Archive | August, 2012

VIA Idea #24: Engaging People by Using Images and Videos

30 Aug

The Internet, with all of its sites and social networks, has created opportunities to display great images. Interesting photos, funny cartoons, short videos, and full-length TV shows teach us and entertain us. Here are a few ways you can use images and technology to attract customers.

Images engage

Publicity. Press releases and feature stories are more appealing with a photo. Every day, editors make decisions about which stories to run. A compelling photo increases the chance that they will choose yours.

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and our local Times are producing news videos because clearly the Web is moving into a much-less-static format. They started years ago, and their investments have paid off because the videos are getting a high number of views. Consider using videos to announce your company’s news or explain the features and benefits of your products and services.

Product ShotE-Commerce. Glamour shots are a good way to present your products. Show off your products as you would a beautiful human model. Lighting, props and Photoshop touch-ups are so important. When used right, they really accentuate the positives. E-Commerce just can’t be done well without beautiful photography. Educate your audience with videos that demonstrate or explain how to get the most out of your products.

HeadshotProfessional head shots. Professional photos are a must for anyone who has a Linked-In page. Take care in choosing just the right shot. Hire a professional for the best look. You are making a statement, so think about what you’re saying with your photo.

Website. Your website can tell your story with visuals. Consider the way these websites have incorporated large, engaging photos.

Search Engine Results. Logos, graphics, photos, and videos enhance search engine results when alt tags are used. Google + Business Pages and many directories don’t consider your listing complete without photos. Plus it’s been proven that consumers are more likely to contact a business that has posted its storefront photo.

Facebook. The Timeline overhaul puts an emphasis on images. Your company should grab hold of the opportunity to express your mission as a visual. Post it large for all to see. Mark Zuckerberg said of the recent acquisition of Instagram, “Providing the best photo-sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook, and we know it would be worth bringing these two companies together.”

According to research done by Web Liquid (pre-Timeline) Facebook posts with photos saw the highest user engagement at 37 percent. Videos saw 31 percent, text was 27 percent and links were 15 percent. If you want your business to utilize the exponential sharing attribute of Facebook, post engaging photos and videos that people will want to share.

Kraft Burger For example, food giant Kraft has created separate Facebook pages for its various market segments. The Kraft Singles page shows close-ups of mouth-watering burgers and gourmet salads. This site has 83,807 likes. The Kraft Dinner Facebook page clearly appeals to a younger crowd with images of the iconic macaroni noodle engaged in activities that include singing and surfing. Kraft Dinner has accumulated 399,000 likes.


Pinterest. Here, it’s all about ideas. Pinterest is a social network that allows millions of users, mostly female, aged 25 – 34, to create and visually share interests by ‘pinning’ images or videos to their pinboards. Users can either upload images from their computer or pin things they find on the web. The images lead you back to the source with more information, whether it’s a decorating tip, recommended book, piece of art, article, or recipe.

Though it’s been around since 2010, Pinterest has really taken off recently. Between October and December, its traffic doubled to 10 million. Forbes says “Its members are avid window-shoppers using the site to create virtual malls of their favorite shops” (6-6-12 post on Your business can be part of it. Find an example at MS Living.

YouTube. This video-sharing website allows you to broadcast yourself. Click to our VIA Idea #19 for a list of ideas on how to effectively use it for your business.

Photography not only validates and brings something to life; it can keep a memory alive. Who hasn’t heard the saying A picture is worth a thousand words? It’s never been truer than in today’s marketplace.

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VIA Idea #23: How to Market to Baby Boomers & Their Parents (aka the Silent Generation)

7 Aug

The Silent Generation
Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, account for approximately 40 percent of consumer spending and as much as 80 percent of personal wealth—so your business can’t afford to ignore this group.

I recently came across a top-ten list of dos and don’ts to follow when marketing to the Baby Boomer generation. I’ve whittled the list to what I consider the most relevant five:

5. Do not use terms like “grab bars” and “hand rails.” Use something like “belay,” a term borrowed from mountain climbing.
4. Do make the packaging of certain products, like a canister of snacks, easier to open.
3. Do make the fonts on your packaging and in your advertising larger and sharper.
2. Do concentrate on your product’s appearance to appeal to their senses. Yes, Boomers are aging; no, they don’t want bland.
1. Do not—under any circumstance—remind or suggest to Baby Boomers that they’re getting old!

The Silent Generation, born between 1925 and 1945, is more likely to read traditional media than younger people (one study found that 81 percent of 65-74s and The Silent Generation 86 percent of those 75-plus said they had read a book, magazine or newspaper within the 24 hours before being queried) but this doesn’t mean they want to read long blocks of text. Be sure to keep your message short, use bullet lists when appropriate and talk about how the product/service benefits the reader.

Engaging older people with images and messages that evoke an emotion are much more effective than technical articles. Be careful also, not to be too familiar in tone. Give them the respect they expect and don’t try to bully with “last chance, buy it today” types of marketing. Instead, using personal testimonials from real clients or customers gives your message validity.

But no matter how much they exercise, how much anti-aging cream they apply or how well they otherwise take care of themselves, neither of these groups have discovered the fountain of youth. As anyone over age 40 knows, eyesight begins to deteriorate. Although our creative department sometimes makes exceptions, at VIA we keep in mind that plain typefaces, larger fonts and high contrast color combinations work better for “older” consumers.

These fonts are all the same size. Which would you prefer to read in an ad?

I’ll close with this advice: don’t be blatant when marketing to Boomers or their parents. As you work on developing messages, materials or packaging, refer again and again to #1 above.

If you’d like more ideas or help with the plan, contact us or click to