In our blog last week we discussed ways you can humanise your brand and better communicate with your customers through your written content. This time around we are sharing our tips for building on your brand’s personality through your visuals. ‘Authentic’ has become a bit of a buzzword of late as brands attempt to become more relevant and accepted by their audiences. Branded imagery needs to be inviting and original because when it comes to interacting with your brand, the modern day consumer expects a more personalised experience and generic stock images just won’t cut it.
With your average consumer more likely to trust branded content created by their peers and ad fatigue stifling your marketing efforts, it’s vital to keep your visual content looking as organic and authentic as possible. Thanks to digital marketing and social media, audiences are more accessible than ever but communicating on these platforms is a two-way street. Modern marketing enables your customers to get up close and personal with your brand and they want to get to know the real you.
This desire for authentic interactions has eclipsed social media use and lifestyle images are now generating results for brands across all aspects of online marketing from performance advertising to ecommerce product pages. Here are some of our top tips for how to create and use imagery that helps your brand be more authentic and engaging:
Look to your customers for inspiration
There’s no vision more authentic than seeing your brand through the eyes of your customers. Social media makes it easy for fans of your brand to create and share content and they can often capture their genuine love of your products in a way that would be hard to manufacture on a commercial level. For ideas on how to best represent your brand you should firstly look to your own audience to see how they are documenting their experience as they use and interact with your products. With the right permission you can even share these customer photos on your own channels but make sure you always check with them first.
Work with a content creator
When you want to get that customer-generated feel in your content but want a little bit more control over the creative direction of the image working with a content creator can help bridge that gap. While your actual customers can generate great content, obtaining the rights to use the images and accessing high-quality image files can be a hassle that is negated when working with a content creator. Visual content creators are creative people who can style and photograph branded images in an authentic and relatable manner. Finding the person to create visuals for your brand is not always simple as not all content creators are professional or have large online followings. Just because they aren’t easily discoverable doesn't mean that they aren’t an excellent and affordable solution to creating custom imagery. Platforms like Creatively Squared offer a managed service where you’ll be matched with the perfect creators and can generate an ongoing supply of fresh visuals to help your brand stand out.
Your audience wants to see what your brand is about outside of the studio, raw and un-retouched. They want to see it from all angles, in situational use and in context. This concept might be a bit scary for some marketers who are used to executing flashy commercial ad campaigns and putting their best face forward but your average consumer now has an inbuilt resistance to a shiny sales pitch. Different platforms now demand unique styles of content and customers have an appetite for real life moments and candid shots of your products. With social media, bloggers and online reviews constantly creating and circulating content, marketers can no longer control how their brand is perceived so it’s much easier just to embrace reality, snap a candid photo and share your true authentic self #notfilter required!
Share behind the scenes
The next step from sharing pictures of your product in use is to share behind the scenes stories from your team or office. Audiences love feeling like they are getting the inside scoop on your latest offerings and to be able to connect with their favourite brands on a more intimate level. If you give them the opportunity to get to know you and your team they will be more inclined to back you and want to share in your success. If you aren’t quite ready to flood your website or socials with unedited images of your team at work you can always share them in your social media stories for a more temporary snippet of how you bring their favourite products to life.
Use Brand Ambassadors
Representing your brand through a likeable and relatable individual can help bring a natural warmth and authenticity to your business. Akin to an influencer, a brand ambassador is someone whose values and aesthetic aligns with your own and has an audience you’d like to reach. While working with influencers can become quite transactional, an ambassador offers you a unique opportunity to have an ongoing and close relationship with someone who will help create content and promote your brand. As well as having them embody your brand on their own channels you can also invite them to guest post on your accounts to bring some fresh personality and content to your social feeds or blog.
The team at Creatively Squared have come up with some key takeaways:
Watch what your customers are doing to see how they are interacting with your brand
Work with content creators for more compelling and genuine imagery
Don’t be afraid to share behind the scenes and take your customers on a journey with you and your team
Keep it real and show off your brand in a candid, unfiltered manner
Collaborate with brand ambassadors to bring a personal touch to your marketing
Remember you can’t strategise or manufacture authenticity, you need to create it through being open, genuine and adding true value to your audience. Being authentic is about letting your personality shine and being candid and relatable.