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Feb 26, 2015

Why Should You Be Using Visual Communications?

The boom of social media has introduced us to a more visual world and more image based platforms such as Google+ and Pinterest have pushed us even farther in this direction. In the past few years, video and photo apps like Vine and Instagram have exploded into the marketing scene. Here's why you should be taking note, and incorporating visuals into your integrated marketing and communications strategy.

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. As humans we like images that evoke emotion and tell us a story, leaving us with a longer lasting impression. Video loops and pictures are social media ready, easily sharable, and grab people's attention- ideal if you want to increase your brand awareness and capture sales.

Companies that are involving themselves in the visual game are seeing increased revenue and interest from their target market. Media savvy brands have utilised Vine's 6 second video loop to great effect- Samsung, Oreo and Target were all early adopters and received praise (and therefore publicity) for their innovative and creative videos. By sharing their videos and asking customers to do the same (and tag them in their uploads) they're encouraging direct engagement with their customers, and differentiating themselves from similar brands.

So how can you get involved in this visual movement? Depending on your target market and your company style, there's a platform out there for everyone.

Instagram has seen a meteoric social media rise, with 13% of all internet users active on the app. It's especially relevant if you're selling products that photograph well, or your company has a strong lifestyle image. It offers your customers a behind the scenes look at your company workings, and brands such as Burberry have mastered the balancing act of engaging their target market with visually exciting images and subtle advertising.

For more traditional or professional companies that may be uncomfortable on solely image apps, Slideshare is a wonderfully flexible site where you can create or upload presentations and content across a wide spectrum of topics. You can be as creative or corporate as you like, which makes it an excellent platform for those who want to project a more formal image.

If you want to convey lots of information (especially text heavy information) infographics are an invaluable tool. Mixing design, writing and analysis they are ideal for sharing, and often go viral, which is invaluable in terms of free publicity. Add them to your website, upload them to your social media, and share them on infographic sites, where they can be picked up and circulated by others. Submit Infographics, Cool Infographics and are great places to share your graphic.

The key to a good infographic? Don't make it a blatant advertisement. Have a call to action and your branding at the bottom- the content is what's important here, and if it's humorous and relevant people will connect that to your brand. And if hiring a fancy graphic designer is out of your budget why not flex your creative muscles and have a go yourself? PiktoChart and Infogram are both easy to use, do it yourself sites that allow beginners to create visually interesting infographics.

Visual marketing comes down to engagement; customers and clients want to be involved with businesses they recognise and trust. Decide what platforms you want to utilise, find your tone of voice and the image you want to project, and use that to drive engagement with your customer base. The more you speak with your market, the more likely they are to buy from you.

Image: Iain Masterton/Alamy/Alamy

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