As an online business owner, you are constantly bombarded by the importance of branding.
You have read countless blog posts on the importance of a strong logo, looked at endless mood boards on Pinterest, and completed every free opt-in workbook on establishing your unique brand identity.
But there is one essential brand element that is left out of nearly every post, article, e-book, worksheet and course.
Your images. The photography that you choose to represent your brand on your website, on Social Media, and in your e-commerce shop.
We live in an increasingly visual society. Sounds obvious, but what does that mean for your business? When a potential customer looks at your shop page or Instagram account for the first time, your visuals will make the immediate first impression. And, in the first few seconds when they decide to stay or go, the quality and appeal of the images they are looking at will make the decision for them.
You know you need them. But maybe it’s time to take make high-quality images that represent your brand a higher priority, right?
Making image standards a part of your overall brand strategy will not only help you create a cohesive visual identity online, but it will also make creating and choosing those images easier, because it will be automatic. Once you know which colors fit your brand like a cozy sweater, which angles highlight your products best features, and the tones that elicit the strongest emotions from your target audience, posting content will be a breeze.
Three ways to develop a cohesive visual presence for your brand. (Tweet this!)
Here are three ways to establish image standards and make them part of your brand strategy:
1. Do an audit of your existing brand materials.
We’re talking all the files your designer gave you, your Instagram feed, your Pinterest boards, etc. Ignore the content for now and look at the photos themselves. Take note of any visual themes you see rising to the surface - specific colors, tones, perspectives and compositions.
2. Build an inspiration board - of only photos.
Using Pinterest or an old school cork board and some magazines, pull or pin images that speak to you and effectively represent your brand. Just as you did with the internal audit, look for overriding visual themes.
Weed out images that do not fit those themes and create your board!
Reminder: If you do this online, don’t share it off of Pinterest, unless you intend to find the source for each image you pull!
3. Before you call it a day, ask yourself the following questions.
The fact that your eye is drawn to these themes does not ensure they will work for your brand and audience.
Will images like these appeal to your target audience? What do they like?
What kind of emotional pull do you want your images to convey? Do these themes match that vision?
Can you accurately display your services, products and content through these themes? If you sell children’s play clothes and toys, the dark, moody theme you uncovered may not be ideal.
If you find yourself at the end of this process and your answers to these questions are a defiant “no”, it’s okay! Take a deep breath, eat a cupcake and revisit your inspiration board tomorrow. Try identifying an alternate theme and follow the steps over again until you feel confident that you’ve landed on an aesthetic that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside when you look at it.
Last but not least, this is supposed to be fun! After all, who doesn’t love spending a few hours on Pinterest in the name of good branding?
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