Resist the Shiny

a close-up view of a disco ball

Shiny objects are tempting. It’s easy to get sucked into the world of new things that make us feel trendy, important and relevant. But as life will have it, good things don’t last forever, and these shiny objects can fade quickly into the shadows of the next big thing.

What are examples of shiny things?

We need an app for our business. Are you really sure? There are thousands of apps submitted to app stores on a daily basis—a daily basis! If you think you’re trying hard to cut through your industry of competition in just your local landscape, don’t think that it will be easier in the app world.

According to TechCrunch and Nielson research, people spend a lot of time on their phone devices yes—but they are typically only using 5 apps regularly. They are also quick to uninstall apps they don’t use regularly. How influential is your app going to be to fit into that regular usage for a user? Are you making an app because it will actually solve a problem, or are you making an app because it will give your business the appearance of being “current” and you “think” users will love it?

Creating apps as a standalone product to solve a real-world problem is one thing, but creating apps as an “extra” just to say you have one for your business is another. Be sure it’s app-solutely a need for your audience! 😉

We need a Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blog, and every social media channel that exists. Don’t get me wrong. Social media is great, and I personally consume and create content on many channels. I use these channels to promote my business as well. However, it’s important to understand that social media is like a garden. If you don’t nurture all the plants (social channels), they are going to wither away. And if your garden looks neglected, your image (brand) suffers. It takes a lot of work to maintain social media, and it’s hard to learn the “green” social thumb!

You know the saying that you can’t help others until you help yourself. It’s sort of the same concept here. How can you help your audience if you can’t even manage your own brand consistently? How is your audience able to trust you if it appears you can’t juggle all the social channels you have open?If you are serious about social media, you need to stick to a thought-out strategy and show up consistently in pattern to your audience. Know that it takes great time to launch and maintain any social channel in order to provide unique, valuable content to your audience.

We need our website to look like those cool scrolling kinds. Ah, the parallax scrolling and usually with a hint of some sort of bootstrap framework. It can be appropriate for some websites, but for others it just isn’t. If everyone is using the cookie-cutter scroll and template, how do you stand out? Do you want to look like every other website out there? Does it really fit your brand and match the intended user experience? It’s not always the case, so be sure to do your design homework.

I could add far more examples to this shiny list, but these are just a few. Now, I’m not implying that any of these shiny things are bad and shouldn’t be used; nor am I implying they will go away in trends. What I am saying is that if shiny features are used, there should be a valid business and user experience reason behind it with ways to measure its effectiveness.

Takeaway: Do your serious design and business homework before diving into popular design trends and shiny features. There is a difference between purposeful and intentional website functions vs nice-to-have features that may add more glitter cover-up to your palette than actual value. All your design decisions should line up with a business goal.

Action Steps: Prior to making any design decisions, it’s important to do research.

  • Stay connected with your audience and ask for their feedback. You are trying to meet their needs, so listen to what they have to say. Then analyze this feedback and see how it can influence your website design in a positive direction.
  • Do a thorough comparative and competitive analysis to see what others are doing. What are you doing differently, and can this gained knowledge be used to positively influence your brand?
“A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last.”
– Jeff Bezos –

Brands Have Feelings Too

A string of lightbulbs lighting up a dark room

You may be familiar with the quote from Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Feel is the keyword there. It taps into that emotional part of ourselves, that unexplainable and uncontrollable component of the human being. When it comes to marketing and communication strategies, this is the core you want to hit. You want to tap into one’s emotional self–because after all: “people will never forget how you made them feel”. Emotions are where impressions are made, and you need many and many impressions in order for your brand to stick with people and persuade them to take action.

What are some examples where emotion plays a role?

  • Have you ever purchased the latest fashion trend at a big brand name store because youfeel it will make you a more confident person in those clothes?
  • Have you ever signed up for a rewards program because the sales pitch made you feel like you were cared for with your saving interests in mind?
  • Have you ever bought a food product simply because it had the word “organic” or “low fat” on the front of it because it made you feel like it was a healthier alternative than the product next to it?

Most often our buying decisions are made through our emotions. As you build your own company brand, emotions need to be kept in mind. You want your audience to have a positive experience with your brand, one they will remember and share with others as brand advocates. The greatest parts of your brand are the intangible elements, like emotional impact.

To revisit Maya Angelou’s quote above as it relates to brand: “People will never forget how [your brand] made them feel.” Ensure your brand is providing an experience your audience will want to return to time and time again.

Takeaway: People have emotions about your brand. Ensure your brand experience is worth them revisiting and sharing with others.

Action Steps: Use emotions as a measurement to see if your brand is on track with the experience you want your brand to reflect.

  • Ask for feedback from your audience to assess how they feel about your brand. Are their feelings aligned with what you want your brand to represent?
  • Revisit your company’s messaging and communication tactics and identify the emotions associated with them. Are they consistent and relevant with what you want your brand to represent?
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.”
– Dale Carnegie –