Your visual content is your first impression on prospective customers. Here’s how to use that first impression to increase opportunities for conversions by building an effective visual brand identity.

Every brand is unique and has a distinct story to share. Your visual brand identity is arguably the most important aspect of your organization’s storytelling narrative. It’s what makes your brand unique from all other competitors in the marketplace.

The core benefit of a defined brand identity is, first and foremost, a consistent visual narrative. After establishing a set of creative guidelines, the content you promote to your audience will maintain a consistent look and feel. This makes it easier for people to collect their thoughts about your brand and decide if your marketing is worth their time. It also makes your content instantly recognizable and distinct from all other updates or promotions launched by your competitors.


What is a Visual Brand Identity?

Aligning Your Team to Create a Consistent Visual Brand Identity — Guidelines

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How does one actually define a visual brand identity? Leonard Kim is an accomplished brand strategist who spoke about the importance of brand identity in an article on CMO.com.

“Visual identity should amplify the intended message of the brand so you want to learn more and follow along with the story. Then the story should sell customers into why they should do business with your brand.”

Leonard Kim, Managing Partner, Influence Tree

The challenge faced by many corporations, and even creative agencies, is agreeing on a defined look and feel for content. Every member of your marketing team will have their own thoughts and perspectives on how to tell the brand story. On top of that, senior leadership outside of your marketing team will dictate their own ideas to your team.

How do you juggle all of these creative iterations and agree on a consistent narrative for storytelling? Let’s look into some best practices to establish a consistent visual brand identity.


Define the Basics of Your Branding

Aligning Your Team to Create a Consistent Visual Brand Identity — Define the Basics

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This should always be your starting point. Identify the traits and characteristics that will inform the look and feel of your brand, and how you promote it to the public. Some of the basics include:

  • Logos
  • Company colors
  • Visuals and videos
  • Creative designs
  • Fonts and typography

Any of those elements can influence the way your audience perceives your brand. The viewer will interpret a small change to the logo or a different shade of color in a positive or negative way. Your job as a marketer is to select a palette of colors, designs, and fonts that will generate the highest number of positive reactions to your brand.


Align Your Content with Audience Needs and Brand Objectives

Aligning Your Team to Create a Consistent Visual Brand Identity — Needs and Objectives

Image via Theera Disayarat

In addition to the basic characteristics, you need to think about the story you want to tell within your visual content. Studies show that the human brain is capable of processing visual content with remarkable efficiency. The amount of depth or layers within your content influences the brain’s capability to process that content.

Some questions you need to consider are:

  • What type of messaging appears on the content?
  • Are products the hero or is the content more lifestyle-oriented?
  • Where will the content be produced? Which backgrounds, environments, and locations will feature in the assets?
  • What tones and lighting will be used? What mood are you trying to invoke?

You need to think about how the audience will react, and how you want them to react. One way to get an idea is to conduct a survey of reactions from your own team towards a piece of visual content. Those reactions will give you an initial idea of how consumers will perceive your content. If the reaction isn’t what you expect or what you need, you may need to rethink the look and feel of the content.

You also need to make sure your content influences the goals of your brand. Many marketers set goals of brand awareness and customer engagement using their content. You may also use visual content to drive a low funnel strategy, which means conversions or direct sales is the most important goal. Any or all of these brand objectives, coupled with the needs of your audience, will influence your visual brand identity.


What Does Your Data Say?

Aligning Your Team to Create a Consistent Visual Brand Identity — What Does Your Data Say

Image via GaudiLab.

Brainstorming how to define your brand identity moves the needle in the right direction. But, you need to back up each one of those ideas with concrete data to prove it’s the right move.

This is where a lot of teams struggle. Each member of the team will have a thought or perspective, and not all of those ideas necessary influence the look and feel of the brand. That’s why an internal survey on a fresh piece of content is a great way to acquire results-driven feedback to your brand identity.

Of course, no marketer can sit idly for too long. If your team has taken the time to create content, test it out and analyze the response. Use the new content on your website, and track if an uptick occurs in time on page, page per session, and other analytics.

Promote the content on social media and track the engagement rates. If you have the budget, run a paid ad or two and see if the content drives clicks and conversions. You can also use those initial campaigns to collect data and optimize the performance of your future campaigns.


Create Mood Boards with Your Existing Content

Aligning Your Team to Create a Consistent Visual Brand Identity — Create Mood Boards with Existing Content

Image via GaudiLab.

Another way to establish your unique identity is to assemble mood boards or catalogs of your brand’s existing content. First, pool together a collection of your top 25-50 pieces of content using data from your web and social analytics.

Conduct a standard compare and contrast with members of your team. Identify commonalities in color, lighting, environments, products, people, and any other creative nuances on the most popular pieces of content. Your conclusions drawn from this analysis are concrete evidence of how people react to your brand’s content. Therefore, these conclusions should directly shape your unique visual brand identity.

All of these methods to establish a unique approach to content creation should help you create your unique visual brand identity. This well-defined brand identify will then enable your brand to resonate with people through the brand’s content. It may require tweaks from time to time, and you may even go through a massive rebrand at some point in your company’s lifetime. But, the look and feel that you create through experimentation and team feedback should inform how you promote your brand to your audience.

Top image via Comaniciu Dan.