How to outlast Trends?
Turn a Want into a Need. A Need is usually not temporary, a Want often is.
If as an entrepreneur you uncover a trend to tap into, it can be done in a short-term, unsustainable, yet highly profitable manner: Start shop quickly, gain momentum fast, maximize sales and dissolve immediately upon peak. Done deal. You did not build a brand, but sold a trendy product or service that has run its course, but in a profitable manner.
If you are in it for the long term, despite leading with a trendy product or service, and you want to build an actual brand, ensure to have a long term brand strategy formulated. It does not even need to have a direct relation to the trend, only to the audience and category. Your audience would not know, they are blinded by (and excited to buy into) the trend, but once the trend fades, the audience is yours and you will be ready to tap into them with the next product or service that speaks not to their initial Wants, but this time to their Needs. You planned for that to happen. The consumer already likes your offering, and if the trend faded, but you have another product ready to sell that fits their needs, they will make the purchase based on the trust your brand has established. You successfully created a trendy product and turned it into a sustainable brand. With this strategy you tap into a momentary want (a trend) yet allowing you to keep the same consumer for their ongoing needs.
If you are destined to dive into the risky business of building a brand based on a single trend, make sure to lead with the candy row for their wants, but then build the rest of the store to sell them the meat and potatoes they actually need.
In case you were stuck in an all afternoon meeting, or took an afternoon off during yesterday’s WWDC 2013 announcement, Apple revealed its new Operating System design. Even if you are not an Apple Brand Advocate (anymore), your brand (launch) will be feeling the aftermath of the design language Apple just unleashed on millions of earthlings. Here is how I predict it will affect your brand design:
Icons lost their 3D look and this will finally spill back into the design of corporate identities. Days of pricey re-designs of Fortune 500 logos that basically added a 3D effect (AT&T, Capital One, Etc) are finally gone and simplicity in identity design will reign once again.
Apple’s use of transparency for navigational panels will trigger a move towards multiple translucent layers creating depth within digital interfaces. This would allow for multitasking and kill the traditional ‘top level navigation’ bar, allowing users to open multiple levels of navigational hierarchies based on transparency levels. Users will see the ‘page’ they are on while transparent layers will allow for unobtrusive ways of navigating down a couple of levels without ever leaving sight of your current ‘screen’.
Long gone are the days of black being the go-to color to convey luxury and sophistication. I predict layers of transparency quickly moving off screen and popping up across all media from print to on-air commercials, making white the predominant color (Is white a color you ask?) despite Pantone’s color predictions for 2014.
Images Courtesy Of Apple.
I was asked the question, ‘What current trends in logo design do you truly hate?’ at a panel discussion at NYU back in December. I felt it was time to manifest my strong feelings towards trends in logo design. It’s an oxymoron. A logo shall never be trendy. Trends come and go, your brand identity is created to stick around for a mighty long time, hence ruling out even the remote possibility of making it trendy.
Your logo can still be modern, exciting and speak to a young audience – it just can not look like a trend. How would you know? Your idea might have been derived from something you saw, maybe you liked it because it looked hip – maybe you’ve seen similar logos before and you felt yours should follow the lead. Don’t. Lead rather than follow. First with your logo, then with the rest of your brand.
I hope the very painful overly retro compilation below will make the point even more convincing. If it’s a trend, others will follow and you will end up blending in, and there’s nothing hip about blending in. It’s tough because you thought you finally had the chance to jump on the hip bandwagon. Your logo is not the right channel for that, but you can always use a one-off campaign to do something trendy with your brand instead.