We humans are visual creatures. There’s evidence of this everywhere. As you scroll through your social media news feeds, images most likely catch your eye first. We share photos of vacations, not journal entries. The list goes on. The anecdotal evidence of our visual preferences is supported by numerous studies, reports and facts:
- The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text (source: http://www.t-sciences.com/news/humans-process-visual-data-better).
- Visual stimuli and emotional responses are easily linked in the brain, resulting in stronger information retention (source: http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/350326/Studies-Confirm-the-Power-of-Visuals-in-eLearning).
- Posts on Facebook with pictures have an 87% interaction rate (source: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/photos-generate-engagement-research/).
- According to Buzzfeed, every minute 510,000 photos are liked on Instagram.
- Image dominant social media services such as Snapchat and Pinterest are seeing rapid growth.
One of the biggest indications revealed itself last month when, for the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year wasn’t a word – it’s this , the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji! We are all aware of the existence of these expressive symbols, and the vast majority of us are using them as well. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Emogi, 63 percent of people use them at least several times a week. You might be saying, “We know millennials and younger generations are using them, but I’m sure that doesn’t carry through to the older generations.” While the most frequent users are in the 25-29 age demographic, roughly 63% of people age 35 plus consider themselves frequent users – and only eight percent never use emojis .
Big brands are taking notice, too, from Domino’s Pizza’s highly publicized emoji ordering system, to Disney and Lucas film teaming up with Twitter to create Star Wars themed emojis to promote the release of the next film in the franchise.
The healthcare industry presents ample opportunities to embrace the realities of visual communications. Emotional, human interactions happen every day and are better captured through pictures than words. The latest technology can be showcased in exciting, engaging ways. As we incorporate more visuals in our communications strategy, we need to make sure they remain true to the brand. Strategy should be behind the decision on what types of visuals to utilize, and when to employ them. We should be asking ourselves questions such as:
- Do the images reflect the essence of the brand?
- Are they all consistent?
- Are they unique to the brand?
- What emotions do they convey?
- Do we have a library of key “images” as we do keywords?
Your brand can remain ahead in this visual world. Determine the “tone” you want to embrace, share it with key images, and be part of the visual revolution!