Guest blog: 5 Cracking Tips to Get Your Brand Visual Communications on Trend in 2019

Ed Robinson, photographer, director and visual consultant working with a wide variety of international brands is also a specialist partner to Eterna Partners. We asked him to tell us his thoughts about the year ahead and what he thinks we will see trending in visual communications during 2019.

Visual Communications for the Year Ahead

Here are my 2019 insights for those who are planning on communicating visually this year… which will be most of you, then!

What did we learn from The Egg… all 48million of us?

Last week an image of an egg reached 48 million likes on Instagram; priding itself on eclipsing Kylie Jenner’s birth announcement post that reached a meagre 18 million likes. We live in strange times and have to constantly adapt to new marketing trends. My observation is that there is a counter-trend movement from a growing, and more informed, mass who are pushing back against celebrity endorsements, data violations, click bait and ‘fake news’.

Consumers are ever more cynical when consuming social media

A large following or cluster of likes for an item of visual media is often seen through sceptical eyes by today’s consumers. Brands falling into the trap of following the latest fad or trend in visual communications will be dismissed. The ’10 Year Challenge’ that is currently doing the rounds, where people share current images of themselves shown against one taken ten years ago, has been widely speculated to be a preconceived machine learning, AI, data mining project. True, or not, the general public is becoming ever more suspicious of such threats to their privacy; and exploitation of their time, goodwill and concealment of the true use of their personal data and visual identity, particularly if it is for commercial gain. It was shortly after it went viral that alternate 10 Year Challenges arose that display a variety of impactful visuals from the devastation of Middle Eastern cities to environmental catastrophes over the past decade. Expect a cynical public to re-shape and re-mould trends or memes in the coming year.

5 Top Tips for Getting Your Brand Visuals Right In 2019

Your audience increasingly wants to feel visually and consciously immersed in a moment to escape their existence. So how are you going to achieve this in 2019? Here are my 5 top tips for creating a difference in your brand communications through visuals:

  1. Be original, be authentic and if you can’t be authentic, create a conceptual approach that pushes the boundaries. Don’t just follow the ‘leader’ but be brave whilst avoiding being too controversial.
  2. Incorporate gender stereotyping into your films and photography communications at your peril. It is not just increasingly complex, it is also now illegal, so please take note –
  3. Immerse your audiences in POV (point-of-view) imagery and focus on those honest perspectives; tell the stories of real people in real scenarios.
  4. Expect to adapt communications methods to include augmented reality.  Virtual Reality is taking a back seat for now, but with the enhanced realities AR offers, our own authentic and interesting world will come alive in a creative and visual feast for the eyes. This is no gimmick and will increasingly become a tool that will need to be embraced by brands and corporations alike.
  5. Conceptual imagery, which is a standalone image that conveys a single idea – with smart messaging rather than literal images – is on trend. Innovative visuals are therefore ever more important, and audiences will no longer react to stereotyped visuals that might look cheap and/or hark back to a former era. In an age when everyone has access to a smartphone, on which they can photograph beautiful sunsets or simply their cat, brands need to go the extra mile to inform and entertain.

Getting the balance right – great visuals vs controversy

Recently, Greggs, with their Vegan Sausage Roll campaign, created a PR master stroke by being bold and just controversial enough, although Piers Morgan may not agree! They also got the balance right with their visuals, and avoided the storm that ensued, after previously being too controversial with their 2017 campaign when they swapped baby Jesus out for a sausage roll.

Simple, well structured, clean and bold… get your visuals eggs-actly right

I conclude that the visual trends of 2019 can be defined by an egg analogy – you can’t fake an egg, it could end up in your face and an egg’s form, much like the visuals of 2019 will be, is simple, well-structured, clean, bold but must be handled with care. Present your egg to suit the customer… as long as they like eggs in the first place.