Branding Photographer: How To Photograph Brand Personality


Our passions take many forms. A musician may have a passion for playing an instrument while their audience may have a passion for the music they hear. Athletes may be passionate about their sport only to be rivaled by fans who share an equally strong passion for their team. Not unlike the reader's passion for books and the writer's passion for writing, individuals can also be passionate about the products they use and, more specifically, the brands those products represent.

The beauty of passion is that the coffee aficionado can be just as enthusiastic about the bean as they are of the brand behind it. While consumable goods, engaging merchandise and gratifying services can win over our hearts, there's a driving force that compels us to devote ourselves to not only the product but the entity itself. Believe it or not, brands affect who we are and who we aspire to become. How do these brands work their way into our passions? Their brand personality speaks directly to our identities.

Elements of a Brand

Consider the top ten most valuable brands in 2016:

  1. Apple

  2. Google

  3. Microsoft

  4. Coca-Cola

  5. Facebook

  6. Toyota

  7. IBM

  8. Disney

  9. McDonald's

  10. General Electric

It's no surprise that Apple claimed the top spot for the sixth consecutive year in a row — their iPhone is the most profitable product in history. Runners-up on the list have also found immense success in their sectors: Coca-Cola is the world's largest beverage company, McDonald's is the number-one fast food chain and Facebook is the most popular social media website and also owns four of the top five most active apps in the social media landscape. What do these industry leaders have in common? Dynamic branding.

A brand name like Disney or Toyota can be objectively observed. However, the brand itself is subjective and exists only in the consumer's mind. It is the perception that individuals develop based on how they relate to those products and services. Some may mistakenly believe brand personality and brand identity are the same concepts. While both are vital to the success of your business, the personality and identity of your brand are two elements that work cohesively to create brand loyalty in consumers.

Think of a brand identity as the face of your company that:

  • Separates your business from those of your competitors.

  • Creates a unique brand awareness that makes your product instantly recognizable.

  • Fosters a connection and builds trust between you and your customer base.

Brand identity is conveyed through imagery like logos, catchphrases, color schemes and typefaces. The brand identity uses visual tools to establish a memorable brand in the minds of consumers. Their products, styles, features or logos may change over time as trends and industry factors influence the brand's lifecycle.


The Importance of Brand Personality

If brand identity is the face, brand personality is the voice. It is the emotional tone the brand projects to the world. Brand personality shapes the way a consumer feels about a product, service or mission. When we assign human characteristics to a brand, we personify it. Studies have shown that the attractiveness, distinctiveness and self-expressive value of brand personality can create relationships that have a positive effect on a customer's identification with that brand. Brand personalities can also:

  • Align the brand with a particular demographic.

  • Set the tone and convey the message of the brand.

  • Create and reinforce emotional attachments between the brand and consumers.

  • Communicate the positive traits of the brand.

Now more than ever, strong brand personality is a necessity for success in today's competitive marketplace. Brand personality transcends consumer intellect and communicates directly to their emotions. Since the brain relies on emotion over intellect in the decision-making process, appealing to the consumer's personal ethics, beliefs and way of life can significantly influence their selection. Aligning your brand personality with your desired audience distinguishes you from the competition and creates a subconscious relationship with your consumers. A relatable brand personality helps you effectively identify with your targeted audience.


The 12 Brand Personality Archetypes

All successful brands possess a strong personality their consumers can quickly recognize and identify with. The character models identified by psychoanalyst Carl Jung that align with our individual personalities can also be applied to business branding. Each of his twelve archetypes can be categorized into four fundamental motivations.

Caregivers, Rulers and Creators are those who wish to provide structure to the world:

Those who wish to connect with others are Lovers, Jesters and The Everyman:

Outlaws, Magicians and Heroes are those who wish to leave a mark on the world:

Among those who yearn for paradise are the Explorers, Sages and Innocents:

Once you distinguish your company's brand personality, it's important that your business upholds that identity consistently through all outlets — including messaging, content production and actions. Displaying an inconsistent brand personality is a dangerous mistake that could harm your company's reputation. Contradictory or disorganized brand personalities can betray the trust your client has invested in a single identity. Showcasing a variety of personalities hides your authenticity and can create the wrong impression for potential clients, leading to your brand being associated with unreliability or poor quality of service.


How Brand Personality Is Conveyed

To convey your brand personality accurately, you first need to define it. If your brand was a person, how would you characterize them? Are they honorable and project strength like the Hero? Do they serve others like the Caregiver or does their easygoing attitude align them more with the Jester? Identifying the adjectives that pair with each personality type will help you understand the persona your brand must uphold.

Once you are familiar with your brand's personality, determine how you can clearly express your message in accordance with your brand's character. The Outlaw will be bold in their claims, not meek. The Ruler's tone will be firm and rational while the Lover's will speak to the heart. It would be out of character for the brand of an innovative solution to use language that is bland, boring and shallow. When brand dialog complements brand personality, you can begin taking steps to convey your brand's message.

Finally, use visuals to project that personality and convey your message to the targeted audience. While your logo or color scheme are great visual identities that influence consumer decisions, you also need imagery that promotes the brand's character. Visuals need to enhance your text and bring your message to life. One of the best ways to convey your brand personality is through photography.


How Photography Is Used to Convey Brand Personality

Consider any number of words or phrases that a brand could use to convey their personality. Some could take the time to outline their mission statement, empowering their brand with themes of commitment, integrity and lasting success. Others could use a succinct phrase or even a single word to impart their message to their audience. While the vast utility of the written word has allowed ideas and beliefs to impact our lives, there is another instrument of communication that provides limitless potential: photography.

Hiring a brand photographer is the most powerful tool you can use to successfully brand your business. Our brains process images more rapidly than text, giving photography an inherent advantage over blocks of words. Brands hire advertising photographers to create images to represent their brand personality to sell products or services. These visuals support the brand identity and translate the brand personality. It's important that the photography used is relevant, aesthetically pleasing and accurately conveys the message you want to communicate to your desired audience.

Great examples of photography that accurately conveys a brand's personality can be found all around us. The photos featured in National Geographic magazine showcase stunning images of wildlife while also reinforcing the brand's passion for sharing their understanding of nature with the world. Lifestyle brands like Nike use athletes in action to display themes of competitiveness, drive, confidence and strength. The brand photography we interact with in our daily lives shows a picture that conveys the unique attributes of that brand's personality.

The Benefits of Highlighting Brand Personality

Photography is an exceptional way to highlight brand personality. Of the many benefits that a strong brand personality brings to a company, there are five major advantages that create long-term success for the business and the brand itself:

  1. The brand becomes recognizable: Customers in the process of selecting a product or service will consider brands they recognize. Though these individuals may be purchasing a product, they are also investing in a relationship with the brand. Even in challenging economic times, branded items do better than unbranded ones and can outlive product lifecycles. Differentiation can lead to long-term profitability.

  2. Consumer recognition gives you an advantage over the competition: Differentiation from your competition gives your brand an edge in the market. As customers continue to positively recognize and endorse your brand, the brand will become a competitive alternative to other well-known brands.

  3. New products can be easily introduced under a trusted brand: Even if an innovative new product enters the marketplace, customers, unfortunately, may be hesitant to make a purchase. Stress or fear of investing in a new product or service can cause an individual to become aversive to the decision no matter how effective the solution may be. A trusted brand can make a customer feel more comfortable and confident in their decision to go against their own status quo.

  4. Sharing the values of your customers increases their loyalty: Although achieving high customer satisfaction is important, your goal should be to increase customer retention. Brand loyalty begins with shared values, similar opinions and common philosophies. More than simply matching the views of a specific audience, brands that passionately stand for a cause can genuinely convey their brand personality without seeming inauthentic. It's more than simply supporting a cause — it's sharing a vision. Customers who identify with those same personality traits will develop an allegiance to the brand.

  5. The credibility of the brand reassures a decision to invest in it: Conveying a strong personality that increases the brand's credibility not only speaks to consumers but also earns the confidence of the industry and the marketplace. Credibility increases brand loyalty and vice versa. Highlighting your brand personality in strategic ways builds enduring credibility that benefits the long-term effectiveness of your brand.

If highlighted correctly, the brand personality will reach the targeted audience and begin to develop a relationship with them. As you continue to differentiate your brand from the competitors, you'll earn your customers' trust, which in turn will build their loyalty and further elevate the brand.


Establish Brand Personality With an Experienced Brand Photographer

You want your brand personality to achieve three essential goals:

  1. Emotionally connect with an audience that shares your vision.

  2. Convey an accurate and positive message that the audience understands and accepts.

  3. Ultimately build an enduring and mutually beneficial relationship with that audience.

Shouldn't you have the same goals when establishing a relationship with your brand photographer?

Businesses can benefit significantly by working with a professional photographer to amplify brand personality. Brand photography engages your audience and leads them on a journey into your business. These visual stories evoke emotions, memories and thoughts that take your customers directly to the heart of your brand's message. They don't just speak to your audience — they also initiate a conversation and spark a relationship full of potential.

However, using low-quality photography to personify your brand can turn into a perceived character flaw. Stock photography, even high-quality images, can cause your brand personality to lose its authenticity. Similarly, amateur photography can lead to the perception that your brand is also of amateur quality. Worst of all, poor imagery that lacks creative merit or does not clearly translate your message will immediately leave your audience with a negative impression.

To accurately capture your brand's unique personality, you need an advertising photographer who can apply their refined technical skills and experience to your company's message. Your brand's personality requires a team of passionate individuals who will prioritize every detail to ensure each photograph masterfully captures and reflects your message. The knowledge, talent and expertise your brand's personality needs can be found in the extraordinary production team at Mark DeLong Photography.

Highlight Your Brand's Personality With Mark DeLong Photography

Let Mark DeLong Photography bring your brand's personality to life. Lead by Emmy award-winning photographer Mark DeLong, our dynamic team has the knowledge and artistic expertise to curate an unforgettable persona for your company's brand. Over our many years of high-profile experience, we've partnered with some of the most influential brands in the world to create eye-catching images that speak volumes. We'll capture the essence of your brand's message and showcase it with stunning imagery that makes a lasting impression in the minds of your target audience.

A photograph captures a moment and makes it last a lifetime. Let Mark DeLong Photography bring that same enduring spirit to your brand's personality.