A brand identity is one of the most important tools in a marketer’s arsenal. A unique identity allows your creative team to produce visual content that matches your brand message and is exclusive to your brand alone.
Custom or on-brand content helps digital marketers stand out from crowded digital channels. According to a study on custom content by Time Inc., 89% of consumers believe brands that publish custom visual content break through the noise of deafening social news feeds.
Make no mistake - social media is where many consumers interact with visual content. Advancements in mobile technology enable users to seamlessly sync with their favorite social apps. As well the simplicity of opening an app and accessing a nearly endless stream of content has become habitual for today’s consumer.
Data from Smart Insights verifies the impact of mobile technology on modern content consumption. Studies confirm that people spend 90% of “mobile moments” - coined by VP Principal Analyst of Forrester, Julie Ask - within apps.
As you can see in this visual, most device owners spend their time on apps. Facebook, Instagram, and other social messaging platforms are among the most popular applications.
Billions of people interact with these apps on a monthly basis and as a result, marketers devote so many resources towards creating content for these channels.
Mobile behavior reduces content processing time
So how does this data influence the ways that marketers use custom-made content?
There is so much content promoted to social platforms, but very little real estate on mobile screens for users to consume it. People thumb scroll through their news feeds to see the latest updates, but it doesn’t take long for that content to blend together into an indistinguishable blur.
People have very short attention spans. They need something that’s bold; something that prompts them to recognize and recall your brand as the provider of that content.
Generic content won’t support your marketing campaigns
Look at it this way. Suppose your brand is in the financial services industry. You want to run a promotion for the holidays that encourages people to sign up for your most attractive rewards credit card for this time of the year.
The holidays are when consumers feel pretty liberal with how they use their credit cards. People are out to find the best gifts for loved ones and if they can accumulate as many points as possible, that’s even greater incentive to use your card. In fact, the National Retail Federation reports that over $600 billion of purchasing occurs during the holiday season.
All of this data supports the notion that a holiday-themed marketing campaign is a wise strategic decision. But the challenge is that there’s limited barrier to entry for another financial services brand to step in and launch a similar campaign of their own.
Other than placing your brand name and logo on every piece of content, how do you make your promotion stand out and resonate with your target audience? What’s to stop people from selecting your competitor, or worse, failing to comprehend the difference between your promotional content, and that of your competitors?
This is why a custom visual brand identity is so important for financial services brands, or brands of any industry, to break through the clutter.
Share your custom content on multiple platforms
At Shutterstock Custom, our mission is to transform and scale the way brands tell their stories. We achieve our goal by using technology to connect your brand with the creative talent to produce it so that you can scale production of custom visual content that’s unique to your brand’s identity.
Over the course of 2017, we’ve analyzed how brands have used content created through Shutterstock Custom. What we’ve discovered in our data is there’s a common objective to create content that “fits the feed.” In other words, marketers want to create content that appears natural and organic to consumers as they scroll through their mobile news feeds but retains unique characteristics or variables that distinguishes from all other content in the feed.
This is an indication of how brands are using their custom content.
Not surprisingly, Instagram and Facebook are the two most common networks where brands promote their custom-made content. As the top of mind visual platform, Instagram is a perfect fit for marketers to promote unique visual identities; and Facebook is undoubtedly the largest channel with over 2 billion active monthly users.
One of the most interesting data points we found is that, in addition to social promotions, marketers are using custom content on their websites. Since your website is the online hub of your brand, it’s a logical move to express your visual identity on your root domain.
This behavior gives credence to the idea that marketers use custom content for multiple reasons. Drumstick Canada is a great example of a brand that originally created custom content for social media and then repurposed the visuals for their website.
They were even able to create a video from the content that aired on national TV.
Use technology to scale custom creation and management
Technological advancements have given marketers opportunities to improve the creation and management of content.
As new solutions are made available, marketers are incorporating technology into their creative processes. Platforms like Shutterstock Custom help marketers create on-brand visual content, while digital asset management platforms simplify how your team manages the content you create.
These and other platforms can improve how you source, create, promote, and manage content in 2018. According to the 2018 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, content and how brands use their content will be even more important in the new year.
Ensure that your brand is creating and utilizing content in the most effective way possible. Join us on Thursday, December 14 for our “scaling custom content production and management” webinar where we’ll present practical tips on how to implement better content creation and organizational processes to hit the ground running in 2018.