Red cupcake with sprinkles and sparkler

We’ve touched on the importance of your brand, and identified the key components to creating one that is memorable, but today we’re going to hone in on brand imagery. Think of brand imagery as the frosting to your cake; it lures people with its outward appearance and enhances the flavor profile of the cake. A red velvet cupcake is great, but a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting is infinitely better. Get the gist?

Your brand imagery should show the personality of your brand to its audience. When a company has strong brand imagery, you can identify its ads or promotions instantaneously. Coca Cola, Target, Google, and Apple were the first companies that came to mind when I brainstormed this topic. Each has a distinct look, feel, and message to its imagery, and I never hesitate to associate their names with their product promotions because it is so obvious.

As a small business, that’s what you want! To be so obvious that your audience has no choice but to know your brand is in front of them. With this kind of recognition, it is implied that your business is established, trustworthy, and likely in growth mode. To get your business to be immediately recognizable to consumers, insert these four tips into your brand strategy.

Match Your Audience

You’ve done your homework and know what your audience is interested in, what matters to them, and what they respond to. Make sure your imagery reflects your audience’s needs. It’s easy to get pulled into the endless “National Hotdog Day” and other cultural holidays that are ever-present on social media, but if your audience doesn’t care about hotdogs, don’t include them in your imagery. Staying true to your business’s values will keep you in line, and assist in choosing images that are meaningful to your audience and reflect positively on your brand.

Lululemon does a fantastic job of matching their audience’s interests while maintaining their brand integrity. Look at any of their social profiles or ads, and you’re likely to find one of three types of image: breathtaking scenery, athletes in motion, or product close ups. These all tie back to the company’s mission statement of “creating components for people to live longer, healthier, fun lives.”

Scenic outdoor shot from Lululemon

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Be Different 

Being a small business today, it can be challenging to separate yourself from the thousands of competitors in your field. Brand imagery allows you to visually represent your brand in a unique way, which over time will link back to your business. Understanding what emotionally drives your audience. From here, you can build those triggers into your imagery by creating CTAs (call-to-action) and pulling on their heartstrings, whatever they may be. Consumers need a sense of urgency in order to move forward with exploring a brand or taking any action at all. Give them the push they need with your imagery. Tie in text with your images to cultivate an alluring incentive for your customers. Like I mentioned before, it’s going to take time for your brand to become synonymous with your imagery and tactics, so keep plugging away, and sooner rather than later, you’ll see your brand awareness increasing as well as your consumer base.

Be Consistent

This is a loaded topic because it covers so much, all of which play an important part in protecting your brand and its image. After you’ve developed your logo, preferred brand colors and fonts, stick with them! Customers need consistency in order to associate certain images, phrases, and qualities with specific brands. If you’re constantly changing your color palette and trying out different fonts, you’ll leave your audience confused. Build out a suite of fonts, from one to four is suggested, and determine a color palette that incorporates enough colors that you can create dynamic images within that range. You don’t have to use those colors and fonts all of the time, but you should aim to include your core brand standards in at least 50% of your graphics.

Use the Right Sizes

An image is only as compelling as its resolution, so know the preferred image size of your platform. A grainy image leaves a person feeling like the brand is unprofessional or lacks the care to put up a quality image; that’s certainly not the impression you want to leave your audience with. Follow Constant Contact’s 2016 Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet to deliver quality images to your customers every time.

We’d love to see how you’re using imagery as part of your small business brand. Comment below and share links to your website or social media profiles.

About the Author: Julie Chomiak is the Content Marketing Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo. When she’s not scouring the web for small business trends, Julie loves traveling, interior design, and animals of all kinds. Get more from Julie on the Webs Blog and the Pagemodo blog.

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