27 October 2020
Marketing tactics: Make them simple
It often amazes me how one of the simplest marketing tactics can receive applause from within and outside a company. Take, for example, Morton’s. The maker of salt whose navy blue packaging with the Morton Salt Girl resides in just about everyone’s kitchen.
The brand announced a design system that keeps all of its products – not just table salt – within a recognizable structure. The navy blue and girl remain, but with enough variants for consumers to recognize the difference between products.
My question: Why wasn’t this done before? Morton’s has been around for more than 100 years. And it only now reaches into the bag of marketing tactics do this?
Consistency is a key element for any marketing or branding endeavor. And design should follow suit. Target audiences should always recognize your brand. And you must guide them through your choices. Complexity is always the enemy.
“The best marketing tactics don’t work that way. The parent brand must remain the hero, with small variations to distinguish offerings.”
Marketing tactics should never create complexity
I bring this up not to rag on Morton’s. But to raise the point that marketers too often lose sight of the effect of what they’re doing. For example, we’ve worked heavily in the medical device industry. An industry that feels it must brand every new product separately. Like they have the marketing budgets of Proctor & Gamble where each brand stands alone.
The best marketing tactics don’t work that way. The parent brand must remain the hero, with small variations to distinguish offerings.
Integra LifeSciences faced such a dilemma. It offers thousands of products, from a tissue ablation system to a scalpel. Like its device brethren, it branded all of those separately. Not only is that exhausting. It’s inefficient.
So, when Integra came to us, one of the marketing tactics we recommended was to make the system much simpler. Just name the products with the parent brand and a descriptor. That way, customers could navigate more easily through its portfolio.
To use a cliché, brands often don’t see the forest through the trees. Meaning, they see each effort as a singular entity. Without seeing the overall purpose.
Marketing tactics support a larger effort. A design system like what Morton’s is applying makes simple sense. Always ask yourself, “Is what we’re doing creating more complexity or more simplicity?” Then you’ll know whether it’s the right thing to do or not.
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