Learn how to leverage the power of simplicity to drive your brand.

This is a good piece written by Michael Coleman, a brand strategy and design consultant with over 20 years experience.

Managing brands for growth in these tough economic times is difficult; but when done right, it looks, well, simple.

A Few Simple Rules. Simple ideas capture imaginations, inspire organizations and motivate audiences. Consistent with this, a few simple rules can assist retailers and designers in ensuring that their brand activities simply are effective.

1. Base everything you do on a simple, compelling, differentiating idea.
Häagen-Dazs touts a few simple ingredients with its Häagen-Dazs Five line. The concept is simple and clear, and everything about the brand supports the idea.

2. Execute your brand expression consistently across media and geographies.
Philips, the global electronics and lighting company, uses its “Sense and Simplicity” tagline more as a corporate covenant. The idea extends to products, marketing, service contracts – wherever the brand is manifested. Apple transfers the iconic simplicity of its user interface, industrial design and packaging to its retail settings, offering a holistically unified brand experience.

3. Avoid jargon.
Use plain, honest, unpretentious language in the verbal elements of your retail merchandising design. Think Strunk. Think White. Volkswagen built an entire design language around simple forms, and its verbal expression is honest, to the point and reflective of its historically “of-the-people” sensibility.

4. Edit, edit, edit: not just verbally, but visually and conceptually.
We all know the maxim that “less is more,” so put it into practice with all of your merchandising components. Every element you add needs to “pay its way” in furthering the central brand promise. If it doesn’t, you should think twice, or three times, about adding it. Bang & Olufsen, the design-driven manufacturer of high-end audio and video hardware, mirrors its simple, elegant products in the design of its retail spaces, creating a seamlessly elegant shopping experience that ignites desire even among non-audiophile consumers.

5. Create a culture of belief around your brand’s promise.
Make sure you manage all brand points with the central theme of your brand in mind. Southwest Airlines nailed this by consistently offering a pleasant, friendly flying experience from real people who actually seem to value travelers’ business. Nordstrom’s famously shopper-centric attitude drives sales and loyalty.

6. Revisit your merchandising vehicles regularly.
Are there too many elements? If so, borrow a page from Barry Schwartz’s book and simplify.

Click on this link to view the entire article. http://vmsd.com/content/creative-kickstarts-make-it-simple?page=0%2C0

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