Every brand needs a visual voice
Instagram can be an amazing place to connect with potential clients, like-minded creatives, and collaborators but posting random images in between promotional shots isn't going to attract those connections.
If you want to expand your reach and create something that serves people in a meaningful way, get them excited about what you're doing.
A visual voice is a collection of images and words that help your audience recognize who you are, understand what you stand for, and show off how your work embodies your beliefs.
Brands can become very narrow in how they represent their product or service online. They fall into the mechanical routine of telling us about what they are selling, showing us where we can purchase it, and announcing a special offer or event from time to time.
The reality is, your brand is so much more than the "thing" you make or do. It is the "why" behind what you do and who you do it for.
In an earlier blog post, we use Simon Sinek's The Golden Circle to demonstrate the importance of starting with WHY in your business. Not only does starting with WHY help you stand out in a sea of WHATs, it also helps you clarify the driver from which all of your communications should stem.
If you need some brushing up or revamping of your WHY, click below to download the free guide to defining your why...
Setting yourself apart
How do you define a visual voice around your product or service that is more than just sharing photos of your work and telling people to buy?
You draw from your own life experiences and you share the moments in between.
If you have built a business that is in alignment with your beliefs, then the lifestyle you already live is the same lifestyle your customers are drawn to.
Your beliefs are the things you get really excited about. They are what you imagine makes the World a better place.
Because you not only base a business around these beliefs, you live by these beliefs, a lot of what you do during your day embodies these beliefs.
Whether it be beach yoga, work mode, or dinner, the unique aspects of your life will serve to attract your ideal clients.
Especially if you have something useful, motivational, or inspiring to say along with it. Suddenly the story is no longer about just the product or service and where to snag it.
The process of creating, doing, hustling, celebrating, and re-energizing. Sharing images of your story becomes a visual cue that makes people stop and want to peek into your World.
Telling the story through insightful narrative makes people want to stay.
See the difference in the posts below now that the narrative of each photo reflects something valuable?
What sets me up for an energized, productive day is taking a moment to reflect at the beach first thing in the morning. This is just one of many morning habits I have started after reading "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod. Find out what other habits lead to success in the blog.
The key to getting more done during your day is to set yourself up for success the night before. At the end of each day, I review my to do list and make a new list of the things I didn't get done, the things that need to get done first, and the things that will get done if there is time. Writing it all down gets it out of my head, allows me to sleep at night, and gives me a place to start first thing the next morning.
Oysters not only provide a healthy source of protein, but are also loaded with vitamins and minerals (and love potion?!). Since oysters are farmed in a way that is not harmful to the ocean, they are one of the most sustainably harvested shellfish options around. Win-win!
The more you have to share about your lifestyle and not just the things you sell, the more your customers will align themselves with that lifestyle and support your brand. Over time, as you build upon your story, you begin to be seen as someone who sets the guidelines for that lifestyle.
Creating a mini lifestyle for your brand
When your actions and your mission are the same, you are living your story and affirming the authenticity of your brand. This makes for an amazing opportunity to create a mini lifestyle brand for yourself. One that is organic and comes naturally to you.
Branding is not just about a logo, some cool fonts, and attractive colors. It is a story of the life you've created through your work.
The lifestyle behind your brand shows:
What inspires you most about your work
What makes your business so special
What gets you energized to get to work
What feeds and sustains your soul
How you want your lifestyle to come across
Pinterest can be a convenient location to pull together a collection of images that help you gain focused insight into what you, your lifestyle, and your brand stand for.
As you do so, be thinking about how the images relate to your business, why you are drawn to them, and most importantly, how can you make the images your own.
To make a memorable brand, there needs to be a look and feel to your brand that reflects your beliefs and the lifestyle you support - and live.
You want to reach your ideal customers organically. When they see your Instagram feed, you want them to understand what you're about and feel drawn to buy whatever it is you are offering so they can also live that same life.
The best way to clearly communicate your brand's beliefs is through cohesion.
COHESION CAN LOOK LIKE:
A filter ~ @henthorne_art_foto ~ Black and white waterscapes
A color tone ~ @aleksandrazee ~ Wood worker in California
A theme ~ @fullyrawkristina ~ Healthy lifestyle author and speaker
A photo border ~ @vajiajia ~ Director of Digital Content at a museum
A layout formula ~ @sacasamedia ~ Marketing for female creatives
Here's a tagboard challenge:
Review your Instagram feed. Look at the first 6 images and think about the story you want your brand to tell and ask yourself:
a) Do these images add to my brand's story?
b) Do these images reflect the mission of my brand?
c) How can I tell my story differently?
d) Do these images look like they belong together?
e) Does the narrative provide value?
Challenge yourself further and get the free Push your Brand Boundaries worksheet.
Share your real life thoughtfully
= Instagram posts do not have to be curated and planned out weeks in advance. Instead, they can be thoughtful glimpses into the lifestyle you actually live and represent through your brand.
Alignment affirms authenticity
= The more in alignment you are with your brand's core motivation, the more authentic your product or service becomes, and the easier it is to share something useful, motivational, or inspiring.
Hone your visual voice
= As you hone in on the elements that create your visual voice, you amplify your story, become memorable, and connect more deeply with your supporters.
Create clarity in your message through cohesion
= With a strong brand voice, you can overcome the mechanical product and sales posts and begin a conversation that positions you as an expert in what it looks like to live an authentic life.