Is Your Jewelry Brand a Copycat or an Original?Laryssa
If you’ve been feeling a sense of deja vu lately, you’re not the only one. More luxury brands are taking fewer creative risks with their logos, websites, and Instagram feeds. In fact, according to a recent article in Bloomberg, “Many purveyors of upscale goods are choosing a similar feel.”
Have you seen Burberry’s new logo? It has joined brands like Diane von Furstenberg, Balenciaga, and Saint Laurent, which are all sporting the all-caps, sans-serif “wordmarks” or “logotypes”, meaning their logos are built entirely of the word or words that make up the company name.
While the original logos for these brands were unique (albeit dated), the fonts for the new logos look very similar, nearly identical for someone who may not be familiar with the nuances of fonts. The writer of the article maintains that you should look harder to see the differences – “Some are heavier weights, while others have more space between the letters.” Another design expert explains that the uniform, sans-serif look is “not flashy but leaves room for personality to come through in other ways”.
That might work for brands that are basically household names, but what should an up-and-coming fine jewelry brand do? No-frills logotype logos look very elegant and refined stamped on jewelry boxes, but let’s face it – they’re not very memorable. If your jewelry brand has this type of logo, customers who aren’t familiar with your jewelry brand will likely assume that you’re some sort of luxury brand – but will they know what sets you apart from your competition?
I don’t want to name names, but I’m thinking of two jewelry brands in particular – named after their designers beginning with the letters “J-E-N” – that I can never tell apart. Both of their last names have two syllables, and both of their logos have been rendered in all-caps sans serif fonts. Why would you want anyone to confuse your brand with anyone else?
To make matters worse, a recent editorial from JCK points out that even jewelry websites are starting to look the same. On one hand, copycat websites are less problematic than copycat logos because websites should be built around user experience and best practices – and best practices are best practices for a good reason. What works for the top e-commerce websites will likely work well for all websites.
At the same time, Emili Vesilind, the writer of the JCK editorial, makes an excellent point: “You potentially do your inventory a disservice when you strip every shred of personality from the platform it’s presented on.” Too many ecommerce retailers are using the same light and bright (and pink) color palettes, in an effort to appeal to millennials. The color palette may indeed be appealing to millennials, but what makes your brand stand out? Do you want to be a carbon copy?
Finally, a recent article from Fast Company laments that many Instagram feeds are also starting to look the same. According to New York-based studio Red Antler, which is responsible for the branding strategy of up-and-coming brands like Casper and Birchbox, “there’s a huge opportunity for brands to offer the calmness and clarity that our lives lack–much the same way Marie Kondo has”. Selling just one or a few products – and presenting these products in a very clean, minimal way – is one strategy for attracting attention.
However, if that approach doesn’t speak to your brand and your values, then it’s ultimately not going to work for you. While clean minimalism may be the trend on Instagram, a brand aesthetic must support the story and core values of any given brand. Don’t be a copycat just because the strategy seems to be working for other brands.
How can you tell if your Instagram feed is truly speaking to your brand? Consider using a color-detector tool like Year of Colour, which will analyze your Instagram feed over any given period of time and let you know which colors are most dominant on your feed. Are the colors warm and inviting or cool and refreshing? Do they match the image they have for your brand? Do they match the color scheme you’re currently using on your other marketing materials?
All this “blanding” (bland branding) is worrisome but not necessarily surprising. These brands are playing it safe, choosing the approach “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” But if you truly want to make a splash in the marketplace, especially one as saturated as fine jewelry, you need to stand out and feel confident about offering a unique value proposition. Do you feel ready to make the leap?