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Why visual content consistency is the secret to your brand story

Consistency is an important word in the world of content marketing. Brand marketers strive to produce content that provides consumers with a dependable experience each and every time they connect with the brand.

An experience that’s reliable and effortless is memorable for consumers. People are more likely to remember your brand and engage with your content if they feel comfortable with your brand.

To reach that level of familiarity, you need to educate your target audience about your brand story. Content is how you tell your story to your consumers, and visual or video content is far more likely to register in their minds. You’ll improve people’s abilities to remember your brand and recall your identity with consistent visual content.

Visual content consistency carries several underlying benefits for your brand as well as your consumers. Here are three incentives to establish visual content consistency and tell your brand story so that you resonate with your target audience.

You need consistency to prove your honesty

It goes without saying, but brands that are honest and upfront about their positioning are trusted by consumers. Honesty is an inspiring attribute, which goes a long way towards building credibility with the people who determine if your marketing is successful.

The late Margo Chase wrote an excellent piece of content about the importance of honest brands. She said that an honest brand enjoys one of the greatest rewards of transparency and credibility - consumer loyalty.

To earn trust, brands must create an emotional relationship with their customers through actions that inspire them and align with their values. Brands that forge strong relationships and build trust with their customers earn their loyalty for life.
— Margo Chase

Consumer loyalty is the accumulation of all steps taken throughout the buying journey.

If you connect with consumers with interesting content, they’ll recall your brand when you share new updates. If you maintain consistency throughout all of your updates, you’ll keep viewers engaged with your content and, by extension, your brand. Establish a rhythm that helps consumers know what content to expect and when, and you’ll build your brand’s credibility.

The best part is you can naturally tell your brand story through the content that naturally moves people through the buying journey. Capture their attention with bright bold visuals, and overlay the content with value-added incentives to further engage with your brand. People will slowly get the full picture of your brand identity, which will motivate them to take a chance on becoming one of your paying customers.

If the post-purchase experience is as commendable as the buying journey, you’ll have a loyal customer.

You need consistency to provide clarity

People want to understand your brand before they agree to buy your products. But they don’t want to dig deep to grasp the entirety of your brand story.

Visual content consistency clarifies your brand’s style for easy viewing consumption.

Studies have shown that mobile content consumption is on the rise and that 90% of all mobile moments occur within a handful of social apps. These consumption habits are even more prominent among millennials. According to the Pew Research Center, 63% of today’s consumers use Facebook or Twitter to get regular news updates.

Facebook Twitter news use among millennials.jpg

Now expand that habit of daily news consumption on social to broader content consumption. You know people are spending their time on these platforms, and you know that other brands are also aware of these habits. They’re creating content to reach people on those platforms.

Imagine, if you will, that you’re the one on the receiving end of those updates. When you scroll through your mobile news feed, how much of that content stands out and boldly captures your attention? More importantly, how many brands do you actually remember as the providers of that content?

That’s how your consumers think about the content that appears in their own feeds. The average human attention span is less than a goldfish.

Given that factuality, do you believe that the average consumer can automatically identify your brand’s content against all other updates?

You need your content to stand out from the crowded clutter. There’s so much content within those feeds that you need to make your content capture people’s attention. You need them to want to click and engage with your content.

Most importantly, you need consistency to clarify that your brand is the one providing the content in those updates. This is the best way to communicate your positioning and your brand story to register in people’s minds and help them recognize your brand identity.

You need consistency to trigger engagement

The buying journey is a fluid path for each consumer. But every journey begins with the same two steps.

  1. People first need to be aware of your brand before they can ever become one of your paying customers.

  2. Then they need the incentive to engage with your content and take the next step of the journey with your brand.

The engagement phase of the journey is where visual content consistency pays off. As you ramp up content production, you can increase promotions across multiple platforms. A consistent visual brand identity ensures your cross-channel promotional efforts convey the right message to trigger the right actions from your viewing audience.

One of the biggest platforms for cross-channel promotions is social media where brands compete for the attention of millions of viewers. This image from our webinar on how to create visual brand guidelines outlines the number of people actively using social platforms.

Social platform growth over time

Due to the potential viewing audience, brands are working tirelessly to produce creative content for social platforms like Instagram and other visual mediums.

But creating content simply to promote on those channels is redundant without visual content consistency. As we’ve discussed, thousands of brands are attempting to engage with consumers on each of these networks. It’s very easy for your efforts to become lost in the clutter without a strategic approach to content creation.

When a visual style is presented to your consumers with both consistency and frequency, they’ll begin to recognize your brand’s content when updates appear in their social news feeds. Recognition and awareness build credibility and rapport between your brand and your consumers. Those traits help viewers learn to trust your brand as a provider of interesting, incentivizing, and valuable content.

If you earn their trust, you can motivate them to engage with your content. And if they engage with your content, they’ll be incentivized to purchase your products.

Shutterstock Custom helps global brands produce consistent visual content at scale to connect with customers. Book a demo with one of our experts and learn how you can adopt visual content consistency into your own creative process, and tell a coherent brand story.