1.17.2014

How creativity can be the key to catching customers

By Daigo Smit, Guardian Professional,16-01-2014

Co-founder of dating site Loveflutter reveals how his company has stood out in a crowded market

Looking for love onlineLaunching a new business or considering a brand revamp? Here are our key learnings from the creative process that brought online dating site Loveflutter to life earlier this year and helped generate the industry buzz seen on both sides of the Atlantic.

First, take a look at your crowd

Scan your crowd and take a look at your competitors and industry. Which life-cycle stage is your industry in: infancy, growth, maturity or decline? Each stage has its own competitive landscape bringing unique challenges from a branding perspective.
If you're entering an industry in its infancy with only a few competitors, the task of standing out is arguably a little easier. Chances are that your industry is in growth or maturity, meaning fierce competition for market share.
Loveflutter's challenge was to enter a mature industry dominated by a handful of established online dating brands with huge advertising spend. How could we compete as a bootstrapped startup with zero marketing budget? We needed a clear brand identity to grab the attention of an audience saturated with high brand recall of industry incumbents.

Amp-up your creativity

How can you cut through the marketing noise of established brands? Take a look at your competition and chances are you'll see homogeneity in marketing and brand strategies across the leading companies.
That's your opportunity to be creative and different. It may feel risky at first, and your instinct might tell you to stick to the tried and tested branding formulae of industry leaders, but take a qualified risk and step away from the norm to give your brand a creative edge and a fighting chance of cutting through all that noise.

Just how creative can you be?

Strike a good balance. Steer too far from the creative norm and you'll risk confusing your audience; err on the side of caution and you'll blend into the crowd.
Brand identity isn't simply your logo. Consider all the elements when deciding your strategy, including brand name, visual identity, communications and tone of voice. Be creative in all of these, but be extraordinarily creative in those elements which you believe will give your brand the creative edge against your competitors.
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