How Visuals Work on Your Brain and on Marketing Tactics

by Jan 27, 2018Branding, Business, Design Bundles, Design Tips, pixelo

Humans are visual creatures. That’s a fact.
Let’s talk about how visuals work and how that affects marketing tactics.

According to Albert Mehrabian, a well-known psychologist, 93% of human communication is nonverbal. Think about how we respond to body language. Look at why silent movies keep the audience engaged despite the absence of spoken words. Visuals are concrete. As a result, they are easily remembered.

Remember when you were still a student who had to memorize names and dates in your history class. Almost certainly, you had to put  extra effort to remember it all. Now, think back on your first kiss. When that was happening, you weren’t exerting a lot of effort to commit the moment to memory. But if you’re asked today, you can easily imagine your first kiss even if so many years have passed.

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The Importance of Visual Content

Your brain’s awesome visual processor enables you to easily recall life experiences. The human brain commits these events to memory in an instant and without you even noticing it. Everything we see has a significant influence on the things we do and the feelings we feel. In this sense, the way you use visuals considerably impact how your brand is perceived.

From a marketing point of view, visual content is far more effective than any other type of communication. Businesses that adopt visual content reap and enjoy the rewards of higher returns. And we’re not just talking about revenue here. You can also get higher returns in terms of social followers, prospects, and actual clients. Visual content boosts engagement, and neuromarketing science verifies it.

  • Images speed up and improve our awareness, comprehension, recollection, and retention.
  • Graphics aid us in decoding text. They also direct interest to the subject to increase the likelihood of recall.
  • Images have a direct impact on our emotions, perceptions, and behavior.
  • Visuals occupy our imagination. They also improve our creative thinking by rousing the other parts of our brain.
  • In a normal conversation, the value of words is 7%, the importance of tone is 38%, and the relevance of body language is 55%.


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What Visual Content Achieves

Based on studies, the human brain can conceive visuals faster than any other type of content because:

Visuals Tell a Story

It has been said that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The adage is true on so many levels. Images are simple to understand and process. They also have a quality to express a message or tell a story in an interesting manner. In fact, visual content may possibly be the simplest and best way to tell a story.

Marketing Tip: Visual storytelling is key to a successful visual content marketing. A crucial factor that you need to keep in mind is that the visuals must be strongly related to your brand. The images should likewise be engaging and relevant to your marketing goals.


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Visuals Condense Information

With the speed people supply and get data today, information is ubiquitous. We can get details about anything with just a few taps on the keyboard. Visual content is an efficient method to help viewers get a wide range of data without much effort. Most people respond better to any visual information than plain text.

Marketing Tip: Saturated information can overwhelm viewers. There are many ways to condense information through visuals to avoid this reaction. You can use videos, infographics, slideshows, charts or even use memes to deliver the information you want your market to know.

Visuals Communicate More

Images have the power to communicate more information effectively for varied reasons. Many of these reasons are part art and part physiology. At their simplest forms, pictures and videos already fascinate the human brain. That fascination is propelled higher when the graphic is creatively done or aesthetically perfect. That’s the “art part” of visuals. Physiologically, humans are built to comprehend visual cues more effective than text-based content.


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Digesting print isn’t an organic thing that the human brain was designed for. This is what Marcel Just of Carnegie Mellon University stated in an interview. Humans create printed words, and we’ve been inventing them for centuries now. Regardless of how convenient and brilliant they are, words are still created by humans. In contrast, nature has built into our brains the ability to see and understand the visual world. Visual things are natural to people.

Marketing Tip: Visuals communicate more, so use them explicitly to express your message. They must be a part of your core technique to implement your brand communications strategy. Combine the right words with the right images to create an impact.

Visuals Spark Emotions

More than being a compelling storyteller, visuals can evoke feelings in various forms. Of equal importance, images can stir emotions using various aspects of the content. Think of the expressions of the actors in the video. Consider the fonts used in the infographic. Look at the backdrop for each image. Give some thought to the composition of the photo. In these types of visuals, one aspect is constant: the use of colors.


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Marketing Tip: Through colours, you can guide the audience to the emotional route you want them to take. The symbolism behind colours is subjective, but each shade has a universal meaning. In general, red symbolizes love, passion, urgency, drive, and life. These universal associations are the reason why red is typically used by the food industry. Yellow, on the other hand, symbolizes humour, aspirations, positivity, and youthfulness. It’s not a wonder yellow is classically used to advertise products for children and teens. Shades of blue represent trust, security, and reliability. Blue is the favourite colour of industries (ex. banks) that aim to provide such features. Green embodies nature, peace, and prosperity. In marketing, businesses that are environment-related use shades of green the most.

Visuals Attract People

Experts can’t definitively say how fast the human brain can process visuals over text. However, it’s definitive that the former is way faster than the latter. Think about this: if you read a sentence, how quick can you spot an error? On the contrary, how fast can you figure out if something is wrong with a picture?

Typically, when you read a sentence and sense a mistake, you’d reread it to find the error. When it comes to visuals, in general, you can easily pinpoint why it isn’t working like it’s supposed to. You can easily spot if it’s in the wrong orientation. You can quickly see if the composition is irregular. The instant pull of visuals – whether to spot an error or through plain appreciation –  is what makes it fascinating to people. And when the audience is fascinated, you get their attention. And when you do, you can effectively deliver your message.


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Marketing Tip: Today’s digital world is manic. Every day, a new trend emerges. Every hour, new information is seen on social media. Every minute, there’s something new that catches the eye of your target market. It’s vital that your visual content can hook the attention of your target audience. A great example of a successful visual strategy is BuzzFeed’s Tasty. By using mouth-watering visuals, viewers are enticed to watch the food videos from start to finish.

Visuals Manipulate

Manipulation sounds sleazy, but it is something that visuals can deliver. Visual content has the power to direct focus and attention. Businesses can shape and tailor their content to focus on the details they want the viewers to see. In the same manner, they can shape and tailor their content to hide the weak spots of their product. Marketers can also use visuals to draw a viewer’s interest down to the path they’ve designed.

Marketing Tip: The quality of the visual plays a huge role in the “manipulation” process. Put emphasis on the principal visual elements. The most important details must be the centre of the visual. They need to pop against the muted background.


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Visual Content for Marketing

A variety of visuals can be powerful marketing tools. You have the option to use still photos, drawings, illustrations, icons, and symbols. You can use GIFs, videos, paintings, infographics, concept maps, and graphic charts. You can create memes and short clips.

To start a visual marketing campaign, you must know precisely what will promote brand engagement. Text-based materials will always be a fundamental part of marketing, but visuals will truly set your brand apart from its competition.  They need to play a crucial role in ALL your marketing efforts.

Visual content connects to the visceral psyche of your target viewers. Images push them to find out more about your business. It’s important you deliver high-quality visual content that genuinely resonates with the audience. This is the only way to increase brand identity and awareness. If your visual content is mundane or terribly designed, you’ll be doing more harm than good. As such, it is important to evaluate the needs of your target audience. Don’t publish content just to adhere to a content schedule.

As always, it is the substance that matters. However, an outstanding design is certainly valued.

Thanks to PIXELO for this article.
It includes affiliate links.

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