The importance of a visual brand language

If you are involved with marketing or corporate communications you know the following scenario: your company’s product or service is great, but how do you communicate it to potential clients? This task can be even more challenging if you are offering your services to other businesses rather than products to consumers: often these services are more abstract and need some explanation for better understanding. One of the biggest obstacles when addressing your audience: a tough competition fighting for your audience’s attention.

Between 2000 and 2015 the average visual attention span of a grown-up person dropped by a third – from 12 to 8 seconds. It is crucial to choose the easiest and fastest way to get your customers’ attention. Research shows that visuals are processed 60,000x faster than written content. It’s no surprise if you consider the fact that 70% of our sensory receptors are in our eyes and 90% of info transmitted to the brain is visual.

But nowadays there is an abundance of visuals that try to catch your attention. With Facebook and Instagram as powerful marketing machines, you need to visually stand out in a fierce field of competitors. A key element is a consequent and consistent visual brand language.

This visual brand language – or Corporate Identity (CI) has one main goal: Recognition! Therefore, a coherent look and feel of your brand must be reflected throughout all channels of communication: be it a pitch-presentation at a meeting with a potential client, an image video to showcase your enterprise, your company’s booth at a trade show or your corporate website.

Those different needs for CI conform marketing materials require the help of design specialists, as the tools and programs to create well-designed content become more and more sophisticated. Moreover, creative minds often find new and unconventional solutions to communicate content.

Let’s have a look at the different channels for brand communication:

Catering to your audience on social media is a must! In many cases, communication via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is as important and efficient as having a corporate website. Therefore, make sure you have branded templates that support your message for different social media channels. For a better control of how different platforms crop and resize pictures, you can go on websites like to find the right dimensions for your images.

Sometimes it’s not enough to work with images or graphics. You may need videos or animations to explain how your product works, what your office space looks like (think 360° videos) or to communicate a more personal message to your audience. Videos or animations are great tools to enhance your visual impact, as they can offer a more dynamic and diverse view on your content. They are also perfect to present remotely, by sending a link of your YouTube channel or embedding it into your corporate website. But beware: There is a risk of overdoing it with effects and neglecting the story side of your video. Don’t fall into this trap, but invest enough time in a thoroughly laid out storyboard or script. Remember to keep it short and sweet.

Visual consistency is a key factor in e-mail marketing. A deep knowledge about where eye-catcher images need to be placed or how to design CTAs (call to action) gives you a competitive edge. E-mail marketing can help build a loyal customer base and lead to a deeper understanding of their needs and preferences. Try A/B tests to find out what works best for your recipients – for both content and imagery.

They are perfect for communicating your company’s values, demonstrating your competencies and finding an interesting mix to cater to many readers. Content editors and designers have to work hand in hand in order to provide excellent results. Magazines work in e-versions as pdfs or hosted on self-publishing platforms but also print-issues still play a major role.

A modern CMS (Content Management System) makes maintaining a website easy: With a few clicks images can be replaced and written content can be added. You don’t need to be a coding-god to provide a perfect user experience. Obviously, the initial set-up of the website needs to be CI compliant, but also pictures and content used to update the site, need to provide consistency.

How do you make sure your visual brand language stays consistent across different marketing channels?