The way a retail brand markets itself visually does a lot to build its reputation and attract business in 2018. In order to maximise the effectiveness of visual marketing, retailers need to ensure that content works together across all platforms, hits the right brand note, and is ultimately centred on the audience’s needs, not a creative team’s ego.
Video marketing should be at the core of any visual branding effort, because it has the power to make retailers and their products memorable. Many people consider themselves visual learners who remember names and faces better than facts and figures, and that’s why video is such a powerful, emotive brand medium. A video is one of the cheapest and most direct ways to explain concepts and show authenticity as a brand.
Live video, through Facebook Live or Periscope, is ultra-low-cost—it can be executed on a smartphone. Every time a brand goes live, its followers are sent a notification. Retailers should look to use this to their advantage when planning their broadcasting schedule.
The content does not need to be entirely scripted. Part of the excitement of live video is the chance to get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes within a company. Content ideas for live videos can be as simple as starting a live feed at an industry event and doing an interview with a guest speaker. Retailers can also create engagement via a live feed by inviting viewers to submit their questions.
Live video is ultra-low-cost as it can be executed on a smartphone.
Snapchat and Instagram Stories allow brands to successfully draw views with 10-second bursts of video. Plus, with the addition of swipe up links to your store or website, it has never been easier to turn these story views into sales and conversions.
Use Stories to promote discounts on products and unique, exclusively-tailored offers. Time-sensitive offers, like 20 per cent off, do a lot to draw in first-time customers. Through personal reach you can identify a target audience and pick out particular products and imagery to pique their curiosity.
Animated homepage videos have been around for a few years, and to some, they can seem like a tired trend. For a 2018 revamp, retailers should rethink how they can use animation within their site’s content. If retailers are trying to sell a high-tech product, or even a time-saving gadget, animation can help you put its benefits across through on-screen movement.
In-content animations can also help to break up large blocks of text, explain complex concepts, or generally engage the user with what a product’s functions are. For smaller retail brands, Pontoon is an easy and free way to create animated videos and presentations.
Retailers with bricks-and-mortar stores that have not experimented with Facebook’s 360-degree videos should do so. It can be an excellent way to draw attention and increase click-through rates to pages and websites.
For example, if an adventure sports equipment retailer opened a new retail showroom, a tour of the new site would be a great way to introduce the company to potential local clients. You can even boost your 360-degree post using Facebook advertising.
Shoppable social media
Social selling is an exciting medium for visual marketers to explore, and Instagram and Pinterest are two of the channels where visually minded brands can make a real difference.
Retailers can now create Shoppable Pins and Instagram Galleries that allow users to click and buy without even leaving the app. This could potentially boost brand awareness on these visual platforms if the photography being displayed is professional and in line with audience expectations.
To ensure brand visuals are effective, companies need to conduct audience and competitor analysis, concentrating specifically on the aesthetics of their niche industry. For example, for a retro clothing store, low contrast, old-timey photography can be popular with fans. They could use stock photos, but it’s best to edit them to make them feel more on-brand.
Interactive visual content and social proof
Retailers on Snapchat will already be aware that they can create their own filters and promote them via the platform. These are a great way to get people sharing marketing messages with their friends. User-generated content can, and should, also be a feature of any brand’s product pages and website design. For clothing labels in particular, massive social proof points can be added to a product if they include some Instagram photos of followers wearing the same item.
In many instances, brands are doing their best to gain traction through all of their marketing channels by marrying their content with that of their users. It’s a clever way of getting closer to customers without needing to resort to pushy or invasive ads.
Use brand ambassadors to further your reach
A brand ambassador program can help further the reach of your content to new markets. There are two types of brand ambassadors retailers can engage with: paid and unpaid. Paid ambassadors are high-profile (often famous) individuals with large social media communities built around them, who companies hire to achieve a set outcome, like an agreed number of shared posts or promotion of a retailer’s new video marketing campaign.
Unpaid ambassadors are typically die-hard fans who do not seek financial reward but get satisfaction from being engaged with the brand. These types of organic ambassadors are best engaged by retailers making their content easily sharable and can have more credibility in the eyes of other consumers compared to higher-profile ambassadors that people understand are paid to promote content.
To better engage with potential customers in 2018, all retailers need to enhance their visual marketing efforts by generating engaging content and disseminating this on the right platform to reach the right audience. Video marketing content helps place visitors in an immersive online experience. Whether retailers choose to pique emotions in a video, or make products easier to understand through animation, those that take their audience on a journey with visual branding are positioning themselves to succeed in a competitive digital marketplace.
Wayne Jasek is the director of APAC operations for Kentico. He specialises in helping retailers deliver executional online experiences that turn visitors into customers.
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