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Consumers Crave Creative Brands — Does Yours Fit the Bill?

April 2019


You only have a few seconds to make an impression with potential or returning customers — on average, only 1.7 to 2.5 seconds, to be exact. A creative approach can make all the difference.

A generic, run-of-the-mill ad simply isn’t going to deliver the return on investment you desire. Instead, you have to think outside the box, both with the manner in which you market your product or services and in the way you present your brand as a whole.

Sure, authenticity may get a lot of attention, but I’ve seen plenty of evidence in my time at Darkroom to suggest that creativity still makes a big difference for the average consumer.

With personalized, attention-grabbing storytelling, you can make your brand fit the right creative mold in today’s business world:

Let’s Get Personal

Personalization, rather than an exclusive focus on traditional “large-scale” campaigns, is an essential part of today’s creative approach.

Just how big is personalization? A whopping 62 percent of millennials prefer to discover content on their own, because they feel it is personalized to their interests — the exact opposite of getting force-fed a standard ad. Even more importantly, these “discovery” users become very engaged, with 60 percent saying they’re more likely to buy a product after viewing this content.

In these situations, the personalization doesn’t necessarily come from the brand itself — rather, it is the result of consumers organically discovering content that interests them. This is where content marketing and SEO efforts matter — any why you need to invest in them.

Rather than serving as a direct ad, this content instead focuses on providing educational or entertaining information tailored to a specific niche. When users find this content, they view it as being personalized to their tastes.

Of course, content that is truly personalized can be even more effective.

An incredible 75 percent of consumers prefer buy brands that make recommendations based on previous purchases or know them by name — nobody’s worried about Big Brother here. With web analytics, email lists and other digital tracking tools, such practices are within reach for brands big and small.

What’s the Story?

Storytelling is central to creative branding. But today’s customers don’t want to see made-up stories like you’d find in a traditional advertising campaign. Instead, they want to feel a personal connection with your brand. They want to see how your services solve their real-life problems.

Authentic storytelling matches your company personality and attributes.

As Marketing Land’s Peter Minim explains, “Consumers perceive authenticity in what they see as genuine. Brands can achieve this with content that highlights a tradition of quality manufacturing and delivery or by expressing how their mission is reflected in products and company culture, all within the context of the brand’s perceived social role.”

To better understand how your story can appeal to your target audience, you have to dig into the data. Each audience is unique, and pairing your brand attributes with the right messaging is crucial for making an appealing pitch. Research and customer insights will allow you to fine-tune these advertisements for quality results.

Without this, your story will fall flat.

This is especially important if your brand targets multiple unique audiences. You must develop creative marketing materials that are specifically focused on each group. When quality messaging is paired with effective targeting, you can become a desirable brand for multiple demographics.

Keep in mind that demographic targeting needs to look at much more than standard items like age or gender. Narrowing down your target audience based on additional factors such as interests and hobbies, income or even occupation can lead to further personalization of marketing messages as you craft a compelling brand story.

The Crucial First Seconds

Social media use has made the average person more “visual” in their media consumption than ever before, a key consideration when trying to maximize your creative potential.

While an informational article on your website can be helpful, quality visuals are going to be what first captures someone’s attention — whether that be in a social media ad or a YouTube clip.

To be perceived as a creative brand, your visuals need to tell a full story in those crucial initial seconds. You have to start with an attention-grabbing visual hook that gives your audience a reason to keep watching.

Whether they think they’re going to be entertained or learn something new, delivering this value proposition early on will dramatically increase engagement.

Though what serves as an effective hook will vary among different audiences, there are a few best practices that have been shown to help capture audience attention.

The right emotional tone is especially important — unsurprisingly, humorous ads tend to yield higher engagement, but emotional and suspenseful ads have also been shown to have higher recall.

Though working your branding into the ad can be a tricky proposition, research suggests that recall and engagement improve when the brand logo is shown on a product, rather than as a standalone feature — such as in an ad that shows a consumer using your product.

Of course, all of this needs to be communicated in those crucial first seconds.

While this can prove to be a challenge, it’s one that we at Darkroom find especially invigorating as we develop campaigns that combine personalization, authentic storytelling and engaging visuals. You don’t have to be from a creative industry to be perceived as a creative, authentic brand.

As you use these principles to guide your marketing efforts, you’ll be able to make a stronger impression on potential customers, capturing their imaginations and generating positive growth for your company.


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