Updated: Jan 9
If you work on products or services that support a conscious lifestyle, adding visual media to your brand’s communication strategy will make your content more attractive, more searchable and, importantly, more readable.
In a study of over 1 million online articles, the marketing agency BuzzSumo found that texts with an image once every 100 words received double the social media shares as those with fewer images.
You may add to this statistic that 90% of the information processed by our brain is visual. We can read images at speeds many times faster than written text, instantly taking in subtle meanings and associations — including brand identity. For this reason, images are not only more eloquent than words, they also communicate faster.
(...) if you want to craft messages to raise more awareness about the world we are living in, you will probably need written content to tell your story and the uniqueness of your vision. Using the right images will add emotions and sophistication to that story.
But none of this means that we should undermine the importance of text, nor that we should reduce our communication to pure symbols, like emojis and memes. After all, if you want to craft messages to raise more awareness about the world we are living in, you will probably need written content to tell your story and the uniqueness of your vision. Using the right images will add emotions and sophistication to that story. Market-savvy brands and start-ups should take notice of the research backing branding media libraries — starting by reading this article!
Media libraries exist to support your storytelling strategy
Media libraries are banks of still and moving images designed to give a recognisable face to your written content; web pages, blog posts, social media, advertisements, and more. They are banks of professionally crafted media that can be used to illustrate ideas, elicit thoughts or quote historical events. For example, if you are writing about the benefits of daily meditation, a picture of a group of Buddhist monks could help to set the right tone for the article. If you write about up-cycled apparel, a picture of a forest could be suitable, as the beauty of nature will resonate with your audience, eliciting the wish to protect it.
Media libraries, also known as stock image libraries, have existed even before the Internet and are available in all range of prices and qualities. If you want decent photos for free, check Unsplash.com. If you want something a bit more exclusive and you have a budget, check Shutterstock, Getty Images or Adobe Stock. All these platforms contain images that will add the visual edge that is so necessary to make your written content shine across the web.
But, no matter how great these media libraries can be, they are only useful to a certain extent. The standard images they offer will be able to help you illustrate some ideas in a blog post, but they won’t convey the experience, atmosphere and look & feel of a specific service or product, not to mention the very essential elements that express your brand, such as your face, your product, your employees or the venue where your business takes place. That’s where branded media enters the game.
A media library… branded!
A branded media library takes the notion of the stock image library to the next level. Instead of standard pictures, it is designed specifically to show the product or service in question. It supports the experience and the values a brand wants to convey. To do this properly, the media library must examine and address the specific needs of the brand.
A branded media library instead focuses on showing the product in a meaningful context, mingled with the beauty of everyday life.
Let’s take a brand that sells fashion accessories. The brand already owns pictures of all its products, which were taken specifically for the online shop. They could use these images to promote events and social media posts, but since the images were designed for a catalogue, their atmosphere is too neutral to really convey what the brand stands for. A branded media library instead focuses on showing the product in a meaningful context, mingled with the beauty of everyday life. An example of this approach is the images we created for a line of jewellery products.
An example of a media library with different brand needs is whole-body cryotherapy. If you don’t know what that is, you are not alone. Whole-body cryotherapy starts from the idea that submitting the body to a shockingly low temperature for a short period of time has a series of health benefits. In a cryotherapy centre, people enter human-sized freezers, kept at -120ºC, in their underwear. I can imagine that for most readers, the idea of being locked in such a cold space does not sound too appealing. That’s why creating a media library with healthy-looking people enjoying their cryotherapy sessions is essential for brands in that field.
Higher paying clients, better reviews
Branded media libraries not only add your unique style and bring clarity to your product or service, but they also increase loyalty among your customers.
(...) from a sample of 9000 consumers surveyed, 70% of the respondents were willing to pay two times more for a product or service backed by a brand they felt connected with.
A study carried out by Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute showed that from a sample of 9000 consumers surveyed, 70% of the respondents were willing to pay two times more for a product or service backed by a brand they felt connected with. What’s more, 81% of those respondents said they promote their favourite brands among friends and family. In other words, branded media can help you to obtain higher-paying clients willing to recommend your product to the people they care about and trust, effectively creating small-scale brand-ambassadors.
Your brand needs shareable media
If you really want to reach your audience’s heart, you need to be specific, and that means showing your product or service in context, in a visual format easy to share.
Standard pictures of a meditation class may be good enough to illustrate a blog post, but they won’t convey the feeling of what it really means to attend your studio
For example, let’s say your business is based on breathing therapy. Standard pictures of a meditation class may be good enough to illustrate a blog post, but they won’t convey the feeling of what it really means to attend your studio, nor how it feels to engage in your practice.
Besides that, as explained in the previous sections, a standard picture collected from a media library won’t be as effective in communicating your brand as a picture designed strategically for your product or service. This is specially relevant when it comes to sharing content on social media platforms, where the attention span is less than a few seconds.
Similarly, if your product is sustainable apparel then a picture of a pretty couple having a good time in the woods may serve to illustrate a web article about ethical production of fabrics. However, it won’t communicate the unique experience of wearing the clothing you are selling.
To do that, you must consider building a branded media library.
So, should you start building your branded media library?
In summary, media libraries are essential for readability of your written content, as they capitalise on our instantaneous visual culture. They can help you to illustrate blog posts and also to create banners and memes on social media. They will definitely add a necessary eye-catching element to your content. However, they will always remain standard, illustrative, and probably won’t convey the experience and vision that supports your brand.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, look unique, show sophistication and explore visual storytelling strategies that can lead to more customers willing to pay the real value of your product, a branded media library will provide you with the materials you need to have a crafty start.
Interested in building your own branded media library? Check our Handsome Media Library service for lifestyle products, or drop us a message to talk about your specific needs.
I hope this article was of help. Would you be interested in learning more about strategic storytelling, conscious branding and future thinking? Consider subscribing to my newsletter. It won’t hurt!