One of the best ways to express your brand’s personality is through imagery. But not all images are created equal. You need to take some time to choose the images that work best for your brand’s unique personality. Today you’ll learn how to choose the right brand images.
Why are Images Important?
You’ve probably heard the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” There’s definitely a lot of truth in that old saying. Pictures help tell a story by showing your audience what you mean instead of just telling them. For example, I could tell you about my friend Daniel’s mobile espresso business, Urbana Cafe, built on a vintage Vespa motorcycle, and you might understand what I mean. Or, I could show you the image below and BOOM, you instantly get it.
What to Look For
Every image you use in your communications helps round out the story of who you are as a brand. While there are no hard and fast rules as to what images you should use (every brand is so different), there are a few simple guidelines you can follow.Every image you use in your communications helps round out the story of who you are as a brand. Click To Tweet
Focus on the transformation. Choose images that show the transformation your ideal client will experience after using your brand. Your images should show the end result or the happy ending that choosing your brand gives them. For example, Blue Apron shows how you can transform the ingredients you get in their home-delivery box into a beautiful gourmet meal:
Choose smiley, happy people. If your brand images are communicating the transformation your ideal client will experience then it makes sense to show their smiling, happy faces. Be sure the people you use in your marketing closely resemble your ideal client. You want your audience to put themselves in the picture and think, “I want to feel the way she does!” Perfectly Placed does this simply and beautifully. Here’s a happy mom who gets to spend more time with her cute kid because she’s more organized and less stressed:
Evoke an emotional response. To have a greater impact, your images should evoke an emotional response from your audience. This doesn’t mean you have to make them cry. Your images might make them laugh, they might inspire them, motivate them, or even cause them to rise up in anger. charity: water shows us how happy kids can be if they have clean drinking water. They tug at our heartstrings and inspire us to make a donation:
Use your images as visual hooks. Interesting images can grab your reader’s attention and draw them in. Intriguing images will draw more attention to your post, article, or advertising and keep people engaged longer. NASA regularly shares fascinating images via Twitter, inspiring their readers to click the link to see and learn more:
See that swirling cloud that looks like cream in coffee? It’s actually a massive, raging storm in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere, seen by @NASAJuno. Take a look: https://t.co/jH8hV4OESA pic.twitter.com/ra27E0LRYW
— NASA (@NASA) November 18, 2017
One of the most important things to remember when choosing images to represent your brand—quality matters. Strive to use the highest-quality images possible. This means you might have to spend some money on your images. Hire a professional photographer or purchase high-quality stock images. Consider it a worthwhile investment into your brand.
Use original photos whenever possible. Take your pictures yourself or hire a professional. If you’re selling a physical product, always include professionally-produced photos of your products. This is especially true for food or food products. Poor-quality food photos are a real turn off.
If you must use stock images, avoid using overused or cliché images:
Create a Mood Board
One of the best ways to make sure you use consistent imagery for your brand is to create an image mood board. A mood board is a document that contains a few carefully-curated images that best represent your brand. Your mood board allows you to gather several ideas in one place so you can see how they all look together. You can refer to this document any time you want to make sure you’re choosing the right kind of photo for your marketing or social media posts.
Here are a few examples of simple, creative mood boards:
Creating a mood board for your brand images is pretty easy. Just gather a few images that best represent the style you’re going for and put them all in one place. You can copy images into a Word document, create an online mood board using Canva or Pinterest, or go old-school and cut pictures out of magazines and paste them onto the wall.
Here’s an example of a mood board I created on Pinterest for an imaginary coffee shop:
If I owned a coffee shop I could use this mood board to style the images I want to share on social media or feature on our website. Now that I know what kinds of images I want to use, I could take a photo every day to share with my audience and I’d start building a consistent brand.
Day 12 Action Item—Choose Your Brand Images
Today’s action item is to choose your brand images and paste them onto a mood board. You can do this with an online tool like Pinterest or Canva or go old school and cut-and-paste. Print out your mood board and paste it into your 21 Days to Build a Better Brand Workbook.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while creating your mood board:
- Don’t go crazy here—just gather 5-10 images that best represent your style. Too many images will make your board feel cluttered and confusing.
- Show the happy ending or the transformation that your brand promises.
- Use high-quality images and avoid over-used or cliché stock photos.
- Consistency is key. Using your mood board will help ensure you always use images with a similar look and feel.
- Keep your mood board handy whenever you need to add an image to a blog post, your homepage, or on social media.
Coming up: Tomorrow you will learn how to create a clear and compelling value proposition for your brand.
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