Through every century and era, humans have lived their lives visually, by sight. As one of our five main senses, sight is not merely just seeing things - it is processing, learning, discovering, influencing us emotionally and mentally. Since sight is so powerful and a sense that we use every second of our day, the visuals - the things that we see - will also determine how we feel, what we think, and ultimately what we do about something. In business, your visuals will determine how your followers feel about your brand, what they think about who you are and what you do, and will help them to determine if they will dig a little deeper to know more about you and ultimately fall in love with your brand OR if they will look no further, uninterested.
As business owners, we want clients and followers that are loyal and keep coming back for more, right? So if the visuals we are putting out there for them to process and discover are making them feel confused, disconnected or indifferent, let’s just be honest … they won’t be coming back for more.
Your visuals should be engaging & beautiful - stirring up feelings of interest, connection, inspiration and even trust. As your followers use their sense of sight to process and discover your work, they should feel a pull, a desire to know more, to search for more information about your brand, to SEE more of your work.
So, let’s dive in to four different points you should keep in mind when creating your brand visuals ::
Different kinds of visuals will awaken different kinds of emotions within us. The emotion that our visuals create within the hearts of our followers should align with the emotion of our brand. So here’s an example :: you are a candlemaker and all of your scents are based on nature - trees, wind, rain, the great outdoors. Your brand is a little moody, woodsy and masculine. You need new photographs to update your website, so you plan a photoshoot. But here’s the problem - it is shot on a beach, in the sun, in the sand. The photos are light, bright and beautiful. They are great images, so you use them, right? But when your followers see them on your website and shared across your different touch points, they will see the clash between the visuals and your product. Based on your organic, woody scented candles, your visuals should invoke feelings of adventure, hiking in the mountains, drinking black coffee around a campfire. Even though the photoshoot on the beach was beautiful, it does not align with the emotion of your brand and product. It’s time to head to the woods and the mountains and re-do that shoot!
2. LIFESTYLE OF BRAND
Your visuals should also communicate a very specific lifestyle that your ideal customers and clients dream of having. We all want to be a part of something bigger; we want to have a feeling of belonging within the communities that we are a part of. When your customers buy your product, they are also buying a lifestyle they desire to be living. Your brand should communicate a specific culture, a lifestyle, and your visuals should be an invitation to your followers to be a part of it. If you are that candlemaker I just mentioned, your brand culture could encourage community, experiencing adventures together, and enjoying the beauty of nature ( both outside with things like hiking and inside, with the help of your nature - scented candles, with things like community gatherings and dinners ). Your visuals should then reflect that lifestyle and speak ( without words ), “We understand your need for adventure, your desire for community. So here it is, we want you to be a part of it with us!”.
3. CONNECTS TO TARGET AUDIENCE
As I mentioned earlier, the visuals you create and share with your followers should be connecting with them and gently urging them to want to know more. In order to do this, you first need to define your target audience so that you know what they like, what they dislike - the things that they will be attracted to. You need to know what they really care about in order to know what kind of visuals they will love and be inspired and intrigued by. So if you are this candlemaker who has a specific brand culture like we just talked about, then your target audience will be those who also align themselves with your brand’s values, beliefs, likes, dislikes and way of living.
4. VISUALLY COHESIVE
As your brand grows and develops over time, you will want to make sure that your visuals are still cohesive to your brand and the lifestyle you have created with it. The aesthetic of your visuals should be clearly recognizable as YOUR aesthetic so that when people see your visuals, they will say “Oh that’s the work of Woodland Candle Co., I love them”! ( and yes, I totally just made that name up ). You also want to keep in mind that your visuals should stay cohesive across all social media platforms, emails, business cards, etc … - all of your touch points - to keep that brand consistency.
Visuals are not only essential for telling your own brand story and conveying it to others, but also to drawing in followers who turn into clients who turn into your faithful tribe who ultimately shares and tells your brand story to others who then become your followers who turn into clients … I could keep going, but I think you see the cycle. In all of this, it is SO GOOD to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and take the angle of serving them and giving them something that THEY desire with your brand, your product and your visuals.
words by bethany - community creator & photographer
STORY is a holistic brand and marketing strategy, connecting you with your tribe and growing your business. As photographers, storytellers, and brand specialists; there is nothing we love more than crafting beautiful brand stories and helping you succeed at what you love.
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