People respond to images more than taglines

by Colleen Zvosec co-author Beatrice Zvosec on June 10, 2010

My account team recently fielded research to determine the optimal messaging to elicit purchase interest in our client’s new product. We labored for WEEKS developing just the right wording for alternative positioning statements.  Considerably less time was spent on selecting assorted product-related images to accompany the positioning statements.

The research results were markedly decisive – the images drove consumer preference for a specific positioning; not our meticulous wording of benefits or taglines, not even the brand name choices.   I shouldn’t have been surprised – a picture’s worth 1000 words and all that, but I admit to being disappointed.

I’ll be straight with you – I like words.  As a foreign language major, I loved crossing the “frontera” into a new culture that command of the language allowed.  Nothing beats a well-written work of fiction for immersion into fantasy.   I even kvetch about tonality in emails.

However, at the risk of being the word dinosaur, I turned to my daughter Beatrice for counsel; I figured a sharp millennial can teach a boomer the new tricks of the trade, possibly giving some insight into this documented dominance of imagery.

Beatrice reports, “Millennials respond to pieces of information that convey the most meaning in the least amount of words.  Marketing tools such as Twitter and Facebook represent one way; information can be clearly presented and require no effort by the reader.  If I see an ad with large blocks of print or confusing lines, I am either going to focus on the image or I’ll disregard the ad entirely. The images need to both get my initial attention and hold it.”

Dios Mio!  Are we destined for new-age hieroglyphics as our primary marketing communication? Would you want to still use words in your advertising? Do you think this is a trend specific to the Millennial generation or will we still get this feedback in subsequent generations?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mark June 28, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Fantastic article! This reinforces the importance of making all artifacts tagged and taggable, so we can at least glean some meaning behind those shiny objects that work, and take note on the ones that don’t.


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