Behold! The power of imagery.

A new dawn is breaking in the world of marketing. Welcome to an era defined by icons and pictures. I’ve seen the shift towards emblematic marketing in three major areas:

1. Company/product branding:

  • Last year, to mark the company’s 40th anniversary, Starbucks changed their logo by removing the words “Starbucks Coffee” from their iconic green mermaid. The response was a mixed bag. But regardless of one’s opinion, I think it’s safe to say that people still recognize the brand of coffee in a white cup with the flowing green hair of a crowned mermaid.


  • The minimalist ads being used by brands like Lego and Coca-cola are other noteworthy examples of the power of picture. Clean and simple, yet striking. The ad isn’t telling you what to do buy or support; it draws out an idea or feeling.

2. Video marketing:

  • It’s no secret that viral videos are picking up steam. Just look at the KONY2012 campaign. Organizations like charity:water as well as other nonprofits are using video to make calls to action and donor appreciation more personal, more real, and also more effective. The audience doesn’t have to wade through tons of text on a screen to find a reason to give.  Videos literally hand you everything you need to know or care about on a platter.

3. Emerging social media platforms:

  • It’s not just logos and ads that are being simplified. More and more we use images to convey messages about our own identity, character and personality. The rise of Pinterest and Instagram are the most obvious examples. By boiling a moment, article, or idea into one simple picture, we are saved the trouble of explaining–the painful struggle to find the right words. Instead, the pictures we pin and post become microcosms of our personal or branded identity.
  • Take memes for example.  Memes are blasted from every social media platform as a declaration of something we tie to our identity. Be it political or just plain funny, memes have become our personalized bumper stickers. Some of my favorites:

This new face of marketing has materialized in response to the changing pace of society.  With so much more information at our fingertips, we juggle our time and mental concentration between dozens of things flashing through our brains without a moment to spare. So when it comes to building brand awareness between an organization and an individual, the individual tends to gravitate towards the path of least mental resistance. Currently, video makes up 8,000 Petabytes of internet traffic per month. (Recall that 1000 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte and 1000 Terabytes =  1Petabyte.) It’s predicted that by 2015, most internet traffic will be video. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

Beyond the simplicity of pictures, this type of marketing successfully appeals to the uniquely personal feeling a product or brand elicits. It achieves, what I would call “The Carousel effect” to reference the show Mad Men. A simple picture with little to no words doesn’t tell you what you’re getting, and doesn’t aim to, but rather evokes a feeling, be it familiarity, mystique, comfort, refreshment or imagination. But it also leaves just a sliver of ambiguity for you to project your own unique feelings and experience on a brand. The advertisement does all the hard work for you. It boils down all the emotions and sensations of using, consuming or supporting something into a crisp visual that forever evokes pleasantries, convenience, and comfort from within.

Is your organization thinking about how it will convey its message in the future? Does your brand evoke certain feelings that enhance your organization’s mission and goals? 


About Kristin Demafeliz

Wanderlust, old soul, foodie, lover of the beach, crafts, cozy couch time, and random acts of kindness Interested in and curious about organizational behavior, non profit management and mission, global affairs, music,
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