Brand is immensely important. It ensures you project a consistent face to your customers and prospects. But sometimes going to the extreme in the opposite direction can work.
I received a direct mail piece recently all about hard water and the problems it’s causing the various appliances, taps, and pipes in my house. Now this isn’t something I’ve ever been particularly concerned about, or probably even aware of. Certainly I haven’t considered doing something about it.
Now the mailer that came through the door was completely unbranded (apart from one panel at the end). It had the feel of an official (whatever that might be!) notice. Something from a body of authority. Okay the quality of some of the imagery and messaging wasn’t what you’d expect from an authoritative body (which gave me a hint it wasn’t), but I found myself reading it.
The question I asked myself was ‘would I have read that if it was covered in the branding of the company that are actually selling the solution?’ The answer was ‘no’.
So the direct mail piece has done its job in one form, which is to make me aware of the problem. What it hasn’t done is make me aware of the company that is offering a solution. I did look at the last panel that included the company’s details, which included a tear off response form, but as the mailer then found its way into the bin the lack of brand immediacy ensured the company hasn’t made a lasting enough impression. It will be interesting to see if a second direct mail piece comes through the door in due course, this time with their brand all over it.
The lesson? Well, sometimes unbranded can work. Direct mail being one of the most opportune instances.
It can get you through the dismissal phase when the recipient first takes a look. But be very careful that within the piece you do take the opportunity to make sure your brand does make a lasting impression. Or, in the direct mail medium, that a follow up piece reaffirms everything in the non-branded piece, and so links the two aspects together. Intrigue is all very well, but ensure your prospect knows what to do next.