Bottom line, visual social branding is about the way your content looks in the online arena. Sure, we are not denying that the textual aspect of content is extremely important, providing the essential stepping stones to enable your visitor to journey with your brand. But just for a moment, let’s take a couple of steps back and think of visual content as if it was a person.
No matter how we may like to think otherwise, we are influenced by outward appearances. It is just part of being human…a leftover from our evolution as a species, being able to judge what is ‘safe’ in terms of its external look and feel.
So coming back to the meaning we place on the external, if you like the way a person appears on the outside perhaps in terms of how they are dressed, how they act, yes, even how they look (not the Justin-Bieber-Brad-Pitt-Jennifer-Lawrence-Jennifer-Lopez-Rihanna type of ‘look’) but just something about a person with which you can personally relate – you’ll want to get to know them. And visual branding works in the exact same way. If a person can relate to the visual appearance of a site, they are more likely to engage with it. It’s as simple as that.
Creating a design that is visually appealing means encouraging your visitor to interact with your brand and as social media is about engagement this is the first step in establishing brand familiarity with your audience. This in turn plays a significant role in facilitating the trust component of a genuine relationship with your target market.
So how do you use visual elements to create your brand’s online visual presence? Here are 6 key ways to differentiate your brand through visual social branding
1 – First Base
Nothing competes with a good, solid foundation and as far as visual branding goes, this process begins with your website. Here you establish the brand’s visual identity which will be used throughout your online communications. As always all design elements are important in creating an overall effect which differentiates your brand and communicates your unique brand personality, values and company ethos.
2 – Brand colours
The choice of brand colours is very important. What colour is associated with Coca-Cola? Answer: Red – the colour of fun, enjoyment, and living life to the max which is what the world of Coca-Cola is all about with fun and friendship the essential values which the audience associates with the brand’s colour, a significant element which contributes to the strong visual identity of the brand. On the other hand the green and earthy colours of Freedom Studios enables the design company’s audience to associate with nature with an underlying theme of development, reaching for the stars and beyond.
3 – The impact of visual storytelling
Pictures tell a story, creating an emotional appeal which moves the reader a step closer to engaging with your content. In a couple of seconds, a picture relates information to which your reader responds, either communicating that your content (and by default your brand) is relatable, or they will decide it is not worth their time.
For this reason web development uses specialised strategies to increase the reader’s appreciation of the visual content. This can act as a key differentiating element, facilitating the reader’s emotional investment in the website and the brand.
4 – Simplicity is the key
In the psychology of design explained, the article shows that simplicity drives interaction. Simple visuals such as images or logos that are laid out in a clean and simple way draw our attention. That’s because people are overwhelmed with the amount of continuous information and white spaces actually provide a breathing space. Keep it simple. White space is not an awkward silence. It is rather an opportunity to highlight important content such as a call to action or other information which you wish to communicate to your audience.
5 – Reality bytes
When it comes to images, it is best practise to keep away from overused generic images, showing the same smiling faces or handshake (seen as a default image in too many websites), meant to instil an impression of teamwork or the like. In cases such as this, it is best to take an actual photograph of your team members and use this on your website or social platform. The advantage in this is that you provide your audience with behind-the-scenes insights into the people who make up your company and the image conveys a more real and genuine experience with which your audience can relate.
6 – Congruency
As visual presentation reflects your brand’s values and personality, it stands to reason that visual congruency is important in order to achieve the same look and feel starting at your website and extending into all of your social platforms. This ensures that your brand is instantly recognisable as a familiar and trusted friend. For example the Freedom Studios brand is green and has a similar theme on each of its social media platform, sometimes with a slight variation in keeping with the platform and also showing the brand’s versatility when it comes to visual design.
Nevertheless, there are certain elements which remain constant such as the logo and the colour, showing the brand’s dependability and artistic flexibility to accommodate the unique characteristics and offerings of different online environments.
So, when all’s said and done, keeping a constant brand theme across different platforms will help entrench the perception of your brand’s reliability and steadfastness which in turn encourages brand loyalty. There’s only one last thing to do – get your design mode on and go out and rock your brand on all the platforms!