As Walter Landor once said: “Products are built in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” Successful brands are desirable, dependable, and unique in people’s minds. A distinct, well-crafted brand story is a compelling way to connect with an audience and win their attention.
Distinctive branding stems from having a clear brand positioning and knowledge of who you are as a brand, what’s your personality, and what’s your unique offering. Unlike books with linear plot-lines, brand stories evolve over a period of time and are expressed through multiple channels. Thus, it is important to have a cohesive strategy on how to represent yourself on each channel or platform.
It helps to have a strong thematic visual or content strategy to elevate your game on Instagram. Image, color, symbols, and words, all contribute to telling your brand story. A well-defined content plan can help your brand stand out in the vast IG landscape, and make it more desirable to an audience.
Below are a few examples of how some brands and influencers have managed to break through the Instagram clutter, by building their content strategy around a strong core theme.
1. BORROW FROM YOUR BRAND COLORS
One of the simplest ways to build a distinct visual theme is to look to your brand colors and incorporate them in your content strategy.
Oreo loves to create stories with their cookies, and they generously use their brand color palette of blue and white across their IG feed. In terms of content, Oreo use their cookies in surprising, delightful ways to create original content. It’s a twin win because their whimsical, playful, storytelling generates more engagement, and their unique color palette is immediately recognizable in a clutter of content.
But you don’t have to necessarily stick to your brand colors to have a striking visual theme. People Footwear use a blocked color theme to create and curate fresh lifestyle content around footwear. Their content imagery consists of lifestyle images, footwear and quotes for each color block. Below is their color block for yellow and blue imagery .
Takeaway: A color themed feed is an interesting way to grab eyeballs, but it can also be restrictive. Rotating colors or color blocking can add a fun dynamic to your feed, and also give you breathing room for creativity.
2. USE FILTERS TO ACHIEVE A UNIFORM LOOK
Color is one way to achieve a uniform look. You can also go a more stylistic route and create a distinct “tone” for your brand, using a filter. Go back to your brand manifesto and brainstorm what visual tone goes with your brand personality. Below are a few examples to help you understand how filters can help you achieve a specific look or tone for your brand’s presence on Instagram.
White & minimal
Jen Szeto’s Instagram feed is clean and minimal with overtones of a white aesthetic. One of the key elements to creating a minimal feed is to have a lot of negative space in your images. Also stick to no more than two or three colors with white (like grays and black below) to make the feed look cohesive.
Colorful & vibrant
Jen & Courtney are lifestyle bloggers based in LA and they love to capture flatlays with a lot of color! However, even for a colorful feed to appear consistent, it is recommended to select a range of tones and hues and stick to them. For example, Jen and Courtney’s feed is soaked in hues of pinks, blues, and yellows. In addition to that, they stick to daytime imagery and avoid dark shots to keep their feed vibrant.
Romantic & Neutral
Chriselle Lim’s Instagram feed looks like a perfectly curated dream vacation. It’s sleek, sophisticated, feminine, and clean. She uses a few different apps to filter her photos for a clean, neutral tone. She swears by VSCOcam for overall look, Meitu for beauty and selfie shots, Afterlight for sharpening, and Snapseed for the desaturated look that her feed is known for.
Brown & Vintage
DÔEN, a women’s clothing company in LA is successful on Instagram partially because of their beautiful, bohemian palette. Despite the many outfits featured, they maintain warm, vintage, earthy tones on their feed.
Dark & Moody
Takeaway: Filters can help you achieve a cohesive look for your brand on Instagram without having to stick to a specific color palette. Select a core filter from one of the following apps for a more cohesive instagram feed goal for your brand.
3. BORDERS OR BREAK THE GRID
If your brand has a rebellious personality, you don’t have to stick to the Instagram square. You can create a unique look for your brand by experimenting with borders or by literally breaking the grid. However, a word of caution; experiment with borders before you commit to it. Because once you commit to it, there is no going back. Caroline Ingraham Lee alternates between vertical and horizontal rectangular borders on her feed.
The New York City Ballet often breaks the grid to share it’s powerful imagery.
4. CINEMATIC ANGLES
Madewell’s entire feed is full of lifestyle images taken from interesting angles. The brand does not stick to a specific selfie mode, flatlays or the common angles. In keeping with its mission of making people look and feel great, Madewell’s entire feed is fun, hip and looks great! It stands out in terms of it’s visual content.
Takeaway: In keeping with your brand’s tone, you could try interesting photography angles for your content.
5. GRAPHIC HEAVY
Taco Bell has a very strong graphic element for it’s content strategy on Instagram. They use bright colors, graphic imagery with food, and a lot of illustrations. Even their food shots and flatlays and arranged in geometric patterns and it’s a great clutter breaker from all the exhaustive food imagery on Instagram.
Takeaway: If you have a brand that caters to a popular category on Instagram, like food, try something unique to stand out.
6. CREATE A UNIQUE THEME
I absolutely love Drcuerda’s account for it’s exclusive content. The couple, Daniel Rueda and Anna Devís create unique self portraits blending architecture, color, and photography. The content is playful, colorful and extraordinarily original. They created a niche space for their content, and do it amazingly well!
Takeaway: Having a unique content offering, is a sure shot way to stand out on Instagram.
7. TOPICAL THEMED CONTENT
Many brands plan their content for each quarter, and build content around specific themes or even seasons. Target is known to build it’s Instagram feed around the monthly topical themes of Valentine’s Day, Back to School, Halloween, Christmas et al, and they plan their content well in advance. Below is examples from Target’s feed for Valentine’s Day and Christmas.
Takeaway: Themes can inform your content strategy and help plan your calendar in advance. You can schedule your content plans using Crowdfire.
Themes can really elevate your brand appeal and help you stand out in a clutter. Go back to your basics, deep dive into your brand manifesto for a clear messaging, and tap into your brand’s soul to help come up with a theme that could support your brand strategy on Instagram.
Hope this was helpful to get you stimulated and started on your thematic adventure! If you have any further ideas on how to nail creating a theme on IG, I would love to hear about it. Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.
Read more on: https://medium.com/@Lynxcordeau