Branding Your Instagram | Haylee Jordan | Skillshare
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10 Lessons (42m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Branded Instagram

    • 3. Why Branding Your Instagram is Important

    • 4. A Quick Overview of the USP

    • 5. How Does a USP Fit Into Your Instagram Grid?

    • 6. Tone

    • 7. Color

    • 8. Story

    • 9. Designing the Instagram Grid

    • 10. Conclusion

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About This Class

Haylee Powers takes you through the basics creating an Instagram grid that ties into your brand strategy and Unique Selling Proposition. This class is for anyone who is looking to create a powerful and compelling branded grid through Tone, Story and Color!

You will learn:

  • The Branded Instagram
  • Why Branding your Instagram is important
  • A quick overview of the USP
  • How the USP fits into your Instagram grid
  • Instagram Tone
  • Instagram Color
  • Instagram Story
  • Designing the Instagram Grid

In this class, you will choose 5 compelling Tone Words with the provided Tone Words worksheet. Together we will work transform theses Tone Words into a compelling Instagram grid. Make sure to post your screenshots! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Haylee Jordan

Brand Strategist + Brand Design


Haylee Jordan is a Brand Strategist and Designer focused on building small brands. She is also the creative director of Romeo, where she works with hospitality brands to bring their powerful story to life through identity design.  When she's not developing brands, she can be found traveling, drinking coffee, enjoying art, and learning to play the guitar.


Her favorite place so far? Barcelona. 





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1. Introduction : Hey, guys. My name is Hayley Powers. I own Bad Bitch Branding and I'm launching another brand studio soon. Don't tell anyone. You can find out more about it when I launch at Bad Bitch Branding on Instagram. I love brands that are empowering people and making the world a better place. That's what Bad Bitch Branding is all about. Today, what we're going to talk about is our Instagram grid and getting that compelling brand to show through our imagery, through our story, through our tone word. Let's get started. What we're going to cover today is the branded Instagram, why we should brand our Instagram, the unique selling proposition in your grid, the tone, the color, and the story. Then, we're briefly going to go over doing the work and starting to create this grid. For our project today, you will create a collection of nine images for your Instagram based on your tone words and your USP. 2. The Branded Instagram : When a company is branded well, it creates a powerful experience, has a compelling story and a unique selling proposition, or USP for short. Brands that are branded well, fully commit to their USP. Branding is less about a cool logo and more about the strategy that it takes to carefully craft that logo for a specific audience. When I designed for brands, I take their strategy which includes their unique selling proposition, their tone words, their mission, their vision, their values, all of this research, it's an extensive process, I take all that first, then I create the brand, which would be the Instagram grid, the logo design, the brochures, the messaging, all of that stuff. What we do is strategy first, design second. Today we're going to mix a little bit of strategy with the design to help you guys learn how to translate your unique selling proposition into your grid. Branding is interesting because it's a science. Brand strategists have studied neuroscience and psychology to create a deeper understanding of how brands work as it relates to brands we love and choose over and over again. They have discovered design can be used as a tool to create something beautiful, and taken a step further, when combined with strategy, it can make a real impact on customers. In branding perception is everything. Instagram plays a large role in the perception of your business. Believe it or not, most of our decisions are based on emotion. Neuroscience is now helping people like you and I understand how the brain works as it relates to branding. We are learning that what the customer perceives isn't always reality. Dan Ariely, a professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, said, "our preconceptions of reality affect how we interpret reality." Meaning the way we first experience a brand or the associations we make with a brand, shape, how we see the brand and product. Your Instagram matters and it is a huge touch-point that has the ability to make or break you. I love this study so much. It goes to show you how our brains work as it relates to branding. This specific study is about pricing and wine. You may remember it from the USP video, but I'm going to share it with you guys again. Professor Plassmann ran a study with the California Institute of Technology where she gave participants wine. One bottle had a $10 price tag, whereas the other bottle had a $90 price tag. The participants did not know that the wine was the exact same and each bottle. The price tag was the only difference. Plassmann examined the medial orbitalfrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with the experience of pleasure, there was a big difference in the activity in the brain of the participants when they were drinking from the $10 bottle of wine versus the $90 bottle of wine. What we learn from this study is that participants were drawing real pleasure, from the experience they didn't have from the $10 bottle of wine, even though the wine was the exact same. After looking at the brain, Plassmann determined that the price tag and the way the wine was branded as expensive had a real physiological effect on how the wine tasted, even though the different priced wines were identical. I love this quote as well as by Al Ries. He said, "Pour a bottle of Gallo into an empty 50-year-old bottle of French Burgundy then carefully decant glass in front of a friend and ask for an opinion. You taste what you expect to taste." I love that quote so much because it shows us that how we perceive a brand is how we experience it. It's pretty crazy what our brains do. Having your brand, especially your Instagram, give off this perception that you want, the desired perception is very important. 3. Why Branding Your Instagram is Important : There are so many reasons as to why you should focus on your Instagram. Instagram is a huge touch point for your customers to engage with your brand. According to Adweek, 80 percent of Instagram users voluntarily connect with brands on Instagram. People also engaged 10 times more with brands on Instagram versus Facebook. Having a strong and concise Instagram that ties into your USP will help build your brand awareness and compelling presence online. Later in this class, we will touch on what makes a compelling grid and how to engage your customers through a narrative and an overall consistent look and feel. Instagram is good at helping you sell your brand while growing organically. Remember you are working to create perception of your brand as well. So how does branding tie into Instagram? How you present yourself on every platform matters. If you have an amazing in-store experience and then a poorly branded Instagram, this will create a negative gut feeling in your customer. We've all seen some amazingly branded Instagrams. They create a feeling, a tone, and a perception in our minds. Instagram is also a powerful tool used to show us a brand's narrative and to show us ultimately, what they stand for. Have you guys ever had a conversation with a friend, and you get on the topic of Instagram, and then all of a sudden you're going back and forth saying, "Hey, have you seen this girl on Instagram?" or "Hey, do you know, the spread on Instagram? Have you seen what they post?" That's the ideal goal; is to be one of those brands that people want to share on Instagram. That comes from being unique and having something different to say, whether that's through your photography style, maybe you're an artist, you're style as an artist, maybe it's a message you're sharing. Whatever it is, it needs to be compelling and it needs to be shareable. People need to be excited about it. That's not easy. There is a lot of content out there and a lot of it's lacking. Make sure that you're thinking about the things we're talking about, which is your story, your tone, and the colors you're using, to be compelling and to be a brand that people want to share. Your USP will be the driving force behind your branded Instagram and it will ultimately get you attention if you do it right. Branding is all about creating something compelling and different. We will review the USP in the next lesson. 4. A Quick Overview of the USP: Hey guys. Before we jump into the Instagram grid and branding on Instagram, we need to cover briefly the unique selling proposition again. Your unique selling proposition is one concise sentence that determines your difference. No one else should be able to claim your difference. Make sure you keep this concise. Too many of my clients use colorful language to describe their difference but this actually hurts your message. Be direct with your USP. It is for your use only. Your clients and customers will not see the exact USP sentence. They will only see the effects as it wrings out through your entire brand. So we create a unique selling proposition for many reasons. One, a USP sets you apart in your industry, two, a USP makes your difference so clear that everyone, the manager, the customers, and even the janitor can repeat it. A strong USP results in more sales, competitive strength, and growth. I've organized four different categories for you to differentiate your brand. The first category is by finding a need and fulfilling it. An existing mutual desire. Someone that did this well was Sara Blakely from Spanx. She found out that a lot of women actually wanted to be smoothed out under their dress pants or even dresses. So she created a fat sucking girdle, basically, for lack of a better word, to smooth out women under their preferred clothing. She found an existing need that a lot of people had just hadn't been solved yet. Two, specialize in a category. This is my favorite one and I believe it's the most simple. Say you sell clothing. Clothing really isn't that different so how about we add on an extender, we'll call this an extender, we'll call it vintage clothing. That's a bit more different than clothing but still not different enough. Let's say we add on Parisian as another Extender. Say you go to Paris and you buy vintage Parisian clothing and you bring it back and you sell it in the US. Now that's really, really different, but how about we add on another differentiator. This is called an extender, again: black. So you sell clothing that's vintage from Paris that is all black. Now that's extremely different. I haven't seen any brands doing that. A brand that we do see differentiating in categories very successfully is Lush Cosmetics. They sell cosmetics but they are pure and handmade, they're vegan, and they're socially responsible. They're not just selling regular cosmetics that are pure and hand made, they're adding on this extra extenders to really differentiate themselves. The third category is a non-existing desire, a brand new solution. Henry Ford said, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." This is something that's maybe a technological advance or something we haven't seen yet. This is a bit harder, but I think a lot of start-ups are approaching this sort of unique selling proposition. The fourth is experience, differentiating through experience. The best brand doing this that we all know is Build-A-Bear. You can buy a teddy bear anywhere but you cannot go and build a bear, stuff it, dress it, put a heart in it, and have this experience with your niece, nephew, or child. They differentiate by experience. Even though they're selling something that's a commodity, their USP is actually compelling. Everything you do stems from the USP. Think of your USP as the seed of your brand and all the touch points, including Instagram, are the branches that come off of the seed. Remember, no one else should be able to claim your USP. This should be one short sentence. Keep it really concise. Some great examples of unique selling propositions are Volvo, the number one safest car. They can say they are the safest car because they've done studies and the tests. That is a compelling, unique selling proposition. Another example is Toms, buy a pair give a pair, and Voodoo Doughnuts, the doughnut shop tourist attraction. All of these unique selling propositions are very different and they're compelling. They're giving me a reason to go to these businesses or buy from them online. After you get your unique selling proposition, we need to make sure it's tangible. You need to show it through everything. Like I said, your USP is the seed and then the branches are everything that come off of that. That could be your logo design, your Instagram branding, the brochures, and the way you talk to people. We need to make sure the USP is tangible and everything that we do after we determine it. This is the whole actions speak louder than words. We're not going to tell people were very unique. We're going to show them how we're unique and we're going to have them feel it through every touch point, including the Instagram. What category does your USP fall under? Go see the other USP video to learn how to create your unique selling proposition. You will find the previous USP video very helpful in planning out your Instagram grid. It allows you to create a strong focus and a difference that every brand needs. Remember, your Instagram is a touch point based off of this unique selling proposition and it is important to fully understand what your unique selling proposition is and how to create that difference. If you want to pause the video here and go back to the USP video, I highly encourage you to do so. If you've already determined your USP, let's keep going and learn how to take that USP and turn it into an Instagram grid. 5. How Does a USP Fit Into Your Instagram Grid?: Hey guys. This lesson is going to be all about tying your USP into your Instagram grid. Remember your USP is the seed and one of the branches is your Instagram grid. So we want to reflect the core of the brand throughout our Instagram. The goal is to create a strong USP and to display this USP visually. You do not need to tell anyone your USP. They should see, feel and hear it. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Our Instagram can be used to show people who we are in a compelling way, rather than telling them and not living up to the claim visually. If you tell them who you are and you do not live up to your claim through every touch point, your customer will lose trust in your brand and that is bad. Just remember one thing, your visuals and Instagram are created to highlight your unique selling proposition and overall tone of your brand relentlessly. So let's get started by looking at a few case studies of brands that are doing really well with showing their unique selling proposition throughout their grid. The USP for Pandco is the free retro coastal apparel company. Now, keep in mind, they do not have their USP listed anywhere on their website. I've been doing this for awhile so I can make an educated guess about what the USP may be. When a brand is centered around one central theme and we can see this theme clearly. We know that they're branded well. If you look at the Pandco Instagram, you see consistent images of motorcycles, desert scenes, palm trees, the occasional surfboard, beach, and of course, the brand's apparel line. The images are all edited to create a consistent look and feel across the whole Instagram. This brand is very successful in creating a consistent feel as you can see. So take their USP, the free retro coastal apparel company. How can we see this USP at work in their photos? For one thing, we see women with their hair flowing in the wind, giving us the feeling of freedom. There are some photos of models riding motorcycles with reckless abandon. Some people are even standing up on the motorcycles. We see dirt flying up behind the bikes. There are images of couples living in the moment and embracing each other, as well as tack to skin and the open road. Every image is displaying the USP so that the customer can get a feeling of the USP without the brand verbally telling us what they are. Make sure you are showing your brand's difference through imagery and design. Show them who you are. Don't tell them. Pandco also has a peril that brings home their concept with funds statements like cheap thrills, fast spills, or wild ones never die or even high tides, low rides. You can see there seem overall and the branded Instagram. Let's take a look at Billy. The USP for Billy is the quirky, useful female razor subscription service. Let's start it with the fact that Billy is quirky. How can we see this quality in their Instagram? First of all, I think they're featuring unconventional photos for a beauty brand. Photos with armpit hair, which has been taboo for a long time in American culture. They feature alternative lighting in their bathroom photos, we see some pink and even green lighting. We also see women with stickers on their face giving us a silly and quirky filling as well. They also feature a retro field with a deep green carpet and some other photos. In general, we see that this is not your cookie cutter female brand. While this brain isn't your typical female brand, it remains very feminine to remind us that these razors are for women. We also see a lot of body positivity in this brand which I love. They are doing something different. Showing body hair instead of showing smooth shaven armpits like most other mainstream razor brands. They're being risky and different with their content and in return, they're standing out. We also get a sense of youth from the photos, we see a girl to flowers drawn over her eyes. The colors also bring us a youthful vibe with the light pink, orange, and bright lavender. This doesn't seem to fit an older target audience, which is great. They have picked their target and they're committing to it fully, of course, the product is on display throughout their Instagram. While you want to show a consistent lifestyle on your Instagram, you don't want to lead people questioning what it is you actually do or sell. You can see that Billy and pandco are owning their USP. We will dig into the brand story and narrative a bit more later, but what narrative Do you think Billy is giving us? In general, I think there are strong themes of self-love and body positivity for this brand. Remember, a collection of photos tells a story, just like pandco is telling us a story of reckless abandon and freedom, Billy has their own. 6. Tone: In this next section, we'll start to go over the tone of your Instagram and will start to pick some tone words help guide the visual style that you're going for. So let's dig in. Before we start. I want you to ask yourself, what feeling do you want to convey through your Instagram? Are you the summary LA beach brand or maybe the dark and mysterious fashion guru in New York City? When you start to get clear on how you want to be seen, you will be able to form your tone words. Your tone words will help create guideline for you to measure your photos up against each and every time you post. You will choose five words to convey the message and the value of your brand. Remember, your USP is very important in determining your tone words. If your USP is all about being edgy, select tone words that speak to this element of your strategy. You can brainstorm by circling each word you think may apply to your brand on the provided worksheet. You can start with all of the words you think for your brand, and after the brainstorming session, you can eliminate some words until you have the most descriptive and accurate words for your brand and Instagram. We will choose words that are visual. If I have not provided a word you want to use, you can still use it. Just make sure it is a visual adjective. These words must be visual adjectives because they will fuel our brand identity design. Also be sure to use words that are different. For example, try not to use bold and strong. Do not use words that are too closely related because this will waste some of your words. We want to make each word count. Each word should bring something new to the brand. Some of your words can even seem to conflict with each other. Words like edgier soft, but this is a good thing. We want our brands to be authentic and different. At first, it may seem that some of your words are too oppositional, but conflict is actually a good thing. It can give us a dynamic look and feel to our imagery. I'll show you what some of those photos can look like, where we have two opposing words that are actually working together to create unique and cool visual style. Here is an example of a photo that displays both an edgy and soft element. We see a baby blue color in the background and the soft feminine teacup. None of the colors are edgy, but the way that tea cup was slammed down gives us as edgy, energetic feel. Here's another photo that is both calming and energetic. We see a quiet blue hallway and then a bright electric pink and orange color coming from the center of the hallway. It's almost like a heatmap. We are in the middle of the com, walking towards the energy. Here's another example of a photo that encompasses both nature and whimsy. The natural organic background really sets the scene while the bright neon lights create an edgy and whimsical feel. Remember, these words are for your use only. You won't tell your customers or clients these words directly, you will just use them as a guide for your visual style. Let's start with some of the words for bad bitch branding, as an example. I chose the five words, empowering, bold, intellectual, edgy, and creative. Empowering. I focus this brand on empowering, do good brands, which leads me to choose the tone word empowering. I want to empower men and women that are working to make the world a better place. Bold, I want my brand to be bold, aesthetically, and emotionally. I use the word bitch in my brand name, which is a very bold move in general. A lot of my other languages also bold, not to mention the design style which often features bold colors and a strong graphic style in my Instagram. Intellectual, I challenge my clients to see their brand in a new light. The days of believing your brand is a logo design are long gone. I focus a lot on brand strategy and the process of creating a compelling, intellectual, and competitive brand. Edgy, I also wanted this brand to be edgy. People have stand up for things they believe in have been seen as edgy or breaking the rules for so long. Being edgy is just more fun. Creative. At Babbage branding, we really work to push the envelope with client work. We value creativity above all else and reflect this in our brand strategy as well as our design. As we move forward with our tone words, let's let them be guide for everything we do. I will come back to my tone words as they make choices further down the road in regard to my brand. So your tone words aren't just for Instagram, that can be for a lot of other things. Write these words on your office whiteboard, memorize these words and compare everything you design or choose to these words. They will be a guide for your visual style. I want you to pick five tone words for your Instagram feed. Download the PDF and choose these five words that define what you want to say with your Instagram brand. Like I said before, do not fear opposing words. This will help keep your brand interesting. Say you want to choose feminine yet edgy, that's fine. Actually, a lot of my Instagram features this aesthetic. I use tone words all the time when I'm designing for clients and to keep brands visually consistent. There have been times, right, have a tone word, say my tone word is elevated, and maybe I'm designing something for a client and I'm making the text too big. I go back and I look at the tone words and go through them and make sure whatever I'm designing aligns with those tongue words. Some designing for cosmetic brand, one of the words is elevated. But I go back and look at the design and the types too big, I might not think that looks elevated, so I'll kind of keep myself in check with using these tone words. That is a good example of how they work. So always compare your tongue words to whatever you're posting or your visual style. Whether you're getting a logo designed or business cards, or maybe a sign for your business. Go ahead and pick your five words on the PDF provided in this lesson. You can even take a look at your favorite Instagram accounts and give them tone words while you dissect what they've done. For example, I've given pandco the tone words, free, wild, retro, risky, and warm. For Bille, I've given them the tone words, real, feminine, alternative, quirky, and useful. Or how about another brand I really love, Charitywater. Do you guys have any guesses? I would say Charitywater's tone words are warm, inspiring, diverse, soulful, and happy. What about Bespokebride? I would say there tone words are friendly, bright, handcrafted, fun, and quirky. You can see how they have a specific tone that they are translating through their grid. What about Carlychrisman? I have classic, luxurious, subdued, stylish and calming. Carly may ask herself, does this photo that I'm about to post lend itself to my tone words of classic, luxurious, subdued, stylish, and calming? If she can't say yes, she's simply won't post them. It also helps to get an app like preview to see all your grid looks when you choose a new image. Preview is meant to help you plan out your grid. It has been a great tool for me when I need to see what my grid looks like, with a potential new post. We'll go into using preview a bit more at the end of this class. 7. Color: All right guys. So now that you have your tone words go ahead and comment them below on this lesson. Now we're going to start talking about color. You can see from a lot of the examples I gave, P & Co, Carly Kristen, Bespoke Brand and even Charity Water, that they have a specific style of color that they're using and filters that they're using to make us feel a certain way about their product, service, or story. Let's dig into that a bit more. Color can really bring out your USP in your grid. In a study of impacts on color and marketing, researchers found that 90 percent of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone. Colors can be used to enhance visual communication, while highlighting your differentiation. Your brand color should activate your brand personality, just like we've seen in the past case studies. The colors you choose will activate color associations and the colors you choose should be based off your USP and overall tone. Color can be extremely useful for conveying a feeling or emotion. Color can also impact a consumer and change the perception of your brand. Color is super interesting because it helps create a perception about our brand and the way people see us. Think about how important pink is for the Susan G. Komen Foundation or even the Tiffany's blue is for the Tiffany's brand. So important there whole brands are built off of these colors. Tiffany's, for example, uses pantone number 1837. This color is not commercially available. Since in 1998 filing with the federal government, the color is trademarked. The color and the branding of Tiffany's is so powerful that people sell empty Tiffany's boxes on eBay. What about the importance of red for Christian Louboutin? Christian Louboutin is a French fashion designer who's high end stiletto footwear, incorporate shiny red lacquered souls, that have become his signature. You know when you see a woman walking in with Louboutin shoes that she is indeed wearing Louboutin's because the red soles are trademarked. She's also making a statement about herself. She has enough money to spend hundreds of dollars on shoes and she is showing us that she associates herself with luxury products based on color alone. Different colors evoke different feelings for your customers. If you're creating a calm, wellness brand, you want to use calming colors. If you are creating an electric and edgy brand, use colors that speak to your overall USP and concept. I really want you guys to take your tone words into account when you edit your Instagram photos. This class is not on editing photos or choosing filters, but you can see from the examples that I gave you paired with tone words, how they strategize and create a maybe calm vibe with their cooler tone colors or a friendly, fun vibe with they're very bright and bold colors. Maybe find an Instagram grid that is going for the general tone that you are and try to use some of their filters. Also keep in mind that your Instagram grid may look more consistent when you pay attention to lighting. 8. Story: This lesson is going to be all about your brand story and displaying that through your Instagram grid. Story is so powerful. I really want you guys to look at case studies and see what kinds of stories and themes are trying to show us and try to mimic some of those in your own Instagram. This will help you be compelling and will really help you sell and get followers organically on Instagram. In the last lesson, you learned about color and how the color you choose should activate your brand personality. In this lesson, we will go over story and how to display that through your photography. Using the right photography is extremely important. Each photo should take your customer and client back to your USP. To create a real competitive brand, you must have a compelling narrative throughout your grid. Getting our tone words really helps with this narrative. We know that we want people to feel our tone words when they come across our Instagram grid. We do this through tone, color, and narrative. So far we have covered the first two, tone and color. Now we will dig into the content and the photography. There's something called the brand story. Your brand story also defines the imagery and photography you select. I love this quote because it reminds me that you can state the facts or you can state the facts in a compelling narrative for a more powerful impact. The king died and the queen died is a plot. The king died and then the queen died of grief is a story. A brand story is an emotional narrative that opens up an opportunity for your customers to resonate with your brand. Brand story is more than what you tell your audience. The story is made complete when your brand elements, tone, color palette, brand experience, and even Instagram operate in such a way to convey the story. Have a story that makes your audience care. Without a compelling story, you are just another nameless company asking for someone's money or someone's attention. A compelling brand story really brings meaning and clarity to your business. It makes people care and it tugs at their heartstrings in different ways. It doesn't have to be sad, it doesn't have to be emotional, but it has to be a strong narrative. In branding, we work to create a perception and an emotional connection with our clients and customers. It turns out that brand story is a huge piece of the puzzle. How do you want your clients and customers to feel when they interact with you? Maybe you want your customers to feel empowered, luxurious, free, or like they are making a difference in the world. A compelling narrative matters people by your story. Sometimes your story is your selling point. Story is so powerful because it ties into how humans have been wired for centuries across different cultures. Humans create stories to give our lives meaning. We've been telling stories even before we had the invention of writing them down. We are storytellers at our core and we resonate with powerful and meaningful narratives. A brand story will allow you to create an ongoing narrative and emotion in your customer. Take P&Co for example, they have a narrative of freedom and living fastener imagery. One of the tone words we also gave them was free. It ties into their USP. Think about how important photography is for P&Co. Their photography can bring out the core of the brand, the beliefs of the brand, and the compelling narrative. They've carefully chosen a narrative through their imagery to display their brand story of freedom, their USP, and their tone words. P&Co features a lot of movement in their photos through wind blowing hair, as well as motorcycles in action in the wide-open desert. What if instead P&Co had the same USP and tone words but they had static photos of people smiling at the camera with their hair fixed in position? What if instead of jeans and t-shirts, the models were dressed in blazers and nice shoes? What if there were no motorcycles at all? Would they truly be displaying their USP and tone through a compelling narrative? No, not at all. Their brand would be very confusing. I say all of this just to show you that the imagery you choose and the narrative you display through imagery matters. I want you guys to think about what story you're trying to tell through your USP and your tone words, and try to think of what photography would match that story. Keep in mind that your captions also matter. You can give a great deal of your tone words, and your USP through your captions. Charitywater does an amazing job of displaying their brand story of hope through their imagery. But they also rely heavily on their captions. They give snippets of stories from individuals they are helping. They say things like, ''Future generations in the Namayingo district will never know what it's like to collect dirty water.'' There are always bringing us back to their message and story of hope and action through their imagery of people and their captions. It's okay to use both, but try not to just use one, don't just use captions and don't just use photos, try to bring them both together. Charitywater and P&Co are doing the same thing just in a different way. They're both tugging at our heartstrings and appealing to our human nature. One is giving us a story of hope and action, and the other is giving us a story of freedom. Remember billie as well, the razor brand we talked about? They are creating a narrative on acceptance and a whole lot of fun. We don't have time to fully dig into brand story because it's a big, big topic. But if you want to learn more about it, you can go to and take my course. I have a full course on everything from brand story to unique selling proposition, tone words, your mission, your values, everything. Go ahead and check that out if you want to dig more into your brand story today. A big part of creating the rice story for your brand as having the right photos. These could be lifestyle shots or even product shots. How you want your customer to view you, will determine your photography. I've seen a lot of different smaller brands using photos that are not consistent or perhaps just bad quality overall, these things, as we know matter, you cannot create a good perception for your brand if you have shitty photos. Now don't get me wrong. Maybe your brand is intentionally going for a shitty vibe. Maybe you're creating a dive bar, you may then choose gritty and blurred images to create the tone you are going for. It is important to be authentic in your brand, but also intentional. Make sure your photos are consistent with subject matter, background, color, lighting, and brand personality. This can be especially important with your Instagram grid. As a starting point, you might ask yourself, what do I want in these photos? Do I want animals, people? Do I want scenes? Do I want to speak at my apartment, or maybe art galleries or maybe you're outside? Think about what you want in the photos in general. Also, think of what type of story you're trying to tell. This should tie back to your USP, and what mood you're conveying. Also, ask yourself how you will edit the photos. This is very important. Your photo should have one overall look and general color palette. Black and white photos will appeal to a different USP than bright and colorful photos. If we stop to take some time to really take in the visuals, we get a gut feeling and a certain mood from a collection of images. Let's take a look at some images I pulled together and try to determine what story they're telling us. Let's take a look at this first collection. There are some great action shots in this collection. The blue is very calming, while the orange gives us energy just like the active subjects. These photos still youthful, carefree and active. I get saltwater vibes, adventure, and friends from these photos. I imagine these subjects being at the beach all day until sundown. See how consistent these photos are. These photos are showing us a lot of recreation with a relaxed vibe. What brand do you think these photos would fit well? I initially thought GoPro when I saw these images. GoPro sells action cameras meant for mountain biking, surfing, and other extreme sports. How about this selection of images? What feelings are these images conveying? To me, they feel serious, deep, dark, and a little creepy. Some of the images are taken close up, giving us a feeling of intimacy with the subject. Try thinking outside of the box as you create your Instagram or photo galleries on your website and social media. Think about the angle of the shot or how close you want the shot to be. Think about different focal lengths that may make the viewer feel different things. This brand is really bringing a certain tone out through their consistent imagery. How about this set of imagery? To me, it feels a little mystical, earthy, and adventurous. Take note of the green and blue tint you see over each photo. This photo sample uses faceless people mix with nature and scenic shots. What story do you think these images are telling us? We see a road, mountains, trees, and a boy with a camera. This gives me the feeling of being on the road, perhaps traveling across the country in October. Think about the overall story as you start to create your photography style. Take a look at some of your favorite brands and examine how they're using photography in their Instagram. 9. Designing the Instagram Grid : Now that we've gone over the tone, the story and the color for your Instagram grid we'll start to work on doing the work and strategizing how to collect these images, how to edit them and get them in a grid. Step 1, we want to choose imagery. Choosing imagery that is overall consistent is very important. There are many useful websites for free images you can use. I think that and or my favorite so far. If you have a budget, you might want to check out They have a lot of great and affordable photos as well. You can also look at ice stock that often are a good resource. In general, I think it is best to hire photographer to create amazing content that fits your brand. If you have a children's brand, photograph kids wearing the clothes into a branded photo shoot. If you sell coffee, hire a photographer that shoots food and beverages. Remember that your customer and clients are always taking an emotional cues. If your photo quality isn't that great, they may not see you as a high-quality brand. Hire someone that's a professional that can capture your style and overall mood. Just remember when picking your photography to be conscious and to select images that bring the customer back to your difference. For example, if you have a masculine rugged brand, use masculine and rugged photos. If you have a feminine and soft simple brand, use images that speak to this concept. Carly Chrisman does a really great job of keeping her grid concise. You can see here that she uses a lot of white and lighter tones. She does threw in a few darker photos, but she does it in a way that creates contrasts with her lighter photos. Try to select imagery that goes together. It will only help your brand look more intentional. Let's take a look at one of the free resources for photography. Let's say we have a brand that has minimal organic and light. I might search white and on splash or even leaves or minimal. You can try to shape your search around your brand to get those photos. If you cannot afford to do a photography session. Step 2 how you edit your photos matters as well like we've talked about. Some Instagram feeds feature one filter all the time, go back and look at P&Co. We see they have a very specific style shot and bright natural lighting. They also use pops of orange and yellow throughout their feed. Think about the feeling you're trying to convey. Do you want a warm feeling? Maybe use a warm filter. If you want a less approachable feel, use a cold filter. Everything matters when it comes to visual style. Everything you do is creating a gut feeling. For a bad bits branding, I use a very white background and bright imagery. Typically I don't need to focus on filters because I create these images in Photoshop and Illustrator. I also feature a lot of graphic design and less photography. In general, the photography I do have is always empowering, free and strong, tying back into the core of my brand. Step number three, I want us to start to arrange your photos. Go ahead and download the free preview app. I want you guys to select nine photos that tie into your tone words and your unique selling proposition. Let's look at how to use the preview app. Once you haven't downloaded, press the Plus to start to collect your imagery in the app. I see some of the Babbage branding photos that I've collected for the sample. I will select them. Then select done. As you can see the way I loaded them in isn't really balanced. We have a lot of black on the bottom, a lot of white on the top. Unless I'm going for that specific look, which I'm not. To rearrange my grid and really develop a look and feel, I'm going to move around some of these imagery. Let's say this one goes appear and it's really heavy on the bottom, so I'm going to move one of these white ones down maybe. I don't like colors two black ones still down here two islands appears. Maybe I'll move this one down here. I really just want to make it visually appealing. This is a little bit better. We have a lot of bold photos going down diagonally and the whites balanced a bit. I have two block on each side, but it doesn't bother me too much. It also depends on what I posted afterwards. But if you're bothered by that, we can always do this. Oops, come on. Just move stuff around so you can get that visual feel. It's also good to balance stuff throughout. If I have some black here, some white here, balance it out, so this one's light and dark. It looks good to be balanced out. It's not going to be next to a white one directly because that just feels weird. You can see some of my tone words coming through on my Instagram, especially with this Alexander McQueen quote. It says, "I want to empower women. I want people to be scared of the women I dress." Everything I'm doing is reflecting back my unique selling proposition and my tone words. Go ahead and take a screenshot of your grid and include your tone words in the comments and I will look at them and give you some feedback. 10. Conclusion: There you have it, guys. Thank you so much for spending this time with me, learning about your Instagram grid. Go ahead and post your screenshot of your grid that you've created in preview, and your tone words as well, so we can all see what kind of tone words you chose, and what kind of imagery you chose to go with it. I cannot wait to see it. I will give you guys feedback. Feel free to message me at [email protected], if you have any questions or want to learn more about what I do at bad bitch branding. Thanks guys, and I'll see you soon.