How Visual Content Can Help Brands Develop Authentic Consumer Relationships

How Visual Content Can Help Brands Develop Authentic Consumer Relationships

In a world where we’re inundated with content on a daily basis, it is visual imagery that is the most likely to resonate with your audience, argues Shutterstock Custom SVP Grant Munro (feature image) in this guest post.

It can be a big challenge for brands to stand out in today’s cluttered digital landscape. Consumers are exposed to more ads and content from brands than ever before across a variety of different mediums  — from social to webinars to billboards.

On top of traditional media platforms, the prevalence of social media has provided a multitude of touchpoints for marketers to connect with their customers. Approximately 17.3 million Australian access Facebook, 17.6 million watch YouTube and 11.2 million access Instagram every month — and these numbers are increasing year on year.

Visual content creates a great opportunity for brands to rise above the noise and authentically connect with their audience’s who are eager to engage with interesting and unique content.

Why authentic relationships are necessary

The number of brands Australians interact with on a daily basis is consistently growing day-to-day. From video content to Instagram posts to email communications, consumers are being bombarded with hundreds of messages from hundreds of brands daily.

While prioritising developing authentic relationships might be a costly exercise for brands, it’s likely to be a worthwhile investment in the long run. There’s no one size fits all approach for brands when it comes to building authentic relationships with consumers, but investing in the visual content that customers interact with at every touchpoint is a great place to start.

The role of visual content

Visual identity plays a major role in how brands tell their unique story and present their business to the world. As the power shifts from brands to the people, consumers are increasingly seeking authentic relationships that go beyond the superficial and transactional.

Content plays a key role here. Modern-day marketers have recognised that visual content increases message association, brand awareness, and engagement — and a recent study found that 32 per cent of marketers say visuals are the most important form of content for their business. In addition, it’s been suggested that when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10 per cent of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image or photo is paired with that same information, people retained 65 per cent of the information three days later.

Branded visual content allows marketers to tailor their visual identities to meet and exceed consumer expectations. For example, Samsung uses images of its products in realistic situations to highlight the versatility and capability of its offerings.


Image produced by Shutterstock Custom for Samsung. 
All trademarks depicted are the property of their respective owners. No affiliation with or endorsement of Shutterstock is hereby implied.

The above image is not overly branded as content from Samsung but consumers are able to recognise the logo even if they’re unable to see the laptop in its entirety. Rather the wider message around the image, that a young photographer is using the product in the field or on the go, apparently effectively, will stick with consumers.

Over the last ten years, we’ve seen brands begin to understand the importance of visual identity and why it’s something they must invest in long-term. Not only are customers demanding more customised content but visual identity is evolving to be more curated and personalised to specific market segments.

Consistency is key

While high-quality branded visual content is key to grabbing consumers’ attention, it’s just as important for marketers to invest in developing a consistent brand identity to align visual content across platforms.

Maintaining visual consistency should still be a priority for marketers but there are other ways for brands to resonate with consumers beyond colour, font and logos. For example, while ANZ Bank is most commonly associated with navy and blue tones, the bank is still recognised when its colour scheme shifts. This is particularly noticeable in ANZ Bank’s long-term support of Australia’s LGBTQI+ community and the visual content it uses to promote its initiatives. While the bank adopts a rainbow colour scheme during activations like GAYTMs and campaigns like Streets of Love, a core design aesthetic is maintained so consumers are still able to relate the brand to these specific campaigns.

Having a sense of cohesion that goes beyond font and colour schemes is necessary to help brands resonate in their customers’ minds long term. Building authentic relationships with customers takes time and consistency is key to ensure brand recall so customers can easily identify brands at a glance.

Staying clear of the noise

By adopting a branded visual content strategy, brands will be able to  break through the noise and develop real connections with their audiences.


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Grant Munro shutterstock visual

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