In our digital world, the phrase “a picture speaks a thousand words” is more relevant than ever. Visual content is the backbone of brand storytelling, and quality photography has become an indispensable part of effective business branding.
Today, we’ll unpack the critical role photography plays in shaping your business image and share how you can use photography to optimize your brand’s impact on your audience.
The Importance of Photography for Your Business Branding: Why It Matters
So, why is photography such a big deal when it comes to your business branding? Let’s break it down:
Create an impactful first impression: First impressions are always important, and in the world of business, it sets the tone for every further interaction you have with a customer. High-quality, authentic photos can convey your brand’s values at a glance and set your brand apart in a crowded market.
Conveys your brand personality: While your words will define your brand’s personality, your images provide the foundation. Whether your aim is to project an aura of luxury, silliness, or innovation, a curated selection of company photographs can effectively articulate your brand’s character.
It shows you are real people: There’s immense value in humanizing your brand – customers usually prefer to know who they’re dealing with. Company photography that shows the faces behind your business can dramatically increase trust and build a stronger connection with your audience.
Drives user engagement: Users engage more with visual content than they do written content, so eye-catching, attractive (in whatever way that means to your ideal customer) images can supercharge your engagement rates on social media. On your website, these same images will encourage users to spend more time with you learning about who you are and what you can offer them.
What kinds of images should my business use for its branding?
To foster a sense of authenticity in your branding, you should utilize a blend of product/service photography, lifestyle images, and team photos.
Your product photography includes high-quality images of what you offer, or images that allude to what you offer if you offer a service. For example, home builders have this type of photography down pat, and always have beautiful images (photos or renderings) of their homes.
Service-based businesses need to be a little more creative, but can still easily achieve this by showing images of your team at work or with customers (this can be role-played for the sake of the photos).
Lifestyle photographs enable customers to visualize how your products or services can seamlessly integrate into their lives and, ideally, give them the uplevel they’re often looking for. For home builders, this could be a photo of a family enjoying their new living room, or a couple enjoying a glass of champagne in their new kitchen or out on their patio overlooking an incredible view. Regardless of what you’re selling, your lifestyle photographs should sell the experience working with you offers.
Team photos add a personal touch to your brand and give customers people to connect with. We say we don’t like to judge people by appearances, but you’ve likely at least once looked at someone and thought, “That’s the person I want to talk to,” when making a purchasing decision. Whether you choose to share professional headshots or candid shots of your team at work, it will offer your customers an insightful glimpse into your company’s culture and values.
Can I use stock images for my business branding?
So now you know why business photography matters, you’re likely wondering what this means for you in terms of your to-do list and budget. While having a professional photographer come to take lifestyle photography of your team at your office is a must, if possible, the good news is that you don’t have to rely on unique professionally-taken images entirely.
Stock images can be an important tool in maintaining your brand over time. The caveat is that you need to select your stock images carefully and make sure they fit in seamlessly with your branding. Instead of going to big sites like Shutterstock, look for industry-specific stock image libraries. While Shutterstock and similar libraries are convenient, their images rarely have the professional finish you need for your brand.
Private stock image libraries created and curated by a small number of photographers will give you a much more professional and on-brand look. They’re also often just as, if not more affordable, and you won’t be using the same images as a thousand other businesses online.
Photography takes your brand to the next level
Photography holds a central role in business branding, crafting captivating visual narratives that resonate with your audience. Your authentic product photos, candid team snapshots, and tastefully chosen stock images can all help you shape perceptions of your brand. For small businesses and home builders alike, investing in high-quality, authentic photography is a highly effective strategy to carve out a distinctive and memorable brand identity.
In the bustling digital landscape, finding a platform that offers significant reach and engagement is crucial. Instagram, with its visually-driven interface and over a billion active monthly users, has emerged as a powerhouse for businesses looking to connect with potential customers, amplify brand recognition, and stimulate sales.
For businesses thinking of starting an Instagram account, the sheer volume of posts going up on the platform can be overwhelming, especially when they start to think about what they’ll post to attract their ideal customer.
Don’t be so intimidated that you don’t carve out space for your business on the platform. In this guide, we’ll explain why Instagram is so advantageous for businesses and give you our 5 top tips on how to grow your following on Instagram.
Why Instagram is So Important for Businesses
Instagram is a global hub for businesses big and small, as well as a place for individuals to share their vacation snaps, gym gains, and cute pet pics. Instagram reports that 90% of its users follow at least one business, meaning users are ready to follow the businesses they care about.
Instagram’s emphasis on visual storytelling allows businesses to present their narrative in an engaging, compelling manner. It’s a platform to showcase products, share behind-the-scenes insights, and cultivate user-generated content, thereby building a strong brand identity and fostering trust with your audience.
5 Proven Strategies to Cultivate an Instagram Following for Your Business
So, how do you use Instagram in a way that ensures you grow your audience and not just upload to crickets? Here are our top 5 tips:
Consistent, Quality Content: To attract and retain followers, you need to share high-quality content that resonates with your audience and reflects your brand’s values and messaging. Regular posting not only keeps your brand at the forefront of followers’ minds but also encourages interaction and engagement.
Harness the Power of Hashtags: Think of hashtags as the fuel driving your content’s visibility. They help your posts reach more people, increase brand exposure, and attract potential followers. Create a unique branded hashtag and utilize relevant industry hashtags to maximize your posts’ reach and impact. Make sure you use hashtags strategically – don’t just add anything you can think of when uploading. A strong hashtag strategy will propel your business forward.
Engage, Don’t Just Broadcast: Instagram is about building community. Make it a point to respond to comments, ask for feedback, and create interactive content like polls. This not only builds a sense of community but also boosts your visibility and engagement on the platform.
Leverage Instagram Stories and Reels: These features offer businesses an opportunity to share a more authentic, less curated side of their brand. Whether it’s behind-the-scenes content, product launches, or customer testimonials, these features help deepen connections with your audience.
Utilize Analytics to Understand Your Audience: Not every post you put on Instagram will be a hit – sometimes why that happens may feel like a mystery, but on most occasions, you can look to your data for answers. Instagram provides a wealth of insights to its business accounts, including follower demographics, post performance, and optimal posting times. By understanding what resonates most, you can craft a more targeted content strategy.
Overwhelmed? We Can Help
Balancing the demands of an Instagram account while running a business can be taxing. That’s where our social media management services can help. We specialize in formulating an effective, custom-made Instagram strategy that aligns with your business goals.
Our services encompass content creation, hashtag strategy, weekly promotional posts, and more. We’re dedicated to creating and sharing content that speaks directly to your audience, helping you grow your brand awareness and gather new leads. We simplify social media management, making it an intentional and efficient part of your business strategy.
When did your logo last have an overhaul, and who created it? If your answer is more than 10 years ago, or “me”, there’s a good chance your branding could use some work.
But does branding really matter when you need a website so you can start getting leads? Your website is your online home and storefront – it’s got to do a lot of talking for your business, and if the design and usability aren’t there, you risk alienating your clients.
Understandably, with so much at stake, we have clients coming to us hoping to get their website up and running ASAP. But occasionally we end up encouraging a brand refresh before moving forward with the website.
Why? Read on to find out.
Is my branding optimized?
Here are some quick indicators that your branding might need a re-vamp:
Your logo looks like it was made in 1998 (outdated fonts, layouts and graphics can cause your business to look dated.)
Can you tell us the reason behind your fonts, colors, and graphics?If they seem to have been chosen randomly then it might be a good indicator that some branding work is needed.
Are the fonts, colors, and other elements aligned with your business’s offerings or personality?Do they represent YOU and what you offer?
Are you attracting your ideal customer?This is a big one.If you’re having a hard time attracting the customers you want, then it might be time to look at your branding and assess if we can make adjustments to help attract your target audience.
Does your logo and branding reflect what you do/sell in your business?
Essentially, your branding could use some work if it doesn’t accurately convey your business’s message and attract your ideal customer. That’s where we come in!
Why Branding Matters: a Strong Foundation
Your logo and branding are the cornerstones of your business’s identity. Your visual branding is the first thing a potential customer will see from you, and it will set the tone for their interaction with your company, and determine whether or not they even give you the time of day. So much of branding is about connecting with your ideal customer subconsciously – it’s attracting them via the colors, fonts, and design elements – and it all happens at a glance. If you aren’t aligned with what your ideal customer is looking for, they’ll pass you by without any serious thought.
In other words, your branding is the very foundation upon which your website and other marketing materials should be built.
Your website is your virtual storefront; it should reflect your brand’s personality and provide a seamless user experience. When your branding is weak, it directly impacts the effectiveness of your website, regardless of the design. You cannot construct a sturdy building on a weak foundation, and the same goes for creating an impactful website with outdated or bad branding.
The Power of Cohesive Branding
A cohesive brand is essential for building trust and loyalty with your customers. Cohesive branding that speaks directly to your ideal customer will:
Show them you are professional
Makes you look more trustworthy (bad branding often makes people suspicious that you will create subpar work or are even a scam)
Attracts your ideal customer
Deters customers who are not in alignment with your brand (yes, this is a good thing!)
Gives you authority (people will start to associate certain colors and fonts with your brand, making them think of you when they’re out in the world)
When your branding is outdated or ineffective, it undermines your website’s ability to connect with your target audience and achieve your marketing goals. Your brand has to come first.
Investing in Your Brand
We encourage our clients to invest in their visual branding before launching a website. This means ensuring their logo, brand colors, typography, and design elements are all in alignment with their business’s core messaging and ideal customer. Once this is all in place, not only will your website’s design look better and be more effective, but so will all of your other marketing materials.
Working on Your Branding Regularly is Crucial
As your business evolves and grows, it’s natural for your branding to change, too. Your branding may need a tweak to look modern and stay in alignment with your values, or it may need a complete overhaul to reflect a change in the audience you serve.
When you decide to rebrand, it’s crucial to revamp your website to match your new branding. This ensures that your online presence remains cohesive and reflects the evolution of your business.
Think of your website as an extension of your brand – if your branding changes but your website remains the same, it creates a disconnect in the minds of your customers. This inconsistency can lead to confusion and may even make your customers question your business’s credibility. Updating your website design in line with your new branding keeps your online presence cohesive, builds trust, and reinforces the strength of your brand.
Branding is the foundation upon which your website and overall marketing strategy should be built. Investing in strong and cohesive branding before creating or revamping your website ensures that your online presence reflects your business’s identity, values, and goals. Here at Pixel Parfait, we prioritize building websites on solid brand foundations to help our clients succeed in today’s digital landscape. So, before you embark on the journey of designing your website, ensure that your brand is up-to-date and strong enough to carry your business forward.
Small businesses often struggle to stand out in a crowded marketplace. They look at their competitors and wonder how they can get a competitive advantage; should they be cheaper? Should their services be more elaborate, delivered faster, or offer more long-term support? While all of these questions are important, there’s one way that you might not have considered as a way you can get ahead of your competitors: develop a personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is a brand that is a representation of you, not of your business as a whole. While you and your business may share many (or all) of the same values, a personal brand is a reflection of who you really are. It gives your customers someone to relate to and turn to as an expert.
Why do you need a personal brand as a small business owner?
Small businesses benefit from having a “face” – While huge global corporations can do just fine without someone leading as the face of the brand, small brands need to create connections with customers on a personal level to create customer loyalty. Putting a face to your business gives your customers someone to trust; remember, people buy from people they know, like, and trust, not from faceless businesses.
It’s easier to resonate with people – think about a podcast you listen to, you likely found it for the content, but you stick around for the people. We just won’t stay with a brand if we do not resonate with the face of the brand, even if the content’s gold. That means you have an opportunity to truly find your people who want to stick with you over your competitors.
Provides better networking opportunities – if you’re looking for businesses to network with, do you look for their people or what they’re doing? While networking opportunities can come your way through your business, you’re going to get far more opportunities when you are an approachable human putting yourself out there.
You become an expert – Content marketing is all geared towards making your business an authority in your industry, but you can do the same for yourself – and likely have an easier time doing it. A personal brand is all about sharing what you know with your audience, and that means you’re more likely to get invited to speak at industry events, guest speak on podcasts, and guest on industry webinars to share what you know.
Reduces how long it takes people to go from awareness to customer – when people get to know you, they develop trust for your brand far sooner than they would if they only ever saw your business branding. That means they’ll be more likely to buy from you sooner because they know, like, and trust you.
How do you develop a personal brand?
You can develop a personal brand the same way you do a business brand:
Define your target audience: this is usually the same as your business’s target audience.
Define what your values are: your values may be the same, but you will likely present them differently or more obviously than your business does. Think about how this will form your messaging.
Define what you are and are not willing to share: Some people are willing to share all aspects of their lives, while others prefer to keep their home lives private. There’s no right or wrong way, but it’s a good idea to decide ahead of time so you can speak with confidence.
Build your online presence: Use social media to build your online presence and network with others. Consider how you can use content marketing to build your authority in your industry. For example, you could start a podcast for your business with one of your employees or a business friend.
Ultimately, developing a personal brand boosts your brand loyalty, develops trust, and reduces the time it takes for someone to go from awareness to customer. These are all things we want as small business owners, but actually developing a personal brand can be overwhelming. If you need guidance on how to move forward, we’re here to help. We offer consultations for small business owners who are ready to start their personal brand but aren’t sure where to start. To find out more and to book your consultation, click here.
If your first thought of branding when you started your business was your logo, you’re not alone. A lot of small businesses start and finish with their primary logo until their business is a little more established. While a brand-new business may not feel like it yet has a strong enough foundation to develop every aspect of its branding, we’re here to tell you that ANY business that is ready to find success absolutely needs full branding.
What is a secondary logo?
A secondary logo is usually your primary logo that has been arranged differently, so it will fit better on certain types of media. For example, your primary logo may not fit well on social media, so you may have a secondary logo that fits perfectly in profile pictures. Think about Amazon’s logo – we don’t often see the full logo, with the text and the arrow (and smile) pointing from the A to the Z. In most cases, we see their secondary logo, which is just the arrow, or their submark, which is just an “a” with the arrow underneath it.
Your secondary logo makes it easier for customers to identify you if your primary logo isn’t clear at a smaller size.
What’s the difference between a secondary logo and a submark?
A secondary logo is often still a sizable logo – while it may be smaller than your primary logo, it is not your logo in its simplest form. That’s what a submark is. Think of the McDonald’s logo, we can all picture it in our heads, but the golden arches are just as recognizable alone.
If you look at the favicon of a website (that’s the small picture that shows up in the corner of each tab in your browser), you’ll often find a business’s submark there. Depending on the company’s needs, it may also appear on merchandise, letterheads, and more.
Can my business just have all the necessary logos, or does it need full branding?
When we think about whether or not our business needs full branding, we’re often thinking about branding from an expense standpoint, rather than thinking about how branding benefits our business. The truth is, branding can take an average business and make it something people flock to. We’d even venture to say that there aren’t any truly successful businesses out there that don’t have strong branding.
Your visual branding (often called a visual identity) is the visual representation of what makes your business unique. If your business is a law firm and presents a serious, supportive nature, having branding that’s bubbly and bright will not convey your brand correctly. However, a black-and-white brand with clean lines likely will.
Your visual brand sets the tone for what a customer will expect from you. If you don’t have any branding (or not any you chose on purpose), you also won’t be attracting any one type of customer. You’ll likely attract people who are looking for a bargain or who don’t really know what they want. A strong brand attracts the customers you most want to serve (and often deters the ones you don’t).
While a business still trying to learn exactly what it offers and which customers it wants to focus on serving can make do with basic logos and a color palette, any business with a strong ideal customer avatar must also have strong branding. You simply cannot attract the right customer without it.
There’s a lot that goes into a full brand identity for a business, and so anyone who is not a professional designer will need the help of one to create their business’s brand identity. If you’re looking for a friendly, supportive business to guide you through the process and create an outstanding brand identity for your business, we’re here to help. You can see some of our past projects here.
In an era in which everyone heads to Google before making any decision, your website is absolutely critical to the success of your business. Your website is often the first touchpoint for a potential customer and those first few seconds they spend on your website will dictate whether they stick around or hit the back button and move on.
In other words, having a well-designed and well-maintained website is not just something that’s good to have, it’s something you need. A website serves to establish your unique selling point, your brand voice, and the value you have to offer your customer, regardless of the type of work you do.
If you’re wondering if your website is doing everything it should be, you’re in the right place. Read on as we look at five avoidable mistakes you might be making.
5 Common (Yet Preventable!) Web Design Errors
Not conveying your value above the fold: The first sight a visitor sees when they load up your website is incredibly important, and it’s your first opportunity to tell them that they’re exactly where they need to be. Your website should tell them exactly what they can expect from you the moment it loads, they shouldn’t have to scroll down or click through to another page. Give them a short, snappy statement about what you can do for them with attractive, on-brand graphics.
Not having a clear CTA: Do visitors know what action you want them to take when they land on your site? You should make it extremely easy for visitors to get in touch, and have one clear action you want them to take. Do you want them to buy, schedule a call, or sign up? Make it clear and put a button in your header so they can do it as soon as they decide they’re ready to contact or buy from you.
Not branding fonts: As a business owner, you have a lot on your mind, and typeface might not seem like it should be at the top of your list. But lots of different fonts will make you look unorganized and undecided, and visitors are far less likely to stick around if your site features too much information crammed into one page because they need information that’s easy to scan. Make sure all text is legible (not too small!) and stick to a maximum of three fonts.
Too many popups (especially too early): When it comes to website browsing, very few things are as irritating as being bombarded with invitations to join a mailing list, accept cookies, receive a discount on your first order, and answer a few marketing questions. One pop-up is enough when someone loads onto your site – ideally, you should have a delay on any popups so they only show up after a visitor has shown interest in your site, such as being there for 10 seconds or more.
Not making your website mobile-friendly: With more people using their phones as their primary devices than ever before, your site must be accessible on mobile. Google favors businesses with mobile-friendly websites on search engine results pages which ranks them better than websites that aren’t mobile-responsive. In other words, a mobile-friendly website will provide visitors with a better experience and help you show up higher in the search results!
Hello, I’m Sarah Haynes and I create beautiful pixels! I currently work from my Prescott home doing all types of design, online marketing and photography. I can't imagine a better job!!
I have lived in Prescott, Arizona for over 20 years and I absolutely love it here. My favorite activities (outside of work) are hiking, swimming and spending time with my wonderful husband and daughters!
Please feel free to contact me anytime with your design jobs! I would be happy to discuss the right plan for your business.