Remember Show and Tell?

I remember Show & Tell when I was a kid. We wriggled in our seats listening to the stories our friends shared about the  treasures they brought to school that day. And then came the best part. They would pass it around so we could see it up close, touch it, feel it and because we were in kindergarten, most of us probably smelled it too.

visual personalityThere’s nothing better than having a visual element to help tell your story.

Your brand’s visual personality is the look and feel of your marketing message.  Your customers can see your ad or images on Pinterest and just know by looking at it, the message is from your company. A visual personality is a consistent look that includes the same colors, fonts, logo and overall graphic style.

Your Visual Choices

Finding your company’s personality is like giving your business human characteristics. How does your company behave when you’re telling your story about why they should buy from you and not the guy down the street? How do your customers talk about their experiences with your company?

Think about it this way: Is your company high tech, on the cutting edge and able to solve your customer’s problems with a quick click of the mouse? Or are you a family friendly restaurant where generations have been celebrating milestones way before we even knew what a cell phone was? Both of these businesses have different human traits that helps them tell their story.

Let’s use our family restaurant example. You wouldn’t want your graphic style to be black & white with sharp edges and shiny colors. Do you think that’s going to get the people with the toddlers to make dinner reservations? I’m pretty sure that won’t work with the families that I know but pictures of your restaurant with bright primary colors, images of happy kids and comfortable furniture will get them in the door.

Start thinking about how you can develop a Personality Board for your company. Set up a board on Pinterest, clip images and color swatches to put in a 3-ring binder or go Old School and glue pictures on a poster board. Imagine what colors, patterns and images give human qualities to your company.

Next, create a distinctive color palette that can easily be identified as your company. Close your eyes and picture these logos for the following brands and think about the specific colors that immediately come to mind:

  • The red, white and blue of a Pepsi can
  • Bright pink of T Mobile
  • The red circles of the Target logo
  • Orange signs and low price sheets from Home Depot
  • The brown trucks of UPS
  • And the full color of the rainbow in the peacock of NBC

Discover Your Company’s Visual Personality

At first, it will seem kind of strange to look at your company with human characteristics. As a company, you’re more than just a website or a Facebook fan page. You are a real person who sells to other real people. Your customers are having real live HUMAN experiences with your products and services.

Think about it from your customer’s perspective and ask yourself this question. Do they want to buy from a robot blasting out tweets or make a purchase from a real human being? I’d put my money on the second one.  And that humanized company will be the one who will develop loyal customers who not only come back but bring other customers with them.

To uncover your visual personality, take a few moments to answer these questions.

1. If your company was a person, what three words would you use to describe him or her?

2. Remember what it was like to be in front of the class for Show & Tell. Name five colors and images that you would use to tell your story.

3. Think about your company’s benefits (if you don’t know the difference between a feature and a benefit for your company, read this post here to help explain how to find your answers). How is your company perceived by your customers?

What human characteristics come to mind when you answer these questions? Once you start to see all your images in one place, you’ll be able to visualize your company’s personality. Keep your answers and images together so you’ll be able to pull them out the next time you’re planning a marketing campaign.

When your marketing message has a consistent look and feel, your campaigns will begin to connect with more people. They’ll see your company as more than just the latest special you’re running this month. When that happens, your customers won’t just tell others about your products or services. They’ll start to share your story.

Photo credit: Split Personality