Launching a new business is never easy. But, launching a new business into one of the fastest growing business markets, and making yourself stand out is brutal.
So, how do you do it?
First, your solution has to be unique; it has to leverage a completely unique viewpoint. Take for instance, Lionboard Analytics. Chris Patton the president and founder of this company has introduced a completely new analytic platform for the market called Sales Enablement. Working with Chris has been educational and exciting because he is creating a revolutionary application in a market that’s been desperately struggling with understanding its own value.
“I’ve created an analytic app at a time when analytic apps are exploding. But, my app is unique because it has been built from a very specific functional point of view. It tells a sales enablement story, and this has been a challenge for my sales enablement brethren for a long time,” said Chris.
He told me that “one of the biggest issues is driving people to my website. My strategy is to leverage as many analyst connections as I can to educate them that this new analytic solution exists. But, once they become advocates for me; the initial point of introduction is my website. That’s why it was so critical that my website have a very powerful look and feel. It has to feel “new”; it has to feel “unique”. And most importantly, it has to communicate the value of my solution WITHOUT giving away my Intellectual Property.”
The challenge for me was how do I get the message out for Chris to achieve his goals.
With an entire ecosystem of digital devices taking the world by storm, the need for design systems is more apparent than ever. One of the key elements for any, but especially a business in a large, fast-paced market is establishing a visual identity. This will be the cornerstone of all the communication efforts and in many ways represents the image and aspirations of the company. It is the framework for communicating and presenting information logically, clearly and with distinction. A visual identity gives the public an indication of the standards of quality and also provides an internal source of pride. Creating this overarching framework requires collection of assets and design elements such as; voice, tone, colors, fonts, illustrations and imagery which eventually evolve into a mood board.
Mood boards are very fluid and can transcend multiple mediums and dimensions. Every element communicates a certain attribute on both conscious and subconscious level and solidifies the brand image. Having a color palette and the imagery that compliments those colors is one of the many facets of this mood board. Supplementing those images with illustrations that are coordinated and in the same genre as well as unique to the brand is another aspect. Mood boards lessen the ideation time of a design project by creating a library of approved elements. These elements can be used to quickly build new pages and features on any platform like a website or a brochure.
As you can see in the monitor display below; Lionboard's website has all the design elements that were established on the mood board and some!
Now you may be wondering why are those pencils so prominently displayed at the top of his website page: well because they are productivity tools which imply ideas, thought, creativity, work, and analysis all in one simple image. This is another subconscious expression of ideas behind the messaging and branding of Lionboard. Other creative methods to enforce the branding is the layering of graphics on images. By using the 3 swoosh graphics from the Lionboard logo and overlay them on the board-room image I have created a repetition that enforces the logo in your subconscious.
Subconsciously, the eye loves details. It’s kind of like how movie directors show those rapid cuts in editing their films these days. In the past, the movie audiences brain could only absorb so many cuts per minute before the scene felt frantic. Today, big blockbusters and small tv shows use a significantly faster pace of cutting to even seemingly mundane or ancillary imagery like shoes walking, a hand lifting a coffee cup, or a nervous shifting of a necklace. All of these seemingly instantaneous images ADD to the emotional and intellectual processing of the overall scene (or in our case, website).
The trick is balancing the breadth of imagery to a single value message: in our case – using analysis to help elevate our sales enablement brethren’s “perception of value”. Images like conquering the unknown, studying analytic charts, white water river rafting, or simply observing small stones in a Japanese rock garden (all images used on the website) are all part of the emotional journey of our customers through our website.
The overall “feel” of the website, i.e. the accumulated visual absorption and mental processing that takes place, creates two simultaneous thoughts: the website is beautiful and the website communicates a message; the brain may not necessarily be able to logically uncover what the message is, but subconsciously they develop comfort from it.
The aim is to create a great brand and make life better for those who experience it.