If your brand voice is not as strong as your visuals, take a look at your marketing budget.
Everybody loves looking at good-looking things. Especially in image-driven industries like fashion, beauty and luxury—pretty people, products and pictures are the focus, and rightfully so.
But those things can only impact your sales figures if you tell people how to interact with them. It’s up to you to make a connection between what your audience sees and what they’re supposed to do with their feelings about it. There are stories, philosophies, information and instructions that are necessary to bolster the images that sell the products. How does the model feel wearing this dress? Who designed these shoes and where were they made? Why is this hotel room laid out this way, and how do I book a night to sleep in it? They want to know exactly what they’re looking at and how they themselves can be a part of the lifestyle you’re depicting.
This is why image-based brands who want to become and remain relevant should think about balancing bold visuals with healthy investments in copywriting and content. Blowing your entire digital marketing budget on photography and design is like going on a date with a professional blowout, bespoke nail art and a $5k outfit, but having absolutely nothing to say. It isn’t attractive past the first few minutes. Nor does it lead to anything truly life-enhancing. People long to be inspired, and physical beauty is just one aspect of that. As a brand, you want to be the total package.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to re-think the way your brand distributes its spending on copy and written content in proportion to visuals...
AWARENESS ISN'T THE SAME THING AS AFFINITY
Images, colors, videos, looks. These elements, when they’re on point, can be mesmerizing. There’s no denying that a picture can really say a lot in one glance. But what happens once you’ve grabbed all the attention? How will your audience know what your brand is actually about? Some explaining might be in order. Once people know who you are, it’s time to get them to like you. And the way you get people to like you is by talking to them.
OH HELLO, SEO
Search engines can’t see images. They can’t. Yes, you can label your photos invisibly, but even then, they’re not as interesting to Google as they would be if you put written content around them. You need to have words on your web site. You just do. But you don’t want them to disrupt your brand experience. It’s a delicate maneuver that you should think twice about leaving up to your in-house designer or other layperson. Besides, merely slapping some written content on your site won’t do much for your SEO rankings. You need your content to be good—as in useful, as in meaningful, as in engaging, original, and shareable. As in, professionally planned and executed.
HOW CAN I CONVERT IF YOU DON'T TELL ME HOW...?
When a user interacts with your web site, you want them to leave something behind—an email address, a comment, a query or perhaps some of their money. Pictures are nice, but they’re not instructive. They don’t point the way or beckon the user to take the action you want them to take. You need words to do that. But not just any words—on-brand words. Don’t think of this as a burden or “another thing.” Think of it as an opportunity for brand-building moments. How you ask for an email address, how you guide your user through checkout, could create brand affinity in an unexpected way, and get the desired action out of the user at the same time.
I WANT TO BUY SOMETHING, BUT I CAN’T FIND IT
How frustrating is it when you walk into a store where you know they have what you need, but there isn’t anyone around to assist you? “Hello?” you yell into the air. “Does anybody work here?” See, that’s what it’s like when a customer lands on an ad or eCommerce site that has little or no copy. They might like the products they see, but there is nothing there to guide them through the shopping experience and clinch the sale. On the flip side, having too much copy on your site is like shopping in a store where the salespeople follow you around the whole time you’re browsing. Also not super welcoming. Which is why you need a professional to help you find the right amount of verbal interaction (and a tone of voice that works for your brand).
I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEEP, BUT YOU WERE JUST HOT AND QUIET
Let’s return to the dating analogy for a minute. Have you ever spotted an attractive person who seemed intriguing and mysterious? But then, when you went to talk to them, they were actually just vapid? Pretty disappointing. It’s the same with your brand. If you’re going to put truly compelling imagery into the world (and you should) you need to make sure you have a rap. Have a few clever lines at the ready and then let your story grow more interesting as it unfolds. Get involved in the conversation. The brand-customer interaction is a relationship. It needs to work on many levels—not just physical.