’s puzzle book? More than you think! ‘Where’s Waldo?’ has made countless players scratch their heads in search of the elusive Waldo in pictures crowded by red herrings, and your business is doing the same. Here are some lessons from Waldo’s school of marketing.

Pay attention to details

In a sea of red and white clad cartoons, there is only one Waldo. It’s the little details that set him apart — his hat, glasses, and hairstyle for instance. Similarly, your future consumers are out there, looking for the small details that make you better than the rest — any feature that is exclusive to your business is an asset. Figuring out your USP and boosting it effectively can go a long way in taking your business to the next level.

Choose the right ‘Waldo’

Just like you pick out the right Waldo from a scene of decoys, it‘s also your job to identify the right target market for your business. Going after clients that fall outside of this target zone is ultimately a waste of time and resources. Once you narrow down your ideal audience, you can focus on building a loyal and consistent consumer base, rather than chasing every possible client that passes your door.

Earn their attention

The appeal of ‘Where’s Waldo?’ lies in the thrill of the search. The game captures your attention by forcing your brain to work a little harder than it’s used to. This is why tried-and-tested marketing strategies lose effectiveness over time as consumers become too familiar with them. When a company offers a fresh marketing idea, it excites the audience and engages their brains in a new way. Well-earned attention is a surefire way to gain new clients.

Don’t be Waldo

Waldo is so difficult to find because he hides in plain sight, blending into his surroundings — your business should not. Especially when it comes to its online presence. The internet is full of businesses vying for clients and it’s easy to get lost in the swell. While it is tempting to push yourself onto every potential customer who can use a search engine, attracting the right clients to your website works out better in the long run. Make sure your business gets the traffic it deserves by using relevant, specific keywords in all your content.

In today’s saturated market, it can be difficult to make a mark on your consumers. Take a page or two out of a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ book for the skills you need to stand out from the crowd.