Visual Branding 101 (pt. 1) - Defining your Ideal Audience

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It’s no big secret that we live in a visual world. From TV to Instagram, we are exposed to thousands of images every day. In fact, a 2006 study reported that we see 5,000 ads (and I’d venture a guess that number has only gone up). So as a small creative business owner, what does that mean for you? In a nutshell, it means that standing out and developing a brand identity that tells a consistent story is more important than ever. Enter visual branding.

Visual branding is how you show the world who you are and what you’re about. Your visuals influence your audience’s perception of you. For example, if I check out your Instagram page and it’s filled with images of you, your home, and your children, I’d think that family is really important to you. If I see lots of images of you hiking or surfing, I’d assume you’re adventurous and outdoorsy.

You absolutely can and should use your visual platforms (like Instagram and your website) to suggest abstract ideas. Do you consider yourself to be feminine, adventurous, family-oriented, playful? Then your imagery should reflect that. Whether you know it or not, your audience’s perception of you is defining your brand, and if your visuals don’t match your values, it will confuse and ultimately alienate your audience. (yikes!)

Developing strong visual branding is essential to growing your business and attracting the right audience who will be excited and willing to pay you for your work, but how to you get a strong visual brand? The first step to getting your visual branding right is defining your audience. If you don’t know who you’re speaking to, you won’t know what to say.

Today’s homework is to define your audience and get really specific with the following questions:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Location

  • Income

  • Marital Status

  • Occupation

  • Education Level

Feel free to get even more creative and write a little story about who your customer is. The more specific you can get, the better! Got it all written down? Great! You’re officially one step closed to defining your visual brand. Next week we’ll talk about how you offer value (because you should also understand what makes your ideal audience tick), and how to visualize your personality.

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