The mention of any category of business can conjure a brand or image in the modern mind – airline, charity, shoemaker, software developer, hospital, beverage company, car manufacturer, fast food franchise. When considering the brands that come to mind, you likely imagine the brand’s logo or one of their products or services. And, more than likely, if that brand has been embroiled in any controversy, you can recall a video snippet, meme or photo, that is forever etched in your mind, and can be handily recalled on your cell phone.
Whether they like it or not, most people have become accustomed to visual stimulation on their devices with every click and scroll. Images, gifs, memes, emojis, graphics and videos dominate how people interact and digest knowledge.
These visuals make a lasting impact. Plus, we like to share them. For example, tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets. Likewise, articles with one image every 75-100 words get shared the most.
Visual communications can be a bonanza or a tragedy for today’s brands. It takes only one image, whether created by the company, consumer or media, to go viral and forever change our perception of the brand – for better or worse.
The underlying fear in all of us is that at any time or any place if our organization has a crisis, or if our intentions are misconstrued in the public eye, images and video can make an irreparable impression. And, what if what your brand did, or how it reacted, along with the content out in the world that is evidence of the misstep, does not match your brand promise? This is why protecting your visual reputation, and being ready in short order to share content you control, is crucial to reputation management.
It is imperative for companies to think about visuals as a key part of brand reputation and to be prepared to communicate effectively through words, actions and visuals. Here’s how:
- Take inventory and stay watchful. Review what your brand is sharing about itself and what others are sharing to identify any gaps. Control what you can control.
- Create new images, shareable graphics and clips that align with your brand and establish a visual library for them so that you can respond quickly.
- Make and keep your plans fresh. Review visual strategy regularly with senior leadership to ensure your visual library is in line with the C-Suite thinking.
- Combine creative strategy with issues and crises expertise to reach the right audience at the right time with the right visuals, when times get tough.
Ketchum has a proprietary offering, Viz Rep Check, which combines our expertise in Reputation by Permission, Issues & Crisis and Digital to deliver a comprehensive and informed audit of the visuals associated with your brand. We then work with you to co-create and implement a visual strategy. We believe you must align what you show via your visuals, and do via your actions, with what words you say and share. As any device-toting consumer will tell you, scroll-stopping visuals matter.