LOLCat Nears 9th Life

Teamwork and technology will fuel the flight to quality on the visual web

Tapping in to Talent: Brands will rely more on collaborative creative teams

LOLCat The ecosystem of the visual web starts with talent, including independent illustrators, designers, animators, videographers, data visualizers and other creatives. But rather than just bringing aboard a single hired gun, more and more we are seeding small teams where an illustrator partners with an animator, a videographer works with a writer, etc. so together they can satisfy multiple aspects of a brand’s project. The more they work together, the more a team becomes a genuine “1+1=3” for the brand. And while on the topic of working together, you will see more partnerships like the one that gives Facebook advertisers direct access to the Shutterstock photo library. Integration like this will be more prevalent, placing creative assets within easy, efficient reach for brands.

Building Better Ideas: Platforms will empower easier, earlier sharing of concepts

One frustration of visual content creation, particularly video and animation is the clunkiness of sharing early-stage ideas and cuts with clients who might be across the country, not across the table like they were for Don Draper. Companies will advance development of sharing platforms that get ideas vetted, discussed and refined in a “pre-storyboard” phase using technology-driven communication and brainstorming earlier in the creative process to further fuel the flight to quality.

Mastering the Fundamentals: The industry will refine the arts of distribution and measurement

You can make the Sistine Chapel of data visualizations, but without the right approach to distribution nobody will see it, and without the right analytics no brand can justify making it again. Granted, these truths are not specific to visual content per se, but with the incremental time and investment often required for infographics, animation and video, the fundamentals are that much more important. In regards to distribution, look for publishers thanks to their built-in reach and native-ad platforms to become bigger and bigger players as marketers seek guaranteed scale. Distribution networks specific to a topic or industry are critical because (to use the finance vertical as an example) a company like Merrill Lynch looks to get its content in the hands of a quality audience quickly. And on the analytics side, the industry will reconcile the challenges we have experienced in trying to create content like journalists and measure it like marketers. Visually and other companies like ours are investing in much-needed measurement tools. Visually will focus on the sharing index, not simply engagement, but rather deep profiles of who is actually doing the sharing and liking. That’s why I picture a future where the visual web is defined by quality. Not (thankfully) lolcat.   Stew Langille is the CEO and co-founder of Visually which connects designers, journalists, animators and developers with clients via cloud-based collaboration tools. Written with Brad Young, a New York-based content and marketing consultant. You can follow Stew on Twitter @slangille.. Brad can be found on Twitter at @byoung07016.

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