Utilizing your positioning, you can create your branding foundation, which includes messaging and a visual branding strategy. Developing brand assets, such as your logo, helps tie your products together, but the individual product photos are critical for selling your products.
Once you know your positioning, you can develop your messaging guidelines. In these guidelines, you need to clarify how you will speak to customers and partners. Messaging to customers and partners should have the same basic guidelines, but some guidelines will vary, based on the audience you are speaking to. This is very important as you want your messages to speak to the audience you are communicating with at any given time. Having clear guidelines for each from the beginning will help your teams and departments sound the same, helping both customers and partners view your product and brand messaging in a cohesive light.
First of all, you want to develop your messaging guidelines for your customer-facing content. You will need to decide on the relationship you want to have with your customers. As a product-based business, you get to decide whether you have a close relationship with them or not. Consider how your customers will likely want to communicate with you. Do they want to be your friend? Or do they want to see you as a professional resource concerning your product? Or do they not want a relationship with your brand at all? Your type of product and ideal audience will determine these factors.
Next, narrow your customer audience into different segments. Then, determine what those audience segments need. Some needs may overlap based on your products, but there will likely be differences. Note: You may only have one audience segment if you only have one product, but you will likely have at least two.
Based on these needs, similar and different, determine the best practices for promoting your positioning to each audience segment and how you should communicate with your audience overall. This will depend on your audience, your positioning, and how your business wants to sound. If you need ideas, look up “tone of voice adjectives.” From there, use those adjectives to develop your content tone and style. Provide your team with the do’s and don’ts within your messaging guidelines accordingly. These guidelines will help all content sound on-brand, no matter which team member is creating them.
Once you have your customer-facing guidelines complete, you can add a section for partner-specific communications. Again, you may consider multiple types of partnerships, so segment this audience, too, if needed.
Tip: Focus on storytelling in your messaging guidelines and content creation. People love stories.
Conveying brand personality is also important to position your product or brand. Your personality will largely be determined by how personal you want to get with your customers, so be sure your messaging and brand personality are closely connected. You will want your brand personality to shine through your messaging and visual branding. Having a unique brand personality will also help your customers remember you and set yourself apart from your competitors.
Visual Branding Strategy
Having cohesive visual branding is vital for product-based businesses. By developing a visual branding strategy, you can develop visual branding pieces that are cohesive and in-line with your vision. This strategy will affect your product packaging, content, website, and the products themselves, as well as any other pieces you use for sales and marketing.
Your business’s visual branding includes a logo, color palette, fonts, and brand imagery. All of these pieces say something specific about your brand or product, represent your brand or product, and showcase the visual tone of your brand or product. While they are not more important than providing quality products, your customers will eventually see your logo as your brand, so it needs to accurately represent your business.
Note: If you currently offer one product, allow room for growth (new products) without needing to rebrand. Having room in your visual branding strategy now will make new product launches easier down the road.
For the brand imagery, think about what kind of aesthetic or visual style you want your brand to portray. What filter showcases your brand in the best light? For example, the images surrounding a fitness product will be very different from the images surrounding an office product.
In addition to brand imagery, you will want to include guidelines on how to take product shots. Your product images should follow the same visual guidelines as other images you use.
Tip: Make a note in your visual branding guidelines to get product shots from every angle. Customers want to see products from every angle before they make a purchase, so don’t skip this step when you have your camera out (or photographer on-premises).
When developing your visual branding, it’s important to set yourself apart from your competitors and have branding that uniquely fits your product or brand in your industry. You want all visual pieces to be cohesive so they can properly tell your brand story. This will help prospects and customers easily recognize you over a competitor, which is very important for repeat business.
Visual Branding Development
Once you know your visual branding strategy, it’s time to develop your assets. Common assets include logo, color palette, fonts, and types of images, but you may require additional assets based on your unique business needs and product. Remember to consider how each piece will look online and in print, or what pieces are specifically designed for online or print.
Whether your visual branding focuses on your product (with room for growth) or brand, it’s best to streamline your product photography processes. To do so, you should plan to take photos of all of your products in one day. First, you will need to prepare for the photoshoot, including gathering products, a camera, and any background pieces or models, as well as creating a list or spreadsheet of all of the products, angles, and background or model combinations. For more details on how to prepare for a product photoshoot, visit this link.
Remember: Plan your photoshoot well in advance so you can ensure that you will get all of the photos you will need for your marketing and sales efforts for a while. Gathering these assets in a day or two (plus editing) is much easier than taking a new photo every time you need one. Then, be sure to share the edited assets with your team so they will use the right photos for all of their projects. This ensures a consistent look to your products in all marketing and sales pieces.
Tip: Get photos of your product from all angles with and without backgrounds and models. You will generally use your product-focused images with clear backgrounds on your website and your styled images with backgrounds and models for other content efforts, such as email marketing and social media.
Collect your messaging guidelines, visual branding assets, and photography assets in one place that is accessible to your entire team. All team members across all departments (product development, sales, marketing, etc.) should use these guidelines so all messages to your customers and prospects are cohesive.
Our team works as a fluid extension of each of our member’s businesses by developing strategies and executing projects in whatever capacity is best for their unique needs.