Consumers are always be intrigued with businesses that understand how to use an image to stand out from the crowd.

Nike has been a great example of how to sell a product without selling. You won’t see ads chock full of text that describes how the product makes you faster or more competitive.

They understand image trumps everything, especially in today’s visual age.

Why this Video Rocks

  • The voice over starts out talking about “greatness” – pulling you in. It’s compelling.
  • The imagery in the video is not a super model or superstar. It’s a young boy fighting to keep his weight under control. It’s a real image that resonates with the viewer.
  • The road and landscape around it are reflect a less is more approach with the visuals.
  • At under one minute, the video is compelling enough to get your attention but not long and boring.
  • Brand placement for Nike at the end is minimal and doesn’t get in the way of the story being told via the video.
  • Nike recognizes the power of the imagery: there is no obtrusive text embedded in the video.

Porsche is another astute brand that understands how to sell with an image.

This print ad stands out – it’s a bit in your face, conveys some humor, fires a shot across the bow of their direct competitors and stands out from the crowd.


What Visual Rules for Brand Marketers are Inherent in these Ads

The principal of continuity states consumers retain information much better when text and images are overlaid.




The second image has so much more visual storytelling impact: it’s dynamic and visually appealing to the viewer.

The principal of coherence states consumers can only take in small amounts of information at a time. And this number is constantly diminishing, driven in part by constant smartphone usage (although there are other culprits).



The second image distills the information down so the key facts (“5M kids watch Channel One News”) can be easily digested and understood.

The principal of signaling underscores the importance of connecting the dots in your visual information: A has to connect with B to ensure the visitor understands C. If the audience doesn’t get the connection from A to B then C is not going to understood with your message implicit in your image.

climate change

Seven Key Metrics for using Visuals to Drive Brand Engagement

  1. Don’t be afraid to experiment with visual communications – creativity drives engagement with your brand. Start slow and measure back end conversions with your imagery to understand what’s working and what isn’t.
  2. Map your images and content to the platform by creating discrete types of images that resonate with users on a social network. Personalize your visual content and don’t “broadcast” untargeted content.
  3. When/where possible share useful content that addresses the needs of your target market. Use visuals to capture the attention of a visitor and then couple this with text that’s linked out to other sources and/or informs and engages.
  4. For visual presentations don’t forget the “rule of three” – Steve Jobs was a master of distilling complex topics down into three.
  5. Consumers like to see the human side of your brand. Scott Monty (Ford’s VP of Marketing) has been an advocate of “human to human” communications to drive brand engagement.
  6. Tell a story when/where you can – video is of course a great way to use long form content to engage your audience.
  7. Chunk your visual content up and reuse it to leverage development costs. The average consumer sees 3-5K visual messages per day and Google has indexed over 50B pages. Repetitive marketing can be a good thing.


Your Business is Under Attack from an Encroaching Digital Landscape – Visual Helps you to Stand Out

  • Data is Exploding at an unprecedented rate: projected to be ten times greater the next six years, with 44 trillion gigabytes shared by 2020.
  • Content sharing is now platform agnostic: it’s anywhere and everything.
  • Marketing budgets are unable to keep up with the growth in platforms.
  • Consumers demographics are shifting rapidly.
  • Savvy bigger brands are leveraging “social influence” to reach high value customers or influencers; making it more difficult for smaller brands to get heard via the social landscape.
  • Businesses are aggressively deploying a product marketing strategy that encompasses no frills brands along side their traditional branded products: getting real world and “mental” shelf space is challenging.
  • Native advertising is blurring the lines of how consumers and professionals engage with content.
  • All brands are by necessity of changes in the digital landscape forced to become publishers on some scale.
  • Technological expertise is overwhelming the core competency of management teams and it’s increasingly harder to find the right staff with an associated rise in what you have to pay them.

The tool we use for creating images that all of our designers love is Canva – it’s easy to use, powerful and turns any content marketer into a designer. This collection of image search tools by Bran Pickings (Maria Popova) is stellar and well researched.