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Building connections through visual storytelling

Getty Images 2017 Visual Trend Report

If you needed more proof that visuals are sit at the same table as the story, take a look at the 2017 Visual Trend Report recently released by our friends at Getty Images.

We are more visually inclined than ever before and it's become more than a case of 'pictures telling 1000 words'. In fact it has snowballed to the point where visuals have unsurprisingly become the "language of the 21st century."

With buzzwords like 'click-bait' doing the rounds, brands are vying for the attention of their audiences and it's often a matter of imagery. The average person spends 15 seconds or less looking at any given story, article, post or piece of content. That means capturing the attention of your audience at first glance is more important than ever before.

These six highlights from the Getty images visual trend report are expected to dominate the 2017 photography world and should be considered when producing content for your communication channels.

1- Virtuality

"Virtual reality has the ability not just to immerse the viewer within an event, but also inspire them to action."

The word on the lips of communication gurus is authenticity and building a genuine connection. Whether that be with a brand, product or service, virtual reality brings the audience closer to achieving a realistic experience, ironically, in the confines of a largely staged environment.

"People remember virtual reality experiences not as a memory of something they saw, but as something that happened to them."

Developing these emotive ties with your audience puts the story at the heart of the experience and extends a brand's connection with key publics beyond the commodity.

2- Colour surge

"In our hyper-kinetic world, audiences are fatigued with the ordinary."

It has become trendy to be slightly left of centre and leveraging this within the world of colour has become key to placing brands at the forefront of our memories.

"It's about creating dynamic new ways to heighten the power of their storytelling and create rich emotions which entice consumers into their worlds."

3- Unfiltered

If you're getting tired of hearing the word authenticity – tough luck it's here to stay.

Connecting with audiences directly, honestly and in more meaningful ways has unmistakably become key to captivating the people that matter. Consumers can sniff out theatrical material from a mile away so attempts to replace transparency with layers of insincere messaging will inevitably be dug up.

"The Unfiltered trend illustrates a new direction in commercial photography, harnessing the language of photojournalism to tell more powerful stories"

"We are in a decade of disruption and instability, and these turbulent times have given rise to the activist consumer."

Younger consumers value raw, spontaneous and edgy storytelling. Safe no longer flies so visual elements must be rooted in reality.

4 - Gritty Woman

While Clinton didn't quite mark history as the first female President of the United States, feminism and fierce women have become a visual trend.

"As the debates around gender politics intensify, we are seeing the emergence of a new type of woman who is ready to reframe the battleground."

Damsel in distress conventions no longer apply. Women are now more concerned with what they can do rather than how they look.

Think Rhonda Rousey, Serena Williams and Beyonce – "females living fearlessly" will be the underlying theme of women-focused imagery.

5- Global neighbourhood

"We are becoming more internationally interconnected – and this trend is only going in one direction."

31% of the world's population, 2.3 billion people, are active users of social media.

"Global Neighbourhood is about embracing this state of flux, as our collective cultural identities will be less about where we are and more about what we believe, based on our connections."

Geographical locations no longer restrict our communication channels. Communicating to increasingly diverse audiences means we must consider the multiplicity of cultures creating a lens through which content is consumed.

"The ever-increasing circulation of people, goods and information around the world is having a transformative effect on society and has the potential to change the way we see ourselves."

6- New Naivety

"Traits we once tried to hide – like being freckled, chubby or geeky – are now proudly displayed. Personality, humour and individuality are climbing to the top of the social pyramid."

Once again, the importance of authenticity has stamped its territory.

"Increasingly savvy consumers are shunning the overly curated approach in favour of a looser, more irreverent touch – and big brands are following suit"

"It's about imagery that is not always 'on brand' and it's time to get raw, get real and make people laugh."

With the outstanding range of digital communication channels available out our disposal, authentic imagery is key to telling your stories effectively. The question is, "what message does your image send in 15 seconds?".