Visual Is A Critical Piece Of Storytelling

According to a new study from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council entitled “From Content to Creativity: The Role of Visual Media in Impactful Brand Storytelling,” marketers believe visual assets, including photography, illustrations, infographics and videos, are core to customer engagement and will increase in usage in the coming year. Conducted in partnership with Libris, a PhotoShelter business unit, the study reveals that internal silos, disconnected content development strategies have prevented visual assets from being fully leveraged across the organization.

 What emerges is a fundamental chasm between the acknowledged importance of visual assets to brand storytelling and how internal silos, priorities and processes are preventing these assets from being leveraged to tell the best story possible. Consider the top learnings from the senior marketing leaders that provided their insights:

  • 65% of senior marketing executives surveyed believe that visual assets (photos, video, illustrations and infographics) are core to how their brand story is communicated
  • The majority believes the importance and use of visual assets (50% for photography, 60% for infographics and 79% for video) will only grow in the future
  • Only 27% have a process in place to aggregate, organize and manage the visual assets being used across marketing (and even non-marketing) teams.
  • 42%)say that the dialogue for centralizing these assets isn't happening because of competing priorities

Seeing is believing, or at least this is what senior marketing executives note about their customers when it comes to content consumption and engagement, says the report. Nearly half of survey respondents indicate that the use of photography, and video is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies. While illustrations and infographics are seen as important, they pale in comparison to the importance of dynamic visual assets like pictures and videos. In fact, only 2% of respondents do not use photography as part of their storytelling efforts, and only 5% said that images were simply unimportant.

The Importance of Visuals (Plus % Who Believe Importance Will Increase next Year)

The Visual




Will Increase





















Source: CMO Council, August 2015

Looking beyond today and into the year ahead, the importance of impactful, compelling and relevant visual assets will only grow. 50% of respondents indicated that the importance and use of photography will increase while 60% believe the use of infographics will increase compared to last year. The greatest shift will happen with video, a visual asset that 79% of marketers surveyed believe will increase in importance.

Visual assets are also used for a variety of purposes, notes the report. A key theme centered around the use of imagery as a critical piece of storytelling, with 65% of respondents indicating that visuals were core to how their brand communicates and tells its story. 60% of respondents also felt that visuals added excitement to content that helped capture attention and ensure engagement with their customers. 46% said that visual assets are also used to showcase products or innovations in a clear and quick manner, and 52% stated that visual assets aided in demystifying or explaining complex facts, issues or elements of their brand story or narrative.

Attitudes About Use of visual Assets Budget

  • More budget should be allocated to create compelling visual assets   (39%)
  • Budget is allocated appropriately and at the right level   (29%)
  • Other teams are also allocating budget to visual assets, so we have no real idea how much is being spent or how much is being wasted   (11%)
  • Budget is being wasted by unused assets or duplicated efforts   (11%)
  • This is not something we have ever thought about   (10%)

A key piece of being able to develop a strong visual storytelling platform is the centralization of the overarching content development strategy. However, the survey indicates that just over one-third of marketers have achieved such a system. This leaves 60% of marketers fending for themselves, with individual contributors defining their own content marketing strategies and establishing their own development cycles in a silo.

 Beyond connecting within an organization, only 23% of marketers have systems in place to share assets with internal teams as well as external stakeholders, including channel partners, vendors and agencies. 39% have no systems while 36% say that it depends on the partner or stakeholder.

When asked why this system of selective integration is the norm, 40% of marketers indicated it was because of functional silos beyond the marketing team that make any level of unification difficult. Interestingly, the second most frequent answer is also one that likely poses a significant challenge: consolidation and unification of assets are simply too difficult to achieve.

While just 27% of respondents have the centralized visual asset management system in place, 33% of this group says that their systems have helped to align teams around a common, unified experience that is powered by common visual assets and directions. Nearly one in four indicates that their system has actually helped to streamline the creative process as all teams across the organization are able to work from a centralized source of assets. A full 16% pointed to a reduction in cost as teams were now able to avoid duplicate costs from asset development and procurement, concludes the report.

The Greatest Business Impact That This Process or System Has Brought to the Organization

  • Aligned teams around common brand visuals and assets to create a unified experience
  • Streamlined creative processes as all teams work from a centralized repository of images and assets
  • Improved overall time to market for marketing content (especially via social media channels)
  • Reduced waste created by duplicative images or graphics being purchased or produced
  • Mitigated the risk associated with unapproved assets that fall outside brand value or message standards
  • Maximized ROI from customer experiences through connected storytelling

To review the complete whitepaper in a PDF file, please sign in here.




Next story loading loading..