Branding FOMO

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What is on your heart?

We live in the Information Age, and have more options than ever. More options also means more hard choices, and the risk of being afflicted by FOMO is ever existent—even sometimes seeping into our branding work.

FOMO—an abbreviation for Fear Of Missing Out—is a feeling most of us have felt on some level. In short it sounds something like this: “What if I go with option A, and option B was the better choice. I will miss out!”

It manifests on a social level where you wish you could be on two parties at the same time, because “what if the one you didn’t go to is way more fun!” But it also manifests in your constant rebranding—a road that ends in no brand at all.

Since consistency is key when it comes to branding, it is something you must let go of if you want to establish and grow your brand.

Here is a symptom of FOMO in the context of branding: You see an awesome brand, and instantly you go home and start rebranding your start-up to look like what you just saw. The result does not turn out quite the way you wanted it too, and next time you see a great brand, you repeat the process.

You will miss out

Suck it up. You will miss out any way.

Even though you try out all possible brand styles in the whole wide world, there is one thing you will still  miss out on. You will never know what would have happened if you would have stuck with the same brand, developing it over the years.

Coca-Cola's consistent branding.

Ever think the designers at Coca-Cola Company grows tired of using that red?

The fact is, you will miss out on something whatever you choose. It is the nature of choice—one choice is really the elimination of all others. Many of your branding options will all be good, whichever path your choose, but once you’ve chosen you have to stick with it a long time in order for it to stick with your customers, and to create memorability.

It is the nature of choice—one choice is really the elimination of all others.

The mere-exposure effect, or the familiarity principle

In advertising we say that exposure to your brand is still good, even if it doesn’t convert a customer straight away. The reason behind this is the following. If somebody has seen your brand some time in the past, and now stands before a choice between you and a competitor—and the prices and the quality are about the same—they are more likely to go with the brand they have been exposed to.

The familiarity principle, or the mere-exposure effect is a known psychological phenomenon. Research shows that people tend to prefer brands they are familiar with, only because of the familiarity. It has been proved over and over again in many contexts—do a quick google search if you want to dive deeper into that, but for the spectrum of this article, just think for yourself—I am sure you can see, or have seen, this effect in your own life if you pay attention to it.

Research shows that people tend to prefer brands they are familiar with, only because of the familiarity.

Of course the familiarity principle is only a positive factor, if your brand actually gives customers a positive experience. The other side of the coin, I will cover in a planned future article. For now I will just elegantly skip-over that entire field (in the very same way as your brain skips over a familiar brand you hate.)

Familiarity is not opposed to developing your brand

When I say stick with your brand style, I do in no way mean that you shouldn’t develop your brand. The idea is to set certain borders, and then let the development happen around those decided upon core elements.

Limitations is not something negative. It creates a focus to your brand.

The key really is to not move back and forth between different core styles and change your color palette all the time. If you want a deeper read about this, I have written an entire blog post about being creative within your own brand limitations.

Nike's consistent branding.

Do you recognize this brand? Can you tell off the top of your head what they do? And maybe even quote their slogan? If you do, just quote it!

Limitations is not something negative. It creates a focus to your brand. Focus in turn creates clarity when people are meeting the brand for the first time, and memorability when they encounter it a second.

Be consistent. Stay put. Don’t fear missing out. Because you are building the world’s best brand!

This one was written by Benjamin Antoni

I am a Brand Strategist with 10+ years of broad design experience, where UX, web and logo design have been my main focuses. My most comprehensive experience is having built the Red Hat Factory brand from scratch, but I also work part time with helping other brands find their identity and grow from there.

Mail him


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