We live in an increasingly visual world, and looking the part is critical to thriving in the market. Today's consumers are highly informed when it comes to design and branding, meaning that they'll approach your brand with a sophisticated set of notions and assumptions. To survive market disruption, your brand needs to look great - and it needs to reflect what you do and who you are.
Here's what your brand's visual identity needs to deliver.
Your brand aesthetic doesn't exist in isolation. It's part of a larger conversation amid other related brands. Standing out is vital, but not so much that your brand becomes unrecognizable among its peers. Each vertical comes with a series of visual cues that help consumers know at a glance what they're getting. Move just a touch away from the mainstream, and your brand becomes distinctive. Move too far, and your brand becomes a source of confusion.
Take the fruit juice category. Bright, fruity colors are the norm here - as are clear bottles that show off the juice inside. Brands that work within these parameters are in a good spot. On the other hand, those that opt for opaque packaging, muted colors or unusual packaging types may struggle to achieve the right kind of placement on the shelves - or to receive the brand recognition they want.
Brand Identity Alignment
While there are specific visual cues that signify category belonging, another crucial factor is your own brand identity. Opting for a bright, bold brand aesthetic is great if you're selling upbeat clothing for Gen Z - but less so if you're a law firm that trades on its reputation for handling Fortune 500 mergers and acquisitions.
When reviewing your brand aesthetic, consider not only how it fits in with your larger category, but whether it adequately describes your brand. Ask yourself what kind of vibe you're giving off and whether this reflects what you're trying to portray. A high-end, exclusive brand will incorporate a different color palette from a mass-market one. Think Chanel vs Forever 21.
There's more to your brand aesthetic than a logo and a color scheme. Every aspect of your brand should work together, creating a sense of cohesion and consistency. It's vital that each time customers or clients interact with your brand they have that familiar, "on-brand" experience. This helps solidify expectations and reassure consumers that they're always going to get exactly what they need from you.
So what does this look like from an aesthetic perspective? It's a variety of things. It's the typefaces you use, the style of photography you incorporate, how you communicate via social media, what kind of advertising approach you take, how you speak to your audience, etc.
Consider your brand from a perspective of visual storytelling and user experience, and use that to guide your overall aesthetic. At each point, check whether you're conveying the image you intend, and if not, adjust accordingly.
Your Aesthetic is Your Value
Your brand aesthetic is a key contributor to its value. It both tells consumers what to expect from you, and reassures customers that they'll be receiving exactly that - and nothing less. This is invaluable in building a base of engaged, loyal, satisfied customers or clients.
If your brand aesthetic is lagging behind the times, it's time to reassess, or perhaps even rebrand. We're always available to help brands develop a brand identity that works on every level, so if you're after some expert branding guidance, get in touch!