Terms like brand strategy, tone of voice and design direction are normal in today's world of marketing and brand building. But, visual strategy, direction and execution seem to be an under valued and often over looked element of brand communication.
We see this on a daily basis and wonder why there isn't more importance and emphasis on this important element of brand manifestation by brands, retailers and especially the (brand) marketing agencies who advise these businesses.
Often brand, marketing, trading/buying, PR and e-commerce work in parallel and do not cross over enough. Processes are designed on a functional basis and not on a customer/consumer base; this can lead to disconnected activities and sub optimised results.
It is amazing to see the disproportionate levels of investment between brand marketing/PR and the actual consumer facing B2C engagement through e-commerce. One would reason that the e-commerce channel generates more consumer engagement, minutes and brand exposure than any other channel and nowadays it probably is the first or only engagement with an end consumer.
We believe that brand/retail visualisation needs to be coherent and consistent across all communication channels. I can hear you thinking doesn't this make it boring and isn't this limiting to what one can do?' No, is the clear answer. Coherent and consistent doesn't mean doing the same everywhere, it means that all the elements are connected through spirit, execution, tone and texture with the aim to engage the consumer, provide them with a retail experience, drive greater consumer loyalty and increase conversion/sales.
"How can you get more impact out of your visual investments?"
Connected strategy and thinking is the answer. What are the areas where we must ask critical questions?
There can be many more questions, but the most important element of all of them is the consumer perception and experience.
The latest generations, generation Y & Z, have changed their focus and are looking for a sense of mastery & belonging, but this is not the same as the brand trend we saw in the 80's and 90's. Their world has changed and the unlimited access to information, communication tools and increased word of opinions is moving faster than ever before. Still, one thing hasn't changed at all, visual communication is more powerful than written or spoken communication.
"If a picture paints 1,000 words then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million, so say Forrester's researchers."
If we bring it all back to images and image execution, what do we need to think about?
As a digital content creation business we love to sit down with our clients and discuss the visual direction. We believe that the impact to the conversion / sales / returns / consumer adoption is under estimated and more focus and attention is required on this important topic.
So, does the focus need to shift? The answer is no, not per definition. The focus needs to refined and tuned. Connectivity across the various visual activities needs to be amplified to provide that holistic consumer journey/experience.