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THE ROLE OF HUMOR IN BRANDING

There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to your brand identity. Businesses have to decide if their content should be professional or relaxed, academic or casual, use formal language or internet slang, etc. One tool that your brand might also benefit from is humor.

Humor is a bit tricky to master – in the marketing world, it’s kind of like playing with fire. When used right, humor can draw in lots of new views and interest to your company, and with the right content on your page, you can sell them on your product or service. When done wrong, however, humor can alienate your ideal customer base and drive away clients.

So, how do you use humor in branding, and what makes funny content so volatile? Let’s get to the punchline.

What good humor looks like

Like any other piece of content you put out, good humor depends on your brand, your core demographics, where the content is published, and the purpose of using humor. A positive example of effective humor is Old Spice. Just mentioning the name, you probably thought of Terry Crews satirically yelling into the camera while the background changes from scene to outlandish scene. What do you think happens when customers see Old Spice in the store? Not only does humor make the product memorable, but it also tells potential customers what the product is, even though the marketing itself is satirical.

Humor works for Old Spice because it’s part of the brand itself. However, humor can be dangerous, especially for brands that aren’t based on funny marketing. A great example of this is when American fashion company Kenneth Cole joked that “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo” because they just saw KC’s “new spring collection.” Aside from being ridiculously insensitive to the Arab Spring, this tweet also demonstrates what not to do with humor:

  1. Don’t hijack something that isn’t relevant to you – in this case, the #Cairo tag
  2. Don’t use humor without substance – emphasize the product, not the joke
  3. Don’t pander – trying to gain sales from an audience by “speaking their language” will always backfire
  4. Don’t be controversial or insensitive

Why (good) humor works

Assuming you’ve landed the joke, good humor works because it draws positive attention to your brand! Humor increases interest and attracts more consumers, which is especially important if you are entering the industry and trying to gain more customers. The downside to this is that there’s a tradeoff between humor and substance: in order to actually gain sales, you need your humorous content to draw customers in while also having enough marketing material to actually sell your product. 

The drawbacks of being funny

Humor without substance is just empty advertising. You might get thousands of retweets or a Buzzfeed mention, but if your content doesn’t also list the benefits of your product or the reason customers should prefer your business, then you’ll only go down as a short-lived meme.

Companies must also be wary of the Vampire Effect. The Vampire Effect is when funny advertisements are a distraction to the audience. A great example of this is during the 2016 Super Bowl, when Mountain Dew aired that really bizarre commercial of the “Puppy Monkey Baby.” Years later, Super Bowl fans probably remember the odd creature with no recollection of the business that made it. (This ad is also a great example of pandering and substanceless humor). Your humor must be intertwined with your brand, like with Old Spice, not just an afterthought to your brand identity.

Humor is a risk

Even jokes that are funny, relevant, and germane to your brand don’t always stick. Everyone has a different sense of humor, and you never know what will latch on, but the key is to make sure your content doesn’t alienate your potential customers or make them cringe at your products.

Thinking of incorporating humor into your brand? Need help with branding and marketing materials? CAST Design can help! We’re experts in branding and visual storytelling, and we know how to create brands that draw customers in and make them laugh. Contact us for a free assessment and we’ll get you started on crafting some funny business.

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FONTS AND WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS

FONTS AND WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS

When you think of the logo for just about any business, you probably see it as just that – a collection of letters, colors, artwork, and shapes in a cohesive design. What you probably don’t know, though, is that there is an entire psychology and thought process behind which font or typeface you decide to use for your company. You’re ultimately communicating your brand message in a visual way, and the typeface is the “face” and personality of your brand. This doesn’t mean just your logo, but in any way you choose to market yourself. Your website, blog, social media profiles, and business cards should all convey the message you are trying to communicate and reflect your personality as a business.

In order to understand the psychology of the different font styles, we have to explore them a little further.

Serif

Serif is the most commonly used font category. They are easy-to-read fonts with short edges coming off the letters and can accompany just about any personality or mood you would like to set. You might associate traits to them such as reliability, dependability, conventionality, tradition, or see them as being neutral. Maybe your company has been established for decades and is something you want clients to feel like they can depend on and trust. You may consider using a Serif font in your content.

Sans Serif

Sans Serif, without those aforementioned short edges, is also widely used as a neutral font but is a little more contemporary than Serif fonts. It is seen as clean, simple, stable, powerful and modern. When choosing a font for body text, you can’t do better than this for readability. Sans Serif fonts can also evoke informality and can be used well online for personal blogs, websites, and casual business settings.

Script

Script fonts look handwritten, friendly, and graceful, and add a human touch to your content. They are seen as elegant and sophisticated, expressing creativity and femininity. You probably won’t see many full paragraphs of script font (and you really shouldn’t!) but these fonts can pack a punch in the emotional response if used well.

Modern

Modern fonts catch your eye and are well-structured. They vary greatly but can be seen as intelligent, determined, progressive, stylish, and chic. You might see a lot of this style in fashion or tech industries.

Display

Display fonts are decorative fonts that can work well in logos because they are easy to tailor to the vibe of your company. They are dynamic with strong personalities and are seen as quirky, fun, and unique. Be careful when using a Display typeface that it truly reflects the vibe for which you are striving.

Other Considerations

There are other factors to consider with the fonts from your logo and content. The space between letters, called kerning, can also say something about your brand. A logo with large white spaces can be seen as modern and mysterious. If you choose to use all caps you can be seen as authoritative. Use all lowercase, and you’re seen as youthful and friendly. Italics can be used to show motion in a logo. The list goes on!

To sum it up, the goal of your business’ font is to capture people’s attention and turn that into a customer relationship. If the font is unreadable or sacrifices functionality for being pretty, your brand’s message will not be delivered to your audience. Because we associate certain feelings and emotions with different font styles, it’s important to figure out the type of message you’d like to share and go from there. Find fonts that match your company’s tone and aesthetic and you can’t go wrong. 

Do you need help building your brand and deciding on a font? CAST Design is here to help. We specialize in branding and visual storytelling, creating company identities that stand out against the crowd. Contact us at Cast Design Team for a free assessment and we will get you started on the next step to branding your business.

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THE POWER OF EMPATHY IN BUSINESS AND SALES

THE POWER OF EMPATHY IN BUSINESS AND SALES

The connections you make with your customers are key to building and sustaining an effective company. Your customers need to trust not only in the product but also in the company itself; brands that inspire trust tend to generate greater customer satisfaction, resulting in higher sales and better referrals.

One of the ways a business can inspire this trust is to act with empathy towards their clients. Now, “acting with empathy” is a pretty broad statement – after all, businesses aren’t people, and a business that pretends to be a person will be scoffed at and avoided. So, how can empathy boost your business and generate sales?

First, we need to define empathy. Empathy is, in simple terms, the ability to understand the feelings and emotions of others. To act with empathy, one must step into the shoes of another person and see what they see; you can’t just assume, you have to know the other person’s thoughts and concerns.

Acting with empathy is the key to improving your business. After all, you started this business to offer a product or service that can benefit your customers, so you need to consider how your product is affecting your customers from their point of view. Is this product user-friendly? Is their experience with the product/service as convenient as possible? Are all concerns met through your customer service? These questions and more need to be answered to properly step in your customers’ shoes and make the necessary adjustments to your products and business model.

One key thing we want to emphasize is that empathy is not a power to be abused – after all, empathy is a gift that distinguishes humans from other animals. Empathy has the power to build communities, create genuine connections, and improve lives, but the key is to use empathy with the goal of benefiting others – otherwise, it isn’t empathy.

So, what are the benefits of an empathy-led company? First, it fosters trust in your brand. This alone carries a lot of opportunities for your business: brand identity means your customers are more likely to stick with you over a different competitor and pay more for your product. Second, customers who identify with and trust in your brand are more likely to recommend your company to their friends and family, helping you further sustain your business. Since your customers know and love your company and feel recognized through your customer service, their high reviews can bring in new customers, both through their existing relationships and on any social media channels they post to.

Finally, understanding your customer’s needs can help guide your marketing materials and product improvements. Knowing who your customers are, what they need, and how they communicate can help forge stronger bonds, both with your current relationships and with your potential ones.

Businesses that act with empathy foster better relationships with their customers and create stronger communities. By fulfilling your customers’ needs and seeking to understand their backgrounds, your company will be better prepared for its future.

Need help developing a brand based on empathy? Looking to improve your existing relationships or target the right audience? CAST Design can help! We’re experts in branding and visual storytelling, and we help businesses like yours foster better relationships with their customer base. Contact us at Cast Design Team for a free assessment and we’ll get you started on the next step to branding your business.

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BUILDING GOOD AGENCY CLIENT RELATIONS

BUILDING GOOD AGENCY CLIENT RELATIONS

The relationships you build with your clients lay the groundwork for your business. Strong relationships in which both parties benefit can have lasting implications for your sales, your brand, and the future of your company. You already know this, and you probably know that great agency-client relationships also make work more productive and enjoyable, but do you know how to improve the rapport you’ve built with your customers?

Agency-client relationships are an essential part of your brand – after all, your brand is impacted by how others perceive you, so developing the right connections with your customers is an essential part of upholding your business. Even the most successful businesses can improve their relationships, so let’s discuss the essential components of a strong bond between companies and clients.

Agencies: Know the Client

Positive communication and understanding of the other party is the core of every relationship. It’s no different from company relations, and you need to have a thorough understanding of your client in order to develop a positive relationship. This understanding goes beyond just their name or their needs. Do you know them demographically? Socioeconomically? Educationally? Do they communicate a certain way or have certain expectations of your firm? How you get these answers – whether in person or via a questionnaire or survey – is up to you, but building both positive relationships and an effective brand hinges on knowing your clientele.

Clients: know the company

Of course, a relationship is a two-way street: your clients also need to know about you. This is where a developed brand and solid marketing material can make a huge difference. If your clients don’t know about who you are, what your process is, and the quality of your products and services just by looking you up, they should know everything about you after they’ve reached out, otherwise you haven’t laid the groundwork for a long-term relationship with them. Be sure your clients know who you are and lead with your best, most authentic foot forward in all of your marketing and branding materials.

Be straightforward

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to your communications. If your relationship with your customers is a car, then communication is the wheel, and dialogue that isn’t open and honest can drive the whole thing off-road. You should also encourage your clients to do the same: clients don’t like feeling deceived, and companies like clarity far more than they dislike criticism.

Be consistent

Just like in your branding, keep your communications consistent. How you speak, what you say, and how frequently you keep in contact are all aspects of your image; your brand hinges on how your clients perceive you, and you want to keep this perception positive. Small, unannounced changes can have big impacts on how your customers view your company, so keep it both real and consistent in all of your communications and brand material.

Struggling to develop your brand? Still figuring out how to present yourself to your customers? CAST Design can help! We’re experts in branding and visual storytelling, and we know how to build and maintain effective brands. Contact us for a free assessment and we’ll get you started on building positive relationships right away!