Using pictures and graphics to accurately represent your brand image
Your brand is the “face” of your business. It reflects your company culture, values, mission, and purpose. Let’s assume you’ve already taken your company’s brand image seriously by identifying your target market and crafting your brand to speak to them. That’s the first step, and it has set you up for success in your future marketing efforts. But the second step, the one that will make all the time and money spent on creating your brand worth it, is effectively implementing your brand.
Think of it this way: your brand is the rulebook that lets you know what is and isn’t allowed. Your brand should be the ultimate measuring rod you use to determine all your marketing efforts. We’ve all seen bad examples of companies creating ad campaigns, websites, business cards, and other collateral that wasn’t consistent with their brand. In an effort to be “creative” or “hip,” they created something completely off-the-wall that left you scratching your head saying, “huh?” Don’t let your business be that company! Here are a few ideas about how to use images to accurately represent your brand image:
Once you’ve chosen your brand, stick with it! As you design your website and create new collateral, make sure that all the stock images and graphics you choose accurately line up with your brand image. What does that mean? If you think about it, it’s actually, pretty much common sense: a business catering to professionals shouldn’t use cute, bright graphics and a daycare shouldn’t be using pictures of businesspeople at meetings. Apple does this very well: every product image and ad they produce has a very consistent feel.
Hint: Come up with a list of keywords that describe your brand. If most of the words on that list can describe the photo or graphic you like, use it! If not, keep looking.
#2: Pay attention to emotion
Good brands tell a story. Stories engage emotions. Creating an emotional connection with your target market will bring you business. Starbucks’ marketing is a good example of this: they don’t just feature pictures of the coffee they sell. Instead, the images and graphics they use highlight the experience of getting coffee and the emotion of the experience.
Hint: Make sure the emotion and story of the photo matches the information being told alongside the photo. For example, a website page about your company should feature photos of your building, employees or team, etc.
#3: Compliment, don’t distract
One of the biggest temptations when it comes to visual marketing is to be so elaborate that it ends up distracting from your actual message. Yes, it’s important for your brand to stand out from the crowd. But not at the expense of accurate communication. Simplicity is one of the best communication tools you can have.
Hint: Look for images that depict the main concept you’re trying to communicate, not just photos or graphics that are eye-catching but have little to do with your content.
The importance of using good visual imaging in your business can hardly be denied. Quality images make blog posts more readable, websites more interesting, products more sellable, social media statuses more shareable, and companies more relatable. Many companies are beginning to look for good images that accurately reflect their brand to use on everything from their Facebook page to printed flyers. Where can you go to find images to use?
Of course, there are the paid services like iStock Photo or Shutterstock where you can purchase the rights to images. There’s also the temptation to simply use Google or Pinterest to look for images, download them, and use them… Regardless of whether you have the legal right to do so. Our suggestion? Create your own! Not only will this keep your image use legal, but will also ensure you’re using unique images that can be custom-crafted to reflect your brand and help you stand out from the crowd.
This whole idea of strategically using pictures and graphics to accurately represent brands is something we’ve taken very seriously at Propel. Last year, we developed a strategic partnership with the talented photographer to create our own stock photos to use on our blog. This year, we’ve created the opportunity for you to do the same by developing a Brand Image Creation service as one of our products! Contact us for details about our stock image creation rates and packages.