Understanding the importance of design when you’re just getting started.
One of the biggest challenges when starting a new business is getting noticed in the sea of already overcrowded things that demand our attention.  Whether you have made a new product or provide a new service, there is more than likely someone out there who is already selling the same thing (crazy, I know).
It obviously isn’t easy when no one knows you or what makes you authentic compared to the competition. So how do you make yourself noticeable? How can you grab people’s attention when you’re just another product on the shelf?
Or even more challenging, how do you get people to buy your product when it is similar to one that is already out there by a brand who has a loyal following?

The wine bottle example

Let’s analyze the problem with an example.
You’re hosting a dinner party this evening and while you’re at the store, you decide to be adventurous and buy a bottle of wine you haven’t had yet. As you’re standing in the isle, you quickly realize there are so many options to choose from. So, how do you pick one out?
Typically, people choose wines from wineries they trust, but if you’re trying to find something different and you don’t get to sample it, there are a few factors that help you make your decision:
  • You look for brands you trust
  • Someone has referred one to you
  • Look for a style you like
  • Location of the winery – whether local or a famous area known for good wine
But when you’re looking for something completely different, we can weed all of those factors out, well, aside from the location and style. Now you’re there looking at bottle after bottle of what almost sounds like similar wines. You can read the labels one-by-one, but you don’t really have all the time in the word (besides, the ice cream will melt by the time you do).
So, how are you going to pick a bottle out? Is it the price? Maybe. But the element that easily and quickly grabs your attention is the design of the bottle.

Design matters

Unfortunately, design has come to be somewhat undervalued from a branding standpoint. There are plenty of people willing to design something for you for cheap, but you’re going to get what you pay for.
Considering the wine bottle example again, with so many wine bottles on the shelves, if you had to pick one you have never tried before within a minute, design will play a key role. Think about it.
If you’re looking for a high quality wine, you would look for a high quality design. It makes sense.
Those who have high quality products will want to package it in something that matches that quality. So, depending on the quality you want to represent with your brand, your design needs to reflect that to your audience.
Do you want to look scrappy and rugged?
So should your design.
Do you want to look fancy and modern?
Your design should as well.

Your brand will SHINE through once youR audience approaches you

While your brand defines how unique you are, when no one knows you, you have to find ways to entice people to come to you.
Design is quickly one of the first ways to do that.
In a way like the blue lights attract insects, your visual identity (product, packaging, logo, website, etc.) is going to immediately pick up some people’s attention, and when designed well, it will pick up the right people’s attention.
Once they pick up your product up off of the shelf and can look for more detail, you can start to show other parts of your brand like your unique voice through the text, or showing you’re so confident in your product that you offer an unlimited lifetime warranty.

Your visual identity should attract the right people

It’s possible your product is better than the leading competitor, but if no one knows you, they won’t just pick up your product. Your product could even be cheaper than the competition’s, but through brand recognition and loyalty, people will purchase their product anyway. The struggle is real for those just trying to get started, but those who make it have found a way to get the right people’s attention and grow from there.
Start by defining your target audience – the people who will believe in and buy your product. These are the people you need to attract as soon as possible. Once they get their hands on your product and they like it, then they will start to tell their friends and leave positive reviews, which then encourages more people to purchase your product as well.
To make that first step, your visual identity needs to work for you by attracting your target audience.
Going back to the wine bottle example, certain labels will attract certain people. High-class, foil embossed labels will attract those looking for a more expensive bottle of wine. On the other hand, the more fun labels craftily screen printed on or otherwise, will attract someone looking for something different than the former.
One obviously isn’t more right than the other, but each design clearly attracts a specific audience.

Be true to your brand or the market will call you out

Of course, there are some labels out there that can be deceiving. Some companies have an inferior products, but have put the money into their design to be able to sell it at a higher cost. Unfortunately it happens frequently, but what happens after the consumer makes that purchase? They tell their friends and leave negative reviews discouraging people from buying it.
The market matters and they ultimately decide your fate. But by being true to your brand and having a visual identity to match it and attract the right people, you will succeed.

Do you have any questions or comments about how design helps your brand? Let me know by filling out the form below.

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