Paul Price at the WWD Digital Beauty Forum - February 11, 2016

The Web has come a long way since its early days when it was merely a source of information, according to Paul Price, chief executive officer of CreativeDrive, an omnichannel content and marketing solutions platform. “We think that we are at a very important stage of evolution of the Web which we call the visual Web — the growing importance of telling, selling and equally showing,” he said at WWD’s Beauty Digital Forum.

Visual content, he proposed, is becoming more powerful and scientific theories support how consumers make their buying decisions. “We are wired to be irrational,” he explained. But there are tactics marketers can adopt when crafting messages that can impact outcomes.

A tweak as simple as picking certain colors can influence results, he said. “Color is extraordinarily powerful at many levels. Red is measurably known to affect agitation levels. Blue is calming,” he said. “Choose color wisely. It is not to be misused.” Web pages featuring red, for example, can lead to higher agitation levels.

The concept of priming (the subconscious association of influences that drive opinions) plays a big role in crafting messages, Price continued. He cited the example of imagery of eyes over a collection bucket versus the same receptor with a picture of flowers. Donations rose 15 percent with the eye photo “because people thought they were being watched.” When managed well, the concept of priming has a psychological impact on outcomes.

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At the top of Price’s recommendation list for content is to be visual, since most of learning is done that way. Next up: use your heart, he said. “Engaging emotions is by far the most powerful way to entice and inspire people to do what you’d like them to do,” he explained.

Not all content is created equally and it should be curated, Price maintained. People are bombarded with imagery and data reveals there is a correlation between the quality of content and conversion rates. “Be committed to raise the standard of content you use, particularly the visual presence.”

Priming is important and particularly effective when teamed up with the right platform to tell a product story. Match the context with content, Price urged, noting that what works on Facebook might not be right for Instagram. “Those channels have very different meanings because of the way they are experienced and the role people see of those channels in their lives.”

Storytelling is a key in marketing today. “While content is king, stories are queen,” he said. “I’m convinced that storytelling is the most important goal of marketers today. Stories told in the right context are powerful ways to prime consumers toward your brand.” He noted that the right setting is key for those stories. A 30-second television spot, for example is probably not designed for storytelling.

“Be clear about what you think it is the social platforms are doing for you; be absolutely certain what they are doing for their audience,” Price advised.

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