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Dear Cafepreneur: is the next marketing channel you should be paying attention to

Brands that people remember are more than just a logo. Your cafe is more than just a name.

It’s a collection of immersive human experiences and connections that make your brand recognizable, relatable and accessible for many.

As human beings, we are wired to respond better to images. 90% of the information that our brain processes is visual. Interestingly, the human brain processes pictures 60,000 times much faster than any form of information such as words.

When we think, we imagine. And when we imagine, we picture things. We remember the brands we see for their colors, shapes, symbols, images and the like. We feel the movement and momentum through the images they display which in turn become the hallmark of their branding in advertisements. What this tells you is there lies real power in exploring the benefits of visual marketing - through photos that evoke emotions and build connections to provide a different experience for your target audience.

This association happens because by design, our brains are fond of stitching memories and thoughts together. One memory leads to another one like knitting threads - especially when this memory recall takes place over and over again. This is why in a marketing perspective, it is important to portray a brand in a certain kind of context such that when people see or experience things, they go back to that image we made.

And this is why, our Dear Cafepreneur, Unsplash is instantly becoming a favorite marketing channel for up and coming brands like yours.

As we shift to visually oriented brand perception, we will take a quick dive into how you can utilize Unsplash strategies to organically build an online following and create a lasting impression for your brand.

The Modern-Day Unicorn: Visual Marketing

The power of using visuals as marketing tools cannot be understated. It underscores goals of building brand recognition and awareness as images are known to be shared more often on social media thereby drawing more attention to your brand through engagement. It is this imagery - this visual component of several online strategies that is targeted towards gaining curiosity and in most cases, stimulating immediate action from the audience.

But here’s the catch with utilizing visuals in your marketing tactics - they take time and require patience. Visuals that focus on gaining immediate gains generate limited results. The real game-changer here is found in creating branded associations which allow you to control your target customers’ perceptions of what your brand is.

How Your Brand Can Use Unsplash as a VIsual Marketing Channel

Unsplash is one of the largest hosts of royalty-free images. It is the go-to of many creators, agencies and individuals alike. Yes, people actually frequent Unsplash more than they do Getty, Shutterstock, and Adobe Stock1 combined.

The way to harness the power of Unsplash is through organic posting. Several brands are curating their own photos in Unsplash like they would to their Instagram feeds. In doing so, they are contributing high quality and free photography to the Unsplash system. They are giving back to the community by churning out valuable content for the photo-seekers. Brands or individual creators do not need to pay to upload these images. In turn, they get a free exposure for their brand content. Indeed, the power of the word “free” is second to none.

Several companies and start-up brands come up with a collection of on-brand images that perfectly align with their own social media styling and website branding.

The Tip: Create Visual Content that Showcases the Essence of Your Brand without Being Overly Promotional in Nature

The rule of thumb in achieving an effective visual marketing strategy couldn’t be stated any simpler: be authentic and subtle.

Yes, you want your images to be featured in a manner that you want them to be perceived. But at the same time, you need to ensure that these images are non-promotional and remain creative enough that publishers and social media users can actually use them for their sites and own social media visuals. You would be wise to push the brand forward but not in a hard sell manner.

Look at how skincare brand Curology or Lumin are killing the Unsplash marketing game. You can get inspiration from furniture brand Inside Weather as well.

In navigating the world of Unsplash, ask yourself and your team the following questions:

  • Do your images align your cafe’s branding and marketing goals?

  • Are the images high quality enough that people would actually want to use them?

  • Do your images capture the essence and ambience of your cafe?

  • Do your images evoke a certain emotion or feeling?

The key element we want to zoom in on here is that ultimately, the goal is to build organic imagery around the brand by creating visual content that Unsplash users would find worth using.

In order for you to create high-quality branded photography, you have the option to upload your own pictures or work with the photographers hailing from the Unsplash community. As with the etiquette of social media posting, remember to post your photos around upcoming dates that can potentially generate more traffic. You also have to align the photos with the more important and highly relevant terms by adding a lot of tags to make your pictures easily discoverable by users and publishers.

The technique is to avoid being promotional or self-centered. This means going beyond product photography or even selfies. Pictures must ideally be of high resolution. Your images must meet the minimum size requirement of 5 megapixels and for a landscape picture, it must be 2500 x 2000 pixels. Naturally, the photos you upload must be clear, creative and original in thought. And clearly, do not use watermarks. The purpose is to infuse your brand identity into the photo with subtlety and not have it running across an image.

Luckily for you, Unsplash does have a detailed guide on how to create photography that can actually get noticed and used by users of the Unsplash platform.

As less aggressive this approach may seem in terms of getting conversions, it can pay off in the long run by building a stable community around your brand.

Do you need help in branding your cafe or simply enhancing your organic marketing efforts? Talk to us here.


Smarty, A., 2020. A Brand's Guide to Unsplash: How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel. [online] Buffer. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 July 2021].

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