11 Jan

Why We Cross-Pollinate Branding

Cross-Pollinate Branding Ideas

Ever since a handful of forward-thinking business titans came up with the idea of the assembly line, our world has become more and more specialized. This is especially true in our industry – whereas you used to have graphic designers, now you find web designers, full-stack programmers, UI/UX designers, marketing coordinatorsfront-end developers, and so many other focused creative minds who used to fall under the broad umbrellas of “design” or “marketing.” 

On the whole, this is probably a good and necessary change. Some parts of the marketing process have simply become much too complex for an outsider to keep up with, and certainly there are industries with so many quirks, rules, and regulations that developing a specialty is a necessary step.

At the same time, however, Stressdesign has resisted the pull to a specific industry or market for a long time. There are some that we know more about than others, We use design as a catalyst for business growth, leading with thoughtful branding for all of our customers across dozens of different markets. We'll create logos for clients in one type of business, sales materials for someone else in a whole other industry, and happily create websites for nonprofits, too. 

Conventional wisdom might say that’s a bad idea, but we've actually proven it as a huge benefit. That’s mainly because I believe strongly in the idea of branding cross pollination. To help explain what I mean by that, here are a few things I would invite you to think about… 

Branding is a Specialty All Its Own

A lot of designers framed themselves in terms of “financial brand specialists,” or “retail brand specialists,” just to use a couple of common examples. What that overlooks, though, is that branding is a specialty all on its own.

When you create a visual identity for a client, you aren’t just putting colors, images, and fonts together. You're helping them translate their vision of who they are and what they represent out into a wider world. That’s a big responsibility, requires long-range vision and planning and a more specific skill set than appears on the surface. We do this in a way that yields a platform on which the brand grows and thrives year after year.

The Best Ideas Carry Over Between Industries

Cross pollination presents a huge opportunity for branding companies and organizations. That’s because some of the best ideas, concepts, and inspirations —revolutionary ideas—don’t come from studying your colleagues or competitors, but those who are making an impression in other, entirely-unrelated fields. This tangential approach can lead to exponential improvements in the performance of business communications.

A pleasant byproduct of that is that my team and I can be exposed to some really great design ideas and share them with other clients without taking anything away from the original. In other words, we can help different businesses, and give them all our very best, because they aren’t direct —or even indirect— competitors. 

More Creative Thinking is Better Than Less

When you have to generate designs for a number of different clients and you all work in separate markets and face unique challenges, you’re constantly expanding your knowledge and taking on new perspectives. The box keeps getting bigger, and you have to keep thinking outside of it.

The net of that is better creativity overall. We rarely find ourselves in a rut because the spectrum of new businesses and constraints we come into contact with force us to fire our neurons in different directions. More creative thinking is better than less, and keeping an open mind about different types of projects helps us to stay fluid.

The Missed Meal Factor

Here's a specific example you can apply. Early on in my career, working around the food-service industry, I learned of something called the Missed Meal Factor. This is a financial tool that campus food-services typically consider when pricing meal plans, and trying to keep dining-halls full. On average, the majority of students eat 12 to 14 meals per week. While it is true some students average less than 10 meals per week, even fewer eat all 19. Smaller meal plans are priced such that the per meal cost is higher than a larger plan. It's a pretty straight forward economic principle based on volume pricing. This thinking applied across industries can have tremendous business advantages.

Specialization has its place in the modern world, but don’t forget that it brings a handful of drawbacks, too. The narrower your focus gets, the harder it is to see the big picture, not to mention carrying a great idea from one field to another.

Contact Stressdesign today to learn how Cross-Pollination can help your business.


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