The way we see and understand the world is becoming far more visual. We’re starting to think with images: looking around the physical world for ideal Instagram images, articulating emotions by calling upon icons and animations. Mobile devices are helping to drive the shift to a more visual vocabulary and aesthetic, which minimize or even supplant the need for text. Equipped with a dual-sided camera, touch screen and a keyboard that easily shifts over to emojis, mobile devices make it easier to rely on images than on words. Search is also getting more visual, thanks in part to image-recognition technology.
With more consumers communicating visually, a high degree of visual literacy will be imperative for brands. Brands will need to adopt a new visual lingo for communicating, mastering creative ways to express themselves and new ways to communicate with consumers. For instance, Starbucks encouraged its fans on WeChat to describe how they were feeling using an emoticon, responding with a song to match the mood. By the close of the campaign, Starbucks had tallied 62,000 fans and received an average of 22,000 messages per day, with the bulk of the interaction driven by