Let's start with the old news: Consumers are overwhelmed by noise. Bombarded by a constant drone of messaging fighting for their attention. And it's impossible to escape from all this noise in the modern retail experience. Online or offline, the number of brand messages screaming like 11-year-old girls at a One Direction appearance is enough to make consumers tune out every message.
How can you stand out in a world of desperate 11-year-olds?
Selfridges No Noise Campaign
UK retailer Selfridges is running a "No Noise" campaign during the first three months of the year. Working with architect Alex Cochrane, the retailer developed a "quiet store" within the "boisterous store" where all distraction and noise is left at the door. You even have to leave your phone at the door! To celebrate minimalist design, Selfridges elicted the help of several CPG brands, including Heinz, Clinique and Levi's, asking them to remove all branding and let their products' silhouettes and color palettes speak for themselves.
(Interestingly, this forces a brand to discover its true visual equity.)
The NY Times wrote last July about the simplicity trend as a response to the fast pace of modern Americans. Themes like "honest talk" and "simplicity" are becoming more prevalent as consumers feel stressed by the noise—confusing, complicated, more, louder messages attacking them.
Still, that's all well and good. But what if you're not a well-off British retailer with money to experiment?
BOH Chamomile Tea
We've seen a few CPG brands get quieter all on their own. Our favorite comes from BOH tea. When introducing a new Chamomile product, BOH decided to separate itself by focusing directly on the calming characteristics of the tea, not printing on the packaging at all. This seems crazy, right? But if you're a consumer looking to relax with a cup of chamomile and you encounter the scene below, it's the whispering packaging that captures your need for relaxation—and your attention.
Unilever has added the U.K. brand Simple to it's U.S. skincare lineup as a direct response to the overwhelming nature of the personal care category. Based on the philosophy of using "no dyes, artificial perfumes or harsh irritants that can upset your skin," the Simple brand story is attempting to reflect purity by appealing to consumers who may feel inundated by too many, too loud, too busy options within the personal care category. With a brand story that shoots for white, clean and pure, with just a touch of class, Simple has partnered with actress Allison Williams to reinforce its brand messaging, and tries to distance itself from multi-pronged, many-product skin care regimes.
Help Remedies has developed its brand story specifically to combat the chaos and confusion of over-the-counter medicines. With every pharmaceutical company in America (maybe the world!) trying to solve your every problem with one pill, it has become a point of confusion for consumers to guess correctly which medication will truly help with the problem at hand. Help Remedies' mantra is "Less Drugs, Less Dyes, Less Confusion, Less Waste, Less Greed and Less Self-Indulgence." More Help. Just what the consumer needs.
Maybe your brand story isn't a quiet one. And that's okay. But maybe, deep down, your brand is an introvert. Or maybe, by shouting your brand story like a post-late-night extended commercial for an amazing product we all just can't do without, you're turning people away from your brand without even realizing it.
Just some contemplative food for thought.