Imagery is a key part of your holistic brand experience. It affects not only how a brand looks physically, but how customers perceive it intrinsically. Brand imagery includes anything you can see, touch, smell, hear or experience in relation to your specific brand.
No customer is the same, which means that imagery is received in many different ways whether it’s intended to or not. Because of this, your brand imagery should be unique, strong, and consistent. For example, a customer is more likely to associate a baby pink medicine bottle with Pepto Bismol, or the smell of a burger and fries with McDonald’s. The elements of your image should be carefully considered and curated so that the brand is easily identifiable.
A key part of successful brand imagery is incorporating elements that accurately reflect your brand promise. For example, Gucci promises luxury goods, so they pair that with high-quality luxury advertisements, products, stores, and other visuals so that customers experience luxury imagery and messaging each time they interact with the brand. A brand image is easily controlled by the brand itself. But imagery? Not so much. Brand imagery is largely influenced by cohesive branding but can be affected by other elements.
Elements of Successful Brand Imagery
In order to understand brand imagery, put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. Think about some of your favorite brands–what senses do you associate with those brands? It could be the feel of your favorite shirt, the smell of a bakery, or the look of a store. These elements can be things intended by the brand itself, or things you subconsciously took away. Because of this, imagery is equal parts planning and trial and error.
Create experiences that resonate with customers long after their initial interaction with you. For example, Disney has a specific experience associated with visiting its parks. After returning home, a customer will be reminded of their experience with every commercial, video, or image involving the iconic and oh-so-lovable Mickey Mouse.
Brand color plays a large role in brand recognition and, ultimately, brand imagery–like Tiffany’s blue or our home-grown University of Tennessee orange. Incorporating colors into your brand’s image ensures that when a customer sees that color again, they’ll associate it with your brand.
The shape is one of the most recognizable elements of a brand. Whether in the form of a logo, product, or feature (re: Mickey Mouse ears), having a unique shape association makes your brand that much more recognizable.
Sound is an element that can be both controlled and uncontrolled. For example, the iconic NFL intro song makes you think of, well, Sunday Night Football, but hearing the roar of a cheering crowd is a sound that many people may associate with the NFL as well. The song is a controlled marketing effort by the NFL while the sound of the crowd cheering is an uncontrolled associated sound—both are great examples of brand imagery.
Taste is an important element of brand imagery for food and beverage organizations, and it’s most successful when used consistently. For example, Coca-Cola prides itself on the quality, timeless taste of Coke. But, because you can’t brand taste, Coca-Cola steadily ensures that their iconic drink, whether consumed from a can or bottle, tastes the same no matter what.
Smell, like the taste, is important to keep consistent. Brands that have perfume, candles, and other scented products know the importance of this. Ever walked into a Bath and Body Works retail store at Christmas time? Yeah, like that.
At Pyxl, our team of designers and marketers love bringing brands to life with strong messaging and design elements. Interested in seeing how we can bring your brand to life? Contact us today!
Updated: Apr 13, 2022