We all wish for our business to stand out whenever clients are looking for services like ours. To do this, we need to build the contrast between our company and our competitor’s.
The use of contrast is important in many aspects. I enjoy applying the principles of contrast from design, in business. Designers create contrast using shape, size or color. They use contrast to structure the importance of the presented elements. The higher the contrast, the more distinguishable your business will be.
Here is how I perceive contrast is reflected on businesses and how I would use it.
If we place something big near something small, it will suggest that the bigger item is more important.
There are few things we can do to instantly influence the size of the business (although there is a tremendous amount of financial instruments at this point). We use this type of contrast when the company is already bigger compared to its peers. It has more employees, it covers a wider area and it involves more stakeholders. I would say it occupies more space.
If your company is bigger compared to its competitors, you must make this aspect visible through your marketing materials. This is size contrast.
This contrast is determined by the differences between colors. The bigger the difference, the higher the contrast will be. The color contrast designers are using, is similar to the branding of the company and image the company presents.
For a business to build contrast in this area, it must first understand how its competitors are presenting their image. The branding of the company must be relevant, but different, and you have to ensure the consistency through all used channels.
If all the companies providing the same service or product would be looking the same, the consumer would be in a very difficult situation. We need to make the decision of the consumer as easy as possible. Color contrast is the start on becoming distinguishable.
It is no coincidence that we use terms like “insight”, “vision”, and “imagine” to convey a richer understanding. 75% of the knowledge we gain is acquired by the sense of sight.
This type of contrast makes items stand out based on the differences between an item’s shape and the shapes surrounding it. For example if we place a square on a canvas full with circles, it will stand out.
Every business has a unique shape. We have control on this shape, but it is limited. It’s partially dictated by our offer and jurisdiction.
The shape of a business is determined by its structure and behavior. If all businesses communicate and sell through a few channels, find another one. If all your competitors have low transparency (for whatever reason), be more transparent.
The three types of contrast are not independent of each other. Each one of them can bring consequences in building the other ones. Consistency and authenticity are very important for our customers.
Different aspects of your business will form contrast depending on how you will use them. You must use them properly. Color contrast is at your full control, but its impact is far lower compared to the other ones. Shape contrast has a limited control and has a higher impact compared to color but lower compared to size. The size contrast is the hardest to control, but eventually it will have the highest emphasis.
I am not suggesting the higher impact of a company’s size over its branding. I am saying that the difference between the sizes of two providers will have a higher impact on a customer’s perception compared to the difference between the images two providers are presenting.
Black and white? Or a gray area?
Have a look at your industry. What are the features that make a provider stand out? Are there even any? Would you characterize your pool of competitors as a gray area? Can you find contrast in your industry? Make your customer’s decision easier and make your business the right choice.