5 Steps To Establishing An Instagram Aesthetic For Your Brand

Written by Hannah Ward: Managing director.
· 4 minute read

Establishing an Instagram aesthetic for your brand is like finding your ‘unique voice’, or in this case, unique look!

Unfortunately, creating a successful, branded Instagram account is a little more complicated than just uploading some nice photos as part of your overall social media strategy. Instead, you will need a consistent, cohesive feed with a unique and recognisable aesthetic to help build your brand and attract followers.

Here are 5 steps you can take to ensure your unique brand identity is represented effectively on Instagram, along with examples of some of the brands currently getting it right…

5 Steps To Establishing An Instagram Aesthetic For Your Brand

5 Steps To Establishing An Instagram Aesthetic For Your Brand

Know your brand

Your aesthetic will be driven by your brand identity, so first it’s important to establish who you are as a brand: What’s your brand personality? What are your values, your tone of voice, and who are the people you speak to? Are you sophisticated? Serious? Humorous?

Pick a brand identity and stick to it: if you are consistent it will help to build your brand. Try not to confuse your audience with lots of conflicting messages- it just weakens your proposition.

Mac Cosmetics are a good example of a brand getting it right. From their website it’s clear that they have a very strong sense of ‘who they are’: they have a specific ‘Culture’ section onsite which is full of messages such as:

“Lights, costume, sound?… wild woman with a powerful vision”
“…a bold new film about six transgender individuals, produced by the M·A·C AIDS Fund”
“Empress of eccentricity on blue hair and forehead tattoos”
“Getting down and dirty with the most badass grandma around”
“…challenging gender norms”

Mac’s culture is bold, fearless and not afraid to break new ground. As a brand Mac champions diversity: Mac’s target audience is any gender, any age, any skin colour. Plus there is a ‘theatrical’ tone: this isn’t makeup for blending into the background: it’s bright, brave and dramatic. And Mac’s instagram account is bang on brand, with an aesthetic that reinforces the brand culture and messaging perfectly:

mac cosmetics instagram feed
 

Know Your Audience

Identify your target market, and then tailor your Instagram feed with the aim of attracting and retaining customers from this target group. The content you feature should always be geared around engaging your target market.

Dominos do this well. At the most basic level, Domino’s target market is anyone who likes to eat pizza, and wants it delivered to their home. We recently dissected their Snapchat arsenal as part of our exploration into connecting with target demographics, but Dominos’ Instagram feed reflects what this particular audience want’s to see: delicious-looking pizzas temptingly photographed, often in homely surroundings:

Dominos pizza Instagram feed
But look closer, and it’s clear that we have something else going on in there too… Domino’s is a huge hit among millennials, and it’s no secret that Dominos have made it their mission to market to this particular demographic, most notably through savvy use of online and digital channels. It’s a strategy which has seen Dominos launch voice ordering via their own order-taking app, allow customers to order via its Twitter feed by typing pizza emoji to place an order, and release a Snapchat film.

Instagram is yet another social media channel where Dominos attempts to engage its millennial target audience: note the use of ‘Bae’, and the twenty-somethings posing in an Instagram frame. Look closer and clearly a large part of the Instagram aesthetic is influenced by this target group, from images of teenagers enjoying #summergoals on a floating pizza, to emojis and instant messaging:

Dominos Pizza summer goals Instagram post
Dominos pizza emoji ordering system
Dominos’ Instagram aesthetic nicely walks the line between catering for their millennial fans without alienating everyone else who just happens to really like pizza!

Commit to a colour scheme

Sticking to a chosen colour scheme and/or filter for your posts leads to consistency and strengthens your brand. Pick a colour palette that suits your brand, and select one filter that you are happy to always use, or instead commit to using no filter at all. Resist the urge to swerve from your chosen ‘look’: don’t post things that don’t fit or you’ll lose that common theme.

Oreo Cookies’ account demonstrates an effective consistent use of colour to create a great aesthetic. It would be very easy for Oreo to gravitate towards the famous dark brown and white colour scheme of their cookies, but instead they inject bright pops of colour which compliment the cookies and results in a feed that is eye-catching and fun, as well as creating a cohesive brand look:

Oreo Cookies Instagram feed
 

Put your product to work

Showing your product in it’s ‘natural environment’- i.e. doing what it’s supposed to do- can be really engaging to users, providing that you show off your product in a creative way.

Take Brew Dog for example – they brew beer, but instead of just filling their Instagram feed with bottles of beer on a shelf, they show their product in a variety of appealing and aspirational settings such as festivals and restaurants, putting an engaging ‘lifestyle’ slant on the feed as opposed to just showing basic product shots. By portraying the product in situ it becomes more enticing, as well as giving the brand a personality.

Brew dog instagram feed
Executed effectively, this approach can even inspire your followers to create their own similar posts featuring your products in ‘real life’. This gives you a bank of valuable user-generated content and increases user interaction, plus this kind of social proof lends authenticity and increases trust in your brand.

Made.com’s Instagram feed is a great example of this in action: customers generate posts showing Made furniture in their own homes, which helps create an inspiring yet ‘real’ and accessible feed. It also perfectly demonstrates how Made products can work in a variety of different settings, whatever your personal taste or style:

Made.com Instagram feed
 

Use your feed to tell a story

Nobody likes the hard sell, especially on Instagram where really they just want to look at pretty pictures! Keep this in mind when it comes to creating an appealing aesthetic for your feed: instead of filling your feed with images that are obviously just selling your product or service, instead attempt to create an engaging and alluring story that users might actually want to consume.

As an example, lets think about the hotel industry. At the most basic level, a hotel provides a bed for the night, so in theory, a hotel brand could simply post photos of their great-value bedrooms.

However, instead let’s consider the approach taken by Villa Honegg, a Swiss hotel who’s Instagram feed is so beautiful that you almost forget that the point of it is to promote the hotel; instead the feed tells a captivating story of luxury and elegance played out in stunning photography:

Villa Honegg Instagram feed
The feed tells the story of the hotel through the different seasons and the ‘lifestyle’ that comes with it; by staying there, you become part of this lifestyle, and this story. Lending authenticity to the ‘story’ are the real traveller photos dotted throughout the feed, made evident by the username in the bottom left corner of the photo:

Villa Honegg Instagram photo
Villa Honegg Instagram photo 2
Using a story to shape your feed creates cohesion and gives meaning to your content, which makes the user more likely to want to consume it. If you tell the right story in the right way, then no hard sell is needed.

Need help refining your Instagram aesthetic? Get in touch today and we’ll be happy to advise.