As the saying goes, ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’, and this has never been so true as images and video are used as a primary form of communication. From Snapchat to Instagram, millennials have developed a ‘show rather than tell’ attitude to communication. And as a B2B PR agency, we recommend the visual approach as a key way to tell a story for many of our clients embarking on integrated PR and marketing campaigns.
Further to the occasional text composed solely of emojis or visual conversation in the medium of Instagram’s Boomerang, this shift has also created new consumer behaviours. Snapchat and Instagram are being utilised as an instant marketplace with ‘swipe to buy’ and ‘tap to buy’ functions that take consumers directly to an online store straight from a photo or video.
Considering that Twitter and LinkedIn are widely used by businesses, isn’t it about time B2B organisations jumped on the bandwagon and capitalise on these platforms to take advantage of the ‘show and tell’ phenomenon?
A recent exhibition entitled Polygraphs at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Glasgow demonstrated how misleading language can be in isolation and illustrates the vast potential for visual communication.
The installation by Hito Steyerl played on the double-entendre surrounding the words ‘shot’ and ‘countershot’. Both words were displayed independently on a black screen before the scene that followed revealed that the ‘shot’ being referred to was not a gunshot but a film shot taken from an iPhone camera. The ‘countershot’ referred to a second video being sent in reply. Alongside a little relief upon learning that the theme of the film was not guns, there was real irony in the militant, political subject matter to follow. Despite this, gunshots were not the focus.
The artist was demonstrating how words can easily be lost in translation, especially within international discourses, where cultural experience, language and any number of other factors can interfere with communication. This is where visual aids come in. Images add context and help to clarify a message.
Businesses should be embracing image and film to communicate clear messages that make the best impact, ensuring that B2B messages aren’t lost in translation.
Webinars and screen sharing tutorials are already popular in the B2B sales space. Film-based marketing campaigns and infographics are also firm favourites. Visual communication helps the target audience understand the benefits of a product or service.
Considering that the B2B space is about to be occupied by millennials who have already adopted visual communication in their personal lives, visuals could be a useful tool to grab the attention of the new generation of C-level decision makers.
Although the written word will never be replaced as the fastest, most informative, and, ultimately, most convenient method of B2B communication, image and film offer a ‘quick response’ option in an environment where ‘time is money’ and the B2B message is complex.