This is how to deploy visual content effectively

"Why is it anyway that one picture says more than 1,000 words? Or 10 blogs, if we slightly exaggerate this proverb?"

One image says more than 10 blogs

Blog by Renée

Visual content? Pretty important ... Scrolling on my phone, my eyes glide past the neighbour's vegetable garden. What a pleasant and ecologically responsible person. Then the new Tesla with a former colleague's new wife leaning against it comes into view. What a show-off. Downright exaggerated. At the end of the evening, my eyes are countless visual impressions richer and, if science is to be believed, I am about 5000 times exposed to all kinds of brands and advertisements. In this blog, read why images reign supreme and how to effectively communicate visually.

Image and the brain

Why is it that one picture says more than 1,000 words? Or 10 blogs, if we slightly exaggerate this proverb? It has everything to do with our brain, which is ideally made for visual information. As much as half our brains deals directly or indirectly with image processing. Some 'mind-bending' numbers:

  • On average, we only read 20% of text on a web page.

  • Our brain processes images exceptionally fast. MIT scientists have shown that the brain 0,013 second to recognise images.

  • Images have a lasting impact. From a study shows that people remember only 10-20% of spoken or written content after 3 days. As soon as you add images, retention skyrockets to 65%.

  • Images make complex or abstract concepts manageable. Adding images to a text improves understanding with 89%

  • Social posts containing images generate 650% more engagement than text-only posts.

  • From a survey of B2B buyers shows that 95% of them need shorter and mainly visual content.  

  • 70% of B2B buyers and researchers watches a video during the buying process.

Beware of interfering signals

Images send signals in a split second that are as fresh in the mind days later. That is why it is important not to send the wrong signal, as my former colleague did. A picture of just the Tesla I would have welcomed. How nice that you were able to get your dream car after all those years of hard work, would have been a possible response. Or, if he had only published a selfie with his new girlfriend, I could have wished the two lovebirds a happy togetherness. But that combination fast-car-gorgeous-woman didn't quite hit the mark. Unless boastful was the desired result.

But how do you use images effectively?

Make sure your image and design choices are in line with your identity or brand and the message you want to convey. To make the right choices, it is important to ask yourself a few existential questions beforehand. Who am I? Or: What does my brand stand for? Who are the target groups? What do I want to achieve? To come back to my former colleague: do I belong to his target group? Perhaps the photo did particularly well with his circle of friends.

Next, you make design choices. These primarily concern the medium; an illustration is usually more playful than a photo, and an infographic is clear and accessible, but generally does not go into as much depth as a video. You also think about details like colour and font. Comic sans in rainbow colours might work for a retailer of baby and toddler items, but a high-tech B2B company will benefit more from a weighty sans serif and cooler tones, perhaps combined with one contrasting colour.

Which image choices suit you?

In a way, we are all masters of imagery. After all, we are exposed to visual content throughout our lives. We know when we think something is beautiful, or ugly. Bright or vague. And most of us create our own. Yet making the right image choices is difficult if you don't have a graphic design education.

Fortunately, you can feeling get for it. I myself learned a lot at the beginning of my career by simply watching how successful B2B companies do it. And not by cursory scanning - because we all do that - but by dissecting images and analysing the individual elements. What do I think about this image? What ingredients make me find this? By carefully observing, you learn from the images around you. And that in turn helps you in making your own image choices: whether you do it yourself, or seek professional help to do so.

Communicating visually in B2B: 5 tips.

As a B2B professional, you use images to make technical and complex information manageable for customers. By being consistent in style and design choices, you work on your positioning and recognisability. Take your visual communication to the next level with these 5 tips.

1. Content > aesthetics.

Something can look flashy but miss the mark completely. The most important thing is to communicate your message clearly. A strong image concept is crucial.

2. Be consistent in your choice of images.

If you use illustrations a lot, use one style, for instance by keeping everything with the same illustrator. Photos, too, can keep one tone that suits your business.

3. Beware of stock photos that look too slick.

People will not easily recognise themselves in a toothpaste smile and a thumbs-up. Images need to exude authenticity.

4. Though one image says more than 1,000 words, don't cram 1,000 elements into one design.

Texts and images need air to come into their own. Learn to filter information and make choices. That will save your designer a lot of grey hairs.

5. Reuse textual content.

Browse blogs, brochures and white papers and select the most important facts, phrases or statistics. Recycle texts by translating them visually into videos or infographics.

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Also read: This is how to construct a good story

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