Does it really matter what it looks like?

Does it really matter what it looks like?

You bet it does.

It’s not a big leap to say visuals are “where it’s at” today. The popularity of images, graphics and videos can’t be denied, but is there any science behind their power to make connections, to make marketing success, to create measurable financial results?

Definitely. Recent research shows that people remember 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read, but about 80 percent of what they see and do.

Reference the amazing success of social media, especially YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram…but also TV technology that brings thousands of media choices into our homes, bombarding us with images from movies, shows and games.facebookbig

This lover of words—me—is constantly telling clients that we have to up the game when it comes to more and better visuals for more and better marketing success, public relations success and improved financial results. That translates to investing in logo development, graphic identity, improved signage, graphics/photos/videos for social media and online presence…and then paying close attention to using the improved platform consistently and frequently to tell the individual story and build the brand.

I live in a booming area of the country: middle Tennessee. Our population projections by 2035 call for incredible growth. Many of our companies, nonprofits and organizations here are beginning to get ready for that growth, so they can make their name with a brand new population: people who “aren’t from around here.”

A large part of getting ready is improving how you look, i.e., your Website, your online presence, your logo, your leave-behind pieces, your direct mail. I recently worked with an entrepreneur who is ready to expand her hair studio & spa business to capitalize on the growth that is coming. She’s taking significant steps to realize her dream of owning multiple sites for her business. So the first thing we did was create a new logo for her.

We focused on clean, contemporary sophistication with a nod to her favorite color, purple, the color of the former logo. She says this logo depicts who she really is…and who she wants to be.

Another recent article on the subject describes the evidently limitless capacity of long-term memory to store concepts. Multiple studies indicate that “pictures have a direct route to long-term memory, each image storing its own information as a coherent ‘chunk’ or concept.”

It just makes sense, and the science bears it out. Researchers at the Wharton School of Business compared visual presentations and purely verbal presentations and found that presenters using visual language were considered more persuasive by their audiences. In fact, 67% of those surveyed felt that presenters who combined visual and verbal components were more persuasive than those who didn’t.

Another client hired us to improve the results of a fund-raising event. The first thing we did was create a logo for the event that is eye-catching, coordinates with the organization logo and tells the story. Then, we took great pictures of a little girl who benefited from the program, and told her story of help and success to connect the emotional appeal to the event. We took more steps to reach out more consistently, more frequently and much earlier to tell the story, ask people to give and encourage people to attend. Our results for the first year were stellar: We grew the financial results by more than 50 percent.

We expect a lot today. We expect more from ourselves, the organizations, businesses and nonprofits we patronize and give to, and from the world around us. We are seeking success, and we want to be associated with success.

And…success looks successful. It calls our names. It draws us nearer. And, we remember it—very important in this very crowded marketplace we all live in.

What’s your game when it comes to visuals? This year, in 2015, vow to take it up several notches, use your new platform consistently to tell your story and build your brand…and watch the results.