In today’s highly digitalized world, brands are in constant competition with one another. It seems to be an ongoing fight for attention and a battle to see who’s marketing efforts reel in the best ROI. In the past, the most effective (and most popular) marketing mantra was to “sell, sell, sell” as quickly and as aggressively as possible. Now, effective marketing requires an entirely new way of thinking. How do you compel, attract new consumers, retain current consumers, and also accurately represent your brand?
While not always considered a priority, energy services companies that take marketing seriously realize that innovative design should be ingrained in their brand’s marketing. Whether or not you realize it, the design of your marketing tactics, from print collateral to web and digital promotions, should communicate who you are, what you believe in, and what you sell, while also compelling consumers to learn more about your business.
So, what makes for an effective design when it comes to marketing? Here are five major design trends you should be implementing across your marketing right now:
Minimalism with Purpose
Embracing minimalism, and being purposeful in the content you use, is a current trend. This doesn’t necessarily mean using a neutral colour palette. Rather, this style is often based on a simple, yet consistent colour palette combined with interesting font styles that personify a brand or company. All words are used intentionally and are compelling, meaning minimal copy is most effective to tell a clear story. Based on the small amount of copy used, websites which feature this design are very easy to navigate, while ads featuring this design are easy to read and have power behind them. By embracing minimalism and using everything with purpose, basic designs become more complex, allowing your brand to communicate a clear message without being boring or lacking ingenuity.
Modular design, or building with style, is a visually appealing design that does not overwhelm consumers. In other words, modular design makes for a tactic (be it a website, print piece or social media post) that is easy to navigate and understand. Modular design often centers around usability. Consider social networking sites such as Facebook or Instagram or an effective energy industry site, and how their simplified design allows for information to be presented in such a way that users get information easily and quickly. Similarly, the design of apps, and websites that act like apps, are very important to consumers. While mobiles are a prevalent way for consumers to access the web or get information, the demand for people to do so on their phone and be able to get the information right away is extremely high. Modular design, or simple design, helps that happen, and is a major design trend that you should get on board with.
Louder, Braver Colours
The trend of using louder, brighter and braver colours is a popular trend that uses saturated images with bold typography and minimal content (tying in with point number 1). While not often used in the energy industry, being “brave” and consistently making big, bold choices can help you stand out from the crowd. While this trend has been growing since 2016, it has really picked up traction, especially when brands demonstrate support for charitable causes. It’s important to note that too much colour, unless representative of your brand, is overkill. However, using a bright palette with neutral backgrounds can prove to be effective in giving your company a fresh look.
Visual Interest and Movement
Animation has become a major design trend. Adding still videos, cinemagraphs, or other stimulating visuals on your website can help give it life and movement. The “video background” trend has picked up in popularity as websites increasingly use a video background to tell the brand’s story. Businesses can also use explainer or corporate videos (a short video explaining your company, who you are, why you do what you do, and your services/products), brand identity videos (a video which makes more of an emotional connection with consumers to influence their buying decisions), an excitement video (an attention-grabbing video for a product or service launch) and so on. Incorporating video can either be visually captivating or visually annoying, especially considering that adding video to a website can impact the page’s loading time. Finding the right balance between simplicity and complexity is vital to the success of using them.
Candid photos, or “naturally occurring” photos, are more relatable and make better first impressions. While having posed and perfect photos on your website may look professional, people in general are more attracted to authenticity than mimicked perfection, as proven in new research from Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger. In his co-authored research “A Candid Advantage? The Social Benefits of Candid Photos,” Berger and co-author Alixandra Barasch of New York University identified that when observers viewed profiles that displayed unvarnished images — or those that seemed to be unvarnished — they reported feeling more connected to those people and more interested in getting to know them. Consider using more candid photos in your marketing, be it on your website, social media activity, or promotional material. Candid photos can include equipment in motion, a tradesperson doing his or her job, or regular employees doing what they do best, un-posed.
To have value, marketing must drive performance, meaning successful marketing strategies must have a long-term goal. Though smart design strengthens your message and brand while also inspiring curiosity and action from consumers, remember that any major changes to your website, print collateral and social activity should be implemented with a long-term lens. Don’t just throw a video up on your website and call it a day – strategize, implement, and stand out for the right reasons.
About WJ – William Joseph Communications
A recognized leader in the marketing industry, William Joseph is a full-service agency that empowers businesses of all sizes to change the world and achieve bold performance targets. Our commitment to founding all of our solutions on strategy ensures clients connect with their ideal target audience and compels them to act. With years of direct experience empowering organizations in the energy sector, William Joseph knows that marketing in the oil and gas industry is not optional, but necessary.