Branding, Graphics, Storytelling  /  3.31.16  / 2-min read

How to Visually Market your “Boring” Business

If you’re reading this post, you probably already wish you could do more. You’re probably tired of your current advertising, which features the same old clichéd visuals that everyone else is using. But you don’t know how to apply the exciting creative stuff you see in other industries to your own, because, let’s face it—your business is boring.

Well, let’s start here: What are your first instincts when it comes to creating creative marketing for your business? Let’s say you’re a bank or financial institution, for example, and you’re designing a new print ad. It’s possible that you might naturally gravitate toward something along the following lines:


  • Colors: Blue, of course! Blue is trustworthy. Or maybe green? Something prosperous-looking.
  • Font: Something classic. Times New Roman will do. Can’t go wrong with Times New Roman.
  • Imagery: Let’s go with a trusty banker smiling at the camera. Or a customer smiling at the camera.


Sound familiar? Because it is.


Congratulations, you’ve just made your boring business twice as boring.


You’ve also provided yourself with some nice camouflage so you look like all the other boring businesses in your industry. The only way to stand out is to fight these instincts and train yourself to approach the way you present your business a little differently.


It might seem scary to step outside the safety of “what everyone else is doing,” and you’re right—it is scary. You might even disagree with me and think there are more reasons to stay the same than to stand out, such as: Your customers expect you to look a certain way, so that’s how you have to look to be taken seriously. Or, this is the way you’ve always looked, so it’s too late to change now. Or, all those sexy advertising techniques are good for fashion brands and app startups, but they’re just not the right fit for a boring industry like yours. Some businesses certainly have it easier when it comes to having obvious visual aspects to work with (coffee shops, travel agencies, hipster burrito joints, etc.), but it doesn’t mean that businesses like yours have to be stuck with boring visuals and meaningless buzzwords.


And really, is your industry even boring? Or are you just making it boring by perpetuating the same tired story? My guess is there are some major missed opportunities for more exciting ways to market your business. But before you throw caution to the wind and start production on next year’s Super Bowl commercial featuring baby pandas riding money-spouting narwhals (take that, Budweiser!), take a step back and consider finding visual inspiration in one of the following ways:


Look outside your list of service offerings and hone in on what your customers actually care about.


Do they care about your competitive compound interest rate mumbo jumbo, or do they care about not having to pay ATM fees? Now there’s some content you can work with that will actually grab your customer’s attention. These kinds of ideas can be paired with appealing visuals that add personality to your brand. Maybe it’s a series of videos featuring a friendly, talking ATM that pays people compliments and gives out free money! Now you have a creative campaign that’s memorable and speaks to exactly what your customers care about.


Consider telling it like it is.


Sometimes the most obvious, simple definition of what you do (“We’re a bank — we guard your money for you!”) can be the basis for a really compelling creative campaign. Being just one of many businesses boasting about being the most revolutionary thing since sliced bread isn’t going to be helpful to you or your customer. Honesty can be very refreshing (and eye-catching).


Think about your own experiences as a consumer.


I’m sure there have been certain visuals and advertisements that have spoken to you more than others. Ask yourself what it was about them that drew you to them. Is there a pattern among all of your favorite advertisements? You can take aspects of any good campaign (regardless of industry) and apply them to your business.


No matter how boring your business might seem, there are always aspects you can create visuals around that will make it interesting to your customer. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd—that’s what will attract people! If you’ve shown that you’re capable of creating something visually interesting in a boring industry, you’ve already proven to your potential customer (not to mention potential investors) that your business is something special.

Kelsey Ó Ciardha

Art Director

Kelsey is an art director at Calypso. If you need a new website or branding strategy, you’ll likely work with her. She's an expert in print and digital design, photography, and jazz squares.

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