Branding is a double-sided coin. When you see a good brand, you know it. When you see a bad one, you know it. The constitution of a brand – the stuff that really gives it zest – is tough to pinpoint unless you have years of experience and a nose for the business.
Freelancing throughout the advertising and security industries has given me a keen sense for separating the diamonds from the duds, but there's still an intangible element to crafting a brand I'm hesitant to say I could define. Of course, that's why businesses and people like me look to sources like imageworks to shed a beam of light on marketing’s murky uncertainties.
Home security makes for an interesting case study. When you think of sexy brands, you think of athletics, food and drink, digital entertainment – industries that have some built-in levity and fun. You certainly don't think of home security, a serious-minded industry short on frills and confetti.
What we can learn from home security companies
Just because most the notable security companies don’t carry the sheen of a Nike or a Red Bull doesn't mean they're ignorable. Underscoring every unambiguous advertisement and press release, security providers are actually paving their lot with a sense of consistency and reliability.
Think about it: what exactly do you want from a home security system? Imagination and whimsy or competence, composure and protection? I'd be willing to bet the latter.
Most security companies intentionally cultivate a cool, calming presence with their advertising. Maybe it's a vanilla banner ad, maybe it's a fact-centric TV spot. Either way, the goal isn't to wow customers with imagery and moving parts. The goal is to make them feel comfortable with their service.
Where else can this be applied?
It doesn't matter what your product is. What matters is that you know the identity of your product. Home security isn't particularly exciting. It isn't particularly loud, and it isn't particularly entertaining. What is, however, is essential.
Security companies know they're not selling anyone on amusement, so they ground themselves in other desires that come just as naturally to consumers: necessity, sensibility and safety. By harnessing what's true to their product, they can publicize what's true to their (buzzword alert) brand DNA.
The lesson is this: security companies don't fool themselves. They know their product and they know where they can add value. Rather than following the herds into shockvertising campaigns, they meet their customers on common ground.
Take all these points into account when you're positioning your brand. Don't overstep your boundaries, and be realistic with your viewership. Your name and reputation are as valuable as your product; take heed, and be yourself!
Michelle Smith is a freelance writer with a focus on marketing. She can be found writing on her porch in sunny Boca Raton, Florida. Feel free to get in touch with Michelle via email.