With the average consumer forming an opinion of your website in about 50 milliseconds, it’s more important than ever to prioritize the latest trends in visual identity when considering your long-term brand engagement strategy. Trends in visual identity move at a quick pace, but when executed correctly, your visual brand can be an integral part of the long-term success of your business.
Personalization + The Move Towards Flexible Visual Identity
The trend of personalization isn’t novel for marketers as a whole, but only recently have brands been able to adopt this trend when it comes to their visual identity. Using their overarching visual identity as a base, brands are now able to work within those systems to tailor individual visual experiences to specific users.
Not surprisingly, Netflix was early to begin experimenting with this concept, and began tailoring the designs of thumbnails that appeared in a user’s interface based on their preferences and other shows they’d been watching. When displaying the thumbnail for Stranger Things on user’s screens, the avid murder mystery fanatic saw a tile of a zoomed in bloody-nosed face behind the logo, while the horror buff saw a dark woods scene, and the rom-com lover saw two characters embraced. All of these tiles still have the look and feel of Stranger Things — they’re just personalized to the viewer.
This concept seems straightforward enough for Netflix, but what does it look like applied to your brand? When it comes to including flexible visual identity in your brand engagement strategy, it’s all about assessing how your different consumer segments prefer to be communicated with visually. Maybe some of your consumers prefer icons to decipher between different types of information, and others prefer plain text. Some may prefer to see a more loud, trendy side of your brand and others the more muted simplistic side. The important thing to know is that brands are no longer a rigid logo and set of guidelines. Brands have room for flexibility and tailored experiences, and embracing this idea will only help your long-term digital strategy.
The “Blanding” Phenomenon
The move towards flexibility in visual identity standards goes hand-in-hand with the rising popularity of the concept of “Blanding,” or the idea that many companies are moving towards a simple, streamlined look and feel for their logo and in general for their brand. Brands are trying to pare down and avoid visual chaos to make their logos more neutral.
While logos are still a hallmark of any brand, they’re no longer equal to the brand and are doing a lot less work when it comes to defining a brand’s identity. A quick glance at the logos of huge companies like Google, Airbnb, and Spotify all have one thing in common – the shift towards simple and clean. Established brands are no longer relying solely on their logo to communicate who they are. They’re relying on their brand personality in their brand engagement strategy.
Using Visual Identity to Build Consumer Trust
Ultimately having a brand engagement strategy with a strong and cohesive visual identity (even if it’s flexible) is integral to building consumer trust. A consistent brand identity has shown to increase revenue by 33 percent and at the core of that is a consumer having a repeated consistent experience with a brand leading to brand trust.
For consumers to trust you, they need to feel a sense of familiarity with you and feel like they know you. To do that, they must be aware of you, recognize, and remember you, and for them to recognize you and remember you, your visual identity must be presented in a way that is consistent.
As brands continue to grow and develop, it’s important for to keep the impact of visual identity top of mind. Your visual identity doesn’t just represent your brand, it is your brand, and when used to its full potential can be a great tool for personalization, building consumer trust, and be an integral part of a successful brand engagement strategy.
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Coauthor and contributions by Ashley Stufano