Questions to ask yourself about the visual branding of your impact-driven business

 
 

Let’s talk about visual branding for impact-driven businesses!

Aka, what you show on your website, social media, and marketing materials that has clients and prospective clients clear that your services are unique and valuable AND that your business is running as consciously impact-driven.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that impact-driven businesses can include visuals to create trust, transparency and relatability across web, social media and marketing.

Obviously, my focus is photography, but consider that the below speaks to all visuals including video, graphics and infographics:


Visual idea 1: Show yourselves!

Whether you’re a one-person business or part of a team, the business runs as a result of the people, and I don't know about you, but when I'm doing research about a brand I love to learn who exactly is behind it to get related. Each person plays an important part in the team whether they are in the same city or spread out across different countries. Showcasing your team via headshots or more creative portraits is a great way to foster transparency, create relatability and also provide a platform for the team to proudly showcase themselves.

 
 
 
 

Visual idea 2: Define your values through visuals

Having visual aids go alongside your values is a great one and helps the viewer grasp the concept of the value in a deeper way. Let’s say that one of your values is transparency. Cool - what does that actually mean? It could mean a LOT of things. For example:

Team transparency: around business finances; transparency about business growth, goals and team reviews; physical transparency if your work space is open plan.

Customer/client transparency: customers and clients receive reports or updates from the business about how it is doing; both the wins and the learnings are shared outside of immediate team members; clients/customers get a say in the development of the business.

It’s a lot right! In a nutshell, take a moment to figure out what you want ‘transparency’ as a value (or whatever values your company is built on) to represent for your business and then support that with appropriate visual content.

 
 
New Market Funds, based here in Vancouver and Toronto. Their values include transparency and collaborative which is shown in this image. (image credit: Maxine Bulloch)

New Market Funds, based here in Vancouver and Toronto. Their values include transparency and collaborative which is shown in this image. (image credit: Maxine Bulloch)

 
 
New Market Funds. The values that speak here are collaboration and happy teamwork (image credit: Maxine Bulloch)

New Market Funds. The values that speak here are collaboration and happy teamwork (image credit: Maxine Bulloch)

 
 

Visual idea 3: Expand on the services or products that you provide and show that *each part of the journey* or *each team* is thoughtful, strategic and impact-driven

This is really the same whether you are a one-person business or a 1,000 person business. A few examples to think about include:

Hiring / working with others

How can you show through images that your hiring process is a mindful and proactive one?

Maggie Miland, Community Administrator at Realize Strategies, a Vancouver B Corporation, shared at a recent screening of ‘The Social Shift’ documentary (side note: highly recommend watching), “Impact-driven companies should really start by hiring diversely, and the way to do that is to actually define what your values are, figure out which community you want to hire from, and find leadership within that by being proactive rather than reactive within your hiring process.”

Purchasing items and services for your business

Do you use other services in your business? Eg couriers, suppliers, products?  

Every purchase has an economic, environmental and social impact, whether intended or not. As outlined by Buy Social Canada in their Guide to Social Procurement, social procurement is about capturing those impacts and seeking to make intentional positive contributions to both the local economy and the overall vibrancy of the community. What this could look like for you in everyday business:

  • Source your coffee from a Fairtrade company

  • Take your coffee meetings in a local independent cafe rather than larger international coffee shops

  • If you’re catering for an event, work with a local catering company

  • Use promotional products that are sustainable in some way

Showing that you take actions like this visually really helps build a clear picture of the impact that your business builds into the whole life cycle of it. Become a master of impact-driven story telling.

 
 
Pique Ventures showed support to local catering by using Vancouver based Railtown Catering at their investor event (image credit: Maxine Bulloch)

Pique Ventures showed support to local catering by using Vancouver based Railtown Catering at their investor event (image credit: Maxine Bulloch)

 
 

To sum up

Humans are visual creatures and as stats show, content that has images, videos or other such visuals receive double to triple more eyeballs and engagement. Including visuals garners more attention, understanding on multiple levels, and is easy for your current supporters and business cheerleaders to share and spread the word of the amazing impact that you are having.

 
 
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Interested in creating a set of images to showcase the impact-driven side of your business?