Visual Branding 101 (pt. 3) - Storytelling through Emotion


Welcome back to week three of visual branding 101. So far we’ve talked about defining your ideal audience and visualizing your personality, and now we’re going to get into the storytelling aspect of your visual brand. If this is your first time joining me, be sure to go back and read part 1 and part 2 before diving into this post. Each post is designed to build on the one before it, so it’s really important not to jump around until you’ve completed the week prior.

Okay, so let’s talk about storytelling and what makes for a great story. The secret to a great story is an emotional hook. If you look at any successful marketing campaign, they are always selling you a feeling. Weight loss brands and car commercials are great at this. If you’ve ever seen a Weight Watchers or P90x commercial, they quickly let you know that with their products, you’ll feel great, look great, and finally be able to be the person you’ve always dreamed of being. They want you to feel positive and hopeful about the future (and by the way, that only their product can give that to you). If you’ve seen a Lexus commercial recently, they are selling you on status and luxury. A Ford commercial? Tough, manly adventure awaits you if you buy the F150.

With a creative business, the emotional hook might not be as obvious, but it’s just as important to your storytelling and growing an audience of people excited to buy your products or services. Ultimately, your audience wants you to take them somewhere meaningful and believe that your unique product or service will get them there.

Take a moment and review who your ideal audience is, what you have to offer, and what personality and values you want to convey through your branding. Can you start to see a pattern or draw connections? Let’s revisit our ideal audience example from last week: young religious couples who search for meaning in their lives and have a minimal aesthetic and your top three personality traits/ values are happy, adventurous, and righteous. Okay, now we can dig into the emotion you want that couple to feel (that only you can offer) when they encounter your brand. The most obvious connection in this example is faith…so you could want them to feel calm and at peace. But does this fit with your personality? Eh, not so much. You’re more into skydiving than meditation (and trust me, if you try to build a brand 100% around what you think your audience wants to hear without considering who you are, you will struggle daily with what to post, what to say, and what to offer). So if we dig a little deeper, what feelings are associated with your adventurous personality? Excitement, awe, bravery, boldness. Perhaps your emotional tie to your audience could be the awesome power of God, nature, the human experience. Do you see how we’ve tied your personality to your audience and made your products/services about something bigger than a work of art? Through you and your creativity, your ideal audience will feel something incredible.

Join me next week as we explore secret #4: Revealing your Aesthetic.

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