Why Your Visual Presence Matters (and Why You Need to Start Now for 2020)
It's been estimated that we're exposed to anywhere between 3,000–20,000 brands every day. This includes advertisements, grocery and clothing labels, the relentless tide of emails, and even vehicles on the highway.
Firms fight to be seen among the clutter of other logos, colors and lettering that make up a business' "visual presence," or a "visual identity."
Wait... isn't "visual identity" just a fancy way of saying "a brand?"
Well... no. Your visual identity consists of your logo, colors, typography, imagery style and textures. It also can include your own personal style (the way you present yourself to the world as the CEO/President/Supreme Empress Of All You Survey/etc.) While this is often mislabeled as a “brand,” your visual identity is actually an outward expression of a bigger strategy.
Think of it as your brand's style.
A clear and consistent visual identity builds recognition for companies and their products, which adds to the value of their brand and ultimately, their profit margin.
Think of Apple. If I showed you an ad from Apple, but I removed the logos and identifiable products, you'd probably still know it was an Apple ad. They have a specific visual style - the fonts they use, the color scheme, etc. That's a visual identity.
Ok... but why is a visual presence so important?
Consider this: The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text and 90% of information sent to the brain is visual. Contrary to the old saying, we do judge books (and marketing material) by their covers.
Having a kick-ass and unique visual identity gives your audience the opportunity to get to know you, allows you to build trust and acts an outward expression of everything you stand for.
Your visual identity also allows your audience to easily recognize you and to know what content, products and advertising your brand has created.
Sweet! So how do I create a visual identity?
First, you have to start with your brand strategy. (You do have a brand strategy, right?) Remember that your visual identity is NOT your brand, it's an expression of it. (You aren't your favorite outfit, get it?) This can be a confusing thing for some. Quite often you'll hear people talking about "re-branding" or "their brand" when they’re referring to creating a new website or logo.
Before you build your identity, you've got to figure out what matters to you. What does your brand stand for? What do you value? Who is your tribe and what's important to them? What message are you bringing to your audience?
Once you’ve answered those questions, create a list of words that describe your brand and how you want people to feel when interacting with you.
Don't get too picky when choosing these words. Just start writing down anything that comes to mind. The idea is to have fun and play.
Once you have a pretty good list of words (10-20 is more than enough), start narrowing down the lost to the 3-5 words that resonate the most with you. These words will provide inspiration for your brand when creating content and other marketing materials.
Can I change my visual identity at some point in the future?
Yes! Think of it this way: You don't look the same as you did when you were eight do you? (Well, aside from that cool Wonder Woman t-shirt... go you!) Your visual identity is meant to change and evolve over time!
A lot of entrepreneurs agonize over logos, thinking they're stuck with them forever, but that’s not true. Companies evolve their logos (and their looks) all the time, and so should you.
The most important thing to remember is that your visual identity represents where you and your brand are today. As you grow and change, your identity will change right along with it.
As we fast approach 2020, your brand's visual identity will be essential for standing out among those 3,000–20,000 brands people are bombarded with every single day.
The difference is, yours will be the one they remember!
So here's the deal... I know you're probably sitting there thinking, "Well this is all well and good, but I'm not sure how to go about creating a visual identity! What if I get it wrong?" Don't worry, I've got you covered!
My team and I can help you ensure that your branding and visual identity are representing you at your best! Let’s do this together!