Color & Story: Creating Unique Branded Photography Through Your Brand’s Aesthetic
Your brand is unlike any other. It has a distinct message to share with the world and you want to make sure your imagery celebrates all the things that make it unique!
You don’t want your marketing to look exactly like your main competition but how do you differentiate?
Here’s the secret no one talks about: you need to tell stories to your target audience that will build brand credibility and loyalty.
Look at Subaru, for example — they know exactly who their people are and how to speak to them. They have built a cult following and extreme levels of brand loyalty with their use of dogs, humor, and a love of the great outdoors in their campaigns.
So, I ask: what stories do you want to tell your audience?
Who is your target customer?
First we need to know who we’re speaking to. Who does your business serve and/or who do they aspire to be? Are they trendy hipsters, high-powered city-dwellers, middle-class suburban families, or salt-of-the-earth country folk? We want to create photos that allow your target audience to easily envision themselves and their dogs in the story we’re about to tell.
Who are their dogs?
Just as important as who your target customer is, we need to know who their dogs are. Are they big dogs, small dogs, rescue dogs, purebreds, or all of the above? It’s also worth looking at if your company has a strong tie to rescue work or if your brand gives back to shelters. Is that part of the brand story you want to tell? The animals in your photos will most likely be the main subjects in your photos so it’s important to choose dogs that are relatable.
What’s your brand color palette?
Does your brand go for more subtle or muted tones or bright, vibrant colors? Is your brand’s style more rustic, ultra-modern, or something in between? Should your images feel warm or cool? The answers to these questions will help us determine the types of locations and lighting strategy that will make your brand images stand out.
What kind of textures represent your company or product?
What kind of background images, colors, and textures do you currently use in your marketing? Perhaps you have natural wood grain, manicured green grass, and or solid stone surfaces like marble or concrete. Unless you’re going for a brand new look, it’s important for your new images to work with your current branding assets. Understanding the colors and textures that do the subtle work behind your brand will allow us to bring those exact textures or complementary elements into your photos.
How can you make your photos different from your competition?
This is the million-dollar question! While the easy answer is tell your story, not theirs, here are a few ideas and guidelines I like to use:
- Do something different; have a solid, unique concept for your campaign.
- Choose locations and scenery that are different from what your competition is doing.
- Consider casting distinctive-looking dogs vs. purebreds that look alike.
- Ask if your human and dog models have worked with your competitors and, if so, when. Using the same models as your competitors is risky and unfair to you both. Imagine you each had an ad on a facing page in a magazine… awkwaaard.
When all of these elements come together, you’re going to be able to reach your target customer without any brand confusion between you and a competitor! It’s important to talk to your photographer and creative team, too. Share your concerns so everyone is on the same page and can work together to create something truly special.