Fear of Risk and Business: The Scary World of Creativity

Businesses and their love/hate relationship with creativity

Business seems to have a love/hate relationship with creativity, innovation and fear of risk. They love the idea, but the whole process of bringing a new idea to market carries an element of risk. That’s the part that doesn’t go over so well. Business seems to be comfortable with processes and expected outcome, which is at odds with the whole creative process. I’ve seen companies try and embrace creativity, but only to fail by stifling the process.
If business knows where the innovation will end up, then the whole creative process becomes an implementation project, innovation. Implementation is part of the process however, but the whole creative process involves an element of mess, conflict, emotion, and even a few casualties along the way. When those elements of experimentation are removed from the process, then we aren’t really innovating. If you don’t have a few failures along the way, then you’re not stepping outside of your comfort zone. And that’s where true innovation lies.

Inaction equates a fear of risk

Fear of risk often equates to standing still or adapting at a very slow pace. Opportunities seem to pass by, and this is a truly bad position to be in as a business. If you’re competition is innovating, how will you continue to compete in the future? Time does not stand still, and we must constantly look to the future for ways to innovate and create in order to remain relevant in the near future and beyond. The truth is that the best scientists, the greatest entrepreneurs, designers, politicians and CEOs are all creative. We as human beings like to think that they can be creative. It’s time to tap into that creativity and start coming up with true innovation, for small businesses, large, and for society. Eliminating fear of risk can open up a world of potential for businesses.

 

 

The importance of visual identity in branding for small businesses

Branding for small businesses tips rule number one

Often times a company’s brand is mistaken for its visual identity when developing branding for small businesses. A brand is much more than just a company logo. But that’s not to say that the visual identity of a company is not important. The visual identity is what communicates the brand to the consumer. No one has doubted the power of imagery.
Cave dwellers figured out that they could communicate through symbols by drawing on cave walls. And us humans have been using symbols as a method of communication ever since.

Of course, the logo is one part of the visual identity in branding for small businesses. It is important that there is consistency in the application of that logo, along with the appropriate typefaces, colors and language, as to firmly implant the vision, mission and values of a brand in the mind of consumers. Inconsistent messages are confusing. And when we are bombarded with thousands of messages in any given day, it is critical that potential consumers aren’t confused by the messages are sending out. Customers have an overabundance of choice in today’s world and can easily take their business to a competitor. Lost customers equals loss of revenue. Not good.

A visual identity forms the foundation for customer relations

A well-designed and consistent visual identity forms the foundation for building relationships with your customers. It gives your staff a clear understanding of what the business stands for and works as a way to build allegiance to your company rather than pursuing individual goals. It acts as a way to attract a higher quality candidate in the recruitment process. Professionals want to join a company with clearly communicated values that reflect their own personal values.

Is your visual identity accurately reflecting the true essence of your organization? Often times in branding for small businesses, it is important to go through a brand refresh in order to update existing brand to reflect an evolved business strategy. Just like that wallpaper that seemed like a good idea at the time twenty years ago, a brand needs to be evaluated periodically in order to remain competitive in the market.
So don’t be afraid of the visual identity. Make sure that it properly reflects the true essence of your company, and the cost that comes with establishing the identity will pay for itself exponentially in the long run.

Un_Standard can help you plan a branding for small businesses strategy and create a robust visual identity to match your robust business idea. Contact us today for a free initial consultation with no obligation.

Small Business Website Design Tips: Avoid The Deadly Sins

As a small business, it is critical to make a good first impression. And your website is often times the first place where your customers and potential customers will go for information about you and your company. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. It’s critical that when customers arrive on the frontpage of your website, that they instantly understand who you are and what your business does. And if you neglect your frontpage, then you’re potentially losing customers.
Here are a few basic small business website design tips that every small business needs to double check against. Is your small business website committing any of these deadly sins?

Small Business website design tips number one: make sure that all of your links are working correctly

Have you ever been on a website and clicked on a link only to be taken to the dreaded 404 error page? If a company can’t be bothered to check to see if their website is functioning properly, then it’s probable that they pay the same sort of attention to their customer service, products or user experience. At least, these are the signals that broken links are sending out to potential customers, sending them off to more reputable businesses (i.e. your competition).

Small Business website design tips number two: make sure your contact information is clearly accessible on the home page

A recent survey indicated that over 75% of small businesses don’t have an email link on their homepage. And nearly three-fifths don’t have a telephone number. Customers like having options on how to contact particular companies, so make sure that this information is easy to access. If you’re asking your customers to dig around for ways to get in touch with you, then they’re going to give up and take their business elsewhere.

Small Business website design tips number three: make sure that the images on your home page actually represent what your business does

If you are in the business of paper products, then it’s probably not a good idea to have images of butterflies or family portraits on your home page. As basic as this seems, you’d be surprised how many small businesses elect to put up irrelevant images on their websites. Confused customers can immediately think that this website isn’t what they were looking for and head to the next search entry, immediately taking their potential sale with them.

And also, think twice before you make the images on your homepage do things like shake or spin or play music. They may grab someones attention, but they have a tendency to annoy and irritate, sending those customers away just a quickly as they came.

Small business website design tips number four: be sure to include social media links

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, you would know that social media can be an extremely powerful way to promote your business. So make sure that you include links to your social media sites on your home page, as well as with your blog articles. It’s a great way to get your name out there, regardless of what you do.

Studies Prove Uncluttered Websites Perform Better

New research from SAY Media and IPG have shown that an ad placed on uncluttered websites without overloading the senses of the user are more useful, trusted and effective. This bit of research also indicates that if multiple adverts are placed on simple, uncluttered websites, they also perform better. Shocking revelation, isn’t it? We’ve been taught time and time again that in order to get your message across, the message must be simple, clear and concise. When decorating, we’ve been taught to simplify the amount of objects in a room so that the eye can focus upon said objects rather than darting about in a confused state. So it comes as no surprise that a simple, clean website with an advert allows the viewer to actually notice the advert, and quite possibly react.

We live in a “short attention span” world, where we are constantly bombarded with messages and want to find the information that we are seeking in as quick and easily a manner as possible. According to comScore, the average time spent on a web page is steadily decreasing, with the average user spending just 40 seconds on a single page.  By using a combination of eye-tracking technology and survey research, the study found that viewers spend twice as long with ads on clean pages that feature ads from just one brand. Uncluttered websites also have higher ad recall.

Ads on uncluttered websites have higher performance rates

Some findings from the research are that uncluttered websites and clean pages enhance site perception as well as ad perception. Those sites that were clean and easy to navigate were perceived as being more useful and trustworthy than similar cluttered sites. Ads that appear on clean sites are also always seen, according to eye-tracking data. Less clutter also means higher recall.

So let this be a lesson to all of you webmasters and advertisers out there. Don’t try to cram too many adverts/messages/objects/etc. into your layouts. Less really does seem to be more.