A brand can be smothered by the multitude of sameness and commonplace. In this series, we present some relevant aspects about brand construction and the understanding of its perception. The following short essay deals with contrast effect.

What is red dot over a white background? It is Red Riding Hood lost in the Arctic. And what is a white dot over a red background? It is a passionate Real Madrid fan in the middle of a Manchester United crowd. In both cases, we face the realization that the order of the factors does not alter the product when considering the contrast effect. And we also realize that Red Riding Hood would get lost amidst the Manchester United crowd; and the Real Madrid fan would never be found in the Arctic. In both cases, we are facing nonsense scenes. Therefore, no implication of meaning or value emerges.
The contrast effect reveals its true dimension when we notice, in a party, a heterogeneous group of women, unconsciously wearing, for that occasion, the same model of red dress. And the furious, flaming looks they exchange reveal indignation and envy, but, above all, reveal the uniformed group’s complete lack of originality and personality. It is worth noting: it could be a group of men wearing the same purple suit with a yellow tie. Similarly, they would be seen as individuals lacking imagination and presence of mind.
And the question that screams in our ears: what leads someone to dress alike or blend in the crowd? Fear of drawing attention to themselves and the consequent good and bad looks, admiration and envy. Everybody loves to be admired. However, envy is the cousin-sister of wind and the wind blows words and envious words slander, and etc.

Hence, for the anonymity’s comfortable safety, the individual decides to blend in the crowd. In the same way they won’t stand out for the compliments, they will stay unnoticed by critics. And now we find the biggest of contradictions in the branding world: your business, company or project was born to stand out or succumb to anonymity? When going for the same logotype or pattern of communication as that other company that worked “super well”, the entrepreneur is just running from their role as a protagonist. The importance of investing in a well positioned and contrasting branding project allows them to assume the role of an opinion maker. Imagine if all banks used the blue color for being the color of “safety” or if all Mexican restaurants had a sombrero on their logos because the “principle” that “this is how my business segment works” determines that it must be done that way.
Stepping into the spotlight is the first step to become the pioneer and “owner of the idea”. What idea? Well, the contrast effect is more of a formal mechanism than a content one. Deciding to contrast from the crowd is the start. Understanding people’s preferences or knowing what they want to hear is a different story.

Next chapter: THE TRUTH!