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This Chapter:

Image

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Image

By Mark Brinn
Explore the power of visuals in conveying your brand's message effectively and engagingly. This chapter covers various visual types, the importance of quality, different styles of photography and illustration, the use of stock versus original images, and the significant role videos play in the modern digital branding landscape.

Visuals in Branding

You’ve heard the expression a picture is worth a thousand words, but consider this: the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.

That’s not just some random fact. It’s a wake-up call.

Your audience is bombarded with information every day. They don’t have the time or patience to sift through dense blocks of text. They need something that grabs their attention, communicates your message quickly, and leaves a lasting impression.

And that’s exactly what visuals do.

Choosing the Right Visuals

But not all visuals are created equal. The right visuals – the ones that align with your Identity and tell your Story – can elevate your brand and engage your audience on a deeper level.

The wrong ones can confuse your audience, dilute your message, and damage your brand.

An infamous case from 2017 is the Pepsi’s “Live For Now Moments” advertisement featuring Kendall Jenner.

In the ad, Kendall Jenner leaves a photoshoot to join a protest. She ends up handing a can of Pepsi to a police officer, seemingly resolving the conflict. The ad was criticized for trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement and social justice protests more broadly. It was seen as insensitive and tone-deaf, leading to a public backlash against Pepsi. The ad was pulled only one day after its release, and Pepsi issued an apology.

Bud Light, produced by Anheuser-Busch, has long been a supporter of LGBTQ+ equality, partnering with local and national nonprofits for the past 20 years. Yet, a specific promotional event triggered a significant backlash that affected the company’s sales.

During the March Madness season, Bud Light partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who promoted the beer in a video. Bud Light also commemorated the collaboration by sending Mulvaney a special edition beer can.

While the company likely hoped this would appeal to their younger, more progressive audience, it had the exact opposite effect. The can sparked a boycott led by American conservatives, including singer Kid Rock. This led to a drop in Bud Light’s retail beer sales.

Additionally, Bud Light also faced backlash from Mulvaney’s fans, demonstrating that the move was controversial across the political spectrum.

So, how do you choose the right visuals?

Here’s a hint: it’s not about what looks good. It’s about what feels right.

It’s about choosing visuals that:

Types of Imagery Used in Branding

There are several broad categories of images that you will likely need to consider while building your brand identity. Let’s take a look at the types of imagery you can use to make your brand stand out.

Product Photography

Product photos are self explanatory, they are photos of your product. Usually captured in a studio, these can be DIY (look on youtube) but if you have the budget I always recommend working with a pro.

Lifestyle Images

Lifestyle images show your product in action. They’re about the experience, the lifestyle your product promotes. They’re not just selling a product, they’re selling a dream.

Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Behind-the-scenes photos give your audience a peek into your process. They show the blood, sweat, and tears that go into your product. They build trust and authenticity. They can be a great way to build excitement around your project, as you can hint at the process without revealing details.

User-Generated Images

User-generated images are a gold mine. They’re authentic, engaging, and free. Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your product. It’s the best kind of advertising.

Infographics

Infographics are great if you are trying to convey complex ideas quickly. They make information simple, engaging, and shareable. Use them to educate your audience about your product or industry trends.

Illustrations, Memes, and Stock Images

These are your wild cards. They can be fun, inspiring, or thought-provoking. Use them to add personality to your brand and connect with your audience on a different level.

3D Renderings

3D renderings are the next best thing to actual product photos. They’re perfect for showcasing products that are still in development, or for creating stunning visuals that wouldn’t be possible in real life.

Remember, each type of image has its own strengths and weaknesses. Use them wisely to create a diverse, engaging visual experience that tells your brand’s story in the most compelling way.

Resources for Images

So where do you find all these images? Let’s take a look:

Photography

My favorite resource for free stock images is Unsplash. Websites like Pexels and offer high-quality free stock photos while Shutterstock and Getty Images offer paid options. Check out iStock for a wide variety of lifestyle images.

Behind-The-Scenes Photos

You can (and should) take these yourself! In today’s digital marketplace, authenticity is key, and selfies are a great way to show what’s going on behind the curtain.

User-Generated Images

Likewise, user-generated images should be spontaneous and authentic. Always encourage your customers to share their own photos and experiences.

Infographics, Illustrations, Memes, and More

These types of images can be fun, informative, and shareable. Tools like Canva and Adobe Spark make it easy to create your own.

Video Content, Animations, GIFs

I love Pexels, not only do they have great videos but plenty of photography as well – and it’s free! Platforms like Vimeo and Getty, and Adobe Stock have paid options, and GIPHY is a great place to find animated gifs and memes.

VR and AR Images, and 3D Renderings

Check out Sketchfab for 3D models and Unity for VR/AR experiences.

Remember, each type of image has its own strengths and weaknesses. Use them wisely to create a diverse, engaging visual experience that tells your brand’s story in the most compelling way.

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Floret Flowers

Good visuals tell a story, paint a picture, and create an emotional connection.

And no one does this better than Floret Flowers.

The Story Behind the Images

Erin Benzakein, the mastermind behind Floret Flowers, has built a brand that’s as beautiful as the flowers she grows. But it’s not just about the flowers. It’s about the story she tells through her stunning photography and videos.

Erin’s husband Chris taught himself photography (and videography) so he could better capture the beauty of their flower farm in a way that’s both authentic and inspiring. His images don’t just show you flowers; they transport you to their farm, they make you feel the sun on your skin, and they let you smell the flowers. This is taking the concept of behind-the-scenes to an entirely new level.

The Impact of Visuals on Brand

But these images do more than just look nice. They define the Floret brand. They communicate their values, their passion, and their commitment to quality. They make you feel something. That’s the power of visuals.

When people see these images, they don’t just see a flower farm. They see a dream, a lifestyle, a passion. They see a brand that values beauty, nature, and quality.

And they want to be a part of it.

Conclusion

So how can you leverage visuals like Floret Flowers? It starts with understanding your brand. What’s your story? What are your values? What do you want people to feel when they see your brand?

Once you have that figured out, think about how you can convey that through visuals. Maybe it’s through behind-the-scenes photography like Floret, or maybe it’s through illustrations, animations, or infographics. Whatever it is, make sure it’s authentic to your brand and engaging for your audience.

And remember, visuals are not just an add-on to your brand. They’re an integral part of it. They’re a way to communicate, to connect, and to engage. So make them count.

Now that we’ve explored the power of visuals in branding, let’s move on to the next chapter: Style. This chapter delves into how to curate a cohesive graphic style for your brand. A consistent visual style is key to building a strong, recognizable brand. It helps your audience recognize and remember your brand. It communicates your brand’s identity and values at a glance.

So, let’s explore how to develop these images into a compelling, consistent graphic style for your brand.

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