Visual Trends to Help Businesses Improve Their Marketing in 2022

 In Best Practices

512890474, pixdeluxe

While 2021 has proven to be another difficult year for businesses of all sizes around the globe, people and organizations have pivoted to adapt to the new normal, and for small businesses, the opportunities of a more localized society have never been brighter.

iStock’s Visual GPS research shows that younger generations are no longer driven by in-store experiences, but instead look to shop with businesses that share their values and give back to their local communities. This provides a great opportunity for small businesses—however, they need to embrace new technologies, especially online video, to engage with this potentially lucrative market.

The Visual GPS research shows that 40% of Gen Z and Millennials have increased their local shopping habits over pre-pandemic levels, and this is not just down to restricted travel. The research shows that their purchasing decisions are driven more by informative, online video content than in-store experiences. In fact, 43% of Gen Z and 41% of Millennials state that they actually prefer online video product demonstrations (67%) to in-person experiences.

Additionally, these shoppers are also more likely to shop with businesses that share their values, with supporting their local community (78%) and offering more expertise and personalized service (81%) as major factors.

So how do businesses go about engaging this burgeoning market? From our experts at iStock, below is a list of top tips that will improve marketing and help engage customers in 2022.

Embrace Video Content

Panning video of a young woman recording herself talking on a mounted camera

1320814431, Tirachard

Video has seen huge growth over the past few years and only increases in importance. Our research shows that it’s the key to communicating with younger, growth markets and thus essential for any marketing strategy. The key here is the move to more affordable, stock footage edited to communicate your company values over the costly custom video shoot that we have seen in the past.

Prioritize Sustainable Visuals

A young girl in a vibrant park empties her trash into a receptacle.

1319980141, SolStock

Visual media reflects the ways that people view the world. At iStock, we’ve seen keywords such as “environmental social governance” (ESG) increase by over +900%, “net zero” increase by +500%, and “circular economy” by +375%. In news, there’s been a +420% increase in the number of visuals related to the keyword “global warming” and a +472% increase in visuals around “clean energy”.

Consumers now expect all brands to be transparent about their commitment to sustainability and, broadly, towards social good, which dovetails with efforts on the rise at large organizations today. However, they’re just as important for small businesses too, so it’s a key factor to keep top of mind when creating marketing campaigns. In the end, you should embrace sustainability as a fundamental part of your business—and don’t be shy about shouting about it.

Facilitate Personal Connections

A father and son in masks look outside the window of an airport.

1284745836, ArtMarie

Pent-up demand for travel means that there’ll be a need to encourage traveling, but also to emphasize proper safety protocols. We’re calling it conscious travel—consciousness of how providers are adapting to the current traveler’s needs. There’s also a perceived luxury in getting away—more so than ever before—and a third of respondents specifically see travel as an opportunity to connect to partners and family in a way that they didn’t pre-pandemic. While travel may not be relevant to your business, illustrating the importance of reuniting with friends and family, and those personal connections are key to engaging with your audience.

Connect on a Human Level

A group of diverse friends laugh together.

903280970, wundervisuals

As the world continues to change and adaptability becomes essential, people are seeking representations of individuality that confronts tropes of social norms. This is translating to design that strives to reflect the way we now relate to each other and communicate. Celebrate individuality and inclusivity in your use of imagery and recognize the way we connect has evolved.

Be Bright and Bold

Illustration of passengers walking through an airport in masks.

1262906228, petovarga

Bold backgrounds can help your brand stand out and grab your audience’s attention. Bright colors and patterns will really resonate in 2022 and can help communicate your message and make sure you stand out from the crowd.

Go Big!

A woman walks in front of a billboard with the words "Community is strength" written in capitalized letters.

1252382330, chrisdorney

Oversized type and graphics can help tell a straightforward story and emphasize transparency. Having an oversized headline, icon, or logo can show the viewer what your brand represents and the message you’re trying to convey.

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