Don’t Lose the Plot, Here’s How Your Brand Can Tell a Consistent Visual Story
Here’s what happens when you visit any outlet of a brand like Dominos across India. Barring the size of the outlet, you’ll find that all of them deliver pizzas of the exact same taste and have the same visual collateral. The menus, the tent cards and the value meals all look the same. This level of service excellence isn’t a coincidence. It comes with mandates at a brand level that cascades down to the base level employee who serves you with a smile.
When it comes to digital and social content, can brands promise that they follow the same level of consistency? With tactical campaigns and some ad hoc ones (we all have the last moment planning to blame), it isn’t easy to maintain the same language with every post across channels. There are some brands that lead the way. When you see a post, you eventually start relating it with the brand because of its consistency in quality and presentation. It comes with the clarity of understanding for the brand’s visual guidelines – and as marketers we know that this is not an easy nut to crack.
Here are a few things using which brands maintain a consistent language on digital channels:
Colors play a huge part in creating the visual identity of the brand. It is something that people come to associate with you easily. A play with these colors is every marketer’s delight. The brand hues and tone is used to evoke the emotion needed.
Take McDonalds India’s Instagram account for example. The unmistakable yellow and red is consistent on the page throughout. Each image fits perfectly into the Instagram grid, encouraging seamless scrolling. The story visual is consistent, whether the post talks of an offer or the taste.
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Yellow is associated with happiness and optimism. Red is associated with excitement. Even when you are quickly scrolling through your feed for the day, the colors invariably stand out and scream attention to the brand. Over time, you automatically start associating all their posts with the brand. There isn’t a chance of things getting dull here, as there are enough ideas that can be executed with these two colors as heroes.
It’s a no-brainer for digital marketers to veer towards good brand imagery as the world now consumes more visual content than ever. Even without knowing the language or having the time to read the post content, the visuals themselves can communicate all you need to say.
So, how does a brand maintain visual consistency via photographs when there is a lot to say?
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Let’s take AirBnB for example. A look through their Instagram feed shows they depict both the stays and the people enjoying there. If one could sum it up in a word, it is all about experiences. For a few seconds, you’ll ponder what it will be like to wake up in a castle in the middle of a lake or walk into a tree house via a rope bridge. You’ll look at the group of friends and family and replace it with an image of your own. Even if they are using models, you’ll notice that the faces are more natural than made up, adding the element of believability to the photographs.
They don’t have a dearth of content and make sure that only the crème gets featured on the posts.
It is difficult for all brands to follow this guideline. The place to start is coin three words at the maximum that you want to represent as a brand. Explore two to three words at the most that you want to represent as a brand. In the case of AirBnB, we can think of these as “stunning stays” and “unique experiences”.
Videos, especially crisp snackable ones, are one of the best ways to keep your audience hooked and deliver a message. With the advent of bumper ads, brands can even share one key message in just 6 seconds. DIY, educational, informational, promotional or just entertaining, brands can explore a variety of ways to bring in the customer’s attention and drive the CTA in the end slate.
Hebbar’s Kitchen is one of the path-breakers in its category that has viewers hooked to its innovative format of presenting recipes, many times, within a minute. So much so that people no longer want to watch the meandering format of the earlier style of recipe presentation where the chef spends the first one minute just giving a preamble and asking users to ‘click on the subscribe button and bell icon’!
The good part is that Hebbar’s Kitchen’s recipes are not difficult to follow even in their trim format because of sub-titles and high-quality editing. There are enough and more comments validating the quality of the recipes. Being one of the first to adopt this format of videos, the brand is reaping benefits across multiple social channels.
As all brands know, how you say is as important as what you say. Having a consistent font and type of presentation, tone and language can build familiarity with your regular followers. It eventually drives recall and helps the brand establish a tone of voice in its space.
One of the brands who say it well enough to generate a good recall value is Grammarly on Instagram. The brand uses the same background in different colors to build its image with interesting quotes. People who follow and use Grammarly identify with the quotes. The consistency allows viewers to ‘know’ that the post is from Grammarly even when they are speed scrolling through their feed. Also, you’ll notice that Grammarly experiments with other posts like emojis and testimonials, but they too follow consistent typography and presentation.
Consistency doesn’t imply the restriction of creativity. In fact, it brings in a certain sense of structure that allows a brand to have a defined playground. Share your views on brands that are doing a great job at saying a consistent story.
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