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Creating a Mood Board for a Visual B2B Brand Strategy

Does your B2B brand strategy go beyond words? The look and feel of your website, ads, and product all speak volumes to your customer, and often send a stronger message than your copy or content. In the 1940s, consumer psychologist Louis Cheskin researched unconscious thinking in customers and discovered that for most people, the package and the product are one. He called this “sensation transference”—the idea that on an unconscious level, the visual and other sensory elements of a product or brand become the product, and the mind makes no distinction between the two. If the customer found the label, color, shape, or size of the product appealing, he or she would likely find the product appealing.

While Cheskin’s research took place long before the Internet, the principles he discovered apply to the digital space. Visitors to your website or viewers of your ads will transfer their visual sensations to your brand and unconsciously use qualities like color as the basis of many of their judgments. If your visual branding isn’t appealing, it makes it harder to convince potential customers that you’re the right choice.

One way to solidify the visual elements of your B2B brand strategy is to create a mood board. A mood board is a collection of imagery that inspires the look and feel of your brand. Sites like Pinterest allow you to save imagery online and store it on a virtual board.

The purpose of a mood board for marketing is to establish a vision for your brand and how you want it to be perceived. Some elements that could make up your mood board:

  • Images that represent important qualities of your brand (e.g. playful, sophisticated, etc.)
  • A color palette and font standard for visual creations
  • Images that inspire your brand’s vision
  • Visual effects like textures or layers

These elements should come together to make a cohesive whole that represents the ideal look of your brand.

Why are mood boards helpful? They make the emotional and conceptual components of a brand more concrete. They also help you share your creative vision with others and receive buy-in. Because they’re collections, not finished products, they can be easily changed or added to if your vision changes. A mood board is a corrective to make sure your B2B brand strategy is as focused on visual and sensory brand coherence as it is on copy positioning. And seeing all the important visuals in one place helps you make creative decisions—everything from font for a banner ad to a new front page for your website.

Building a B2B brand strategy involves answering some key questions: What do I want my brand to represent in the minds of customers? What kind of customers am I trying to attract? What are the core values of my brand? Your strategy will be more effective if your answers to these questions are also applied to the visual elements of your brand.