24 Mar When less is really more: Debranding and the search for authenticity
Over the course of the last few years, you might have noticed companies across all industries simplifying their branding. Well, there’s much more to this change than just the world’s obsession with flat design. The future of branding is looking like a radical, widespread debranding movement.
Because consumers know a ploy when they see one. And they’re completely sick of them.
Our opinions are louder and clearer than ever, and brands are responding by showing what they really stand for beyond the sale. As Fast Company once said, “the brand that screams the loudest no longer commands the most attention.”
An end to the skepticism
Consumers are more suspicious of brands than ever; and authenticity, whether perceived or real is enough to cut through the noise and make a statement. In an interview with the Guardian, Sally O’Rourke, managing director of the brand insight consultancy Promise Communispace said “The sheer amount of competing information out there means that it is no longer sufficient for brands to shout louder than others in the marketplace about their virtues. Consumers are growing weary of the noise.” Brands have to scale the gimmicks back and start showing off what they’re really made of.
A cure for the disconnect
After the widespread success of Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign, it seemed like everyone wanted to play the name-dropping game; but debranding means so much more than removing your name from packaging or your logo. It should be an honest effort to make your company feel personal and approachable.
Debranding can also help draw focus to your message away from the context of associations. Pulling your brand name away from front and center allows the message to be the star of the show, free from preconceived notions. People will be free to focus on the story instead of their thoughts about the storyteller. In this case, it’s important to strike a fine balance. The idea is to stretch someone’s understanding of your brand, not contradict it.
Creating an authentic connection
Drawing some of your brand assets into the background helps create connections based on the value of your product and how it fits into someone’s lifestyle. Debranding is essentially making the statement that you genuinely care. A brand that scales back is one that doesn’t take itself too seriously….and to an overwhelmed buyer, that’s a breath of fresh air. People favor the brand that makes their lives easier over the brand that tries to make the biggest statement for one simple reason: Trust.
So, does this mean brands will finally stop trying to trick you?
While all of this talk about debranding is exciting, the real question is: Will brands really stop trying to trick you, or will some resort to tricking you in less pervasive ways? When it comes to modern branding, honesty will reign.