3 Simple Ways to Visualize Your Brand (And Get Noticed Now That Everyone Is Online)
Gather a few pieces of your business’s marketing materials. Do you see a consistent visual theme? If the pieces don’t feel like one whole, but a mishmash of confusing tones, schemes, and imagery, you need to sort out your brand’s visual identity.
No need to panic.
You don’t need to be a talented and experienced graphic designer or marketing guru to visualize your brand. The following steps are fairly simple, and yet they are all you need to build out your visual brand.
Consumer Brand vs Employer Brand
As defined by AMA (American Marketing Association), a brand is a design, symbol, term, name, or any other feature that identifies a business as distinct from the competition. Your visual brand is the most tangible aspect of your branding. It includes your colors, logo, imagery styles, composition styles, and typography.
If you want to visualize your brand just so that you will sell more products, you are setting yourself up for failure. Branding doesn’t revolve just around the consumers.
Your brand is how employees and potential employees perceive your business as a whole. Your brand is important because it is a point of pride and satisfaction for your employees; it doesn’t only serve to establish an emotional bond with the consumers.
Your brand message should resonate both with the customers who are browsing your site and the potential candidates who are following you on social media. Your employer branding and consumer branding are distinct, but connected. Yet, you can only have one visual brand, so it needs to cater both to consumers and recruitees.
Define Your Audience
First, you need to understand who your target audience is, as well as their wants and needs. This makes every step of the branding process easier, including visualization. To define your audience, think of the perfect customer.
Consider psychographics and demographics. The following questions can help:
- What’s their gender, age, education level, and income level?
- What is their lifestyle?
- What are their interests and hobbies?
- What are their values? What is their personality like?
- What problems and challenges do they face? What solutions are they looking for?
- What are their day to day concerns?
Define Your Vision, Mission, and EVP
Your visual branding should reflect your vision, mission and employee value proposition (EVP). So that you can properly visualize your brand, you need to clearly define the “why” behind it.
Your vision defines your long term goals and what you ultimately want to achieve through your work. You need to come up with a clear vision statement that explains why you are doing what you are doing.
Your mission defines what you do, the purpose of your work, and how you want your work to impact the world around you. Think of your mission as a path to achieving your vision.
So that you can better understand the relationship between these two concepts, let’s check out LinkedIn’s vision statement and mission statement:
Vision: “To create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
Mission: “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
Your EVP is not to be confused with your mission statement. In simple terms, it’s what your employees stand to gain from working for you. The following questions can help you define your EVP:
- What makes your business a great workplace?
- Why should someone work for you and not for someone else?
- What qualities do people need to reach success in your company?
You can also ask your employees a few questions:
- What work are you most proud of?
- How is our company different from the other organizations you worked for?
- What are your biggest motivators?
Create a Mood Board
The best and easiest way to visualize your brand is to create a mood board. A mood board, also called a vision board or inspiration board, is a visual tool that embodies the feeling and vibe you want your brand to evoke—hence the name.
A mood board is a very simple concept—it is a curated collage of visuals that define your brand. It can include photos, paintings, pieces of text, materials, etc. Together, the items you include in your mood board should evoke a specific concept.
It is a great tool because it visually expresses what your brand exudes. It gives a more tangible form to other aspects of your brand, such as your vision, mission, and your employer brand.
Your mood board can be digital or physical. For instance, you can use Pinterest to create a digital mood board. You can use a large cork board to create a physical one.
When creating your mood board, consider the following elements:
- Color: Color psychology is an important part of brand visualization. The color palette you choose will affect the way your audience perceives the other elements of your visual brand, such as your site and logo design. This guide by 99designs can help you choose a color palette that best reflects your brand.
- Images: The old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is best applied to branding. When putting together a mood board, it is important to find images that tell your brand story. For example, if you are building an organic juice brand, you should include illustrations of organic farms, as well as fruits and veggies.
- Textures: Look for textures that are in line with the vibe you’re trying to create or the type of brand you’re creating. If you are launching a boho-inspired brand, for instance, you can include macrame. If you are launching a lingerie brand, you can include lace.
- Patterns: Make sure to include patterns that speak to your brand. For instance, you can go for subtle stripes or a more loud polka dot pattern.
- Text: You can include inspiring quotes, fonts, and other typographic elements in your mood board as long as they speak to your brand. Adding text to your branding mood board is a great way to strengthen the visuals.
To create a cohesive and memorable experience for both your customers and your employees, you need a visual brand that will resonate with them. And to visualize your brand, you need to know who your audience is, what you stand for, and what you have to offer. Once you have all that, your mood board will help you tie all the intangible elements of your brand together and create a visual representation of your brand.