Why all the succulents? 3 steps to start a minimalistic marketing campaign for your business today.

Published June 25, 2019
Author: Elora Griswold, special to Maine Creative

The Italian designer Massimo Vignelli, famous for crafting New York City’s street signage along with countless corporate design projects, once said:
 
“Minimalism is not a style. It is an attitude, a way of being. It’s a fundamental reaction against noise, visual order, disorder, vulgarity. Minimalism is the pursuit of the essence of things, not the appearance.”
 
It is easy to see why minimalism has saturated the marketing world if we assume that it is a “reaction against noise,” as Vignelli once claimed.
 
The numbers speak for themselves. According to data from Interntlivestats.com, the internet gains (per second!):
 
 
Perhaps as a cultural reaction to the inundating of information the average person experiences online per day, it seems as though we have stylistically moved to the opposite end of the spectrum in our web design and marketing.
 
Hate it or love it, less is more has become the name of the game– and for good reason.
 
Yet at Maine Creative, we would challenge the opinion that minimalism entails anything “less” than a marketing campaign padded with text and unneeded imagery. In fact, we embody the crux of what Vignelli stated: minimalistic marketing has the unique ability to capture the essence of an overall brand theme.
Instead of wasting time explaining before your customer is interested, let your customer come to you through using simple and powerful language that intrigues interest in your business.
 
So HOW can you start marketing like this? Luckily for you, we outlined the first 3 basic steps to begin minimalist marketing today.
 
1. Describe the essence of your business in three words
 
If you’re like most small business owners and entrepreneurs, the idea of simplifying all the great things your business has to offer to three words may seem a daunting task. Many see fault in minimalistic marketing because it seems as though you are putting a cap on what is expressed through advertisements that cost a pretty penny to purchase.
 
Contrary to this logic, those three words will allow you to widen your customer base and secure a consistent and effective marketing campaign.
 
To explain why dwindling down your messaging will actually increase sales, imagine your advertisement is a net and your customer base is a sea of fish.
 
Each fish that considers entering your net has things that deter and attract them to certain businesses. Ultimately, your goal should be to target a specific audience but still appeal to a larger one.
 
Let’s say you sell axes. Perhaps as a Maine small business, you see real potential to capitalize on Maine’s rich logging history. First, we will show you an example of a small business that did not simplify their messaging and think ahead of time about their brand appeal. Rather, they used the idea of Maine logging to promote their business and thought very little of the larger trends their brand embodies.
 
AX COMPANY #1:
All the basic elements for success are here: there is a relevant write-up, an eye-catching design, and easily accessible information to their website and social platform.
 
Despite all of these great elements, it lacks a crucial level of accessibility. While Maine residents may appreciate a symbol of their state history, the advertisement does little to bridge the gap to people who simply don’t care. This advertisement is simply too narrow to catch much fish. It does not appeal to any larger emotions that you, as a supplier, want your customers to feel when choosing your brand of axes over others.
 
Just think: why should they choose you over competitors? Once you can answer that question, you’re well on your way to coming up with those three keywords to launch your successful campaign.
 
Our next ax company took a different path and thought of these three words to represent their brand’s appeal:
Exploration, quality, freedom
 
Before you look at the next company, think about these three questions:
 
1) In what subtle ways did they express these three ideas?
2) How much text is in the advertisement?
3) How do YOU feel when you look at the advertisement?
 
AX COMPANY #2:
 
You can see how much easier it is to execute a clean, simple, intriguing design like the one above once you know what feeling you want to be associated with your brand.
 
Exploration and freedom? Check. The subtle use of a vast and untamed wilderness as a backdrop immediately brings forth these feelings in a powerfully visual way.
 
Quality? Check. The design carefully features clean black and white design elements that evoke a sense of class. Unlike John and Ax Co, this company used a consistent color theme and thought about how those colors translate to the viewer.
 
Most importantly, does the advertisement spark a sense of curiosity? Check! How far into that untamed wilderness can a Bob ax take you? Based on this advertisement, we’d say all the way.
 
So, before we move on, take a second now and brainstorm at least three words that summarize the essence of your company. Trust us–you’ll catch more fish with wide net themes.
 
Related image

2. Think about color

 
Almost every company uses the psychological effect of color to their advantage, so why shouldn’t you? If you don’t believe me, check out this insightful graph from https://www.colorpsychology.org/color-psychology-marketing/:
 
 
As you can see, using color strategically can be a powerful tool to connect with your customer base in an unspoken way. Color use is a huge component of minimalist marketing, mainly because it can say so much without cluttered copy stating the obvious.
 
Let’s use eBay’s logo history as an example.
Image result for ebay logo
If you had no idea what eBay was and saw the first 1995 version of their logo, you’d likely assume they were “eBay realtors” or “eBay law firm”. Yet we can see that eBay repented for their folly and embraced the psychology of effective color usage. According to our chart, eBay is trying to project a sense of excitement, trust, optimism, and peaceful growth. As the world’s largest thrift shop, it would be fair to say that eBay uniquely embodies each of these ideals.
 
We can also see the start of a minimalistic trend in the 2012 adaptation, which features a cleaner font choice. Rather than trying to convey a sense of excitement through distorted lettering, eBay let the colors do their job and allowed a clean font to simultaneously project a sense of professionalism in their brand.
 
Take a second to think of which colors best match the three words you isolated in step one.
 
3. Quality over quantity
 
As a Maine design company, we’re constantly looking for ways to translate a clunky webpage into a smooth sailing masterpiece without losing the essence of the brand. Yet the idea of weaning down so many ideas into a coherent and simplified format is a daunting task to many business owners. Before we explore how to focus on quality over quantity, compare the old and updated versions of this webpage that Maine Creative worked on for the Alex Tanous Foundation.
 
 

OLD ALEX TANOUS FOUNDATION SITE

SITE AFTER BEING REDESIGNED BY MAINE CREATIVE

According to a recent TIME article by Tony Haile, the average web user spends a maximum of 15 seconds reading a webpage. Haile claims that:
 
“If you’re an average reader, I’ve got your attention for 15 seconds, so here goes: We are getting a lot wrong about the web these days. We confuse what people have clicked on for what they’ve read. We mistake sharing for reading. We race towards new trends like native advertising without fixing what was wrong with the old ones and make the same mistakes all over again.”
 
Now look back at the older webpage above and begin reading the text. If your eyes started to skim over the copy, you wouldn’t be alone. In order to craft a successful minimalistic marketing campaign, you have to find a way to take all that information and condense it OR store it somewhere that interested users can find.
 
If you look again at the quality over quantity design Maine Creative produced, you’ll see a link to “Tanous’ Research”. Rather than attacking a bored reader with your entire story, think of minimalistic design as a way to ease your reader into your brand by introducing your companies overall feeling on the homepage.
 
Instead of letting your customers spend 15 seconds skimming all the information on the front page, let them spend 15 seconds exploring each easily accessible tab that divides information for them.
 
Want help getting started? Contact Maine Creative today for a free consultation by following this link:
Want more helpful marketing and web design information for your business? Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and newsletter!
 
 

Elora Griswold is a digital media specialist at Maine Creative who focuses on creating effective copy and compelling imagery for marketing campaigns. If you would like help creating an excellent marketing plan, look no further than Maine Creative. Request a free consultation today.

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