Of all the elements graphic designers use to connect with audiences and convey brand personality, imagery—the photos, illustrations, infographics, and more that speak to audiences without saying a word—is arguably the most important and impactful.
Graphics-savvy integrated marketers, especially those who caught Digital Marketing Magazine (DMM) piece on Visual Language, know this to be the case. But all marketers can take to heart these five bond-building effects relevant imagery can bring to marketing.
#1: Greater Brand Intimacy
Visual Language, says DMM, is a kind of visual shorthand that creates a perception which evokes an emotional response. For example, when brand engagement is characterized by a tone and style similar to those audiences have with friends, the familiarity deepens the bond with your brand. By using resonant imagery, marketers’ links to their customers can be more natural and authentic.
#2: Clearer First Impressions
Today’s always-on, short-attention-span culture means images are a necessary shorthand, especially establishing a visual first impression. Whether customers view a corporate infographic or scroll curiously through your Twitter feed, they will almost immediately grasp your intentions, thanks in great part to the imagery you have chosen.
#3: Effective Message Enhancement
Sometimes, especially in social media, complicated messages can be distilled into easily digestible images that give customers quick, simple cues about a product, service or company. Or as Pamela Wilson of Rainmaker Digital/Copyblogger asserts in her book, Master Content Marketing, “The best images add meaning to [what] you’ve written…they also convey emotion, evoke an atmosphere and communicate opinions… all without words!”
#4: Streamlined Messaging
Marketing of the past relied heavy on printed text to sell, convince and persuade. In today’s digital environment, marketers must grab consumers’ attention in a fraction of the time once available, using a minimal number of words.
#5: Authentic Visualization
Perhaps the trickiest part of this whole Visual Language thing is ensuring that photos, illustrations and other visual elements feel completely organic to your brand personality and positioning. Stock photos are great, mainly because they’re usually affordable and widely available. But relying on ubiquitous, low-cost stock also risks creating a dejá-vu feeling, especially if other companies use the same or similarly stylized imagery in their materials. Creative alternatives include occasionally budgeting for a professional photographer or illustrator, and learning how to shoot and use your own original photography.