The Power of the Image




Katie Kilburn

The latest Good Relations Contagious Culture event explored the power of the image in PR, with very special guests Rankin & Paperboyo, alongside Good Relations Executive Director, Lawrence Collis

The Power of the Image in PR

As one of our most primitive forms of communication, images are fundamental to the way we process information – our brains are wired to seek out patterns, and neuroscientists at MIT have found that we can process an image in 13 milliseconds, 60,000 times faster than text.

What’s more, as the way we consume information changes, so does the way we process it. Thanks in part to the meteoric rise of Instagram, 80 per cent of text on most pages does not get read and people spend an average of 1.7 seconds looking at a piece on content on their phone.

As a result, it’s essential that the image a brand puts out is impactful. And who better to provide insight on this than Instagram extraordinaire, Paperboyo, and legendary photographer, Rankin:

1. Story Time

Before creating any kind of image, think about the story that you want to tell. With ever-decreasing attention spans, it’s impossible to be sure that your audience will always read the caption. Putting the story at the heart of the image you’re sharing ensures that your audience understands the message you want to get out without even reading the caption.

3. A little more conversation

In a social media landscape where audiences are not only becoming increasingly savvy, but also being bombarded with content, it’s more important than ever to ensure what you share sparks an engaging conversation. No one enjoys being spoken ‘at’ – the basis of any relationship requires input from both parties. As a guide, Paperboyo suggested striking the fine balance of entertaining and selling – with the perfect ratio between about 80 per cent entertaining to 20 per cent selling.

2. Cult of personality

Does the content you’re producing reflect your brand’s personality? Does your brand even have a personality, and if so, is if consistent and authentic? As Paperboyo put it, we all want the world to be a better place, so what are you going to do about it? What’s the long-term purpose?

It’s a sentiment that was also echoed by Rankin, who said brands need to act like human beings. Praising Nike’s recent campaign with Colin Kaepernick, Rankin highlighted how the now iconic image signified an interesting shift in brands making a stand. In fact, the campaign’s slogan perfectly encapsulates this mentality: ‘Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.’

4. Psychographic not a demographic

A big mistake brands make when engaging with their audience is by putting them into neat demographic boxes. Rankin instead suggested instead considering the way people think rather than their age – all of us have a few traits of every generation. Think about whose attention you want to catch with your image and how you can appeal to their mindset.

To register for future events at Good Relations check out our events page

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