2014’s return to flat design is more than just a passing
design fad. It reflects a desire for greater authenticity in design and to
eliminate excess and superfluous features.
But it’s not just design that’s changing – these are part of
wider cultural shifts. The way we perceive and relate to companies is also changing.
With the establishment of the “hipster” movement and men with big beards
becoming more prevalent in the mainstream, if we look at these trends at a
deeper level, they mirror cultural shifts in the 60’s away from sterile
consumerism and into a yearning for authenticity. We can see this reflected in
the way brands have positioned themselves over the last 12 months.
We’re seeing a rise in what people are calling “human era”
companies. Connecting with consumers in a conversation rather than a one-way
communication. Giving your customers more ways to personalize their experiences
with your brand is essential.
Guess what? Flaws will help you. People feel able to better
connect to a brand they feel is imperfect and admit errors. Arbys had a
fantastic opportunity to do this when they owned up to forgetting a key part of
their contract with Pepsi, to feature the product in a minimum of two TV spots
per year, which resulted in this fantastic piece of “human era” advertising:
Perhaps you've noticed the rebranding of Chipotle? They
have made increasing efforts to be transparent about the sourcing of their
ingredients and want you to note their sustainable mission. Chipotle doesn’t
want you to think they are perfect, but instead strive to convey that they are
under ‘constant improvement’.
Being a “human era” company is more than just a strategic
option. Consumers are more skeptical and savvy than they have ever been, so a
more personal experience is an essential way to do business in an age where
everything is connected.
Submitted by: James Huntley, Creative Design Team Manager, Creative Team Marketing Department