By Paul Biedermann, Published October 16, 2014
It’s a visual world and images touch us in a direct, visceral way unlike text can alone. They make us happy, they make us laugh, they make us inspired — they can also make us deeply sad — all in just a fleeting glance.
Recent neurological studies prove through brain imaging how we respond to visuals unlike any other media: we pay attention to them, we believe them, and we remember them. Powerful stuff!
Now, take a look at today’s media landscape and the busy, distracted, hyperactive world we find ourselves in. What are the three things you — as a company, businessperson, or job seeker — need to do most? Get noticed, communicate your value and make a positive impression that is remembered, right?
Visuals to the rescue. And they show up great on our smartphones too, where so many of us now spend our time.
The power of the visual
A strong visual presence that clearly demonstrates who you are and what you want puts you head and shoulders above the rest — you know, all those websites and social media profiles you click through, not to mention the mountains of faceless resumés that recruiters know so well. But take note of the word “strong” — a weak visual image won’t cut it. There is lots of amateurish visual noise vying for attention too, so the key is rising above that. Joining the tide of mediocrity won’t cut it.
Now is the time to use the power of the visual — and not just to be seen, but understood and remembered too. There’s no doubt that a smart visual strategy will help give you the competitive advantage you seek.
A well-designed visual presentation brings clarity to who you are and what you do. This is so important in a time when you are fortunate if someone takes even a few seconds to decide yay or nay, assuming you have attracted their attention in the first place.
Sharpen your visual strategy
Once you have defined the core essence of your business and message, you should then tailor your communications and online presence in a simple, visually unique way for maximum impact. No matter how qualified you might be otherwise, creating the right visual appeal will not only help you land new business or that new job, but land the right kind of business and the right job for which you are best suited and that brings you the most personal satisfaction.
Companies and marketers have long known that brands with the sharpest sales pitches and the most dynamic visual presentations differentiate themselves from the competition and sell the most product (all else being equal, of course). Similarly, solopreneurs and job seekers who brand and market themselves — defining their own unique “story” and then pairing that with a smart visual strategy — win the day.
In today’s competitive environment, it’s all about brand “you.” Sounds a little strange, I know. But much like your favorite brands that you reach for every day, now is the time to package yourself so you leap right off those shelves of relative sameness — you now have your own shoppers to entice!
Applying traditional branding principles to ourselves is a relatively new concept, but it does not mean being disingenuous in any way — far from it. It is about taking all you are and polishing that so you present the best version of yourself, and making sure the focus is where it belongs. Merging your core message with the right visual strategy does nothing to change the essence of who you are, it simply improves the odds that people will get to know the real you and take the action you seek.
As the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression — so creating the right visual impression speaks volumes. Just as we know quality when we see it, people recognize that you are a quality business or person if that is the impression you give them and you have the goods to back it up. Much like putting on your best suit for an interview, smart communications and a good looking visual image work the same way, especially when you can’t be there yourself.
Consistency is key
One final, critical ingredient — be consistent. In order to make an impression that is noticed and remembered, that same message needs to be continually driven home, clearly and succinctly. This means tying both your online and offline communications together so you present one unified image, no matter where they may be seen. Mismatched communications that don’t hang together create a confused, disorganized, unprofessional message. Mixed signals fracture your image rather than enhancing and reinforcing it.
A laser-sharp, visually-powerful brand is the single most important step you can take to reach, excite and inspire people to take action — and hire brand “you.”