In marketing, we always try to find the right way to reach the audience and to determine it towards an action that we want. Well, how can we do this in the age of visual content?
Over time, communication has evolved from text to text and images and now we tend more and more towards visual content. We are seeing that minute by minute around us. Social Media platforms have improved their visual possibilities and they are slowly turning into visual content platforms.
Let’s see, how do you congratulate someone on their birthday? You will definitely add an image or an emoticon to express your joy and pleasure at that moment. But also to convey the same emotions to the person you are addressing.
This evolution of visual content also has implications for advertising and PR. What is advertising? Why do we advertise? Of course, because we want to get something from our target audience. We want to inform them about our products, but the ultimate goal is to get them to take action.
That is why it is important for our message to be based on real consumers’ insights, to know their behavior, and to touch exactly the emotions that will provoke them to do the action we want.
Piotr Winkielman, professor of psychology in the UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences has demonstrated in his studies that pictures move people more than words. In his studies, he showed that people are more reactive when they see pictures than when they read words. He showed that emotional impact causes us to take action rather than the rational part. He says that “In a frightening situation, you run first, and feel afraid later.” And this is true! That is why the advertising efforts must be based on real emotions.
When we talk about emotions we think of momentary reactions. Feelings have the power to drive us to action. But this can`t last long. Over time, emotions are replaced by cognitive processes. Look at two important aspects that you need to consider when planning an emotion-based marketing campaign:
1. Predisposition of target
It is important to channel your message to the right person. Or, to channel the right message to your target audience. You need to study their behavior to identify possible fears, their values, their reasons for joy…to determine their needs and their desires.
Only then, when you have very well outlined what is in your consumer’s mind and when you are basing your strategy on real consumer insights, you will be able to get the consumer to take action or change their behavior in the direction you are looking for.
2. Emotional Impulses do not last long
Place your ads where they matter, as close as possible to where a decision can be made. Fortunately, in the world of digital marketing, this is so easy. There is no need for more than a click to reach the destination. But for the physical actions, the placement is very important. That’s why, most of the time you have to perseverate. Be there for your people and don`t let them forget your message. Create an integrated and effective content strategy.
Also, when we plan to create an emotion-based message, we have to correlate the emotion we want to provoke with the product we want to promote. In one of his studies, Professor Piotr Winkielman measured how photos of smiling faces and photos of angry ones affect the evaluation of a certain drink (lemon+water+sugar) and the decision to consume it.
He demonstrated it that people valued the drink at a higher price and wanted to consume more after seeing smiling faces, than when they saw angry faces. Maybe that’s why we never see sad people in the drinks ads. The companies do not want people to get happy with their drinks, but they want people to be happy because they are consuming it. They wrap the product in a state of joy to convey that it is a joy to consume it.
3. Logical choice
Now, let`s talk a little about Public Relations. This is the way you communicate what you want your consumers to know about your company. Lately, most of the company communication was done through CSR campaigns. Even this part of marketing has realized that the emotions you convey to your audience are very important and are meant to create a long-term relationship with it.
Let’s see, for example, when you choose to support a social cause, what types of images will you use for communication? Images that will generate emotions, right? Emotions that will contribute to brand and product consideration in your customers’ minds.
In 2024, and more and more in the future, images gain ground in front of the text. Pictures can express your message much better, and communicate very effectively in the subconscious of your audience. So, pay as much attention as possible to the visual part of your content strategy and choose your images very carefully. Put yourself in the place of the person receiving this message and imagine how you would feel. At the same time, correlate this with what you want the audience to understand and feel when looking at this image. This is how you reach your goals today and in the years to come!
About the author
Dorinița Bărbuceanu is a Marketing Strategist & Communication Specialist from Romania. She always puts the consumer in the center of her strategies and seeks to meet his needs. She is a supporter of the idea that advertising is very important, but marketing does not means only advertising. Marketing strategy is a very complex concept with maximum implications for the success or failure of a company.