When you’re building your brand, including the development of your story, personality, core message, brand promise and so on, you need to be sure to include a strategy for visual components as well.
No matter how great your business and messaging are, let’s face it, visuals are usually the most effective way to capture your audience’s attention and build brand recognition, provided you’re implementing these visual aspects correctly.
By including visuals in your overall marketing strategy, you’ll help your brand’s long-term success.
There’s no denying that today’s marketing world is becoming increasingly visual, and you must be able to adapt to that strategically.
Let’s take a deeper look.
What is visual brand identity and why is it so important?
Brand identity involves all of the moving pieces that together represent how your brand is perceived, and your visual identity includes the visual components of that.
The way you present yourself visually is more than just colors and design. Brands who are consistent with their visual identity resonate more effectively with their audience than those who are not.
Your visual identity is an exact reflection of your company, so you need to put in the time and research to make sure it’s represented accurately and positively, and that it is in line with your spoken and written messaging.
The importance of knowing your audience
Your visual strategy really begins with understanding who your audience is and who you’re trying to attract. If you don’t know this, nothing about your visual brand, or marketing and operational efforts in general, will matter. Keep in mind, the visual aspects of your brand aren’t for you. They are for your consumers, so be sure to have that in the back of your mind at all times.
Understanding their wants and needs will help you identify how you need to present yourself to them.
How to make your visual brand identity stand out
- Be unique – It should truly stand apart from the competition. Now, to truly be effective with this, you must have a deep understanding of who the competition is and what their visual brand identity looks like as well.
- Be memorable – Aim to make your visual brand so strong that your audience can glance briefly at the visual elements and know exactly what they’re looking at, even without any context. For example, the image to the right doesn’t have any copy, but avid social media users would know instantly that that’s the Instagram logo.
- Make everything match – Each element of your visual brand should be cohesive and tie together effortlessly.
Things to consider for creating a strong visual brand identity
Get your logo right
You will likely go through many iterations of this, but it’s worth it. Your logo will be stamped on almost everything that you do so you want to make sure you do it well. Your personality should shine through it and it should be distinctly you…no pressure.
Create a consistent color palette
If you look at well-known brands, they all use consistent color palettes (who doesn’t think “red” when they think of Coca-Cola?). These big-name brands are consistent with their colors throughout their texts, images, and designs because it helps make them more recognizable.
Choose just a handful of colors and apply them to everything you do. The colors you choose should reflect the personality of your brand, so if you run a daycare, for example, you may want to use bright colors. If you run a law firm, you may want to be a bit more conservative with the colors you choose.
If you look at my Duct Tape Marketing site, you’ll see a lot of shades of blue used across the board, including my logo, text, and site design. This wasn’t by accident.
Choose a font that matches your brand personality
Along with your color palette, you need to be mindful of the font you use as it can speak volumes about the type of business you are. For example, if you run a serious business, you may want to stay away from Comic Sans, but if your business is light-hearted and fun and that’s how you want to be portrayed, then that may be the right font for you.
In addition to matching your personality, you must also ensure it matches your audience’s perception of you and sits well with them.
Choose images that address your audience and reflect your brand
At this point, this should go without saying, but I’ve seen many companies use images on their website that quite frankly make what they do more confusing than if they just didn’t use any imagery at all. It’s OK to have fun with images but be sure they tie back to your brand and speak to your ideal customers.
Don’t forget about layout
Many brands believe that if they have their logo, color, and fonts, then they’re good to go, but the reality is they’re not quite finished yet.
How those elements flow together is equally important. How you present them as a unified strategy can truly make or break your brand recognition.
Use the visuals to bring out emotions
The more of an emotional connection you can make with your audience, the more likely they’ll be to trust you and eventually buy from you.
What do you want your audience to think and feel when they come across your brand? Ask yourself these questions, and remember, visuals can more quickly tell customers whether your brand is a good fit for them more than words can.
Test your initial concepts
Like anything with marketing, you should test and optimize your visual elements until you land on one that truly resonates with your ideal customers.
Once you have the visual component solidified, document your style guide within your company’s processes. Should you ever need to bring on new designers, this will be key in ensuring nothing gets missed as you move forward.
With all aspects of marketing, you must remember to put strategy first. It is the backbone of everything that you do. If you can get that in place, creating the visual elements will be much easier because you’ll truly know who your business is, what it represents, and who you want to attract.
That, to me, sounds like a recipe for success.
If you liked this post, check out our Ultimate Guide to Small Business Marketing Strategy.