The place eLynxx Solutions calls home, like many small cities, has been re-envisioned several times in its existence. Booming industry and the bustling downtown that supported it have given way to new things like technology, historical tourism and a renewed focus on local agriculture, craftsmanship and art. Today, besides being home to a wonderfully innovative software company, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania is also home to an award-winning microbrewery and a newly-opened artists’ collective. Hipsters have even been spotted downtown. I suppose that’s par for the course.
I’m pretty passionate about the place I live and work. So when new things like the artists’ collective open downtown I take notice. I’m also pretty passionate about branding and marketing communications. So when I see quality, consistency and continuity, as well as a lack thereof, I take notice.
Walking downtown from my house a few weekends ago I noticed the artists’ collective was taking up residence on a busy Main Street corner in what is possibly one of the most interesting Victorian-era storefronts in town. I stopped to look at the display windows which were still being setup. There were some truly nice creations, which isn’t surprising considering the talent around these parts. They also had very well-done posters that revealed something that is so often lacking in community-based efforts – branding – actual, honest-to-goodness branding.
These posters featured an attractive, modern logo along with clean photography and a sleek layout. They were very contemporary and high-end looking. The printing of the posters and the stock they were on looked to be of high quality making a nod to traditional methods and quality. They were carefully mounted on boards and placed on wooden easels conveying a sense of handmade craftsmanship. Overall, the posters in the display windows communicated a clear brand message: handmade art that is contemporary but of traditional quality. It seemed to fit well and appeared to be a sign of good things to come.
With the passing of a few weeks I found myself stopped at the traffic light where the collective sits and I noticed something different. The signs from the long-departed business that were on the building had been replaced with new ones for the collective. Unfortunately they just didn’t send me the same message as the window posters. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not horrible. They told me the name of the shop and what it does and they certainly caught my eye because I noticed them. But they did not convey that same sense of contemporary style and quality as the posters.
The intent of this story isn’t to put down a local group that’s no doubt going to do great things in our community. On the contrary, I’m very impressed with everything else I’ve seen and I am excited about it. Rather, the intent is to put into perspective an issue that eLynxx has helped organizations deal with for years. Consistency and quality in the presentation of a brand is crucial regardless of the medium or communication channel. When there’s a bit of a breakdown in consistency or quality between the rather well-done posters and the DIY sign of a local art gallery, a local marketing nerd like me may notice. When the breakdown happens with a major organization, the world notices.