Marketing is a fast-paced profession. Marketers today feel the pressure to produce fresh new content every day without sacrificing quality. The challenge feels all the more daunting in light of audiences’ proven preference for visual content, which can be more difficult and time-consuming to produce than a blog post. But there is a better way to manage your content production. Many of today’s most successful marketers are discovering that a visual campaign not only ensures higher-quality content, but can also save them money and time.
But how is a visual campaign different from a marketing campaign? The answer is simple: visual campaigns prioritize visual content over written content, with the knowledge that 91% of audiences prefer visuals to text. The traditional marketing campaign, meanwhile, relies heavily on text-driven content like press releases, articles, and blog posts, and doesn’t prioritize pairing or replacing such content with the visuals that audiences are demanding.
A visual communication campaign targets one or more common goals using strategic visual content. It is a set of branded media with a defined art direction, and may include graphic design, data visualization, animation, interactive design, and more to aid in the delivery of the main message.
So how do you know if a visual campaign is the right marketing strategy for you? If one of these 5 scenarios applies to you, it may be time for a visual campaign.
1. You’re launching a new product or service
A visual campaign can help you spread the word and build excitement around a new product or service launch. A visual campaign normally comprises multiple visual assets in a variety of mediums and shared across a variety of platforms. That allows you to give your audience multiple ways to engage, so they can decide how they want to connect.
For instance, imagine an auto brand that’s launching a brand new sports car model. Its visual campaign might include the following assets:
- Social media photos and illustrations that call out key engine and performance specs
- Videos touting key features of the new model
- A landing page unique to the model
- An interactive tool that empowers viewers to explore the car digitally
- Television commercials
- Print and digital advertisements
- Auto show assets, including:
- Booth design
- Print materials
All of these assets are interconnected and drive traffic to each other. But how do they drive audiences down the sales funnel? The answer is that they don’t disappoint. If someone likes a video on YouTube so much that she’s willing to click through to a landing page, that page should be just as well-designed as the video.
The landing page also needs to look and feel the same as the video. If it doesn’t, your message can seem inconsistent, and your brand can look sloppy or disorganized. No one wants to buy a sports car from a brand that doesn’t seem dedicated to quality.
2. You’re trying to achieve a targeted goal
You don’t have to be launching a new product to build a visual campaign. That’s because, ultimately, every visual campaign is about achieving a business goal — usually one that will boost your bottom line.
Maybe you want to increase your social media following. Maybe you need to drive more traffic to your site, or to a particular page on your site. Maybe you want to bring in more customers to your retail establishment. You’ll want to know what your goal is first before you decide what assets you need to create for your visual campaign. One thing is certain, though: for most goals, you’ll need a variety of content types to achieve them. Just one video or one social media asset isn’t likely to do the trick.
3. You want to establish a more consistent look & feel for your brand
Have your marketing materials sent mixed messages in the past? Maybe you’re producing neutral-colored stock icons for your site but opting for cartoony character illustrations in your social media posts. Now imagine the person who likes those cartoons, and clicks through to your site. They’ll be sorely disappointed to discover a sober, business-professional look on a site they thought was going to be quirky and fun.
All your marketing materials should work together to send a consistent message about who you are as a brand and what consumers should expect from you. If they don’t have a consistent look and feel, it may turn out that your marketing assets are undermining each other.
A visual campaign can be, simply enough, a new approach to your marketing strategy. It can assert or renew your commitment to making assets that all work together to support your goals.
4. You’d like to improve the quality of your content
Investing in a visual campaign can actually improve the overall quality of the content you produce. Why? Because one of the first steps in any visual campaign is to establish a visual language — a cohesive, creative set of guidelines that define the overall design direction for your campaign. A visual language is designed specifically to help reach a content campaign’s specific goals and target audience.
When you’ve defined a clear visual language as a guide, you ensure that every piece of marketing collateral you produce meets a certain standard. It’s no longer permissible for your team to cobble together a piece of social media collateral that looks nothing like the rest of your content. Instead, every piece of visual content will follow predetermined, brand-approved guidelines that are designed to help you achieve your goal.
5. You want to reduce marketing costs & save time
It might sound like adhering to a predefined visual language is expensive or time-consuming. After all, if you need a social media asset tomorrow and don’t have the time to loop in a graphic designer, isn’t it better to create whatever you can than to release nothing at all?
Actually, producing great visual content is easier than you think when you’ve created a visual campaign. That’s because one of the first steps to designing a great visual campaign is designing a great visual workbench. Think of a workbench like a toolbox of custom-made icons, illustrations, data visualizations, and more. Most brands have a few talking points that they’ll return to again and again, along with a list of fundamental products and services. With a visual workbench, you can quickly pull the relevant designs you need and assemble a simple asset without sacrificing quality.
This also saves you money, since you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you create a new piece of visual content. When you’re working within the framework of a visual campaign, you don’t need to consult a designer on illustration styles, data visualization types, and color choices every time you need something new.
If any of these 5 points describes your goals, it may be time to launch a visual campaign. You’re likely to find that it’s the perfect balance of quality, cost effectiveness, time savings — and return on your investment.
Want to learn more about visual campaigns? Check out our definitive ebook, “Visual Campaigns for Beginners.”