When it’s right to be boring

mission graphics encourages our branding inspiration to be like the brown truck

If you are the captain of your company's brand, you already get this... or possibly need this core-level reminder...!

If you're part of the company, use the logo, create collateral, contract out work that promotes your company... listen up.

Brown Trucks

If you see a brown square-like truck driving down your street, the fact of the matter is that you don't even need to see the logo to know an awful lot about that truck.

  1. It represents trucks that we see all over the globe.
  2. It is a fairly dependable delivery vehicle.
  3. The person at the wheel is going to be wearing dark tan and has a matching hat.
  4. The closed back end of the truck is full of parcels, either coming or going with hundreds of fun and exciting things inside.
  5. It's an American icon.
  6. Even though you can't quite make it out yet, you know that the golden blip on the exterior is a shield logo with 3 clearly marked letters.
  7. It's the UPS truck.

Now how in the world did we know all that? Boring branding.

However, if you're the brand manager, it's all BUT boring. It's thrilling. You're a total geek. Everything is crisply and cleanly presented. It's an easy job. Use the same font everywhere. Same spacing. Same color palette. Same basic genre of photography. Same on TV, in magazines, online, on packaging, on product. Sweet!

In your company, how predictable is your visual communication to your marketplace? Are you being good and boring? If not, maybe it's time to go back to the basics, back to the drawing board, back to the familiar and consistent. Develop your own brown truck so that when people see what you're producing, they KNOW it's you and not your competitor.

It's not about you

Here's the absolute key. Branding is for everyone else. Branding is for your customer base and your potential new customers. You be the boring one with colors, fonts, logo placement, messaging and imagery so that your customers see consistency.

Are you ready? I'm about to drop a huge bombshell. Not EVERY customer will see EVERY piece that represents your company! Woah. Did you hear that? I don't mean to be condescending, but the rub is when our minds get this idea that we need to get creative, think outside of the box and come up with something new. With seasonal campaigns? Yes. With branding? No, no, no. We are the ones who see every piece that represents our company... and we get tired of it. We all love change. We love new and exciting. But in reality, changing too many things in our brand message (both visual and verbal) will confuse the living daylights out of our current and future customers. There will be little loyalty built around our brand if we dabble too much into brand variation.

Internal vs. External

Here's the last point, and some would say it's a clincher. We need to be JUST AS consistent and boring in our internal communication as I'm encouraging us to be with the external.

Our team needs to buy in. They need to be on board. (The larger the team, the more critical this becomes). Our team needs to see the brand logo in the same position, size, color, and they need to see the same brand fonts and same consistent visual and verbal brand messaging from leadership. If they see it exemplified by leadership, they are likely to understand the value and follow it. (Can I get an 'Amen!'?... like that will preach on so many levels.)

So really. Why should I be boring with my brand?

Because every company needs a [the equivalent in principle of a ] brown truck. A representation of who we are. A consistent visual reminder that we will deliver on a promise, that our customers matter, that we are here to serve each other with goods and/or services that meet genuine needs and desires.

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