Punching up GigaOm recently, the headline of a top post was “The new era of start ups focused on design”.
The headline instantly resonated. As I spend more hours of my waking hours on my iOS-based devices, I make choices for the apps I use based on the design. The first thing I do is look at the screen shots for the app listing and assess its visual appeal. Then I’ll scan the reviews for comments on usability. If there is more than one app in a category, the one with the best design – validated by reviews – wins.
This is the way that many of the startups mentioned in the GigaOm article have achieved success, and in many cases positioned themselves for successful exits. The bigger boys like Facebook take longer to get it right, but they can afford it.
It’s A Visual World, And We’re Just Living In It
The same lesson can be applied to PR. Much of the reason great visual design wins is because people just don’t have time to sift through an app over-packed with features. It’s the reason that the Facebook posts that drive the most interactions are the ones with great images. It’s why Google is standing out with its apps, especially G+.
In many markets, start-ups are competing with each other and with bigger companies for attention. In the same way visual design makes start-up apps standout and succeed, so can visual PR. Following are four examples to show you how.
While not a startup, ThingMagic sells RFID modules and finished readers. It’s a technology that generally garners interest from a small set of media. Its impact, however, is far deeper and ThingMagic does a great job with content-driven PR to tell this story through its blog as an industry reporter.
It recently published an infographic to visually tell the story of the future of RFID. It frames the story from the perspective of the pervasiveness of the technology, how it’s converging with others we all use like GPS, and its role in our “big data” world.
All of this garners it coverage and attention from mainstream tech media.
Chances are if a company has brilliant product designers at the helm that it will be great visual marketers and content producers as well. Such is true with Nest, the company making thermostats sexy founded by iPod creator Tony Fadell.
The image above is from a blog post written by its VP of engineering proving how easy installation is by showing kids getting it done. It’s worth noting that Nest doesn’t have a newsroom that is easily found, but the blog is. Concidence?
The company that makes the stunningly visual tablet apps for reading online content not surprisingly has an online newsroom that reflects the experience of the apps. This includes its “media resources” section, which has several images for journalists and bloggers to grab images and videos to use in articles and posts. It’s the only one I’ve seen where thumbnails of the images are shown as opposed to hyperlinked text describing the multimedia available. This makes it more likely that journalists will actually use the resources.
Along the lines of the Flipboard example above, Cisco uses Pinterest as an extension of its newsroom. In doing so, it takes advantage of the weight the site has from an SEO perspective, allowing it to utilize tags and important keywords in its captions to ensure more opportunities for high ranking for its news and PR-related content.
This is especially useful for showcasing visual PR content, and should be focused on this type of content only. It looks like Cisco posts just about everything from its newsroom to Pinterest, based on all the “thought bubbles” across the board. This kind of clutters the board and doesn’t make the most of the channel.
Looking for more ideas? Sarah Skerik, PR Newswire’s head of social media, put together a useful mini slide deck earlier this year.
What visual PR tactics have you executed that have been successful? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add to this in future posts