We're continuing our Small Business School series, and will be focusing on how to define your color story! What is a color story? It's essentially a collection of content that consists of a specific color palette. This content utilizes color as a visual tool to create a connection between all of the images and videos within the collection. This concept is important when it comes to your brand and ensuring that your content is recognizable to your audience and followers. A few brands that come to mind with a consistent color story are Casper, Glossier, Ban.do, and Thirdlove. We also have a free downloadable worksheet below to help you Define Your Color Story. Read on to learn more!
Why Does a Color Story Matter for Your Business?
In this day and age, brand recognition is so essential, and developing a color story can help to grow your business. Your Instagram feed is essentially an extension of your brand, thus creating a color story will make it easier for your audience to distinguish your content on social media. The goal should be for someone to look at an image and know it's your content without even seeing the username. Plus, if you're editing your images in the same way, that will make your workflow much easier and quicker! Click here to learn how to curate a color story for your Instagram feed.
Questions to Ask for Your Brand
There are several important questions to ask yourself before honing in on a specific color story for your brand.What industry are you in? It can be helpful to look into how similar companies are utilizing Instagram to grow and share content. You shouldn't copy other brands' strategy, but you can pick up tips and ideas for what to create! Do you sell a product or service? This is an important factor since it will vastly determine what kind of content you share. With a product, you have something tangible to capture and post, but with a service, you have to get more creative with the content creation. How would you describe your brand in three words? If you're having a hard time visualizing your color scheme, it can be helpful to start with words first. Describe your color story in three words and then think of what colors match those words and the overall vibe. What does your brand stand for? Aside from the physical look of your brand, it's also essential to have a mantra or mission statement to base your company around. This will help you stay grounded, driven, and you can always refer back to it if you feel your vision is getting off track.
Create a Mood Board for Your Business
If you're having a hard time deciding on a color story, creating a Pinterest board or physical mood board can help you narrow down the aesthetic that you want. In addition to your color story, a mood board can help you explore and define your brand identity and visual assets. From a logo to what you post on Instagram Stories...your brand should always be cohesive, and your content should be intentional. A mood board can be especially helpful to small business owners and entrepreneurs who don't necessarily consider themselves to be "creative". By creating a mood board, you can spark inspiration and ideas for your brand's content and the visual story you want to tell. Once you gather a good amount of inspiration on Pinterest or by creating a physical mood board (from magazine clippings, photographs, newspapers, etc.), you should take a look at your findings and hone in on a specific theme. Take away the items that don't fit as well until you have a cohesive color palette and brand story! Don't overthink it -- go with your gut and be open-minded.
Define a Color Story for Your Brand
Once you've done your research and gathered inspiration, it's time to officially decide on your color palette! We suggest choosing six colors for your color palette; if you love a certain color, you can always choose different hues within that color (navy blue, royal blue, etc.) A good starting point is to decide whether you want warm hues (rust, pink, brown, peach, gold, etc.) or cool tones (grey, blue, white, green, lilac, etc.). This will also help you to decide how you want to edit your photos to fit your overall Instagram grid. *Planoly Tip: Use your chosen colors as a solid background with overlaid graphics on your feed or Instagram Stories.
Develop Your Editing Style and Stay Consistent
Choose a few filters within your favorite photo editing app (such as VSCO, Lightroom, Afterlight) to use regularly when editing your images. You can select filters that will enhance your warm or cool toned palette. We suggest using the same two or three filters to edit nearly all of your images to maintain consistency. This will also come in handy if you hire someone to assist you with your content and social media. Remember that you can always turn down the effects on the filter depending on the intensity that you want. Developing an editing style and finding consistency within your content will not only improve your workflow but will also help with your overall brand recognition. It takes time, so have patience and develop regularity in your content strategy. *Planoly Tip: If you have a photo that doesn't match your color palette, you can edit that photo using a filter to make it fit into your feed.
Plan It Out
Now that you've figured out your desired color palette, it's time to plan out your content. As a small business, it's essential to cultivate a strong and organized system for posting content. Instagram is a huge marketing tool, and it will help you reach your monetary goals if used correctly. To successfully execute a cohesive color story, it's key that you plan out your Instagram feed ahead of time - which is where PLANOLY comes into play! Add your content using our mobile app or web dashboard, and arrange it until you get the exact look that you want. By doing this, you can see if your images flow well together - if they don't, simply re-edit the image or swap it with something else. It might take some time for you to get a good system going, but once you do, your workflow will get smoother and easier. Click below to download our free worksheet for How to Define Your Color Story - complete with fill-in-the-blank questions and helpful images!