Visual Campaign or Marketing Campaign? Defining the Difference

Visual Campaigns vs Marketing Campaigns

Marketing campaigns are as timeless, and as broad in definition, as marketing itself. Marketing campaigns may be transmitted by TV and radio, or not. They may be data-heavy, or not. They may incorporate visuals, or not. Whether or not your marketing campaign shares common traits with others, in order to be successful, all marketing campaigns must be focused on a specific goal or set of related goals, and each is aimed at a specific audience. This is true regardless of the format they take or the mediums they use to share their message.

That focus on goal and audience is something a visual communication campaign has in common with a general marketing campaign.

In essence, a visual communication campaign is a marketing campaign that’s driven by visuals. It targets one or more common goals using a series of branded media with a defined art direction. It doesn’t need explanation to give context. It can use visuals of all types, from illustrations to infographics to motion graphics and beyond.

Marketing itself is increasingly visual, and many brands have already taken notice by embarking on their own visual communication campaigns to stay relevant. If you’re considering your first visual campaign, here are some key differences from the typical marketing campaign you may be used to.

Your Visual Campaign Might Be Structured Differently from Competitors’

Perhaps competitors in your space offer a similar product or service, but to a slightly different demographic. Or perhaps your audience is essentially the same, but you offer features that are distinct from your competitors’ products or services. Those small differences can add up to a big shift in the way you approach a visual communication campaign, compared to others in your space. Don’t expect to create an interactive widget just because your neighbor did. Let a visual communication partner steer you toward the right collateral and the right approach for what’s unique about what you do.

Visual Campaigns Operate on More Than Just Your Brand Guidelines

To ensure a cohesive visual campaign that hits on the goals of its specific initiative, as opposed to just fitting with your general brand, you’ll need a visual language. This is not to say that a visual language will go against your brand guidelines; in most cases, a visual language is a more specified dive that meets the requirements of your brand but sets unique dos and don’ts within it. Sometimes, though, a campaign’s visual language may be more of a departure from the normal brands, such as when your campaign includes building a microsite for a sub-product or sub-brand. This all depends on your unique goals.

Your Content May Be Shorter Than You Expect

You’re excited about your company, and you have a lot to say. The traditional press releases and annual reports of the business world offer you that space to say it — but even they are trending visual these days. Adobe reported that 47% of consumers will turn away from content if it’s too long; 44% are annoyed by content that’s poorly written or too wordy.  And when content is long-form (like, say, this blog post) it still needs to be broken up with frequent visuals to garner attention.

Since visual content is leading the way, you need to be prepared to cut down on how much you say, in order to leave space for the visuals to really say it. In your visual campaign, embrace the bullet point and the phrase, versus the full sentence and paragraph.

While a visual communication campaign may be a bit different from your everyday marketing campaign of the past, it’s a key tool to keep your audience engaged in the changing face of communication at large. Knowing the differences helps you plan for what to expect, putting you in the right mindset for success.

Lucy Todd

Author Lucy Todd

Lucy Todd is the Chief Process Officer at Killer Visual Strategies. She is a Seattle native and Western Washington University graduate. Her degree in Creative Writing and her customer service background both inform her work daily. A Killer employee since 2011 and executive since 2014, Lucy has researched for, written, and/or project-managed over 4,000 projects for the company, affording her key insight into our processes and projects. This experience is invaluable in allowing her to lead and empower Killer’s content and project management teams to success. Lucy enjoys managing the day-to-day at the office, offering a unique perspective when a team or colleague feels stuck, and learning from her peers and clients each day.

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