InstaBRAND on Instagram


Instagram is at the forefront of the visual media revolution, challenging norms on text heavy social networks. Facebook’s acquisition of the network and its ensuing growth legitimized the visual communications revolution, and challenged brands across America to change the way they market.

My friend Christian Adams wrote an eBook on visual storytelling called InstaBRAND, and it’s pretty damn good. So I asked him to guest blog and share some insights. Here’s Christian’s post.

2013 will be the year you start to see a noticeable change in content marketing strategies. Are you prepared for the shift? When I started writing my eBook, InstaBRAND: The Ultimate Guide To Visual Storytelling Through Instagram I felt there was something missing in the world of content marketing and integrated marketing campaigns in general. An imbalance of sorts.

There seemed to be a tipping point starting in 2012 with a little bit of a backlash from marketers who were tired of public relations and social media types owning and pushing content marketing strategies. Which led to the information overload we have today. Pushing content without consistency or context is not a lead generation strategy. It is a diluted/watered down version of a brand’s core storytelling experience.

I’m probably going to piss off a lot of PR, SEO and social media types, but the truth is most marketers and consumers are tired of hearing the record stuck on repeat. Geoff calls it the end of the Social PR Revolution.

Grassroot efforts with good intentions have been replaced by social networks looking for top dollar from advertisers. Add to that Google’s search algorithm changes has essentially flattened how SEO is created to include a more emphasis on crowdsourced authority building search results. Content isn’t necessarily king, anymore. Context and value added relevancy, which is replacing volume.

People always ask me, “Quality or Quantity?”

My answer: Both. You want quantity for new discovery, but you want quality for retention. What you need above all else is consistency across the channels. When all is said and done it is context.

The biggest challenge for any company then becomes consistency in messaging online and offline. The biggest hurdle for most brands isn’t the execution, but getting rid of the silo effect of using multiple agencies for specific needs.

We all know it as the shiny object syndrome. With the exception of video, good digital agencies should have you covered. True integration of online and offline marketing campaigns without a noticeable disconnect of silos with regards to production (aka – Brand Message Continuity).

Experiential Marketing Is Visual


Experiential marketing will become more commonplace and that involves a higher emphasis on visuals. The immediacy of mobile marketing and responsive design is lending itself to visuals and featuring photography and video prominently.

Do I want to watch/listen to a brand’s latest update on Instagram, QuicktTime, Youtube or Vimeo or do I want to read a long blog post about a book review on marketing strategies?

Consumers say they have their preferences on one or the other, but studies show that in the hyper fast real-time environment that mobile has created they will pick the photo or the video. You are talking about future generations that are used to bite sized snacks and not mom and dad’s luxury time newspaper read.

They want instant satisfaction so they can get what they came for and move on to the next thing on their to do list so they can enjoy luxury in their own way. We have to give the consumer the option.

Even in the world of high fashion photography there is less convincing needed in visual storytelling than the amount of hours put into placing stories so long as you have built up a network of brand advocates. As we all know in social that takes time and consistency.

The balance between optimized SEO copy for search engines and images that tells the story of your company’s reason for existence. You’ve already seen this evolution in mobile news apps like Flipboard, Flud News, etc. and now you are starting to see it from a responsive design perspective from brands like Sony, Coca-Cola, eBay, and more trying to replicate the success of Pinterest, but with specialized context through visual storytelling.

I wrote InstaBRAND to talk about the coming shift brought on by the evolutions in technology that will force CMOs, brand managers and community managers to think long and hard about how mobile is changing the way we do business. You are going to see the rebirth, so to speak, of traditional media in the digital space which will lend it self to a more seamless integration of offline and online marketing tactics.

Visual storytelling will play and ever increasing role in connecting with brand advocates and consumers.

What do you think?