Visuals, Social Media, and Hillary Clinton, oh my!
On Sunday April 12th, 2015, Hillary Clinton finally announced her much anticipated run for presidency. When this news broke, the conversation did not seem to focus on her qualifications, her platform, or even the possibility that she may become America’s first female president; the chatter was all about her campaign logo.
Within hours, social media was ablaze with critiques and comparisons to her block-letter “H” with a red arrow running through it: some saying it resembled hospital signage, while others stated it looked like something created by a 10 year old on MS Paint.
To be fair, Hillary is not the only political pundit to be on the receiving end of this type of “crowdsmashing”, a term coined by Paul Ford to describe how social media has allowed people to rally in a mob-like fashion to pick apart something they are not pleased with.
Crowdsmashing can be even more vicious if a well-known entity decides to undergo a rebrand. People do not like change, and social platforms allow them to voice that displeasure, and find out who else shares in their unhappiness.
This whole debacle surrounding logos and social media got me thinking about two facets of communications I deal with on a daily basis:
1. Our world is becoming increasingly visual
Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram currently lead the way in terms of fastest growing social media platforms. What else do these three platforms have in common? They’re light on text and heavy on imagery. In a digital era where our attention is so fleeting, we are placing increasing value on things that are visually appealing to us. If we don’t like what we see almost immediately, we are clicking/swiping/scrolling on to something better.
This phenomenon can also be extended to something like your company website. You may be the best and most innovative at what you do, but if your website appears dated, unorganized and difficultto use, it will be seen as a reflection of your business and users will start looking elsewhere. Remember that 55% of users spend as little as 15 seconds on your homepage, so your website has to catch their eye in order for them to stick around and potentially use your service.
In terms of media, TV places an extremely high value on great visuals. If your pitch to TV outlets doesn’t offer imagery that will entice their viewers to continue watching, don’t expect to have it picked up.
2. Everyone’s a critic
When a client story is told on any outlet type, the content is typically shared across social channels, or is open to comments online. You could be telling the happiest or most factually correct story possible, but there’s likely someone out there who wants to point out something negative, or who claims to know even more than you (I’m sure all the people critiquing Hillary’s “H” have years of graphic design and branding experience).
One negative, anonymous commenter on a story likely isn’t something to sweat about; however it is important to continuously monitor the chatter surrounding your brand online. Whether you’re running a social media campaign or a news story about your company just broke, following along with audience sentiment is vital in informing you of what aspects are and are not working, and whether or not you need to get out in front of a crisis before it starts to escalate.
When it comes to day-to-day social media responsibilities, if your company is receiving questions or complaints, it is important to respond to them quickly and professionally even if you find them trivial or know them to be incorrect. Ignoring these public comments will make it appear as though you have something to hide, or are neglectful of customer needs.
So whether you’re trying to become the President of the United States or just trying to generate business, understanding what is visually appealing to your audience and monitoring the conversation surrounding your brand online is important.