It goes without saying that your visual brand is one of the most important aspects of your business. Studies have shown that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. That’s bloody fast! Or, translated another way, 60 secs is the time it takes most people to read 200-250 words, but 1/10th second is all it takes to understand a visual scene. So when you take that into account, it makes sense that photography and design should be a priority in ANY business. Having an inspirational visual brand will increase your ability to connect and engage with your audience, which – as they move down the customer journey – will translate into customers and sales.
But how does one capture a brand visually? How does one achieve an ‘inspirational’ visual brand that reflects what you’re about – your unique personality, purpose and perspective? This is something I see people struggle with all the time, and for many it can be years before they spend the time, money and energy to get it right. If you’re that person, then let’s fast track your progress – this blog post is for you!
CREATE A BRAND STYLE GUIDE AND STICK TO IT
Why is it that when we’re driving down the highway and see the colours red and yellow ahead, we automatically assume we’re approaching a McDonalds? It’s because our brain recognises those colours and associates them with the golden arches we all know so well – which of course, makes us suddenly hungry for french fries, am I right? (Guilty!??♀️).
And I’m sure that when you’ve been scrolling through your Instagram feed, your brain would’ve similarly picked up on certain colours and made you stop and read a post, because in the back of your mind it has recognised visually that it belongs to someone who you follow.
By using consistent visuals, brands will over time become memorable in our minds.
That’s why when building a brand, one of the most important things you can do, as early as possible, is to decide on your brand’s style and stick to it! Your visual style, or branding, includes your colours, fonts, logo, and other design elements you regularly use. It can also include a description of the type of imagery or photography you use. And all successful businesses have one. They don’t have to be fancy, but they should clearly state the look and feel of your brand, and they have the important job of ensuring you stick to the same style elements whenever anything visual is created for your business (and I mean ANYTHING).
CHOOSE YOUR COLOUR CAREFULLY
Did you know that in numerous surveys it’s been found that by using a signature colour scheme in your brand, across multiple platforms, you can increase a consumer’s recognition of your brand by up to 80%? That’s massive. Couple that with the fact that the colour element of your branding has the ability to evoke emotion more than any other, and it’s understandable why choosing the right colour for your brand (and of course sticking to it, as we’ve just discussed) is so important!
Of course when it comes to selecting colours, the choices can be totally overwhelmimg. In my previous blog post on colour psychology I listed 4 tips on how to choose your brand colours, make sure you head over and read it if colour selection is something you’ve struggled with.
DESIGN A LOGO THAT IS ALIGNED WITH YOUR BRAND
Once you have a colour palette, you want to design and choose a logo that is aligned with your brand. Have a think about the message you want your logo to send – what do you want it to say about you? It may just be your name, or it can include design elements, but either way it should reflect your brand’s purpose and personality (or vision and vibe, as I like to say).
Take the logos below. The business name is the same in each one, but each also has a distinctive visual personality. If I asked you to tell me which one reflected a vibe that was either modern, feminine, retro or creative, I’m sure you’d have no trouble getting the answer right. And here’s the catch, each of these logos will appeal to a particular audience.
What audience are you trying to appeal to, when it comes to your business?
HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER TO CREATE STAND-OUT IMAGES OF YOURSELF
Right, let’s talk about imagery (my favourite visual element, of course).
When it comes to personal branding photography, your images need to be IINSPIRATIONAL and RELATABLE. Both are important because people want to be inspired but they don’t want perfection – they’re quite simply looking for someone who they can relate to, who they feel ‘gets’ them, and in return they’ll be inspired to get to know you better. And the best way to do this is to show up in your images as YOU – to be genuine, authentic, and honest.
The easy way to achieve this is to make sure your images reflect three things:
WHO you are (your personality and essence)
WHAT you do (what does it look like to work with you?)
WHY people need you (what result do they get from working with you?)
WHO are you?
When it comes to personality, are you serious, fun, extroverted, or quiet? What do you like to do when you’re not working? What motivates and drives you? If you are unsure how to answer this question, ask your friends how they would describe you. Finding out how OTHER people would describe you is often much better than coming up with the answer yourself. You may even be surprised (in a good way).
WHAT do you do?
Do you work with individuals or groups? Do you work with them in-person or virtually? Do you work from home or an office space? What type of home or office space is it – is it rustic, modern, bright and fun, or industrial? Sharing these different aspects of how you work (and where you work) helps people get to know you – they have the opportunity to put themselves in the picture with you, and if it feels good, if they can see themselves in that space, then they are likely to hang around and connect further.
WHY do people need you?
When it comes to showing WHY people need you, think about what you are selling. If you sell products then this is super easy for you! If you’re a coach or consultant then it can feel harder to nail this – but at the end of the day we are all selling something. You are selling YOU, for sure. But what’s the result people get from working with you? Are you helping them create success, wealth, health, happiness, status, or something else? Each of these things can be captured in an image, you just need to think about what that looks like for your client.
Once you have your WHO, WHAT AND WHY nailed, think about what locations, clothing and props can be combined to tell your story and send the right message to your audience. (Pro tip – your photographer, if they are an experienced brand photographer, should be able to help you with this!)
SHOW UP CONSTANTLY AND CONSISTENTLY
It’s one thing to achieve an inspirational visual brand and have a hard drive full of great branding photos that reflect who you are, but if you’re not using them to show up often and consistently, how are people going to find you? And let’s be honest, as much as we’d like them to, generating sales doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes an average of seven interactions with your brand before a purchase will take place (I’ve even read up to 14). And if each one of those interactions is positive and feels good, and that person needs what you’re selling, it will move them further down the customer journey and eventually convert into a sale. But if you disappear along the way, or confuse people with mixed messages about your brand, it won’t take long for them to get distracted and move onto another brand. Think about yourself and just how easily you get distracted each time you open your phone! People need to be constantly reminded (in a nice, non-hassly way) that we are here, ready and waiting to help them when they need us.
So it’s important to be in front of the right audience at the right time – and often. To do this, think about where your clients hang out, and when. Once you have that info, just make sure you and your brand are hanging out in the same place. You’ll keep bumping into each other and eventually – if you’re a good fit – become friends.
Lastly, a reminder not to burn yourself out when it comes to showing up online. It’s better to show up less often but consistently, than to show up every day for a month and then ghost your audience. Let people know what to expect from you and stick to that as much as you can. It’s when people know what to expect from you AND like what they see, that you will start to create that know, like and trust factor that’s so crucial in today’s market.