It is often said that a little drawing is better than a long speech. This adage is not necessarily true in absolute terms, but in the world of marketing, it is true that the use of appropriate images is very effective. In brand strategy, the visual component has become even more important since social networks have become the main channel of communication with the consumer. It is obvious that images reign supreme on social networks: a tweet with a photo is more likely to be retweeted, a Facebook post with an attractive photo receives more likes.
That’s why we want to talk to you about the power of the visual in marketing. We base this on a few examples of brands that have chosen to use thumbnails and illustrations to establish immediate contact with their audience.
Visual communication in marketing
The first form of communication, the one that accompanies us from an early age, is based on the image: before even starting to speak and read, children learn to understand images. Our brains take a lot less time and put in a lot less energy to process visual content rather than text. To be more precise: our brain takes a tenth of a second to understand a picture and a minute to read 200-250 words. An image therefore has an immediate impact on the person looking at it and it remains in memory much longer than information read or heard.
There is image and image, however. Here we are not talking about stock images, but content produced expressly for the brand.
Quality visual content should:
- Respect the brand’s identity.
- Stay close to the universe of the reference target, in order to be able to establish a relationship with the public.
- Be recognizable. Original visual content is enough to evoke the brand, without the need for the logo.
- Arouse emotions. Images can move, reassure, and make people laugh. When it knows its reference target well, a brand knows which emotions it must play on.
- Have a neat aesthetic. It’s probably obvious, but no one pays attention to visual content that is not immediately obvious.
- Be synthetic. Images have this great capacity to be able to “show” concepts, even quite complex ones. Therefore, avoid creating images that are too detailed as they might be difficult to read and therefore not very immediate.
Since words only “speak” to us up to a point, let’s explore three examples of what we can call “quality visuals”.
The “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign
For starters, here’s a campaign that has gone around the world and gone viral on social media. “Dumb Ways to Die” is the advertising campaign launched by Metro Trains, the agency in charge of rail transport in Melbourne. You can view some samples here and above all, you can realize the reception that has been reserved for it.
The subject is sensitive and difficult to deal with: it is about safety and reducing accidents in the metro and on train lines (on the increase in recent years). The choice that was made to use cartoons, happy and ironic, is certainly courageous and against the grain. And the result? The campaign garnered as much attention as desired, the message is clear, it stays in the memory and after its launch, and rail incidents have decreased by 21%. What more?
If you want to bet everything on quality images, it is better to appeal to those who know about quality images. Like, Marketoonist, for example.
Tom Fishburne is the creator of Marketoonist, an agency specializing in designs for marketing. Tom has been drawing for 20 years and his illustrations are famous the world over: they’ve been seen in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and the New York Times, on a poster advertising in Times Square and even in a top-secret presentation by the NSA (National Security Agency, a government agency of the United States) published by Edward Snowden.
Marketoonist has big names among its clients like Google, IBM, and LinkedIn. Before you delve into Marketoonist’s ironic vignettes, take a few moments to listen to Tom Fishburne’s interesting TED talk “The Power of Laughing at Ourselves”.
The Marketoonist site prominently features the motto – revisited – with which we began this article: “If an image says more than a long speech, a market on tells more than a long and boring PowerPoint”. Judge by yourself!
The Estetista Cinica thumbnails
Now let’s talk about an example that is making the buzz in Italy, especially with the female audience: the vignettes of Estetista Cinica (literally Cynical Beautician). If you do not know her, know that Cristina Fogazzi is a beautician – cynical – who became known thanks to her keen sense of irony and her outspokenness. His blog is very popular and his Instagram account has the unwavering support of a large number of followers. Her line of beauty products is hugely successful. She also became known thanks to her ironic vignettes. She tells, in her blog, how she came up with the idea of basing her communication on children books illustrator.
“I would have liked to make vignettes featuring a terrible beautician saying mean, but frank, things to her patients, to stimulate them while making them laugh. Because in fact, we beauticians fortunately only talk about cellulite and wrinkles, not about disease. So we need to be competent and trained, but we also need to take these issues lightly, because luckily cellulite, wrinkles, and unwanted hair never killed anyone. Our life is already so full of serious problems, I think we can indulge in joking around on a subject like aesthetics.”
We wanted to show you this example because it shows that sometimes it is enough to be courageous and to bet everything on your own personality to succeed in leaving your mark and making your mark. Dare!