We are literally living in a visual world. A world of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and SnapChat. Visual marketing rules today’s digital marketplace where consumers want to be personally engaged v.s. blatantly advertised to.
Wether you are a blogger, business owner, freelancer, or entrepreneur, we all know the importance of great photography. But how far can photography really take you when it comes to building up your brand’s identity?
Last week I was so excited to welcome guest author Connor K Hollis of connorkaylin.com to introduce this month’s focus of branding v.s. brand identity. Today, NY based brand-ographer (aka styled branding photographer) Nadeena of Art & Anthem to share with us her expertise in understanding how to leverage professional branded photography to build up your brand’s identity.
Branding Your Business Through Photography
With guest author Nadeena of Art & Anthem
So you have a brand. You have the words (and god knows that took awhile), your core values, your offerings, and your ideal client. You’re all set to go out into the world and show off your new baby–uh, brand. But wait. Something is missing. You take a look at Pinterest, Instagram, and your website—not to mention each individual blog post. They all need one thing in particular—images that represents your brand.
When people hear the term “visual identity” they think more of website design, logo and the color palette that ties it all together. An often overlooked aspect is photography. This aspect is pretty important given the popularity of social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, not to mention blog posts that are published at the very least weekly.
Imagery has always had the ability to pull out hidden emotions, wants and needs in us. What attracts us to brands, isn’t the products (because let’s face it, there are probably 10 other businesses selling a similar product) but rather how that brand makes us feel or what it makes us believe we can achieve. Why not take it a step further and use our images–a part of our visual identity– to help our dream clients more clearly understand our brand message?
What is a brand image?
What is a brand image? Well, it’s pretty much your brand in visual form. Think of brands that you love–my guess is if you close your eyes, specific images will come to mind and those images will make you feel a certain way. Guess what? That’s not just by chance. It’s on purpose. It’s on purpose!
If I say think of Free People, my guess is images of women in impeccably tailored pencil skirts and blouses in a strict corporate environment do not come to mind. This is the power of images when used correctly. When used incorrectly, it actually confuses the mind of your customers and might even cause them to view your brand as unprofessional or worse–untrustworthy.
Unlike Free People, you most likely don’t have a brick and mortar store to walk into or a clothing line that helps to solidify your brand message. This means you must be more intentional about how you represent your business visually. Especially if you are on several platforms–people must know and recognize your brand across all platforms.
The first step in doing this is creating a clear vision in your mind (and on paper) of what your brand looks like. How? A combination of understanding your ideal client and your brand personality.
There will be an overlap between the two and that is where the visual goodness comes from. The more you understand your ideal client, the more you will understand what type of images will resonate with them.
Let’s go back to the Free People example again. Do you know that if you go to the Free People website there is actually a description of their ideal client on there?
“…a 26-year-old girl, smart, creative, confident and comfortable in all aspects of her being, free and adventurous, sweet to tough to tomboy to romantic. A girl who likes to keep busy and push life to its limits, with traveling and hanging out and everything in between. Who loves Donovan as much as she loves The Dears, and can’t resist petting any dog that passes her by on the street.”
Today we draw, design, sew and buy for her…And if she wants her colors and patterns all mixed up, that’s even better, picking through our sweaters, knits and skirts…”
Understanding your Ideal Client + Your Brand Personality = Visual Goodness
On both their website and Instagram, you can see that the images they chose to represent their brand were created with their ideal client and brand personality in mind. They want to attract a free spirited romantic girl who lives to be adventurous and travel. Their visual identity is consistent on every platform.
Below I’ve created an action plan/worksheet of sorts to help you understand what direction you need to go in to ensure that your brand images match your brand. Understanding how you want to impact your dream client (past the services your offer) and what your brand is really about (your why) will be the first step to curating a complete and consistent visual identity.
FREE BRAND-OGRAPHY WORKSHEET!
Nadeena is an amazing photographer who is genuinely committed to helping her clients expand and elevate their brands through styled brand photography. She even offers FREE photos monthly in her newsletter for her subscribers to use in their own social media and brand building efforts. Check out her gorgeous photography on Instagram.
Take a moment and reflect on some of your all time favorite websites, brands, social profiles etc… Go through their images and look at how their visual identity is so strongly represented by the images they choose to share with us.
I believe that people do business with people before they do business with a brand. It’s so importance to curate the ideal atmosphere in order create the ideal situation where a positive and trusting relationship can be born between you and your ideal client. When our businesses are primarily online, professional branded photography can make all the difference.
Take a look at the visual appearance of your own brand. What kind of emotions are you evoking through the images you are sharing. Do they support your brand? Do you need to make some changes?
Nadeena and I want to hear your opinion here. What does brand photography do for you when it comes to choosing someone to do business with, especially online?
Let us know in the comments below!
And of course, as always, if you found this post helpful, please share it. Sharing is caring!
See you in the comments!