How to Connect with a Technology-Savvy Visual Generation

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If a traditional picture is worth a thousand words, what do you think a video is worth in today's social currency? To hear power players like  Hubspot and Forbes tell it, it's worth a staggering 80% of all web traffic in the next two years. That's the actual projection of how much of a role visuals will play on the web by 2019, and companies that aren't already working on a visual media plan will face a steep uphill battle for the hearts and minds of an increasingly visual generation by then. With B2B in particular, the time that buyers and resource-hunters have to consider is increasingly limited; they won't always have time to skim your text content, so you'll need to be ready to serve it up along alternate channels.

A Glance Into the Future

It's easy to frame this as an issue for the "young crowd" - the Gen Z demographic that isn't yet behind a desk, and therefore off your radar. However, much like Google "cred" for text copy, you can't write  - or rather, film - a site's worth of content overnight and expect instant legitimacy. In order to make an impact, you need to be seen in the first place, and Google has made it clear they'll always show preference to content providers that show a track record of performance, rather than a flash in the pan. If you don't build up a legacy through images and video, by the time those Gen Z kids are old enough to intern, they'll be focusing on a more image-savvy rival instead.

A Rosetta Stone for B2B

If your client's place of business is more of a job site than a website, they're not likely to explore more traditional forms of content, such as long-form blogs. That spells trouble for companies that pigeonhole their brand story in this long-form, text-only content - chances are, they'll be passed up for the sake of efficiency. Short videos that introduce the brand in a "candid conversation" style give B2B a more traditional feel, and are just as accessible to these "work site" clients as ones more prone to digital exploration. New England Building Supply, for instance, gives potential customers a personal touch by asking their employees what makes the brand different: it's authentic, it's easy to watch, and it gives the viewer the impression they really know the company, even if they've only just been introduced.

Customization is Crucial

One of the most important things to realize when creating or building on your brand's visual profile - images, icons, video, even VR and AR - is that multiple pathways will give you the best feedback. To once again use a building supplier as an example, an end client looking to remodel an existing structure is fundamentally different than an end client looking to build from scratch. Sending both of those clients to the same video or image may spark a little interest across the board, but tailoring video content to suit their individual needs will gain considerably more traction. With ubiquitous video platforms like YouTube making video publishing so accessible, it's in a company's best interest to film multiple "results," if only to make them available for marketing strategies in the future. 

No matter which route you take with the creation and distribution of your brand imagery, make sure it takes your audience into account. If you're attempting to connect with businesses that are largely run through traditional means, for example, pouring a lot of budget into augmented reality or virtual reality might not be a wise choice. If, however, your product is relatively new and difficult to describe in text-based content, looking to these newer formats could pay off. Metrics will light the way, but don't be afraid to experiment in the interim: your visual future could depend on it. 

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Aleks Vizulis

As operations manager at 21 Handshake, I bring an analytical perspective to the discussion table. My vision is to take projects from 'just strong' to superb. Often you will find me capturing behind the scenes photos in the 21 Handshake office or at a clients location. I play a fierce round of 18 during warm weather and catch me on the slopes during the other months of the year!

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