5 tips for building a great visual brand

Images are just as important as words when it comes to promoting your small business, and making content shareable is key

 

Creating a stand-out visual brand for your small business is vital in today’s competitive market.

Now any business, no matter how small, has the opportunity to compete in ways that were not available in the days of just TV and print advertising, by creating online content people can share.

Therefore small businesses should think about their ‘visual brand’ early on.

Part of a creating a great visual brand is consistency and having every touch point in the business follow the image guidelines.

Visual branding is not just your name, your logo or your website. It is the experience that your look and feel brings to the customer. A visual brand needs to embody the essence of that experience.

Small businesses don’t have the budgets of large companies for advertising and marketing, but smart image choices are a great way of connecting your strategy with creativity.

Who doesn’t love looking at pictures? In fact, scientific studies show the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and visuals can increase brand engagement as much as 94%.

Your images should mesh the analytical and logical parts of your company with the emotional and visual elements. Choosing the right images should be key to work processes – they draw in the viewer in a way that text rarely does.

Emotional connection builds loyalty and love for a brand, and what better way of evoking it than through images.

Here are five simple steps to building a strong visual brand for your business:

1. Find your inspiration.

It is important to know what sort of visual identity you want to create for your business. Gather inspiration from photos on the internet, magazines, or even your own personal photo gallery. This will make your search for the right images much easier.

 

2. Differentiate.

Take some time to look at what your competitors are doing. Not just what service they offer or their pricing policy, but what images they are using to talk about themselves. Be aware of what works in your area of business and build on that for your own brand. However do not replicate, be different – it could be in composition, photographic technique, viewpoint, crop that can make your images look different.

 

3. Be relevant and clear.

Find a visual language (messaging) that is relevant to you and that represents your brand clearly. Don’t overcomplicate it. If you are drawn to it, your customers will probably be drawn to it too.

4. Keep consistent.

Be consistent in everything you visualise. You will get bored of it long before your audience will. Stay with it and it will be memorable for years to come, helping you build loyalty.

 

5. Find an emotional connection.

Images are the easiest way to do this. Authenticity is key, a genuine message builds trust and connection. Tell your personal story through images. Use humour if that works for your brand, think about the people you are representing in your images and what roles they are playing. Are they the types of people your audience will want to see? After all, we like looking at other people like us. This is key.

iStock comes into play here with its large collection of exclusive images, tagged with general and conceptual keywords to assist your searching process. You can save specific images to lightboxes, from which you can view the photographer’s portfolio or similar images for more inspiration. There are various subscription options to accommodate your financial needs and make the creation of your visual brand a simple, enjoyable and affordable process.

 

For more practical tips and case-study examples for your small business, view iStock’s 30-min webinar “How to build a visual brand”.

Image credits: 18482872, kimberrywood | 48587264, Christopher Badzioch | 20795588, lambada | 40898582, Lorraine Boogich | 21435915, epicurean | 14089723, valentinrussanov

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