A Three-Step Guide to Maintaining Your Visual Brand Identity
By Kaila Krayewski - 6 min read
As brands seek to attract consumers from Bhutan to Bali, they source vast amounts of visual content to compete in local markets. Yet many struggle to maintain a cohesive identity. Does this sound familiar?
As the choices that face consumers multiply, the only winners are the brands who remain memorable. Companies like Warby Parker shoot for funky, off-kilter stunts; Nike relies on their rock-solid image as the footwear of champions; Virgin Airlines has Richard Branson - need we say more?
There’s only one golden rule: keep your style consistent. That way, when your content strikes your customer’s eye, it sparks instant recognition and evokes the emotion they associate with your brand, whether that is contentment, pride, or confidence.
Overview: Three Steps to Visual Success
1. Evaluate Your Style
Take a cool, hard look at what your brand stands for and how you express that. Eliminate the distractions–yes, leave the feather boas to Michael Jackson–and zero in on what your customers have come to expect. If you think about Starbucks, your mind conjures green colour schemes and funky quotes. McDonald’s, on the other hand, brings to mind the golden arches and bright red billboards.
In other words, evaluating your style is like designing a personalised Instagram filter for your content. You experiment with brightness, saturation, lighting, and positioning to get your imagery just right, save the customised adjustments, then apply them over and over to craft a stunning feed out of a formerly incoherent jumble of visuals.
2. Analyse Aesthetic Quality
Get out your clipboards and elegant ink pens and prepare to become an image critic. To avoid indecision, we recommend some tried-and-true guidelines that will help you make the cut. For positioning, there’s the rule of thirds, in which you divide the image like a tic-tac-toe board and place your “WOW” element where the lines intersect.
Stuck on colour conundrums? Resort to a handy-dandy colour wheel–you know, the visual that explains why blue and pink cotton candy sticks look so delicious together. Bereft of element ingenuity? Centre your imagery on people–not just cute babies or beautiful women, but interesting, quirky people with whom your customers can identify.
At this point, you’ve ranked your sourced photos on a sliding scale in terms of aesthetic quality, but you still need to filter them based on brand relevance. Continue onwards.
3. Choose the Best Content for Your Brand
Simply selecting the visuals that cracked the Top 100 of your aesthetic scoreboard won’t do the trick.
Why not? Well, imagine that you’ve just invented the world’s best kale-protein-cucumber smoothie and you are trying to sell it at McDonald’s. Sure, Olympic athletes may swoon over it, but at a fast food stop, it doesn’t stand a chance against some fries and a Big Mac.
It’s the same story with your aesthetics. The photo that caught your eye as perfect for your next campaign may only have a 10% relevance to your brand style–at which point we have to say, “toss it!”
How do you decide? Simply use your “Instagram filter” to conduct a quick litmus test: if the photo matches up with your personalised feed like you and your dream Tinder date, then swipe right and add it to your content campaign.
Three Steps Made Simple
Now, we wouldn’t be talking about this three-step process with so much gusto if we didn’t put it into practice ourselves via our Computer Vision Technology. To explain it without the jargon, we use advancements in machine learning to automatically analyse and select photos that fit your brand’s style.
Here’s an example: Boston Consulting Group (BCG) used our technology when their Mission unexpectedly received over 90,000 new images sourced from 40,000+ photographers. They realised it would take them a couple of lifetimes to rank it all by hand. Instead, they opted to use our algorithm that sorts images by two simple data points: aesthetics and relevance.
The result? They ended up saving a crazy amount of time and energy maintaining their visual identity and realised that they could localise without stressing about their brand voice.
Whether you sort by hand or outsource to us, though, the end goal is always the same: to have your customers recognise you in a crowd. To stand out like a blue flamingo in a sea of pink; to embody what you believe. Be familiar, be known, be recognisable–because in a busy, globalised world, consumers will always turn to a brand that knows what they stand for and shows it.
And There You Have It: Three Steps to Success
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