How to Emphasize Authenticity Through Visual Branding
Today’s consumers are giving more premium to authenticity when selecting a product or service.
But what does it mean for brands to be “authentic”?
The Journal of Consumer Psychology defines it as “the extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful toward itself, true to its consumers, motivated by caring and responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves.”
Time and again, we see data proving that businesses that have powerful branding, make their customers’ welfare essential to their business, and remain true to their promises are able to stay competitive, reputable and relevant.
Statistics That Prove Branding Matters
- Today’s most valuable brand, Amazon, has an estimated brand value of almost US$221 billion.
- Utilizing colors can boost brand recognition by 80%.
- When buying a new product, 59% of consumers opt for trusted brands.
- U.S. customers are open to shelling out 17% more if a product comes with excellent service.
- It takes people 10 seconds to form an impression of you based on your logo.
Top 3 Reasons That Make Brand Authenticity a Must-Have for Businesses
If you want to be a major player in your niche and build your business on a steady stream of repeat clients, you need to prioritize brand authenticity. Here are the three main reasons why you must build yourself as a genuine, trustworthy company.
#1. More Consumers Are Expecting Authenticity
In a study done by Stackla, 86% of surveyed consumers in the U.S., UK, and Australia shared that they take authenticity into consideration when choosing brands to support.
As more and more buyers are demanding transparency from companies, from the ingredients they use to their internal processes, brand authenticity has become a must-have for businesses. It’s essential to building and nurturing consumers’ trust and loyalty. And once that trust is broken, it can be challenging to get it back.
#2. It Strengthens Your Relationship With Your Clients
Sincere messages, such as Dove’s campaign for real beauty, can enable your clients to see your brand as one that truly understands them and their needs. Moreover, putting your customers’ well-being in the spotlight makes buyers feel like your company truly cares for them, and they are not just another figure to benefit your bottomline.
Aside from emphasizing how your products benefit customers, you can also highlight your companies’ commitment to causes such as environmental protection or employee welfare. By promoting messages that your clients can resonate with or consider important, you can eventually win new and lifelong customers who are invested in your success.
#3. It Puts You Above Your Competition
Today’s consumers are bombarded with messages about product features. If you are relying solely on those “unique” features to set you apart from your competitors, you lose that advantage the moment your competitors start adapting or improving on those components.
What your competition cannot easily duplicate are the emotions you can draw in, the loyalty you win, and your business decision to promote transparency in your processes.
Customers may easily forget your products’ features, but they won’t easily forget how you’ve made them feel. When consumers trust you and support the causes you believe in, they will easily remember your brand whenever they need to make a purchase.
Moreover, they may start recommending you to their family and friends or producing user-generated content (UGC) to help promote you or your causes. As such, you don’t only win customers’ loyalty, but you also have people who are willing to market your products and services for you.
The 3 Components of Brand Authenticity
In his article, Intercom SVP Shane Murphy-Reuter, points out that the dynamic you see in the best relationships–an alignment in values, decisions and actions, and outward behavior–are also essential for your business. As such, your company must be clear on and create consistency around these three aspects:
- Value proposition: What core value(s) set you apart from your competition?
- Product: Is your value proposition or key solutions at the core of all your products?
- Brand identity: When buyers interact with your company or see and use your products or services, do they get a clear sense of your value proposition?
As you shift your marketing strategy and visual branding to improve authenticity, think about how you leverage visuals to clearly communicate what your business stands for.
5 Ways to Boost Authenticity Using Visual Branding
There are multiple ways to achieve authenticity in your business, and one of them is to embed it in your visual branding. Below are five ways to achieve this.
1.) Ensure Consistency and Continuity in Your Visual Contents
To be able to create a compelling visual brand identity, you need to be consistent in your elements including images, colors, fonts, and layouts. This applies to all your business materials, from your offline or printed items such as product packaging, signages, wall decals, booths and displays, to online content such as your website design, blogs, lead generation pages, social media posts, videos, and ads.
Stick to your brand’s color palette.
The palettes you choose will be influenced by your logo’s design or color, your industry, target audience, and the brand personality you wish to project.
For example, if you’re creating an online store catering to children, you may incorporate bright hues when presenting ideas to your client. If you’re building a business website for a law or investment firm, consider pitching your designs that gravitate toward subdued or traditional tones.
Choose the images that are aligned with your brand personality.
Think about your brand’s selected personality and choose images that reflect it. If you want to emphasize a love of the outdoors, use photos and video footages showing people using your product while trekking mountains, crossing rivers, or taking a plunge at sea.
Consider the emotions you want to elicit.
Get clear about the emotions you want your customers to associate with your brand. If you want clients to feel good about themselves, prioritize this in your choice of visuals. For example, feature images or videos of individuals with different hairstyles, skin color, body size, or even those with disabilities who feel good about how they look and who they are now. If you want to emphasize feelings of home, family, and belonging, show family members of various ages celebrating, traveling, or bonding over a meal.
Leverage color psychology as well. For example, if you want to nurture feelings of security and integrity, you can play around with blue tones in your web design and feature people wearing blue clothing as well.
2.) Use Fonts That Exude Your Brand Personality
Together with colors and images, the fonts you choose also enable you to make a good impression on your target clients.
When choosing a font, think about the brand personality traits you want to emphasize.
Then choose fonts that convey this personality. You can make this process easier by zeroing in on a font category that matches your selected brand personality. These six font categories and their meaning are as follows:
- Serif: traditional, trustworthy
- Sans-serif: modern, minimalist
- Slab serif: confident
- Script: elegant
- Handwritten: informal, artistic,
- Decorative: dramatic, distinct
If you want to emphasize creativity, go for handwritten fonts like Patrick Hand. To exude a minimalist vibe, use a Sans-serif font like Source Sans Pro.
Before making a final decision, consider if the font you choose also has the following attributes:
- Different font weights (such as light, regular, semibold, bold), which are essential for emphasizing text hierarchy in your content
- Easy to read
- Displays well across platforms, from print to desktops, tablets, and mobile
3.) Use Compact, Genuine or Relatable Taglines or Slogans
As today’s purchasing decisions and marketing focus more on building relationships and dialoguing with customers through social media, taglines and slogans seem to have slid in importance.
Still, a powerful, sincere tagline can help draw in customers and pull up your sales, by providing your business with the following advantages:
- In just a few words, you can tell people what your company is about: Especially if customers can’t immediately connect your company name with your products or services, use taglines to quickly express essential things about your business, whether it’s your company values or core product benefits.
Here are a few examples of businesses that made it quite clear to customers what they’re all about.
- Geico: “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
- Verizon: “Can You Hear Me Now? Good.”
- Finch Brands: “Building brands for the real world.”
- Chobani: “How We Make Our Product Matters” and “A cup of yogurt won’t change the world, but how we make it might.”
- It helps you distinguish yourself from your competition: If competition in your niche is getting tighter, you need a powerful way to differentiate yourself. Taglines offer you a way to emphasize your value proposition and grab the attention of your target market segment. Take for instance the following taglines or slogans:
- Nike: “Just Do It”
- M&M: “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands”
- Ford: “Go Further”
- Southwest Airlines: “Somebody Else Up There Who Loves You” and “You Are Now Free to Move About the Country”
These lines seem to have been embedded in customers’ minds. And even if you’ve never heard of some of these companies, their taglines make you curious enough to act–i.e., look them up, send a query, check out their products, or eventually buy from them.
When coming up with authentic taglines for your brand, start by capturing what your company does in a few lines. Continue trimming it down until you come up with one sentence or phrase that clearly communicates your product benefits, one that’s easy to remember and evokes the emotions you want your clients to feel.
4.) Craft a Distinct Brand Logo
Your logo is an essential component of your visual branding. As such, it needs to be unique but also relatable to your target market; simple yet catchy enough to imprint itself in customers’ minds; and lasting but also appropriate to today’s culture.
When designing your logo, you can opt for type-faced or pictorial brand symbols, or combine both styles. Whichever style you choose, remember that your choice of logo colors and fonts must match your brand personality. The imagery needs to draw out emotions or specific experiences in your viewers.
5.) Maximize Social Media Videos and Posts to Display Authenticity
Social media is starting to drift away from idealized images or perfectly curated content, and moving toward ordinary people and everyday lives.
There are endless opportunities to build and maintain authenticity through social media. Here are just a few:
- Use video snippets to bring your viewers behind the scenes, such as your event preparations.
- Share some of your successes, failures, and struggles, and turn them into an opportunity to solicit suggestions or share lessons your viewers can use in their lives.
- Offer snapshots of the people who work in your company and the process they go through to deliver a product or service.
- Feature people from different walks of life using your products.
- Encourage and share user-generated content.
While creating brand authenticity seems like a tall order, it becomes easier as you imbibe it in your company’s culture. In everything that you do, from your visual branding to your social media strategy, strive to stay consistent, trustworthy, and genuine.
What are other strategies are you using to strengthen your branding and emphasize authenticity?