How to engage your audience with visual content

The recent Marketing Association Brainy Breakfast was a feast for the eyes. Guest speakers Tony Bradbourne from Special Group, Jens Hertzum from TVNZ, and Jacqueline Bourke from Getty Images shared how they were engaging audiences with creative visual content – with a considerable dose of engaging visual content to back them up.

Naturally, for the Qrious Brainy Breakfast Poll of attendees, we wanted to find out what types of visual content from brands NZ Marketers found most engaging.

We learnt that the most engaging visual content was videos and presentations, followed by Infographics, GIFs and memes - with data visualisations only getting a single percent of the vote.

Our follow up questions asked which brands came to mind when they thought of highly engaging content, and why.

Following the trend from previous polls, Air NZ dominated this answer, followed closely by Nike (they did just bring out that super-fast 4% shoe after all).

What was more interesting however were the reasons behind why a brand’s content was considered engaging, namely:

  • Humour
  • Relevance
  • Originality or
  • Authenticity

These are good points to keep in mind next time you’re hoping to engage your audience with visual content, and the three speakers – all of whom have been involved in with award winning visual content – had their own insights to share.



Namely how important it is to know your audience. You can create the most beautiful, inspiring, funny or thoughtful visual content in the world, but if it doesn’t resonate with your target audience they won’t engage. As Tony explained, ‘It’s not about content, it’s about how we engage with our target audience.’



But this doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. Jens Hertzum pointed out that ‘What they [audiences] want is not what they expect’, and ‘You always remember something bold… so deliver it.’ Visual content needs to have an impact and create a memory, so sometimes you need to get creative in what you deliver to achieve this.


Know the Trends

Just like fashion, the types of visual content that captivate people changes. Jacqueline Bourke discussed the trends for 2017, which included ‘Virtuality, ‘Unfiltered’ and ‘New Naivety’. All these drive the notion of real-life moments over the curated, overly edited and idealised composition of images often used by the media. (to see the full line-up of 2017 themes check out Getty’s images website)


Highly Engaging Visual Content

Which brings me back to the reasons why certain visual content was considered engaging by our Brainy Breakfast audience.

While Air NZ and Nike were the most popular, there was a diverse range of brands mentioned – from Pak n Save’s stick man to Heineken’s recent #OpenYourWorld campaign, with common reasons as to why they resonated:

  • They entertained us
  • They showed a version of ourselves, and were relevant to their target audience
  • They innovated, pushed the boundaries and tried something new
  • They were ‘real’

And they were inspirational, as indicated by the popularity of the likes of Nike, Go Pro and National Geographic.

So, next time you’re looking at using visual content to engage your audience, keep these in mind.

And if you’d like more information on how to use visual content within your marketing automation endeavours –talk to us!

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