The newest and most buzzed-about social tools for sharing content are based on visual storytelling. Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook Timeline and smaller startups like Storify are exploding, in great part, because they fill a void. They not only offer better-than-ever technology but also allow users to create meaningful, personalized narratives with enormous visual appeal. The best of these emerging apps and tools also provide good design and elegant user interface on a screen that fits in your pocket. That’s no mean feat and it’s quickly creating higher expectations in the marketplace.
Chuck Longanecker recently wrote in Mashable that the “‘beautification of the web era‘ is upon us.” He’s referring to anywhere we consume web content, but especially focuses on user experience on phones, tablets and other mobile devices. This ‘beautification’ is upping the ante for brands who want audiences to stay plugged into their content – whether browsing a mobile version of a website, using an app or on social network pages. Websites that don’t look great and work perfectly on mobile devices are no longer acceptable. And if you want customers to love your brand on Facebook, your Timeline profile image and social apps better look as good on Androids and iPads as they do on PCs.
An Italian neuroscience study published in 2007 got a lot of press because it pointed to evidence that our brains are actually ‘hardwired for beauty‘ – that aesthetic enjoyment is something universal and intrinsically human. Design-driven brands like Apple and Target are oft-featured examples of companies that pioneered in making aesthetic experience a key product differentiator and competitive advantage. As a result, consumer expectations have been forever changed by something once viewed as maverick: the delivery of good design to the masses.
When it comes to our digital daily lives, we’re beyond appreciating cool technology that simply allows us to get everything we need from our phone. We want design and user interface that’s equally brilliant – even beautiful. Daniel Pink states in his wonderful book: A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, that design is a critical component of economic success, going so far as to say that “the only way that businesses can differentiate their goods and services in today’s overstocked marketplace is to make their offerings physically beautiful and emotionally compelling.”
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to examine each and every touchpoint where customers connect visually with your brand – using phones, tablets and other mobile devices as your microscope. Focusing your marketing efforts and dollars here is a priority. Because now, more than ever, what you ‘show’ trumps what you ‘tell’.