Every picture tells a story

how to create a visual branding strategyHave you noticed the increase in the use of images in social media marketing? Think about how Facebook posts become more engaging if they have an image or video attached to the text. Even Twitter created an opportunity for us to share images and videos in our ever crowded news feed.

And don’t even get me started on the growing popularity of image-rich programs like Pinterest and Instagram.

Think about an image that recently caught your attention. Was it the amazing  shape of a flower? Or the way the photographer captured the water moving over the ocean? Something drew your eye to that image. Maybe it was the rich color or the curve of the object.

Something pulled your eye towards it for a reason, you clicked on it, repinned or hit the LIKE button. Those actions are what we call creating an emotional connection.

Admit it, you’ve watched Oprah

We’ve all watched Oprah at one time or another even if it was to hear Lance Armstrong’s story. Oprah is the Queen of Emotional Connections. Those connections come from what she says, what her guests share but mainly, it’s because of what we’re watching and how it makes us feel.

We feel something when we watch her show. We feel a tug at our hearts for those people on stage. They would do something, say something or lived through something … and you felt the connection. You felt the joy, the fear or the heartache.

Even if you didn’t watch the live show, you felt the thrill in the room when she said, “Everyone wins a FREE CAR!” You can still hear her say it. When you read that line, you heard Oprah in your head. I know you did because I just said it out loud to myself while I was typing this sentence.

How do you create your company’s Visual Branding Strategy?

I believe it’s time to start looking at branding for our companies in a different light. With the growth of visual images intertwined with our social media, it’s time to consider adding the term ‘visual branding strategy’ into our marketing plans. We want our customers to feel the same way about our products that Oprah’s show made us feel.

Try answering these questions to start developing your company’s visual story. Don’t use technical terms like SEO or ROI. Get out your thesaurus if you need some help to find words that are more descriptive:

1. What does your brand or company’s name mean? Does it have a different meaning or a play-on-words?

2. Your most loyal customers love your brand for what?

3. Think in terms of your five senses. If you had to describe your company using your senses, what images, colors, textures or even smells come to mind?

4. Can you name five adjectives that describe your brand’s personality?

Use your answers to create a collage of imagery that represents the mood of your brand. You can do this by using your Pinterest boards or go old school by cutting out pictures and pasting them to a poster board. Try to avoid the literal meaning of these images but instead focus on colors, textures, objects and the feelings they evoke.

Here’s an example of the Pinterest board I’ve been building for my Inner Social Media-ness brand. I’ve been pinning retro images like the ones you see if you go to my site. I’ve also been adding content pins to give the viewer an understanding of what I call ‘Inner Social Media-ness’  and how it can help your small business learn about social media.

Hopefully, this will give you some inspiration to start developing your visual branding strategy. Once you start to build the foundation, you’ll see the imagery of these headlines unfold to become your company’s story.