Home Featured The Fashion Brand’s Guide To Creating Excellent Visual Content

The Fashion Brand’s Guide To Creating Excellent Visual Content

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Here, Victoria Greene shares her first exclusive with WhichPLM. Victoria is a branding consultant who loves visual content; a big fan of social media storytelling and community content.

In 2018, visual content is king. For the last ten years, every brand worth their salt has made visual content a key component of their marketing strategy. You can see it everywhere, from websites and social media pages to print and digital ads.

So why the surge in popularity? Research has shown that our brains process visual content a staggering 60,000 times faster than the written word. And as 90% of information sent to our brains is visual, we clearly need to see to believe.

Visual content also lends nicely itself to the ever-popular content marketing, making it a vital channel for marketers to take advantage of. The importance of visual marketing cannot be underestimated, and this article is your guide to getting it right for your fashion brand.

The different types of visual content (and how you can do it right)

Visual content is made up of a variety of mediums, some – or all – of which can be used to achieve different goals for your brand. Examples that you can use include:

Video

Video is perhaps one of the most important visual mediums a brand can employ. Viewers retain 95% of information when they get it from a video, compared with a measly 10% when reading it. With engagement levels like that, video is a must-have weapon in your marketing arsenal.

They’re also extremely versatile. Videos can cover events and shows, brand insights, behind-the-scenes clips, innovations in the industry, style advice, designer interviews… the list is endless. And for an industry with such a creative and visual-centric foundation, it’s the perfect medium for fashion.

Brands doing it right

The French designer Chanel has embraced video marketing, and has arguably turned it into an art form. In 2014, they released a 7-minute short film titled ‘Reincarnation’, made by Karl Lagerfeld and starring Cara Delevigne, Pharrell Williams, and Geraldine Chaplin.

Exquisitely shot and featuring a rousing soundtrack, the film racked up over 6,000,000 views, and is a shining example of video done right.

How to do it right

Good quality video cameras can be found for relatively cheap these days, and there’s a plethora of free editing software out there too, so everyone can make a good video. Consider creating a how-to style guide series (The British fashion retailer Net-A-Porter produces good style guides), or simply have an interview with your designers.

You don’t need to use advanced technical wizardry or fancy gimmicks to make a good video. Just be genuine and insightful about your brand and your product. Don’t make it too long either — Chanel can get away with a 7-minute video, but you can’t!

Photos

Think of history’s greatest photographers, and you’ll no doubt count more than one fashion photographer among them. Annie Leibovitz, David Bailey, Peter Lindbergh — the world of fashion is anchored, even beholden, to the humble photograph.

Photos are naturally a crucial aspect of a fashion brand’s marketing strategy. From models sporting the latest collection on the catwalk to behind the scenes glimpses into the design and development of a handbag, photos can drive sales, increase engagement and tell a brand’s story.

Brands doing it right

To find a brand that nails photography in all its forms, one need look no further than the French fashion house Hermès. Their Instagram feed features an array of dazzling photographs, showing serene models and new collections, fashion events and runways, candid snapshots into products being designed and made, and the hard-working men and women who create them. The quality of their photography is rivalled only by the sheer variety of their subjects.

Image: Instagram

How to do it right

But you don’t need to be Mario Testino to take a good photo though. You can have a good fashion shoot anywhere. Familiarize yourself with lighting and images retouching techniques (YouTube has plenty of free how-to videos) and invest in a good camera and reflector umbrella. If you don’t want to commit financially, Profoto connects users with camera rentals in your area for those on a budget.

If you’re running a small operation and you haven’t got the time for a full photoshoot, there are plenty of stock photo sites offering free photos that you can use in your promotional marketing campaigns. Just add in some logos or text to customize the pics.

Flip books

Flip books are the new print magazine.

When we talk about flip books, we don’t mean the ones that you used to make by drawing in the corner of your exercise book at school. These are interactive publications that can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection.

Flip books are attractive, easy to use, and highly shareable; the holy trinity that makes up a successful marketing campaign. They’re also super cheap and mobile friendly too, so you can go for the estimated 2.1 billion smartphone users that make up your customer demographic. Flip books are perfect for fashion brands to create digital lookbooks that anyone can use, wherever they are in the world.

Brands doing it right

Want to see how it’s done? Check out British clothing retailer Ted Baker’s online lookbooks, full of rich, high-quality shots of their seasonal collections. No copy is required, just tantalisingly imagery which lets the products speak for themselves.

Image: Ted Baker

How to do it right

Essentially online magazines, flip books need to be as user-friendly as their real-life counterparts. Don’t clutter them — keep everything relevant, and don’t be afraid to keep your copy minimal. A good lookbook is just that, about the way it looks. Choose a theme or angle, and stick with it throughout. Consistency is key!

And you don’t need to have a big budget or a team of tech ninjas either. iSpring Flip is a free online tool which lets you make good-looking flip books out of your images.

Memes

This one might surprise you, but bear with me.

We see memes almost daily as we scroll through our social media feeds. From Condescending Wonka to the infamous Pepe the Frog, memes are part of our social fabric — and part of the fashion world as well. High Snobiety acknowledged this trend last year, positing that every fashion brand needs memes …and it seems to be true.

More and more brands are clocking onto memes as a way to build their brand. Their unique format lets businesses engage with consumers naturally. Memes don’t look or feel like an advertisement, meaning users are more likely to respond to and share them. When done right, memes can go viral in a matter of minutes, creating rapid engagement virtually worldwide.

Brands doing it right

When you think of businesses doing memes, you probably think of Denny’s or Jimmy John’s.

You probably don’t think of the internationally renowned Italian luxury fashion brand Gucci.

Image: Instagram

The image above is from Gucci’s #TFWGucci campaign. Launched last year, the designer reimagined famous memes to feature their watches. While it was met with scepticism from some, others applauded the brand for their humorous and tongue-in-cheek approach to the format.

How to do it right

Memes can be tricky. When done right, they can cast your brand as current and authentic. But get them wrong, and you’ll come across an old fuddy-duddy trying to be down with the kids. Before you start, familiarize yourself with your customers. When you know your audience, you’ll know what memes to play with. And make sure they’re current too! Earlier incarnations of Pepe the Frog were fairly innocuous, but the meme was appropriated by the alt-right movement during the 2016 presidential elections, and could therefore tarnish a brand’s image if used. Be sure to strike the right tone and stay away from any controversy.

You don’t need to be a dedicated designer to create compelling visual content. It’s your product, and you know it best. A good visual content strategy is a diverse one, so work with a variety of formats and use each one’s unique features to sell your brand. And it’s not just about driving sales either. You can tell a story with a video, showcase your style with photos and, yes, even engage with your audience through memes. The only limit is your imagination 

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Lydia Hanson Lydia Hanson has been part of the WhichPLM team for over four years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like the Annual Review, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.