Does Sex Sell?…

It has been said that sex is actually the first industry to explore, publish and profit from any new technology e.g. Still images, moving images, motion picture, videos, DVD’s, the internet, mobile content. Not only does it utilise new technology but it capitalises on it to generate new revenue streams and remain a highly profitable sector.

So to answer the question “Does Sex Sell?”…..Yes it does!

However, many take that term literally and try to use sex to make sales for their own business but don’t realise that sex only makes sales for the sex industry (yes, sex actually has its own “industry”). When it comes down to it, Sex doesn’t really sell anything other than sex.

But that’s not to say that we can’t learn from it!

How can your marketing present an image that’s just as effective and attractive to your potential clients as th sex industry is to their customers?

There are two routes:

  1. The professional image
  2. The sexy image

The Professional Image

A professional image is what every business tries to achieve because it shows:

  • Reliability
  • Trust
  • Credibility

A professional image for a florist may be different to that of an executive recruitment company but a professional brand image for either one will deliver the same core message of trust, credibility and expertise in their business activities.

The problem is that every business wants to be seen as trustworthy, credible and expert. It’s the staple foundation of good branding, so much so that those core values are expected from any business so how can you differentiate?

Well, to be honest, you need to sex it up a little.

The Sexy Image

Now, don’t get me wrong.

When I say sex it up I’m not talking nudity, scantily clad men or women or even sex.

What I’m talking about is being perceived as sexy, but everyone has a different interpretation of the term sexy.

  • Some will consider humor as sexy?
  • Some will think of a shiny red car as sexy?
  • Some find big muscles as sexy?
  • Some find intelligence sexy?
  • Some find Saving the Earth as sexy?
  • Some find confidence as sexy?
  • And some find stupidity sexy?

In the dictionary, the word sexy is defined as “generally attractive or interesting.” It doesn’t go into specific attributes because of our own interpretation of language, image, culture and preference ultimately define what sexy is. It’s been said that no two people in the world can see one single colour in the same way because different colours each have a different meaning to all of us. Likewise so does the term sexy. You may define sexy in one way whilst others don’t. It’s a subjective term.

When it comes to sexing up a brand image, you need to appeal to your target audience so the best way to achieve an attractive but effective business image is to merge the two routes together to create one:

Professional + Sexy = Classy.

The Classy Image

A classy brand image is defined by style, originality and uniqueness, whatever slant is taken (humorous, vintage, prestigious, reliable, slick, traditional etc).

It’s a fine balance of being credible and knowledgable in addition to interesting and attractive in a way that appeals to your target audience specifically.

A professional brand image is always good but can suffer from monotony whilst being sexy can come off as being dangerously attractive and too personal.

Achieving the right balance of elements is the key to success and the most important factor comes from the execution of the design.

Making an executive recruitment agency or florist look credible, interesting and attractive, as well as an individual is a hard thing to do. One wrong design decision and the brand image could come off as tacky for either business. Good design is essential for a successful result.

How to create class

Use a sexy list….

  • Humour
  • Red
  • Muscles
  • Intelligence

Two attributes from the sexy list above are characteristics whilst 2 are visual elements and as a business you need to portray both to build your brand values and brand identity.

The goal is to create an identity that reflects your values and resonates with your target audience.

Your audience needs to see your branding and think

  • This brand represents my type of people
  • This brand looks professional and trustworthy
  • This brand looks sexy to me. I want to be apart of it
  • This brand is how I personally define classy

Don’t use sex to make your brand more attractive because it won’t sell. Refine it and make it classy instead. Make it a brand image that your target audience can buy into just by looking at the design communication.

Find out more about the use of Sex in advertising

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