At some time along the way of building up a business, there is a period where creating your brand is beat into your head repeatedly, along with hundreds of ways on how to create it, and what you should do or not do. All of that is important to cover, but none of it matters if you aren’t getting your brand out there. And there is one thing that always sticks out, especially in the internet age: unusualness.

Manhole Branding

Unusual Not Unique

By the simple idea of something being a brand for your company, it essentially has to be unique. Any good brand will always be unique, whether it’s a name, logo, or otherwise. Uniqueness doesn’t mean the brand is unusual though. Unusual are the things out of the ordinary, they are the things that always stand out, and for good reason. They are the unexpected, and in a world where people are surrounded with the menial tasks of everyday life, the things that are unexpected always catch people’s eye. It makes them question it, it makes them notice it, and most of all it makes them think about it.

The degree of the unusual can have a different impact as well though. If you make your brand so far out there that you end up with something that can’t be recognized you have a problem. At the same time if you do something like street art without being able to mark it in some way to your company you can end up with the same problem. So it’s usually better to pick one or the other. Do you want to be unusual in design, or unusual in places?

Unusual in Brand Design

A brand design can often be the nightmare of many graphic designers out there, the amount of unusual requests they receive would suggest that people have been inventing unusual designed brands for years, and yet we don’t see many of them. That’s because there is a very fine line when it comes to a brand design being just awful looking and more unusual.

In fact, having a brand design that is unusual, is incredibly difficult. But there are a few companies that have gone about it. The most famous recently is Chipotle with its Scarecrow Video, and even a downloadable game that will be released soon as well. All throughout both of these, the only connection to Chipotle is their name shows up at the end; just a name too.

Content as Design

As far as the depiction of Chipotle goes, they are opting for an area of creating content that people will enjoy and spread for them, and just attaching their name to it, which surprisingly is actually something that is almost never done these days, despite the effectiveness. They have created a brand design beyond their name that fits so well into the unusual categories, and it certainly is catching attention.

Yes, their brand design is in essence just a name, which isn’t unusual, but when we talk about names as a brand there isn’t much to say. Everything has to have a name to it these days, it’s not something you can go without. The difference is that Chipotle doesn’t run images or logos like Disney or Starbucks; their design is a completely different direction.

Gamification as Design

Instead of a design, we see people going for things like applications for a phone or creating games with just a company name on them. This focuses on a type of brand design that often just goes completely unnoticed. It’s not about selling your brand to anyone, it’s about showing people that your company can offer people things they want, things they will enjoy, and things that make them want to pay for it, rather than tricking them into paying for it.

And this isn’t even mentioning that this pushes a brand in the direction of areas that people are going to see and notice. You develop an app, and people are going to see it for their phone and go for it, which leads us into the branding of unusual places.

Unusual in Brand Placing

The much easier option, and one that is more effective for companies that aren’t already well known (and even for ones that are) is around the use of advertising and branding of a company in areas that are unusual. This isn’t your normal business pens and crazy clip-art flyers, these unusual branding places are things like coffee manhole covers and search engine advertising tattoos.

This isn’t any kind of new concept either. Companies have been branching out to different areas of being able to place their brands for years. Things like mobile billboards on cars and buses have become such a common thing to most of us that we would hardly pay attention to them anymore if it wasn’t for the fact that our brain is hard-wired to track motion, which means a moving bus and the billboard on it will still get seen.

But this kind of playing off of how people’s brains are wired is not unusual brand placing, it’s doing the same old thing of tricking people into paying attention to your brand. Instead consider things like street art that will get people passing by involved in your brand. 3M a Security Glass company, actually set up their glass and told people they should try and break it, and if they do, they could keep all of the money behind that glass. Not only was this unusual, but it showed the brand, and pointed out that they do have something to offer with their glass.

Try the New, Unusual, and Unknown

If there is anything you take away from this, it’s that trying areas that are different and unknown with your marketing and branding can pay off, and even if it doesn’t there are always other options. Not every branding campaign is expensive. Even the smallest of a campaign can have the biggest impact.

And remember, unusual is good.