You have defined your target audience, goals, key brand messages, and communication channels. Now you need to build a visual strategy for your brand.
And here comes the main challenge: what types of visuals to choose to meet your goals, reach your target audience, and make your content stand out at the same time? Keep reading to find out.
1. Photos, videos, and illustrations
Photos are one of the most popular types of visual content. According to the statistics, in 2017, the number of pictures taken by users per year reached 1.4 trillion. Video, in its turn, is gaining popularity and dominating online content consumption. People watch16 hours of video on average every week.
Depending on your needs, professional photos, videos, illustrations, and user-generated content (UGC) may work for your brand. UGC can help you connect with the audience and grow trust more effectively. If you decide to go with professional content but don’t have the production team available, there is plenty of high-quality free stock content. To save even more time and money, use special tools such as Everypixel, which allow you to search through multiple sources at once.
To make content more interesting and eye-catching, create a collage, an Instagram carousel panorama, or a beautiful Instagram grid. The team of Netflix thriller series Dark created a great grid similar to detectives’ evidence board:
As users began to grow tired of photos and videos, 2D and 3D illustrations gained popularity. Now they are widely used on brands’ websites and social media. Illustrations have quite a few advantages: they are available for free at websites with stock images. You can easily customize them to make them more unique and fit into your visual brand strategy. However, some styles became cliché. If you pick the illustrations for your strategy, it’s better to create your own ones or carefully search for unique images to avoid generic search queries like ‘business’, ‘happy’, etc.
Using emojis in brand communication isn’t a controversial trend anymore–it’s normal. What’s more, they can boost engagement: receive 57% more likes and 33% more comments and shares. Some brands use them to communicate with the audience, organize games and activities, make content, or even include them in their brand’s visual identity. Emojis are not suitable for every industry or brand, so you should consider your target audience and tone of voice.
In 2020 McDonald’s used 110 clapping hands emojis in their logo for the tweet supporting their Thank You Meals campaign.
3. GIFs and memes
A popular way to integrate them into your strategy is through newsjacking — aligning a brand with a current event by creating content based on it. This will generate media attention and user engagement.
Before using them, make sure that they align with your audience’s values and brand perception and are available for commercial use.
Look how Gucci used the meme for promotion:
4. Infographics and quotes
These types of visuals work best in content marketing to inform and educate the audience. It also allows visualizing the insights and research results effectively. You can use tools like Flourish to turn your data into infographics and animated storytelling easier. Here is the example of the infographic put in the Instagram carousel post:
5. Screenshots and screencast
These formats owe their popularity to the explosive growth of screen use. We spend a lot of time looking at the smartphone or computer screen, and it comes as no surprise that screenshots or screen recordings (screencasts) are two popular formats for how-to videos and instructions. However, it has way more potential! Have a look at how Google used it to infuse emotions into their storytelling in the Google Assistant ad:
6. Synthetic visuals: virtual characters and AI-generated content
The hottest trend to adopt in your visual marketing strategy is synthetic visuals.
The virtual characters generated for brands are gaining millions of followers on social media, making them powerful marketing tools. Lil Miquela, a virtual Instagram influencer, has 3 million followers. She is the computer-generated avatar promoting a variety of brands, such as Calvin Klein and Prada.
Libraries of the images generated by Artificial Intelligence are now in their infancy stage, but with the development of neural networks, different free visuals will become more accessible for the content creators.
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