Democratization. Authenticity. User-generated.
These three content themes have been common threads throughout NewsCred’s content and cocktails sessions, and last week’s discussion on visual storytelling was no exception. The gathered photographers, marketers, and related creatives heard about all three in the course of the evening’s conversations on the Power of Visual Storytelling with photographer Adam Weiss and Getty Images’ Director of Creative Content Andrew Delaney.
(L-R) Director of Creative Content for Getty Images, Andrew Delaney, photographer Adam Weiss, Cavan Images and Director of Content at NewsCred, Andrea Hong via Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images North America
The takeaways spanned and blurred lines between creative and marketing strategy.
1. Be authentic in your visual storytelling.
Feeling is important. If you aren’t feeling your creative as you’re creating it, you can’t expect the audience to feel it either. So whether you’re the photographer shooting pictures or the creative director selecting stock images, rely on your gut to tell you what’s going to elicit an emotional response from your target audience. “If it doesn’t evoke emotion, it’s not worth the time,” said Delaney. “There is a prevalent need for authenticity. [Audiences] can spot a fake image like that.”
2. Small budgets can equal big freedom.
Especially true in a world where Instagram has 200 million monthly active users. The playing field has been leveled, emphasized Weiss. Every brand can produce outstanding visual content with an iPhone, as long as they think creatively and, as Weiss said, “run towards the rain” — embrace their subject in the moment, and react with spontaneity.
3. Art is change. And that’s good news as mediums and audience preferences evolve.
“Don’t make the same image over and over again,” stressed Weiss, or you’ll risk boring your audience, who are already aware of the most up-to-the-minute content. Delaney similarly emphasized the importance of adapting to change, especially from a marketing perspective, including “changing demographics and changing technologies.” Both said it’s important for creative and marketing teams to continually adapt to platforms as they change and as user tastes change, too. The next time you have to adapt to a new social channel, think of it as an opportunity to be provocative as a storyteller, not as a hassle.
(L-R) Director of Content at NewsCred, Andrea Hong, Director of Creative Content for Getty Images, Andrew Delaney and photographer Adam Weiss, Cavan Images. via: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images North America
As younger consumers move to more visual-based platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, and as grandfathered platforms like Facebook and Twitter become more visual as a means of trying to keep up with the shift in user preference, it’s going to be crucial for marketers to continuously deliver user-centric, authentic storytelling experiences to their audience.
By Lauren B. Mangiaforte, NewsCred Contributor