This post is categorized under Advertising, but it could (and probably will) just as easily be applied to other areas such as branding, politics and ... life. The principle is this: Be clear. Know what it is that you're saying and don't try to say too much. I'll start off with a simple definition and move on from there. To conflate means to meld into one. This is great when your talking about marriage, Beetles cover bands and Combos, but when it comes to your company's message this is dangerous territory.
While at one of my first Emerge Luncheons (which I love and would highly recommend) I sat with a lot of people I had never met. There was a particularly popular speaker, and the place was packed. As with any professional small talk we asked each what the other did for a living. I was talking to a young lady from Procter and Gamble (an excellent company & corporate citizen). I asked what she did, and she replied, "I'm a chemical engineer at P&G. What do you do?" I told her that I was a graphic designer to which she said, "I was thinking about being a graphic designer." I found that ironic because, as I commented, "I considered being a chemical engineer for a while."
She looked at me like I had just insulted her mother. She didn't say anything to me the rest of the meeting, but shot me glares that screamed, "A simply artsy person like you could never do what I do." Perhaps there are engineers and designers alike who will be insulted by this statement, but I'm a pretty dicey that way. Designers and engineers are more alike than you may think.
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