Visuals are part of what we are expecting when it comes to engaging our audiences through digital stories.  From viral videos to photo editing campaigns and tools to infographics and even interactive video experiences, more brands are jumping on board with this new trend for their various campaigns and initiatives in 2012 heading to 2013.

Brian Solis made an excellent point in his latest blog post on infographics and other visual elements about how it is important to look at the stories and knowledge being shared, but also how this fits into the overall strategy and message positioning for a brand, organization, and even individual.

I think Brian has a good point here for not only practitioners in public relations, but also those who are teaching and working with the future practitioners and researchers in PR and social media. Too many times we see people jumping on the bandwagon with certain trends for social media practices without really thinking – is this something that we really should be doing? Or how does this fit into our overall vision and placement in the industry? Lastly, is this what audiences want to see or how they want to receive this information?

This goes back to the importance of creating not only valuable content, but also having the strategic insight of sharing this with various communities and social media ecosystems that may be interested in this same content and insights. We have to be creative in presenting information in a visual way, but we first have to make sure that it is aligned with the goals and objectives of the campaign.

Of course, there are certain times and places where visual components like infographics, viral videos, and photo editing campaigns do work – but it has to fit the right time, place, medium, audience, and brand at the moment.

WIth this in mind, public relations professionals and researchers have to take a step back away from the tools and focus on what makes social media successful – and this is based on the fact it is focused on the social stories, experiences, and communities we are part of. We have to look at all of the various factors, mediums (earned, paid, owned – great Altimeter Group white paper on this) and how this impacts the overall story and experience being shared across these various platforms and audiences.

With this new perspective in mind, more research should be dedicated to looking at this phenomenon and how it impacts public relations research, education, and practice. We need to continue having these discussions with our fellow colleagues and students and brainstorm how we will all work together be strategic and innovative with producing great content that ties in the complete story for our brand both offline and online venues.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,