Since I’m a visual branding expert for mindful business owners, you might think that I’m slightly biased when I say that visual branding is essential for building and expanding your small business. But hold that thought!
Visual branding has, in fact, been recognized by many entrepreneurs and companies as an essential part of building their brand. Now, you might be wondering when exactly branding comes into play in your business? Well, you build your brand the day you start to put yourself or your business out there! The way you display your business to your audience, the way you network and connect with others and the way you choose to work with your clients all form part of your brand. Yes, you’ve guessed it, if you are a budding entrepreneur, you probably already have some kind of brand right now and you don’t even know it! And that’s why you want to get it right early on so that you can move forward confidently.
So what does visual brand identity mean and why is it so important? In this blog, I will be answering those two questions for you. I’ll also let you in on my super-secret tips on how to make your visual brand even stronger to truly make that huge impact in the world you’ve always wanted to do!
Are you ready? Let’s dive right in!
Branding seems to be a buzzword in the marketing world that’s thrown around a lot but not truly understood. As a small business owner, you probably have a strong sense that you need it, but can’t quite understand why.
Well, think about it: what do you want your current and future clients to say about you? How do you want them to describe you and, hopefully, refer you to their friends?
That’s when your branding comes into the picture.
Your brand encompasses many things, including your content, your copy, your product and services and your visuals. When creating a visual brand identity, you are focusing on the visual side of things. Basically, your visual brand identity is everything your audience sees about your brand. This means, your visual brand identity goes way beyond an attractive color palette and a beautiful logo. Instead, it goes way deeper than that and aims at telling your story, vision and mission to your audience through the right logo, designs, typography, color scheme, amongst others.
The most important thing about your visual brand identity is that it resonates deeply with you, your audience, and your business.
All elements of your branding are important, be it your copy, your actual service or product or your visuals. But the visual aspect plays a crucial role in your brand identity and one could even venture to say it is more important than other parts of your branding. The reason for this is that your brain processes visual information much faster than text information.In fact, the human brain processes images 60,00 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual!
Pretty impressive, right?
Let’s put this into practice with some examples!
Visual branding isn’t just for the big corporations or the luxury products you see in boutique stores, it’s for any business - big or small, any entrepreneur, any freelancer and basically, any individual who is planning to sell or market a product or a service (we call these ones personal brands). Here are 3 examples of visual branding gone terrifically right:
Often referred to as “Coke”, Coca Cola has done a great job at nailing their visual brand right from the start. They’ve done this so well that if I ever asked what soft drink has red and white packaging, you’d automatically shout out “Coke!”. And here’s another impressive fact: have you ever wondered how Coca Cola always has the most heart-warming ads featuring Santa Claus himself? Well, that’s not a coincidence that Santa Claus’ suit is red and white! In the 1930s, Coca Cola brought Santa Claus into their brand story, depicting him as a round jolly man who loved to read letters from children and, of course, enjoy a coke!
If I say, milk chocolate in a purple wrapping, you roll your eyes and go “Cadbury” *duh*. Although there are a few other chocolate brands out there using purple as their main visual branding color, Cadbury remains our immediate guess whenever we see a purple chocolate wrapper. In April 2020, after 50 years of visual brand consistency, Cadbury finally decided to undergo a brand makeover. Let’s see how well the public responds to it!
Zooey Deschanel (that’s right!)
If I say that quirky blue-eyed girl who likes to sing and has heavy bangs, you’ll probably hesitate a second before raising your hand frantically: “Zooey Deschanel!!” And although she often gets mixed up with Katy Perry, Zooey Deschanel OWNS thick bangs in the entertainment industry (I mean, have you ever seen her with any other haircut? I haven’t!). This actress and singer has used her signature style and mannerism as a consistent visual brand to create a place for herself in the entertainment industry.
By showing up every day looking the same, being consistent on how they reveal themselves to the audience, they created significant brand awareness and credibility. And it made a big impact over time.
That’s exactly where you want to be with your brand too!
So how do you make your visual brand more impactful and unique? I got you covered. Here are my three rules in the book to creating a solid and genuine visual brand.
Knowing who you serve is critical. Think about it: how would you connect and attract your ideal customer if you don’t understand how they think and feel? It’s vital that you learn to speak your client’s language, understand their thought process, their pain points, and what it is they are really hoping to achieve when using your product or service. Then, simply use their language to communicate your product or service to them effectively.
Your visual brand has to be intentional and flexible. Flexibility in logo formats is important and you need to have room to work and mold it as your business grows. The same concept applies to your colors and other visual aspects as well. As time passes, your business will definitely bloom and so will your visual branding. Being aware of this from the start will save you a lot of time and headaches in the future years.
Consistency in your visual brand identity is key. Without consistency, you will be unable to create that big impact you so desired. So remember to always stay on-brand with the same colors, same fonts, and same logo variations. When you keep these few elements consistent you can be more adventurous with the rest. Nothing ever looks off even if new elements are added for seasonal campaigns and partnerships.
By now you have a solid understanding of what visual branding is and why it is essential for your small business. You’re also equipped with three simple ways to improve and succeed at creating a unique, clear, and impactful visual brand for your small business! I hope this blog was helpful for you and you can now think about your visual brand with less confusion and more confidence. You got this!
Pssst, pulling your hair out trying to put together a brand guide? I got your back! I created a super easy-to-follow brand guide template for you to use and start working on your visual brand: Click here to snag my Google Slides brand guide template and make it yours.
The Brand Guideline is a skeleton to help you keep your branding on-check, not a template that works as collateral for your business. In this style guide, you’re not creating anything new; it’s a place to gather all your assets and have it handy whenever needed.
Say, you need a sticker design, how do you use the logo and colors? How do I know what fonts to use? Having this information visually accessible will help you and everyone you work with to be on the same page.
For you, this means less time explaining what is what and more time making meaningful connections and focusing on your business! And, for your branding, it means beautiful consistency forever!
Happy branding! ;)