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The Rise of the Bland

February 27, 2019

Hummmmmm

The Brand vs the Bland…

Instagram is full of blands.

Sure these blands look pretty and they sure do know how to market themselves. They are all coordinated colour schemes, pleasing to the eye, blank space between content, content curated ahead of time to look just so, staged and perfected.  Bubble gum food, eye candy, beautiful but strangely bland, unsatisfying and with little in the way of longevity.

Blandness isn’t just about how things look either, it’s about the feel and philosophy of the product.  All the cool kids are now vegan, palm free and organic even though most of the cool kids can’t work out without asking someone whether that avocado oil they just bought ticks all the boxes or not.

The bland that I’m talking about here isn’t a slight on prettiness or those who ‘get’ and ‘work’ social media and it’s all-too-easy-to-play followers.  Having that, by its self as a goal is a goal and in business if it gets you sales then it’s enough.  No, the bland that I’m talking about is the bland that is band wagon bland, because-everyone-else-is-doing-it bland,  the FOMO AKA Fear Of Missing Outness of it all. That’s what I’m talking about.

I know, I’m sounding all cynical again.  Lo Siento.

When you stand for nothing you fall for everything.

I vaguely remembered that, or a version of that quote from sometime in my past but a google search now left me none-the-wiser of its origins nor proper form but the form that I’ve got there highlights what I’ve got to say perfectly in this case.

For me a brand becomes a bland when it does this.

By falling for everything I mean the mindlessly ticking of boxes without really knowing or (worse in my opinion) caring about the detail.

This mentality breeds angry brand owners who ask questions but don’t want to hear any nuance in the answer ‘just give me a yes or a no’.

It creates promises that it can’t necessarily keep as it doesn’t understand its role in keeping them because it never thought to ask ‘why am I doing this’ or ‘how is this helping’ or ‘what benefit does this bring to the world’

and, worst of all, this bland mentality can actually derail legitimate causes by diluting or even making a mockery of the message because it was always misunderstood – for example being a vegan skin care brand but sending out your samples in little silk purses.  I don’t know a brand that does that but that’s just an example of the lack of joined up thinking that can exist in the bland space.

The solution?

I think it’s as simple as considering these three steps.

EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION.

And no, I don’t mean google or your best friends blog (unless I am your best friend xxx)

Invest some real-time and real money into investigating why there is a growing trend for vegan skin care when skin care isn’t something you eat.  What does it mean for people, what do they want it to be, how different is vegan vs other skin care, does being a vegan brand constrain your brand at all and if so how will you tackle that. You can’t really build this into your authentic brand story if you have either no idea or a very shallow notion of why you are doing it.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND SING ABOUT THAT.

I often find that people who go for the prescriptive way of doing things because ‘that’s how you get on, that’s what they are teaching you to do in Instagram school’ have no imagination of their own.  Now not having an imagination is not a crime but it does make you a prime bland candidate and to avoid falling into that you need to plan.  Everybody is unique and has their own little point of difference that got their brand started, do yourself a favour and pop a little drop of that into your marketing whether it be your face or another legal and suitable body part (hands, feet, back of head etc), your location or your actual products in action is up to you but do SOMETHING to avoid becoming 100% blended out.  Don’t be afraid of who you are and the brand you are creating. It’s not all about glossy pre-purchased lifestyle images.

CURATED BUT STILL CONNECTED.

When I formulate for someone I don’t take their ideas and turn them into my own product. I try and grasp their flow and develop what they want. This approach ensures that people get something they relate to when they finally walk off with their formula rather than something that I just wanted to do. This approach only ever goes wrong when the client coming to me had no real clue of what they wanted on a deep and personal level anyway. If I have to guess you’ve lost me.  Same I think it true of Instagram.

The trend in having curated feeds that are very professional and set out like an art gallery is lovely and soothing to look out but it can quickly become bland if your audience can’t spot YOU in there.  Sure pick a colour scheme, filter and visual ‘voice’ but make sure you relate to it and that it’s authenticity filters through to your branding or else you might win a customer once but you’ll fail to keep them for that all-important follow up and ongoing sale.

So to sum up. 

Life is too short to create a bland make what you do count by investing in understanding more about what you are doing.

Go for broke, back your individuality, build your story and share it your way.

and if you fear you can’t because you are a weirdo just do it anyway, we are all weird!!!

 

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Michelle Tyson permalink
    February 27, 2019 2:03 pm

    Hi Amanda,

    Love reading your posts and this one is brilliant. Thanks for sharing.

    btw – I am of the same thinking as you with this – blandness – does become a bit yawn. It certainly takes guts to be true to yourself and to put yourself out there. I personally think a lot of biz owner “hide” behind their socials. I find so many “About Us” content on websites are so generic and do have any any personal element to them….and yet, people do purchase…or so it seems. Perhaps those purchasers are not loyal and just as fleeting as much as the product they buy….perhaps?

    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for all you share for the industry.

    Warm regards, Michelle 🙂

    [image: photo] Michelle Tyson Founder & Creator, SEED skincare M Mobile 0411 728 165 E michelle@seedskincare.com.au W http://www.seedskincare.com.au

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    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      February 27, 2019 2:07 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Michelle. Here’s to keeping it real 🙂

  2. Vesela permalink
    February 27, 2019 9:26 pm

    Couldn`t agree more with you, Amanda. Really appreciate this felt reminder to be authentic in order to differ not just by the visuals & colour scheme. Vesela

  3. February 28, 2019 12:33 am

    Great post. You speak well to the superficial tendencies of humans to latch onto things they don’t have a deep or genuine connection to or understanding of. In part this is probably a symptom of our throwaway society that celebrates mindless consumption of stuff and ideas. I think this happens a lot in formulation too, where the maker’s output comes more from following a formula than from delving into the art or science of the process. To some extent, it’s natural to follow precedent. But as you point out, it’s key to question what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, always trying to dig a layer deeper. I appreciate how you do that with this blog, sharing your insights from diving deep, whether into a chemical compound or a concept. Thank you!

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      March 2, 2019 7:17 am

      I think that’s true Anne, we seem to have got so used to lazy thought processes that now we can’t stretch ourselves to anything else. More power to those that do though!

  4. March 6, 2019 8:48 am

    Thank you Amanda for putting words to this phenomena. As a brand owner invested in birthing a business with both deep roots and social relevance, I sometimes find it hard to justify why our more deliberate (often slower) approach is necessary. Especially since it goes against the grain of the prevailing ‘fail fast – succeed sooner’ business culture.

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      March 6, 2019 8:51 am

      Yup, keep running your own race there Elise x

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