Building a Solid Brand Image: Q&A with Shutterstock

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By Published On: October 3, 20190 Comments

Visuals are one of the most important aspects of a successful e-commerce platform. We sat down with Alex DiRenzo, Enterprise Content Strategist at Shutterstock, to discuss creating an authentic brand using images and why consistency is key.

As e-commerce becomes one of the leading ways for customers to shop, images are becoming a prevalent part of marketing strategies. What importance do images hold in the world of e-commerce?

As e-commerce continues to grow in popularity and merchants leverage a number of online platforms to sell their products, the need for brands to use consistent visual content is key. When it comes to building brand awareness to developing trust, using visuals is the best way to connect with consumers.

When consumers purchase products online they rely heavily on the images they can see online. Take Amazon and eBay for example, where more often than not multiple brands are competing for consumers’ attention. So what can make one brand stand out from the others? Visuals!

Creating a brand isn’t just about products anymore – establishing a well-rounded, curated and versatile brand can be difficult to develop. What is some advice for companies to take when they’re considering establishing their brand?

Consistency is key – this is one area many businesses put on the backburner when expanding across a number of platforms. Consistent visual content, both online and offline, creates trust which in turn is connected to driving sales. With this in mind, it’s imperative that brands remain consistent through all communications to remain trustworthy and build long term customer relationships.

When it comes to building consistent visual content across multiple channels, there are many challenges. From pre-product search pages to in-platform prompts, how should retailers approach said visual content?

Apart from the obvious, keeping visual content consistent across platforms – brands should use content that drives the journey of their customer. From scrolling on social, to identifying a product to check out, this should be a streamlined process, guided by visuals. Having consistent visual content helps build trust for the brand across a number of touchpoints and making this content interesting and personalised to your customers is key.

Images, both offline and online, can majorly influence the way shoppers perceive a brand. Aside from e-commerce, many brands focus their strategies from an omnichannel approach. How can visual content influence offline purchases?

No longer do consumers have to wait until they go to a shopping centre to browse for a new outfit, appliance or product. Today’s consumers increasingly rely on online shopping, to shop in their own time and at their convenience. Shoppers may go in-store to try on or look at an item before purchasing it, but we’re seeing more consumers initially browsing online before heading in-store.

This emphasises the importance for brands to have consistent visuals both online and in-store, giving consumers the same experience whether shopping online or in-store. It’s no secret, having an omnichannel approach gives brands more touchpoints with the customer, but it can be a make or break for customer relationships if the brand fails to meet customer expectations across platforms.

In what ways can a consistent visual brand benefit a company? How can it also benefit the customer?

Using consistent visual content across channels can help businesses boost their bottom lines in the long run. Not only does content help brands to develop authentic, long-term relationships with consumers, but these relationships can directly impact sales and loyalty.

If done right, content can clearly communicate a brand’s ethos. Authentic content develops a brand’s trustworthiness and reliability — which often leads to brand loyalty and repeat purchases.

What is one major visual mistake that you see from retailers that you wish you could change?

A common mistake often new brands make is not keeping visuals consistent across platforms. We’ve seen an increase in the need for brands to leverage social media as another touchpoint with consumers. A main benefit of platforms like Instagram is that a sense of authenticity is created as content is usually shared on brands’ owned pages. With this in mind, authenticity often comes from brands remaining consistent across all channels of communication.

If brands fail to use the same tone-of-voice and persona on their website as they do on social platforms, it can be just as detrimental to their image as if they fail to use the same visual content, like font and colour.

I think it’s important to remember that although this may sound like a lot of work for brands, if you’re true to the ethos of your brand, and truly stand for what you say you believe in, then this is the easiest thing to do. Authenticity is created from compelling and consistent visual content across all touchpoints with your consumers. It’s a chance for brands to be creative and stand out for the competition, while communicating their vision and values.

Where typically it’s been difficult for businesses to create authentic, cost-effective, and scalable content, there are now other options available that remove the need for an in-house photographer. For example, Shutterstock Custom gives brands access to a global network of creative talent — meaning that brands can more efficiently shoot high-quality on-brand content to further connect with their audiences.

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About the Author: Power Retail

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