Visual social media platforms, such as Pinterest and Instagram, are transforming the landscape of advertising. Our global age requires bypassing the limitations of language to communicate instantaneously. Visual narratives transcend these limitations while evoking powerful emotional responses from the consumer of the media. They allow for a global real-time narrative. In an instant, brands (including people and organizations) are able to communicate with millions through shared photos or videos. It is communication that is not lost in translation.
In the worlds of Instagram and Pinterest, brands are equal opportunity participants. Narratives told through images bypass the barriers of language. Brands create stories that entice and capture consumers’ attention to leverage their influence. Users interact with the brand by commenting, liking, or ignoring. In an instant, you know if you have a hit or a dud. When something is a hit, it is popular, but more importantly, it becomes influential.
Brands engage audiences with images: real-time, nostalgic, manufactured and raw. They entice participants to want more, to keep coming back, and to eventually make a purchase. The main aim lies in the art of the sale. People live and die by commerce, and the ability to sell not only products but also ideas. In the age of digital Darwinism, it is the difference between thriving and dying.
Brands encourage people to engage in the fantasy of their ideal life, and people associate the brand with the feeling the image evoked in them. Almost like a good luck charm, the product becomes a symbol of achievement of the desired state such as marriage, love, happiness and connection. Humans consume products to attain the promised effect. Images either still or video evoke the emotional response sought more effectively than language alone, which is partially why Instagram and Pinterest are such powerful tools for brands.
By sharing we tell a story. Brand is the hero or anti-hero seeking popularity through likeness. A main difference between Pinterest and Instagram is one of a third person versus a first person narrative. But does Instagram win as the more effective of the two? Maybe. The two applications serve different purposes and functions. In relation to each other, Instagram and Pinterest are complementary. In the midst of the evolution of social media, one thing remains for sure about social, it is democratic.
In our increasingly visual society, narratives evolve through shared images, sometimes singular, and sometimes collages together. We tell stories. Images evoke sensory responses far more powerful than words alone. Memories and emotions are powerfully charged through visual mediums and when selling a product, emotional engagement of your potential buyer is essential. This is why visual advertising both video and stills will always be essential, and offer a value beyond that of words alone.
On a planet of 6 billion, the irony is the deep sense of isolation many people suffer from, especially in western culture. Humans are essentially social creatures. We crave connection and need to communicate. We need shared experiences. We desperately need to know that we are not alone. Shared images break the barriers of that feeling of isolation, if only for a few moments. Collapsing our perceived differences across the boundaries of nation states, cultures and religions and languages to engage in shared perspectives, insights and interests that essentially evoke an emotional response.
Images transcend the barriers of language. To communicate as a global community, we muse rely on images to bypass these limitations. We are not only transcending the limits of language, we have also entered the global community. Globally we can communicate with each other in a matter of seconds and that is powerful. In a moment, there is the power to influence millions. We are now entering a world not lost in translation. Welcome.