Beware Of Choice Overload!

It started out as a routine trip to my local Office Depot to pick up some notebook subject dividers. After navigating my way to the correct aisle, I found them – thousands of them lined up and stacked in an array of every conceivable style and color. Just looking at those shelves made my head spin.According to Barry Schwartz, bestselling author of “The Paradox Of Choice,” I was suffering from a form of “analysis paralysis,” when too much overthinking or seemingly endless choices can cause confusion, anxiety, and even serious depression.This is not the way you want your customers to feel. In this case, more is most definitely less, and that’s the essence of the paradox of choice. Presented with too many choices, people are actually far less likely to make a purchase.

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How Clarity By Design Helps Your Business

Here at Cronin Creative, we employ a process we call “Clarity By Design” to every aspect of every branding challenge we encounter.In brand messaging (the words) as well as design (the visuals), it’s really all about distillation, removing any element that doesn’t genuinely connect and contribute to the story you’re telling. If it doesn’t belong there, if it isn’t essential to the story you’re telling, it’s got to go. In an overcrowded, noisy marketplace, we default to anti-clutter.It’s a painstaking process, and it can sometimes feel counterintuitive. There are times, for example, when a smaller typeface delivers a much more powerful impact than an all-caps, bold-type approach. The space around the type actually draws the viewer in and allows the message to breathe, to live, and be fully absorbed, all in just a few seconds. And when it comes to your messaging, less is almost always more.

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Marty Stuart Comes Over!

Marty Stuart is everywhere these days. While he’s never been one of those Stetson-wearing “hat acts,” Marty has always worn more hats than your average country star. Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumental virtuoso, historian, archivist, he really embodies all things country. Marty’s skills as a master storyteller are currently on view via his frequent appearances as a talking head on Ken Burns’ acclaimed PBS documentary, “Country Music.”Happily for us, Marty has also been a regular visitor here at Cronin Creative, working side by side with our own Karen Cronin on the design of the beautiful hardcover book/CD package celebrating the 20th anniversary of his 2010 release, The Pilgrim, one of many projects we’ve worked on together.

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Does Your Website Have Curb Appeal?

Having recently survived the selling of a house, I am very familiar with the term “curb appeal.” It’s that all-important first impression a potential buyer receives upon pulling up in front of your home for the first time. No matter what business you’re in, it’s imperative that you give strong consideration to the curb appeal of your website’s homepage. If that initial attraction isn’t there, your potential customers will never get past your site’s front door. It’s all too easy to just drive away.It’s not just about looks. Keeping things clean and attractive is key, but it’s also about the right fit. Does your homepage speak directly and clearly to the audience you’re trying to reach? What exactly are your customers looking for? Be sure to express that message clearly and quickly. You’ve got about three seconds to grab their attention and walk them into your “house.”Have a PlanKnow who you’re trying to reach and focus in on how your product or service will help them or solve some specific problem. Build your messaging from there, stick with it, and be consistent.Design For ClarityThe design of your website, and particularly your homepage, is critical to effectively expressing your brand difference. A good designer will provide visual clarity, while an experienced designer will ensure a look that distinguishes your business while fitting into the vibe of your particular industry. Talent and experience – when choosing a website designer, insist on both of these attributes.

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Creativity Makes A Comeback!

With several business books already written to reinforce his point, bestselling author/thought leader Daniel Pink believes that creativity is at the heart of 21st century work. But over the course of the past decade, big data, with its ability to zero in on more and more specific demographic groups, has been the big story.But according to Henric Larsson, founder of Stockholm based agency, Chimney, big data may be taking a step back to make room for a renewed emphasis on, you guessed it, creativity.Larsson points to two confluent events, the recession of 2008 and the rise of Facebook ads, as being largely responsible for the dominance of big data as a driver for targeting of specific audiences. At some point along the way, he says, data overcame creativity as the driving force and brands became “obsessively tactical and targeted.” In other words, building the ultimate delivery system has been taking priority over the actual content being delivered.

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