30 second recap:
- A visual identity is the set of graphic elements that represent your brand, making it unique and recognizable
- When visual identity is built consistently across multiple channels, it creates brand awareness which in turn improves conversions
- Brand visuals often appear for brand-based search results, allowing users to remember them well
- Commercial and informational queries often contain visual results as well, so they can strengthen brand presence if you brand all your visual assets consistently
- To create a strong visual identity in organic SERPs, create lots of original images, cross-post them to multiple channels, and use SEO best practices when using them on your site
What is visual identity?
A visual identity is a set of graphic elements that represent and differentiate a brand.
It can be a logo, a tiny element of a logo, a color palette, a unique font, or any combination of all of these visual branding elements that make a brand recognizable.
Creating a recognizable visual identity used to be the prerogative of big brands with huge budgets. Thanks to digital channels (social media, video, etc.), a visual identity is something every brand can and should have because it helps your past customers recognize you and become repeat customers.
Creating a consistent and consistent visual identity is key to multi-channel marketing. People who travel from channel to channel and see your brand everywhere will finally start to recognize you, and with recognition comes more trust and engagement.
How is visual identity reflected in organic search?
Historically, Google has loved brands because they’re easy to understand and map together (hence the name Knowledge graph is based on entities, such as brands).
A few years ago, Google started featuring brands visually in the SERPs as well. So now brands can actually build awareness through organic search results.
Let’s look at just one example.
Let’s search for a brand name first – notice how many images show up in different search sections in the SERPs, including:
- The knowledge panel
- Twitter carousel
- Image thumbnails
- Image carousels
- Video thumbnails, etc.
Visuals are everywhere in branded search results.
Now looking for something informative, like [room soundproofing] it brings up a well-written how-to guide from Hubspot, and the best part is that its search snippet includes a well-marked image:
That’s when a searcher can instantly recognize branded results and click just because it looks familiar.
How to create a coherent visual identity
The key to building a visual identity online is to be active and consistent.
It doesn’t mean living on social media sites. It means using social media strategically and regularly to advertise well-marked visual messages that continue to remind your target audience of your brand.
According to Namificait takes five to seven impressions for people to remember your brand.
That means serving your visual message to the same person at least 5 times before it starts to look familiar.
How can this be achieved?
Reuse the same image across multiple channels
Apps like Photojump make it extremely easy to create effective visual assets that can be used across multiple social media channels. You can use it to apply advanced effects or minor tweaks to existing images, or use the built-in text-to-image AI engine to describe any visual element you want to see and then edit it from there.
You can find inspiration on the brand’s Instagram accountwhich is full of creative images that you can create using the app:
Once your concept is created, you can easily adapt it to multiple social media outlets channelsand even animate it, which further extends your possibilities by allowing you to use it as reels, shorts, and even stories.
Take care of your images (and those of your customers).
Monitor your customers reviews and turning them into visual assets (images and videos) is a great way to keep tabs on your brand sentiment and promote your brand’s visual identity through user-generated content.
There are many ways to deal with it and you don’t have to choose once. Try several before creating your UGC-based visual identity strategy:
Visualize everything you can
You need your brand assets to categorize a wide variety of generic and brand-based queries to build awareness, one search session at a time. This includes posting visual content on Twitter (which has its own carousel section in the SERPs) and Facebook (which is usually allowed rich visual snippets).
Make sure you stick to your brand-based color palette for every asset you create (see the orange SERP example above), play with elements of your logo, and add watermarks within your videos.
Consider (but don’t limit yourself to) a few ideas below:
- Create original images for every article you post (and then reuse those images on social media when you share your link)
- Use image optimization tactics to ensure your images rank in organic search results. There are SEO plugins that facilitate this transition.
- Embed videos on your landing pages to generate video rich snippets in organic SERPs
- Create infographics to view how-to guides or simplify the steps to follow. there are quite a few data visualization plugin to make this easier.
- Use illustrations: A brand illustration system is a collection of images with a cohesive mood and style that visualize a brand’s promise
Retargeting it’s a great way to reach people who are already familiar with your visual identity and therefore will respond better to your ads. Google offers dynamic remarketing ads within its display network. Facebook is another great retargeting platform that makes it easy to reach your previous site visitors and allow them to continue their shopping journey where they left off.
Building a recognizable visual identity takes time and effort, but it’s worth it because a recognizable brand leads to higher conversions and more sales. Keep your visual identity in mind when planning your content and visual marketing strategy and you’re halfway there! All you need now is time and consistency. Good luck!
Ann Smarty is the founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. It can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.
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