When branding a business that sells physical products, you’ll create labels, packagings, cards and any other pieces of printed goods that can enhance your product and create a cohesive brand. But branding a service it’s a totally different ball game! You don’t have anything physical to embellish, nowhere to actually showcase your branding... but luckly here’s where branded visuals come into play!
I’ve just recently been in the position of needing to rebrand my service-based business: I can now say it felt pretty overwhelming not to have a physical product that explained my work, without me trying to tell the whole story behind it. People like concrete things, to see what they’re buying. And I’m sure anyone running a service-based business will understand the struggle.
I asked myself: how can I visually explain my services with my branding? Branded visuals where the answer! And just in case you need a little help to get started with brainstorming and understanding what branded visuals would work in your case, here are a couple of ideas..
Photography might sound the most obvious of answers. But when you don’t have a physical product, how do you capture an unsubstantial service?
Well the options are actually endless! I have just recently shared my insights into doing your own branded photography and a few prompts on how to brainstorm a brand photoshoot.
But photographs are definitely one of the branded visuals you should considered: they add depth to your brand’s personality, can help with visually explain your work process, at giving insights into your working days and creating an emotional connection with a potential client.
If you have a non-physical product or service to display, try showing the way you work, the place your creative process begins and develops... or even the actual act of you doing what you do for a living.
When trying to explain your services to a client, on a web page or brochure, include photographs as branded visuals to create a real bond with your audience and add concreteness to your branding.
Illustrations, icons, lettering are all visual elements that, if branded right, can enrich a business identity and actually help with explaining the behind-the-scenes of your services or products.
Treat illustrated branded visuals as they were the labels to stick on each of your products. They'll explain what’s inside the bottle, give away a bit of your process and create consistency in the branding too.
There’s nothing more frustrating than explaining the value of your extra-rich packages, when you run a service-based business! Remember, not all the people you’ll be talking to will ultimately buy and understand your product.
I’ll go into it more deeply in another article soon, but replying to emails of people who will never buy from you, and spending hours of your days trying to explain your product, won’t make you earn more!
Branded visuals like illustrated elements will silently do a first selection for you. If your elements are able to explain your product and process, less people will get in touch to ask: how does this work? And if they do, these people will most likely be the ones who’ll buy from you!
Make sure your illustrated elements are not misleading and they answer all the possible questions: how will your service help? What do you actually do? What does your process involve? How clients can benefit from your service?
You could write an endless amount of words to answer these questions! But remember people will be put off reading a service page that only contains words. Not only illustrated elements will create interest and help you passively select the client type you want to work with; they will also allow you to insert “mental pause buttons” in your pages, explain a bit more of your work, and convince your potential clients to keep reading.
Surface patterns are great, don’t they? I’m such a fan of how they can instantly inject personality into packagings, textile or stationery. But you can totally use patterns to explain and brand a service too!
As a web designer I mainly use patterns as backgrounds for page sections, just as a simple example! They can be a fundamental addition to your branding to create that emotive connection with your ideal client. But they can also help with explaining the products and services you sell.
Just think about it: any set of illustrations can be turned into a seamless pattern for your branding. You can use it on your website or stationery, to explain what you do, your process, creativity to potential clients.
There are really no rules with patterns and where to use them. But they are such versatile elements you definitely should consider including in your branding.
Let’s say illustrations are not something you’re thinking to include in your branding and photography is not your forte. There are so many other ways you can include branded visuals to your service pages or documents.
Concept or process maps are definitely worth considering! Yes: you’re going to include more text into it. But if you can find a way to play with shapes, boxes and sections, maybe also including your brand’s fonts and colours, it’ll be a win-win situation!
There’s nothing that can explain a non-physical product better than a simple user-friendly concept map. Especially if your service is not something common or that people deals with everyday!
Visual maps can also help with explaining your work or creative process. And, if you do end up considering to include some illustrated elements, they can be a right place where to include any icons or illustrations that explains what you do and how you can help.
OK so, let’s then say your business is not one for illustrated elements, photographs and maybe your process is too complex to be explained in a simple concept map. How do you convince people to stay on your page and read about your services without any branded visuals?
Well, there’s something else people love seeing, and that’s real numbers and examples! If your service involves any type of improvement whether it’s online or real life, show your audience those statistics!
How have you helped previous clients? What changed in their life, work or online presence? How can you picture that change or growth with in an easily-understandable graph? Do you have any percentages to show?
Thus create or commission graphics that match you brand with data, numbers and graphs, and insert them in your service pages, where appropriate, to explain your process and how your service are valuable resources to your ideal client.
Make sure you check this space for details about my new brand and website and more branding tips this month!
A creative atelier curating brand and web designs for women-owned businesses.
I design and curate intentional brand designs and websites to cultivate your idea and bring your value out there.