What The Women Running For Office Can Teach Us All About Branding
How do you stand out from the pack?
The women running for the highest office in the US sure seem to know and there is a lot we can learn from them when it comes to creating impactful branding, so let’s dig in!
For starters, did you know that almost every candidate since World War II has used some variation of the red, white, and blue colour palette?
Fast Company put together the handy graphic below, which includes the branding for every major candidate going back to 1952, and to say it errs on the monotonous side would be a bit of an understatement.
Of course, it makes perfect sense that previous candidates would stick with these colours for their campaigns. The red, white, and blue combo is synonymous with the United States, thanks to their flag and a million pop culture references, and just saying those words can conjure up images of peak Americanism.
But, the women running for office aren't like every candidate we've seen since 1952 and the times we live in are feeling pretty extraordinary as well, so instead of sticking with those tried and true colours, they've opted to go in an entirely different direction with their branding.
So, why is this a teachable moment, even when you're not running for office?
Because, if we look at the branding these female candidates have chosen, it perfectly demonstrates how all of the little elements that go into a brand (colours, fonts, graphic elements, messages, etc) are actually all communicating vital points to an audience.
In these cases, the stark divergence in colours from those used in the past, states "we're different than the competition" and "it's business, but not as usual".
Political candidates don't just need to connect with large audiences, they need to really resonate with them if members of those audiences are going to get out of bed on election day, stand in a long line, and cast a vote in their favour. And, because the candidates can't literally speak with everyone one-on-one, try as they might, their branding needs to work double time for them, communicating messages about who they are and what they stand for even when they're not present.
Take Kamala Harris' branding for example. Not only has she chosen to subvert the traditional political colour scheme with a yellow (a colour that implicitly denotes warmth and joy), she's included the slogan "For the People", which isn't just a matter of fact statement; it speaks to her time as a public defender, where she would start each trail saying "Kamala Harris, for the people".
Her branding then is telling a story about her. It's eliciting emotions through its use of colour (read more about how you too can use colour this way on our sister company's blog), it's illuminating the fact that she cares about people AND has a record of public service, and it shows she's can think outside the box (because the box seems like it's pretty broken right now, so who wants that anyways?).
But again, how does this help you?
Well, you may not want to be president, but if you're running a business, chances are good that the rest of your goals are fairly aligned.
You want to get your message out to a vast audience, you need that audience to be engaged, and you need to foster some kind of emotional connection with them to keep them coming back.
Branding does this for you. Plain and simple.
Sure, you need other things to supplement it like an actual business and regular communications about what you're doing, but your brand is the thing that ties all of that together into a succinct package that people enjoy receiving and, ideally, sharing.
If you're smart about it too, like these candidates have been, then you'll want each part of your branding design to work on multiple levels for you. Yes, the colour pink we've chosen for Design Build Grow is nice, but it also speaks to our target demographic and relays that we're a millennialy minded company. Yes, Elizabeth Warren's font choice is simple, but it's also sophisticated and modern much like her.
Branding then is so much more than pretty pictures.
It's the thing you use to introduce yourself, make connections, and celebrate your audience, so take a page from these candidates books and think about what your competitors are doing and how you can turn that on its head, because, if you do, you're bound to cut through the noise and get noticed.