Take a look at the old Apple ad above. You probably glanced at it before you moved your eyes to the beginning of this article, but I’m sure you didn’t actually take the time to read all of the information contained on it, and with good reason.
The type is small, not easy to read and, for an advertisement, the blurb seems unnecessarily long. The above advertisement is a testament to how far marketing, and visual content in particular, has come in the last 30 years. Simply put, humans are consuming information at rates that we’ve never seen in history. A study from the University of California, San Diego estimated that US Media Consumption alone would rise to 15.5 hours a day as of last year. Combine that with the belief that our attention spans are down from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds and you have a marketing environment where the chief goal is to leave a lasting impression.
This is the reason why the integration and effective use of visual content are paramount to any brand’s marketing strategy. The proof is in the statistics. By 2018, it is believed that 84 percent of communications will be visual and 79 percent of internet traffic will be visual content. 94 percent of content with a visual component gets more views than content with no visual element, and 65 percent of information containing visuals is retained 3 days after the fact, as opposed to 10 percent without visuals. Engaging your customer base through visual means is key to your success. But what do you show and how do you get it out to the right people?
Firstly, as with all parts of branding, you’ll want to strategize properly. This means developing an outline for your content strategy. Your strategy for content rollout should include a clear mission statement that reflects your brand promise, market research built from engaging the target demographic, high-quality content for multiple outlets, a team dedicated to creation, release and data collection and a calendar of benchmarks and distribution dates to keep your team on schedule.
Once you have got the plan set and you’ve collected information on your target demographic, you can go about creating a number of visual materials that communicate your brand’s image and message. You have to set yourself up to be different and to stand out. Delivering high-quality content, setting your brand up as an authority in the field, creating positive feeling and speaking to your target are your chief responsibilities.
At your disposal, you have images, videos, infographics, memes, gifs, presentations and screenshots as tools to create unique moments for your clients or customers. You want to be sure to fully understand each available social network and medium and how your audience interacts with it. You have to vary your approach for each of these platforms to avoid being stale. Don’t be for every audience across the board. Learn to communicate on that platform and then create visuals that share your message.
For instance, running a giveaway or a raffle contest on Instagram where your user base creates videos using your product in interesting applications is an incredible way to use incentive to build awareness and create a wealth of media with which to reference your product. Utilizing images in email marketing, responding (tastefully, of course) with memes and gifs to social events, using your Tumblr or Pinterest page to share colorful infographics or visual instructions of how to use your product; these are all great approaches to visual content marketing. Here are some other examples:
- Using a combination of custom images, stock images, infographics, embedded media, etc. in blog posts
- Humanizing your brand by showing behind the scenes processes, offering sneak peeks
- Creating exclusive content for dedicated membership
- Educating customers on how to use product/engage brand through tutorial and outreach videos
- Using an image at the beginning of every blog article
- Engaging customer base through interactive community and telling their stories with your product through customer profile videos
- Adding your logo to custom images
- Alt tag on all your images for search engine optimization
- Communicating with humor and color
- Ensuring all media created and distributed is of highest quality possible
- Using infographics to communicate data and/or changes in business process effectively
- Collaborate with visual artists in different mediums to create new, dually-beneficial content
With only a reported 27 percent of brands able to properly collect, document and utilize the visual assets necessary to make an impact, and with visual content consumption up every day, there is presently nothing more important to your company than bolstering its visual content marketing. By asking yourself questions like who this content campaign is for, how your content will portray your brand, what topics your strategy is going to cover and what mediums you will employ, you are on your way to ensuring you are in full control of your visual voice.