What is visual marketing?
How can it help my brand?
What are the keys to creating strong images?
Imagine there’s an online candy store called Lee’s Lollies, which boasts 150 different types of lollipops.
Lee knows his competition is pretty tough. Other candy retailers are vying for their customer’s attention and business. But he feels the number of lollipop options his store offers is a huge draw for those with a sweet tooth.
This means Lee’s website has to immediately communicate to visitors that Lee’s Lollies is THE place for a plethora of ‘pops.
The best solution as customers visits his website is to show them with images the different selection of lollipops available for purchase rather than a page full of text that describes the different flavors.
Lee discovered the power of visual marketing, which is all about using engaging images to pitch your brand, products, and benefits to your target audience.
We encounter photos and images daily, so it’s easy to take their influence for granted. But here are some eye-opening facts: 83% of the way we learn is visual, and articles with images get 94% more views than those without.
Simply put, images are an incredibly effective way to give people a whole lot of information in just a split second. That’s why it’s so important for brands to develop strong visual marketing strategies.
The 4 keys to strong visual marketing are:
- AUTHENTICITY: Do your images look and feel real?
- SENSORY IMPACT: Do your images tap into people’s emotions and senses?
- ARCHETYPES: Do your images feature characters who tell a deeper story?
- RELEVANCY: Are your images relevant to customers’ culture, location, tastes, interests, etc.?
Let’s check out all 4, starting with authenticity. True story: It actually means different things for different brands.
Brands’ images should stay true to what their company stands for. To be authentic, your images must align with your target audience, brand mission and voice, and the features that make your brand stand out.
You could also feature images created by your customers and fans. This user-generated content helps you create a human connection with your audience, and can be done on your own or with a specialized agency.
Make sure to study your audience’s response to the images you post. Which ones get the most activity, clicks, and conversions? Zero in on why these images resonate so authentically with your audience. What elements do they have in common?
Your images should create a sensory impact. That means they need to do more than just sit around feeling 2-dimensional.
Every day, people see a steady stream of photos online and on their phones. You want your images to jump out at them and make them feel like they could touch, hear, taste, and breathe in the scene you’re depicting.
Using high-resolution, detail-rich images can help you stir people’s emotions – which in turn can help you boost your brand’s recognition and engagement.
What if your high-res, the emotional image has someone blinking, or it’s slightly off-center or is less than perfect somehow?
It’s all good. Small imperfections can add that touch of authenticity you want and create a richer story behind your image.
Featuring archetypes in your images can help tell a story and get people engaged.
Archetypes are representations of familiar characters that your audience will recognize and relate to. For example Caregiver, Jester, Lover, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Hero, Magician, Sage, Ruler, Innocent, and Everyman.
When your images use archetypes, they tell your brand’s narrative quickly. You could create a decadent, dreamy backstory to your brand with a Lover archetype, or make your brand about joy and wonder with an Innocent archetype.
When choosing an archetype, remember:
- TARGET AUDIENCE: Which archetypes do they embody? Which do they wish they embodied?
- CONNOTATIONS: You think a Hero archetype implies honesty but does your audience?
- STEREOTYPES: Avoid dated archetypes and don’t reinforce negative stereotypes.
Finally, your visual marketing should always be relevant to your target audience’s locations, cultures, interests, and beliefs.
Set your image in an area familiar to your audience. Feature clothing and accessories they might own. Small touches like these can help form a connection between your marketing and your audience.
You can even use images to show that your brand supports a cause that your audience believes in, and that you care about the society they live in and their lifestyle.
Relevancy can be tricky, though. Your target audience’s aesthetics and tastes can change quickly, so be vigilant about staying on top of it all.
Also, breaking news may be relevant to your audience, but wrong for your marketing. Be sensitive to major events that affect both your target audience and a global audience. Those moments may not be a good time for self-promotion.
Remember, being authentic to your brand is very important. Customers will recognize and value it with their business.