One of the biggest mistakes I see service-based businesses make is overlooking how your visual branding affects consumer behavior.
How the brand you’ve created, or lack thereof, guides a potential client closer to or farther away from trusting your business and choosing to work with you.
So often branding is thought of as you choose your logo and your business name. Then you consider colors and your website and call it a day.
But your visual branding is a reflection of you the reputation you are trying to build and the people you want to attract. Your brand is your reputation, so you visuals need to reflect that aesthetic you want people to be attracted to.
So if you’ve chosen your branding without consideration for the deeper brand foundations, you’re essentially shooting yourself in the foot. How can you build a reputation if you’ve never considered what reputation you want to have?
Before you dive into creating your brand strategy, it’s very helpful to understanding how branding affects consumer behavior.
Human beings are emotional creatures.
Our emotions drive our decisions. It’s the story we are telling ourselves, or the aspirations we have that will drive our decisions to build the life that we want.
But so many small businesses, and service-based businesses especially, focus on the logic and ignore the emotional aspect of selling.
When you shift and start talking to your ideal customer’s emotional needs and conveying through your messaging that you are the right choice for filling that need. That is where the magic happens.
And once you understand how to talk to your ideal customers’ desires and emotions, then you are on your way to building a brand. A reputation.
Your brand has a personality of its own. You use the personality of your brand to guide your brand voice (what the words you use in your business make people feel). And your brand voice and vibe guide your visuals.
The visuals are what so many see as their branding. But hopefully, you now see that it’s much deeper than that.
Your “branding” are the visuals that help continue the story your brand has begun to create inside of your customer’s head.
And your branding is important. Very important, as your branding affects consumer behavior.
Your branding are the colors, the fonts, the design, the logos, and the photos you use to help build your brand personality.
So how does branding affect consumer behavior?
The first and most noticeable aspect of your branding is your color palette.
Having clear and consistent brand colors helps people identify what business they are seeing. It’s important to stay consistent on what colors you use because people will start to recognize the colors first and then associate them with your brand. When they see that color, your brand is likely to pop up in their minds.
The next major part of picking your brand colors, and thinking about how it may affect consumer behavior, is recognizing that colors have a psychological emotion tied to them.
By tying your brand to a color, you are in turn, tying your brand to that emotion.
So you don’t want to pick a color without thinking of the emotion that the color will evoke from people.
The color you use is the first thing people will notice about your brand, and studies have shown that 90% of snap judgments are made by color alone.
Ready for some examples?
When you hear Coke-a-cola, what color do you think of? Red, right?
And what emotion do you feel?
Enjoyment, happiness, relaxation?
Well, Coke-a-cola is the best of the best when you start to pay attention to building an emotion around a brand.
They never focus on the sugary soft drink they are selling. Their messaging and intent is all about the happiness you’ll feel while you are enjoying the fun aspects of life.
And the color red is psychologically going to make you feel these types of emotions:
Excitement, passion, energy, attention, or caution.
So when you see that ever so specific red of Coke-a-cola, it’s likely to prime your brain to pay attention, feel excited, passionate, and energetic.
Pair that with their messaging of drinking Coke-a-cola during your happy moments will make them even happier.
That’s what color can do for your brand.
Let’s check out one more
What’s the color that comes to mind when you think of UPS? Brown right?
And what emotion do you feel when thinking about UPS?
Likely reliability, comfort, stability, honesty.
Now, don’t you think, if you were a global shipping company, that you’d want to evoke those emotions when people think of your brand?
Color is a huge aspect of your branding and how it affects consumer behavior.
The next aspect of branding that affects consumer behavior is your design.
For product-based businesses, design refers primarily to the design of the product, its usability, and its packaging. But as a service-based business, your design is primarily viewed through your website and content.
How easy is it to navigate through your website?
What type of person will be attracted to that design? Who will be deterred by it?
Branding is all about convincing the right people to stay and dig a bit deeper while telling the “wrong people” that they are not in the place for them.
Your design also includes the fonts you use, and how your logo looks.
But, as a personal brand, I argue your logo is less important than the photos of you as the personal brand.
Which brings me to the photos you use in your brand and how they affect consumer behavior
The look, personality, lighting, and subject matter of your photos on your website and through your content are a huge aspect of your branding today.
And thanks to social media marketing and Instagram, photos are more and more important to convey your brand personality.
Your photos have the opportunity to quickly and efficiently convey and build on the story you’re telling in your messaging.
Photos should never be used as visual placeholders.
They build on your brand personality and let the consumer envision themselves in the photos and feel what it would feel like to be there. When you align your photos to your messaging, it builds on the emotional connection. And when you’ve successfully got the consumer to imagine themselves in the business, working with you, you are so much closer to securing that new client.
When you look at the photo on the right, you get a sense of me and if you’d want to hang out and learn a bit more. That’s the goal! Use your photos to help people feel like they know you, or how they can envision themselves working with you like the photo on the left.
So you see, branding has a huge and important role in consumer behavior. But it isn’t just about picking the right colors and design. It’s first about understanding the foundations of your brand and what emotion you want to evoke. What promise you are making. And then using the branding to continue to tell the story and bring people into the world of your business.