All brands have a unique story to tell and for small businesses it’s imperative that they become unique multi-channel storytellers to differentiate themselves from competitors. While there has been a shift in the types of media Australians are consuming, the fundamental concept remains unchanged: a brand’s visual identity is constructed from what it presents to its customers.
Visual content is undoubtedly the most engaging format for storytelling, and businesses need to invest in developing a clear visual identity to help their content resonate with target demographics. We live in a cluttered media environment with over two billion photos uploaded to social media daily — making it even more difficult for businesses (particular small businesses) to create and maintain a consistent visual presence.
As brand consistency becomes increasingly prioritised, businesses that leverage the right technological tools and take advantage of the four key building blocks to help scale their branded content will be the most successful in the long run.
- Think about the platform
For small businesses, the first step is to focus on what is the most appropriate platform for their visual content. Today’s consumers are savvy and can easily identify content that looks out of place and businesses need to recognise that content is not transferable across platforms. It’s vital that brands ensure their content is tailored to the platform and audience they’re engaging with. A vertical Snapchat style video will most likely not suit a Tweet or vice versa, and businesses need to think channel first.
- Use data and learn about your audience
Regardless of the size of the business, data and knowing more about your customers is proving to be essential to business success. Leveraging data means that businesses are able to connect with customers through content in a more personalized and meaningful way, by creating interesting, relatable content — which can lead to higher engagement. By leveraging the right tools for data insights, brands will be able to create more relevant content that reaches their target demographics at the best times and locations.
- Keep an eye on your competitors
Looking at what your competitors are doing is also essential and businesses must do their due diligence to objectively analyse their competitors’ activity, presenting your business with new opportunities for differentiation. Brands don’t want to be homogenous and by learning what competitors are doing, businesses will be able to create interesting, unique content across platforms that helps them stand out.
- Be aligned
Finally, it’s vital for small businesses to develop consistent brand identities by aligning their visual content across platforms. Customers look for a sense of cohesion that goes beyond font and colours and look to aligned brand imagery as a way to build a connection with the brand. Consistency is integral to brand recall — so customers can easily identify brands at a glance.
In summary, building a brand’s visual identity is not an easy process but its value is priceless. Businesses are able to use these assets to establish loyalty and ultimately boost their top line. As brand marketing continues to evolve, it’s become vital that small businesses take advantage of the right tools and technologies — like data driven social and content tools — to maintain brand alignment and consistency across platforms.
Grant Munro, SVP of Shutterstock Custom.