The latest VisualGPS research from iStock reveals Australians still want to support small businesses despite macro headwinds, such as cost-of-living pressures and rising interest rates.

Knowing that tough economic conditions have had their impact on small businesses as well, Aussie consumers are rallying behind them with the research revealing a heartening trend—95% of people are committed to shopping locally, and 33% are now favouring small businesses more than they did a year ago.

As we approach the holiday season, the key in determining which SMBs stand out above the noise during this holiday season lies in how well businesses align their visual storytelling to what consumers value. Here are three ways to make that happen.

Mix classic visuals with contemporary nuance

The symbol of holiday cheer is changing – reflecting shifts in consumer values. Mental health, personal relationships, work-life balance, and sustainability now top the list of what matters most to consumers. To connect with customers, businesses need to showcase moments beyond materialism, finding joy in the small everyday moments— details from people’s homes, the food they enjoy, or the decorations they cherish. Prioritise images and videos that highlight connection to ourselves, our friends, our loved ones or even our pet. This understanding allows small businesses to position themselves as industry leaders, attracting an audience aligned with these contemporary values during the holiday season.

Leverage video to increase understanding

For SMBs, bridging the knowledge gap to a wider audience can be a challenge due to resource constraints. Harnessing the power of video content offers an effective strategy, with 72% of Australians expressing a preference for video over text when learning about products or services. Video marketers reflect this sentiment with94% reporting that video content has helped to increase consumer understanding of their product or service.

Beyond being informative, videos play a crucial role in humanising a business, combining personality and humour to establish a genuine connection with the audience. Video concepts that tap into real-life experiences and emotions also prove more compelling than unrealistic portrayals. In fact, half of Australian consumers find products and services depicted in a “real-world” setting to be the most persuasive selling point. These strategic approaches present a unique opportunity for SMBs to connect with customers, and lay foundations for lasting relationships.

Choose the right social platform to reach your audience

Video allows you to meet consumers where they are, on the platforms they frequent, while video-centric social media platforms stand out as a powerful tool for reaching multiple generations simultaneously. However, competition for attention on these platforms is escalating. To stand out, brands should focus on building enduring partnerships with content creators who excel at natural and authentic storytelling. Such partnerships, perceived as more honest than occasional promo posts, ensures businesses establish a genuine and lasting social media presence while authentically resonating with followers.In navigating the social media landscape, these strategies emerge as vital for creating meaningful connections with diverse audiences.

Not sure where to start?

 As the holiday period quickly approaches, it’s important to evaluate how your businesses’ visual storytelling reflects the values of your target audience. Images, videos, and social media content should take into consideration the shift in consumer sentiment and priorities, showcasing the realities of many Australians’ focus on mental health, relationships, and work-life balance in your marketing materials.

This transformative approach offers retailers the chance to create narratives that resonate not just during the holidays but also in the future.

Kate Rourke is head of creative insights of Asia Pacific, for Getty Images and iStock.