12 Most Strategic Reasons to Brand First, Produce Visual Content Later

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12 Most Strategic Reasons to Brand First, Produce Visual Content Later

Today’s media landscape is full of noise — bits and beeps — everything vying for attention. Time is short and we’re all rushed and distracted.

Enter: the shift to the visual. Nothing communicates more powerfully. Visuals get our attention — we are visually wired, it’s in our DNA. What’s more, well-designed visuals remain highly legible on our mobile devices where we spend so much time these days.

The online world is dominated by visual content and if you haven’t noticed, people love to share visuals! The social media platforms themselves are becoming increasingly visual. Facebook Instagram, Pinterest — even Twitter and LinkedIn — are all becoming more visual. But just posting visual content isn’t enough! For real business results, you need a plan. A strategy.

visual content stats, Paul Biedermann, redesignSmart marketing always begins by knowing what you are trying to achieve. Visual strategy is driven by brand strategy. Here’s how it’s done:

B  R  A  N  D    V  I  S  I  O  N

1. Know your brand

It all begins here. Who are you? What makes you truly unique? What is your “why?”

2. What is your brand story?

Keep it short. Make it compelling. Speak from the heart.

B  R  A  N  D    S  T  R  A  T  E  G  Y

3. Focus your brand

What is your market? What are you trying to achieve? What are your goals and objectives?

How will you capture the attention of those you are trying to engage? What appeals to your audience, your market, your online communities? Know all the parameters: stakeholders, budgets, timeframes… they define the sandbox in which to play.

B  R  A  N  D    I  D  E  N  T  I  T  Y

4. Begin with your logo

The logo is the single most important identifier for a business or product. Encapsulate the essence of your brand! Make it simple and unique. And be sure it works well at all sizes, in all media.

5. Establish your brand image

Beyond the logo, create a consistent look and feel that will further solidify your identity and unify all your marketing and communications. Good design matters.

B  R  A  N  D    R  O  L  L  O  U  T

6. Brand and visually unify all of your marketing and communications

Your website, social media pages, brochures, sales kits, email marketing, business cards and stationery… everything should have the same family feel.

7. Convey the spirit of your brand

Your brand should speak with one voice, but that never means stagnant and boring. Connect emotionally.

V  I  S  U  A  L    C  O  N  T  E  N  T

8. Visuals should be “on brand”

Make sure the visuals you share fit within the rest of your overall brand strategy. This ensures a strong brand connection and creates instant recognition, which continually reinforces itself across all media.

9. Images should be properly sized and proportioned

Take full advantage of the different platforms: Twitter is horizontal, Instagram is square, Pinterest is vertical…

10. Be sure to include your logo, web url, copyright info, and photo credits

These are the identifiers that will help people find you and the legalese that will help protect you.

11. Include large images when posting on social media

Link them back to your website, landing page or other important destination. Plan and schedule images just as you would other content.

12. Embed images in your content

Add visuals to your articles and other online content to stimulate engagement. Link them to other content or pages. And don’t forget Pinterest — make sure each blog post has a pinnable image.

With a sound branding and visual strategy firmly in place, you should see dramatic improvement in online engagement and sharing. People will take action.

A visual strategy:

•  Humanizes your business, making it social
•  Drives desired behaviors and actions
•  Establishes credibility, engendering trust
•  Helps create and inspire brand advocates

A smart visual strategy built upon a smart branding strategy makes an indelible impression, powerfully influencing what others think of your business.

Brand first! Then power up with visual content.

Featured image courtesy of stock.xchng.

Photo illustration work and slideshow: Paul Biedermann, re:DESIGN

Article by Paul Biedermann

Paul Biedermann

http://www.redesign2.com/

Paul Biedermann is Creative Director/Owner of re:DESIGN and Managing Partner/Editor-in-Chief of 12 Most. re:DESIGN specializes in Strategic Design, Brand Identity, and Visual Content Marketing. Paul intersects smart, custom design with visual business strategies that reach, engage, and inspire people to action. He also founded the vibrant re:DESIGN Google+ community for those who value what good design can do for business, and served on the Board of Directors of the Social Media Association. Paul began his career at ABC Broadcasting before moving to a design agency that created innovative campaigns for ESPN and then becoming Art Director for NFL Properties. As Creative Director for The McGraw-Hill Companies, Paul spearheaded projects for such leading brands as Standard & Poor’s, BusinessWeek, J.D. Power and Associates, Architectural Record, and McGraw-Hill Education. You can follow Paul on Twitter, “Like” re:DESIGN on Facebook, circle him on Google+, follow him on Pinterest or visit his blog.

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