Following on from the recent business branding webinar by Enterprise Nation and iStock, presenter Rebecca Swift, Director of Visual Planning at iStock outlines eight top tips to help small businesses define their visual identity.

When small businesses think about branding, images and visual representation is vital in attracting and capturing the attention of new customers. To make sure you are getting the most out of your visual branding, here is a checklist to help you get it right.

1. Image Licenses

When you purchase from iStock you license the image you pay for; this enables you to use the image for print runs with up to 500,000 copies and allows use on your website. Remember to always check the license before you purchase for exact usage allowance and any restrictions.

2. Copyright

It’s important to understand that when you purchase an image online, you are agreeing a usage license rather than gaining ownership of the image. You cannot claim ownership of that image unless the photographer has signed over the copyright to you.

3. Licensing images for resale

If you are a company that sells mugs, shopping bags, prints etc and want to use an image you have purchased on your merchandise, you’ll need to purchase an extended license for re-sale or larger print runs.

4. Crediting Photographs

When using imagery from iStock, we ask that you credit the photographer as a courtesy but it is not compulsory.

5. Exclusivity

The cost of images for exclusive use depends on just how exclusive you want them to be. The best way to gain complete exclusivity is by commissioning your own images; this will involve production costs for the crew and talent. Keep it simple if you’re on a tight budget. The more complicated your set and vision gets, the more the cost ramps up.

A more cost effective solution could be to license a ‘Rights Managed’ image. Rights Managed images can be licensed by timespan, market, industry and media use.

6. Considering your audience

When you’re marketing to younger generations, or ‘millennials’ consider user-generated images that allow you to speak in a similar visual language as your audience. Images should be intriguing and give insight into the subject you’re looking to promote or discuss – remember with the wealth of imagery and video we are now exposed to, attention spans are dropping so you need to capture their imagination – and fast!

Where as older professionals or B2B professionals are more likely to appreciate images that are clean, impactful and have a professional quality. If you’re marketing to a business seeking consultancy advice bring the people offering the service to the forefront. Look at ways to show their skill, intellect, and attention to detail with your chosen photography.

7. Differentiating your brand

If there’s something about your business that’s unique to you – celebrate it. Think about how your business is received experientially; You could be based in an unusual location or boast outlandish or super sleek interiors, you may offer an uncommon product, have a sought after staff uniform or simply be the best dressed team in town! These images are what your clients and customers will remember, it’s this brand recall that will encourage returning customers and hopefully spark engagement.

8. Working with 3D

If you’re considering using 3D imagery and video, bear in mind that this technology isn’t currently widely adopted in the mainstream – so you may limit your audience engagement if an alternative isn’t provided.

For other helpful articles around visual communication visit our Small Business Solutions section.