Standing Out

In a short period of time, a tsunami of products and services have overwhelmed our values to such a point that we’ve conditioned ourselves to expect the next version of something, to be better than the one we already have. But we’re not any happier or better in our day-to-day lives. Not all consumers consume as such.  There is a distinction between a collector and an accumulator.

Longmeadow–October 2017

The sheer number of branded products vying for our attention—and our money—is beyond words. Our attention spans are already fractured from our immersion in diversions and distractions. Is it any wonder that marketers are looking for that strategy which helps their brands to stand out, to be readily noticed and purchased, to be the “next best thing?”

So, how do we optimize the value of our brands, which by the way, also includes our personal brand?

Minimalism.

During my walkabout with camera in hand, I noticed in a meadow a particular detail that stood out: specs of white in an expanse of green, brown and yellow. If the meadow is a designated market area [DMA], the flora its products and services, then it’s easy to recognize the stand out among all the offerings. The simple, white flowers.

These flowers lack the colorful palette of warm yellows, reds and oranges, which is precisely the point. One color, was enough to make our “product” stand out from the rest of the other flowering plants. If we are to champion some level of emotional ownership for a brand, more is often not always better. In fact, the challenge becomes finding the single most relevant, genuine quality that deserves attention. That quality is a narrative that needs to be told.

That quality doesn’t need to be original [nothing is anymore, really], but must be genuine. The quality is accessible, identifiable, perhaps even an antidote to the distractions that contribute to our sensory overload. Marketing minimalism is the distillation of that particular quality that allows the brand to stand out. In this day and age of “reality-this-or-that,” there is a hunger for something far more genuine, more real, more tangible that removes us from our penchant to consume or accumulate things.

Of Food and Fairs

For the past 100 years in early Autumn, the Eastern States Exposition puts on a show affectionately known as, The Big E. For about 2 weeks, visitors can lose themselves in entertainment, food & drink; wander the Midway complete with all things that say “carnival;” explore hundreds of exhibits and competitions that focus on the demanding work in farming, the raising & caring for livestock & poultry and more, much more.  The Big E is one of the country’s largest fairs. I enjoy it for many reasons, but my fascination goes to the hundreds of food vendors on the grounds, especially when their booths light up the night.

White Shed

Wyeth’s Dream

On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson

For me, one of the better ways to decrease the clutter in my head is to take a drive with camera in tow. Road photography. It should be a category of its own. Sometimes I have a location in mind, mostly I don’t. Where the road leads and the sun moves are my travel indicators. I chase the light, I welcome serendipity and I relish the freedom that time brings. Driving the back roads—especially those off the major interstates—offer catharsis. It works.