So you’re sat at home of an evening, you’ve got the TV on maybe having a browse on the laptop, not really searching for anything for in particular but then all of a sudden you see a picture of something a new gadget, or a piece of merchandise relating to the TV series you’re obsessed with and that’s it you’re clicking purchase and worrying about how it’s going to be delivered before the commercial break has ended.
Have you then ever wondered what is it about imagery and the use of images that makes us buy on impulse - are we as humans susceptible to pictures? Let’s explore imagery in marketing, as scientists once said - People remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see - so that would suggest we are more likely to purchase an item based on an image.
Why is imagery used?
Let us for a second remember that old saying - a picture speaks a thousand words, well imagery is used in marketing for exactly that purpose - it conveys a message without actually saying anything. One of the most common uses of imagery in marketing and advertising is Billboards. Especially in places such as London - where there are a large amount of people both on foot and travelling on various public services - a billboard can be seen by millions of people per day - and as the world grew and virtual world of the internet developed, a large number of companies use the same template a billboard would convey just in the virtual world rather than on the street.
A powerful reason why images are used so predominantly is that the brain can process images 60,000 times faster than it can process text, this then forces an emotional trigger. This is why images are used as they force an immediate reaction from a potential customer, there are two markets where these are very important and really they couldn’t be further apart; the magazine industry and the food industry. Magazine’s need their covers to be appealing in order to catch the eye of potential readers in order for their readership to grow and maximise their potential profitability. Whereas restaurants will spend a fortune on their menus (especially take away companies) getting the images of the food looking perfect to tempt people to go to that restaurant rather than home cook or use a competitor.
What does imagery do?
Imagery allows us to capture the essence of the product or the service provided in a single snapshot - to attract the right customer at the right time by provoking the right emotional response and creating a sense of desire within the customer.
If we look at examples going back to the point made in the previous paragraph about magazine and food industries using imagery: train stations in major cities are a prime example. People on long journey’s may see the image of an offer on a meal deal at a retailer and decide that looks nicer and a better value for money option than the buffet on the train.
Does it work?
If we look through a few points, I think we can conclude quite emphatically that imagery in marketing works and the effect it can have on a consumer:
Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks and 89% more likes than those without (http://www.jeffbullas.com)
You can say more in 7 seconds with a photograph then you ever could with words
Companies such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, KFC and Nike are more recognisable from the image of their logo than any product they do.
The power of imagery is such that we can say more and engage a potential client quicker with a photo of a product. If a customer is engaged and depending on the product they will go and find more via text themselves.
The main stream companies have tailored their brand awareness to such an extent that their logo is seen more than a name.
Are we more likely to be persuaded on something through an image?
To conclude I think imagery has a large part to play on whether or not we will buy something and furthermore imagery will be responsible for a large amount of impulse buys that consumers purchase.
Industries such as Tourism will rely on images to sell their product for the simple reason that what is likely to sell a holiday? A picture of a sun kissed beach in California and waves of the Atlantic Ocean gently lapping on the shore line - Or a post saying whilst they had a great time the weather was changeable and the smell of seaweed was off putting? So imagery is one of the most powerful tools that a company can have as it sells us the idealism of the product and I’m sure it’s no surprise that Instagram is becoming more used amongst businesses.
Author: Glenn Collins
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