Throughout the course of the last year, Getty Images has been making a point of identifying the visual trends that define business culture in the modern age. In addition to seeing changes in media representations of women, middle-aged people and beauty standards, Getty has also drawn attention to the way technology is influencing photography through extreme close-ups and point-of-view cinematography. And as the world stands poised to draw the curtain on 2014, the team at Getty have taken a moment to look at what the future in a new article published on its website.
Rather fittingly for a stock image provider, the article is brought to life with striking imagery that gives each of the seven insights a visual representation.
Getty kicks off the discussion by saying that the immediacy of digital media means that companies will run real time campaigns that connect with consumers in the moment. Essentially, what this means is that websites become stagnant faster than ever before, and this necessitates constant action from brands to ensure that consumer are given something to engage with.
Next, Getty argues that social media users are wizening up to the mute button and cutting out noise from brands that overload their newsfeeds. If brands want to stand out in this crowded space, they will have to produce quality content that users look forward to.
"Content marketing will stop being a fad and become a basic brand requirement," says Tim Burrows, the content director of focal attractions at Getty. "Brands will develop strategies to earn comsumers' attention, and begin to develop an armoury of what works for them—and lessons from what doesn't."
A common misconception afforded to milennials is that they aren't interested in long-form content and that they prefer things that can be consumed quickly. Getty is now arguing that this isn't the case and that there is a strong demand for content that offers readers and consumers deeper insight.
This resonates with the views of Vice Media's global general manager Hosi Simon, who at the Google's Brandcast event in Sydney said: "When we first started, everyone in mainstream media told us emphatically that young people don’t care about the news, and young people particularly don’t care about anything international. Young people just want short, snackable content and nothing serious. Instead of listening to them, we decided to ask our fans around the world what they actually wanted in a news channel."
Getty argues that this demand for longer-form content will be met by credentialed practitioners, who provide insightful commentary on things happening in the world.
Getty predicts that there will be a move back toward high production values as businesses place greater emphasis on producing quality video footage.
"The old-fashioned balance between media costs and production is gone and the purse strings are loosening fast," says the article.
The hyper-connected world means that we can today know exactly when a celebrity sitting in Los Angeles is eating her dinner. And yet, this doesn't really connect with the consumer on a personal level.
For this reason, Getty argues that local imagery will play an integral role in connecting with consumers in the future. And Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the US-based Content Marketing Institute believes that this could see brands return to print.
"We will see a surge in print magazines from brands in 2015," says Pulizzi. "As most brands continue to focus heavily on digital, smart brands will realise that it is much easier to cut through the clutter by leveranging 'the post' – without much competition at all."
The penultimate insight shared by Getty is that brands will start building bigger narratives. According to the article, companies will now focus on a "triple bottom line" comprised by doing good for people, the environment and company finances. And in pursuing this triumvirate of goals, brands will look to their roots to provide history, authenticity and other values.
Looking at the success of the nation's YouTube stars, it's clear that there is a major demand for authentic content that connects with the audience on a personal level.
Getty believes that something similar applies when it comes to representing a brand through imagery. Given that we see thousands, if not tens of thousands, of images every day, Getty says that successful brands will in 2015 "focus on being in the moment and this will play out in imagery that looks different, yet feels personal and familiar."
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