If a picture paints a thousand words, then brand imagery is one of the most dynamic means for communicating with your customers.
From stained-glass church windows to the world-renowned Nike swoosh, images add immediacy, power, and clarity to your ideas, with a transformative effect on a brand’s overall impact. Colors and graphic metaphors have surprising staying power, so it’s important to consider every element you include in your brand imagery.
Brand Identity vs. Brand Imagery
So, what is the difference between brand identity and brand imagery?
Brand identity is the image or character of your business as people relate to it. For example, the BMW image of elite luxury has grown naturally from customers’ repeated exposure to BMW’s ads, endorsements, and products.
Brand imagery is the aesthetic appearance of your brand’s core identity and messaging. This is a result of all the visuals that represent your brand’s identity. These visuals may include anything from billboards to print ads or website banners to product packaging. Great imagery goes beyond simple appearance; the idea is to connect the right messages with your target audience so that they will have strong feelings that prompt a response.
Choosing brand imagery isn’t rocket science, but it takes some careful planning. Before you start slapping images on the page, think about these foundational elements:
How do the best brands convey their identity? They use graphics consistent with their brand character.
Burt’s Bees, an international personal-care company, has focused its products on nature from day one. Whether it’s their infamous lip balms or their newer makeup line, Burt’s always sticks to this mantra: “Providing customers with the best nature has to offer.”
From their “Whoa, Natural” print ads to their “unfiltered” social media posts, every image they use has an element of nature. Sometimes it’s through an eye shadow pencil held against a background of trees, while in others, it’s a little bit of honey accompanying a facial scrub.
While colors offer a great deal of flexibility, it helps to define larger color palettes that encompass your brand.
Since colors carry psychological weight, selecting color patterns in advance can help you convey the right emotions or moods. Start with identifying a base, accent, and neutral blend. Cohesive color schemes should be woven into your logo, store design, advertisements, and even uniforms, so choose carefully and have fun!
The GoPro technology company is all about taking their cameras everywhere you go, no matter the journey.
GoPro photos scream adventure, with deep, natural blues or stunning orange reflections. But beyond the colors, many brand photos are taken from the perspective of the camera operator. For example, perhaps a landscape with bike handlebars in the perimeter or a shot of a pair of feet on the high dive as a viewer gazes down into an Olympic pool.
When you want to generate intense emotions, set your viewers in the driver’s seat as you put them behind the lens of the delightful experience you’re offering.
Finally, it’s essential to ask whether your images are truthful.
Can you deliver on the experience you promise in your advertising? Aesthetic is important, but it’s not enough to win over an audience on its own. Brand loyalists will only arise when they see your brand imagery as authentic to the experience your business can bring.
Compelling Images Create Community
Successful brand imagery can build an internal narrative and external community, prompting customers not just to “buy” your product but to “buy into” to your brand image.
Finding images that perfectly represents your brand is more than a strategy, it’s an essential part of your identity. Spark consumer confidence and generational loyalty as you mobilize fantastic images to shout your identity in unique, inspiring ways.