Photography as Brand Identity: Creating a Visual Language for Marketing

Date:18 March 2024Author: [email protected]

Companies continue their transition to online operations. Thus, the digital space becomes extremely crowded. Businesses find it more and more challenging to maintain visibility. Competitors are vying for attention on the one hand, and never-ending changes in search engine and social media algorithms on the other can quickly shadow your brand and oust it from top positions. Without timely marketing measures, you are risking being lost and forgotten.

Brand identity is not a one-time project. It is a continuous process that must adapt to marketing trends and customer preferences. Today, when visual content rules, brands must learn to visually convey their values to their audiences. Photography may become a powerful instrument in this task.

What is brand identity?

Brand identity is often taken for a brand image. But these concepts are entirely different. Brand image is how the audience perceives a brand, while brand identity is how the brand wants to be perceived. Defining a clear brand identity is crucial for any business. It helps establish emotional connections, differentiates you from competitors, and allows you to successfully promote your goods and services.

Brand identity includes visual, auditory, and conceptual elements that together build your business portrait. When a consumer looks at your product or service, they must envision your brand. So, when creating brand identity, marketers have to achieve several goals:

  • Create a positive company image;
  • Show high value of products and services;
  • Improve communication with customers;
  • Strengthen the brand’s position in the market via verbal and visual identification of the product;
  • Personalize brand.

A strong brand identity is not a one-time project; it is an ongoing effort that implements and reflects recent marketing trends. And you should consider is while calculating your startup budget. In today’s digital space, the focus is mainly on visual elements.

Why do visuals take center stage in branding?

Visual content is all the information that can be expressed via images (diagrams, photos, drawings, infographics, business logos and other designs) and videos. Over the last twenty years, consumers’ content preferences have shifted from lengthy texts to visuals. No wonder – visuals are fun, easily digestible, and can be instantly shared. Moreover, visuals have more chances to deliver information to a viewer than text to a reader.

Studies show that a staggering 90% of the information the human brain processes is visual. People comprehend visual information more effortlessly than text or speech. Your eyes can register 36,000 visual messages per hour. So, images are vital for your branding marketing strategy. The only question left is how to choose the right photos for this purpose.

How to effectively use photography for branding?

Google had 136 billion indexed photos in 2023. It may seem a struggle to create images that will promote your business identity. The below hints may come in handy.

Define your concept

Any project begins with a concept. You should identify the main points about your company – its message, mission, and objective.  With this knowledge, you can move on to visualization of your brand. You should work on its introduction. Find keywords that will best describe your brand. These could be customer focus, reliability, innovation, courage, openness, or anything that aligns with your mission. Then, find photos that will convey a message you want your audience to receive.

Look for inspiration

The simplest approach is to create a physical visual board (or a mood board). You can easily create them online on platforms like Pinterest. Start collecting images that inspire you from other brands, magazines, websites or photography blogs, and any resources. For example, use the “Favorites” tab on the Photostock websites. Soon, you will see whether your visual board resonates with other people. Do not be afraid to experiment – check what photos successful brands use and try to select images that fully translate your brand concept. Just think about the National Geographic network – their photos will immediately flash in your head. Think like such brands.

Create your style guide

Once you understand which photos work for you, combine them into a style guide. Here are three questions you should answer to shape your branding photo style:

  • what the photos will show: goods, people, concepts, nature, lifestyle or other;
  • what story the images should convey;
  • what emotions they are supposed to awaken in the audience;

The responses will give you an idea of what your photos should show and arm your team with clear instructions on what to focus on.

Tell a story through images

A captivating brand identity is like a canvas where every stroke tells a story. When looking through photographs, ask yourself if they bring some associations, memories or dreams. Each photo should have a depth that can captivate your audience. If you can see a story behind an image, it is the right one to take your visual content to the next level. When you share your brand’s story, your chances of being remembered grow significantly.

You may be inspired by Starbucks’ storytelling approach. Through cozy interior shots, close-up images of beverages, and seasonal campaigns, the company tells the story of community, comfort, and connection. Photos are inviting customers to enjoy new coffee experiences.

Prioritize quality content

Photos evoke emotions, and emotions influence consumer behavior. However, only prime-quality photos attract attention. Check the chosen images against these criteria:

  • Lighting. Is it too dark or too bright? Can you see all the important parts clearly, or are some details lost?
  • Contrast. Is there a good balance between light and dark areas? Does it match the style you want?
  • Colors. Are the colors eye-pleasing, and do they go well together? Do they fit with the other things on the screen?
  • Composition. Does the photo look harmonious and well-balanced?
  • Authenticity. Does the photo feel true to life, or does it seem AI-generated?

This checklist will immediately give you an idea of whether your photo will be liked by your audience. 

Be consistent in building your brand.

Brands are not created in one day. That’s why you must be consistent. Try to convey messages to your audience in the same spirit and use corporate identity elements such as colors and logos. Over time, they will become ingrained in the minds of customers, and they are more likely to remember you. It is only the first step towards building trust with the audience and winning their loyalty. Follow your branding style guide to tell stories related to your company or product and use images that match it. Step by step, you will create a clear image of your brand in the minds of your audience.

Summing up

Building a strong brand in today’s oversaturated market is a challenge. Photography may become crucial in branding marketing strategy. Photos help convey the brand’s message visually and make it easier for consumers to connect with the brand on an emotional level. Images enhance brand recognition, create a memorable visual identity, and set the brand apart from competitors. Using a creative automation tool can help you to get started creating visual content effortlessly. Use the tips from this article to find the most winning photos to reflect your company identity and reshape your branding effort.

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