Everything looks like Apple and tastes like coffee.

It’s getting harder and harder to get noticed. Brands scuffle for profile. At the same time, it’s getting harder and harder to differentiate brands based on design and content. Why? Because we’re living in the Age of Minimalism. Every brand seems to be imitating Apple’s ruthless obsession for clean, lean design. Don’t get me wrong – my father was a mid-century modernist architect. I grew up in a sea of white drywall. But my father also recognized that every one of his buildings had a social purpose and he was dedicated to making sure the experience of living or working in one of his buildings was, if not uplifting, at least highly functional. Minimalist design in our age has gone as far as Apple actually hiding basic functions to prevent screen clutter. Nice to look at. Not so nice to work with. For some, this sacred form of minimalism is an opportunity; for others it’s another sign that business as usual is out the door. For coffee shops who trade in their hip and cool attitude, a creative minimalist name and identity define the brand, which is then echoed in the nature of the experience inside the coffee shop, with minimal funky decor – a temple to high design. That has helped build an enormous network of independent coffee shops that live their brands. But on the other side of the equation are all the mature independent businesses out there that don’t trade on their sexiness, but on the hard, cold fundamentals of product and price. It’s no longer enough to simply have a quality product and service. Now you need a brand personality, just as much as you need a strong distribution network. Today, small and medium-sized businesses have to act big, with a big web presence, smart marketing and active engagement with clients and prospects. Doing right by your customers used to be enough. Now these tried and true businesses are being forced to become marketers. It’s not easy. Our mission at Branderos is to give them the tools, the strategies and insights that can underpin their brand, amplifying what has made their business in the first place.

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