BrandingVisual Content – Less Words, More Pictures

Visual Content – Less Words, More Pictures

Visual Content is as old as the first film.  In 1888, the world’s believed earliest surviving motion-picture film was produced-Roundhay Garden Scene.  Directed by French inventor Louis Le Prince, it was just 2.11 seconds long. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is the oldest surviving film in existence.

While no blockbuster to say the least, how the world began to change from that point on!  Without color or sound, images, moving images, became the main focal point.  For a population used to radio or books, it seemed the written and spoken word had found a new adversary with photos and film, also known as visual content.


Skip forward 100+ years and visual communication is on the forefront of the evolving word of communication.  If you are not tackling this in your branding and product marketing, you will undoubtably be left in the dust.  Soon even this blog may be outdated; people can now write what they need to write in 140 characters or less.  Even a simple emoji can convey what we think or feel in about 2 seconds.  The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never rung more true today with demand for visual content at an all-time high.

Advances in technology and natural changes in human behavior are driving this change.  We are inundated with messages throughout our day and visual communication is fast becoming the best way to stay current and reach the masses. 

The human brain can process an image in 13 milliseconds and process images 60,000 times faster than text.  It seems that we mere humans find text a hinderance with 81% of people only skimming the content they read online (which according to Jakob Nielsen means the average user reads 20-28% of words during an average visit).  That means if you are still reading, you are one of the chosen few!  Simply put, your prospects want the message to be quick and simple visual content.

According to studies, people tend to remember about 20 percent of what they read, and only ten percent of what they hear. The same studies have shown that people tend to remember an impressive 80 percent of what they see and do.

Video is King

That’s why it is estimated that in the next few years, over 85% of all online content will be video.

Explainer videos are an extremely popular and effective tool for marketers.  The explainer video is another form of visual content that allows marketers to explain what would normally be a somewhat complex message about who they are and what they offer.

Explainer videos are an extremely popular and effective tool for marketers.

The rise of visual communication is not going away.  Did you know that several years ago it was found that the planet Earth spends a billion hours on YouTube every single day?  And, over the next few years, it is forecasted to continue growing.  To give an example, MIT Sloan Management Review published an article that said that “it is estimated that 3.8 trillion photos were taken in all of human history until mid-2011, but 1 trillion photos were taken in 2015 alone.”  That does not count the number of videos and gifs that have been used.  And that was 6 years ago!  Think about it.  How many pictures did you take last week on your cell phone? Upload any video to the web? 

Why the important shift?  Forrester Research says that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. Visual works are memorable, make us think and feel, and capture our gaze.  It is the easiest way to capture our attention, which is good because studies say a person on average is distracted after just 8 seconds.  If you only have 8 seconds to get your message across, what medium are you choosing?

The Future

Visual communication is in our blood.  Even our ancestors geeked out over visual communication.  Think of all the pictograms they used to communicate with each other.   We could have told our ancestors “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it!”

I could throw around more statistics, such as people are 85% more likely to buy your product if you let them view a product video, but I think you might be getting the idea. For marketers and brands to stay alive today, they must accept this new way of thinking.  Simply put, visual marketing attracts more clients to your business. Visual communication offers easy explanations, it facilitates faster making decisions and helps increase your reach.

Photography: Koushik Chowdavarapu

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