Brand marketing is changing and you and your team need to keep pushing your strategy forward to continue succeeding. Here’s our suggestion for bringing your brand strategy right up to speed for the 21st century: image recognition.
Image recognition helps computers and other tech devices to spot images and identify what’s on them. This is something humans do every waking second, but for computers? This is really some exciting new tech that will provide companies with essential insights and will help them strengthen their brand.
In this article, we’ll cover the reasons why marketers are turning to image recognition to support their brand strategy. Read on to see why it’s worth converting to this form of AI.
What Is Image Recognition?
Our brains determine what we are looking at. For instance, if we have a dog and a cat in front of us, the brain is able to tell the difference and informs us which is which.
Computers don’t work like our brains and find it very difficult to tell images apart. So, computer scientists have had to create specialist devices and a system that gives computers the ability of image recognition.
Here’s a quick explanation of how it works:
1. Firstly, pixel features are extracted from an image. This makes the computer able to identify certain characteristics and qualities of an image, such as colors.
1. The computer is ‘trained’ with labeled images. So, if you want it to be able to identify fish, then you would need to feed it a lot of different fish images. It would then pick out the shared qualities of all these images. Eventually, when a computer is ‘shown’ an image, it will be able to tell whether its qualities and characteristics match any of the labeled images. If so, then it will be able to point out all the new fish that it sees.
How Image Recognition Can Strengthen Your Brand Strategy
Jennifer, editor at etia.com explains that strengthening your brand with image recognition is all to do with gaining new data and brand insights:
“If marketers are not utilizing image recognition technology, they are missing out on a lot of valuable data. If your customers are seeking visual data via image recognition, it’s important to understand why. The future of digital marketing is all about visual data and having an understanding of this is key.”
There are a few pointers that you should take a closer look at to fully explain the importance of image recognition for brands.
It Helps Reveal Consumers’ Behavioral Triggers
Three-quarters of internet users in the US always search for images and visual content while deciding to make a purchase. Brand is about telling a story and communicating it the right way. If you know which images can influence your audience best, you can incorporate them into your strategy.
Take advantage of this information by researching which visuals trigger certain actions with your target audience, and use these triggers to strengthen your brand strategy.
For instance, if you’re a dog food company, you might have an inkling that consumers are more likely to purchase from you if you add photos and images of dogs to social media posts. However, you should never base your brand strategy on an inkling. A really good image recognition tool or software can provide the precise information you need by telling you which types of dog images will work the best for your brand. One such example is IBM’s Watson Visual Recognition software.
You might think that this is data that your team could find themselves, but with so much content online, it’s becoming less possible for humans to sift through it all. Just bear this in mind: there are a billion Instagram accounts active each month. An AI device will be able to run its image recognition on those in no time. But how long will it take a human team to analyze all those accounts and their use?
Any delay in gaining essential insights into your brand may result in you lagging behind the competition.
Also, look into consumer behavioral triggers as you can then use them to help you tell your brand’s story. If you’ve already read a few of our previous articles, you’ll already know that telling a story can really strengthen your brand strategy.
The main thing to remember is that the key to a good brand strategy is being able to use marketing and branding to form a strong connection with your target audience.
The more human and personal this connection is, the better. A good image recognition API will point you to the best visuals to use and they will strike a chord with all your target audience and get them engaging with your posts.
Company Spotlight: Boohoo
The clothing brand Boohoo has developed a visual search tool to help customers sift through its huge inventory. A customer can upload a picture of an item of clothing or an accessory and the app will then bring them items on sale that are similar. This makes sorting through the inventory much quicker and also makes it a lot more likely that shoppers will find something they want.
It Helps Grow Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
As most influencers use a lot of visuals in their work, especially those that are Insta-famous, it’s no surprise that an image recognition tool can be of great help in this area of your brand strategy. In fact, research shows that 77% of fashion micro-influencers prefer to work on Instagram. So, posting regular photos and stories must be their most profitable type of content.
First of all, you can use image recognition to make sure you’re working with the right influencers.
Trust in influencers has fallen. Only 4% of people say that they trust what influencers say online. Millennials, the generation that we closely associate with influencer marketing, are starting to see beyond the people they follow—52% of millennials no longer trust influencers at all.
So, how can you guarantee that an influencer’s followers will trust the recommendations your brand is given?
Collaborate with an influencer who has publicly used your brand before - without being paid to do so. Maybe a well-known Instagrammer has previously posted a photo at your restaurant chain. Or they might have posted a photo with a product from your beauty brand in the background. These are the people you should reach out to regarding potential collaboration. You know they already like you, so why not make the relationship official? This should also make the collaboration look a lot more genuine to their followers. The sponsored posts won’t be so obviously #sponcon. This strengthens your brand as it brings a lot more trust between you and your customers. The collab will look genuine and people will be likely to believe that the influencer truly uses your brand for its benefits.
You can find such influencers using a reliable image recognition tool. Train the tool to pick out your own products or logo, and you’ll be able to analyze thousands of influencers’ profiles in one quick click.
The tool will scan the internet to try and spot any logos or images that match or have a lot of similarities. It’ll then point you to where they are online, so you can judge for yourself whether it’s real or not.
Using logo recognition in this way can greatly cut down the time a human would spend searching the internet for any images. Time is crucial when you have competition to beat!
Company Spotlight: Sephora
Sephora, a beauty brand known for its range of makeup, gives customers the chance to virtually try before they buy. This technology has actually been around for a while but has never been that great. But now Sephora has perfected it and customers can get a very realistic view of themselves wearing the brand’s makeup before deciding to purchase it.
Image source: Sephora Virtual Artist
It Helps with Brand Protection
What some marketers fail to remember is that brand strategy should not just be about growing brand awareness and customer loyalty, it should incorporate tactics to protect their brand, too.
Here’s an example to show why this is important:
Mini Case Study: Formula 1
Formula 1 announced a redesign of its branding and logo. However, if you look at it closely, it looks surprisingly similar to the logo for Futuro, a brand of compression tights. This caused a bit of a stir, and the lawyers were brought out in 2018.
A settlement was made between the two brands, but it could have caused some major legal difficulties for F1. 3M, the huge company behind many well-known brands like Scotch Tape and Post-it Notes, own the brand Futuro and they had filed to trademark the logo back in February 2017. That was bad news for F1, especially as the trademark covered specific territories that F1 covered.
It’s not just a huge legal bill that F1 would have faced if this issue had been taken further by 3M. It could have also cost them greatly in terms of negative publicity.
But how would you even know that your brand has an issue with something like this?
Image recognition AI can spot logos. Running a logo recognition tool should flag all online instances of your logo—or extremely similar designs. The results will show any suspicious-looking logos or outright copies. This helps make sure that no one ever copies your brilliant branding and prevents you from getting into a similar rebranding trouble as Formula 1 did.
It Helps with Analyzing Events
Events are notoriously difficult to track and analyze. But image recognition is starting to change that.
Say you’re sponsoring a large event. It could be an important game in the sporting calendar or a huge conference in your industry. Your logo will be everywhere: on all the literature, used on event branding or even on volunteers’ uniforms. This is good news for brand recognition and awareness—but how can you tell how well this event worked for you?
You need to know which audience demographics are actually seeing your logo and taking it in. As well as that, it’s good to know the context they see it in, and how your logo is shared online during the event.
Visual analytics from image recognition can help with this. The data will show whether there was a positive shift in sharing and instances of your logo online in the days after the event. This could show whether more people are engaging with your brand after being exposed to it at the event.
A good logo recognition API will provide you with all the necessary data, and your team can then analyze these insights to get a good view of the outcome of the event sponsorship.
So, would sponsoring a certain event be a good addition to your marketing strategy? Well, it’s very hard to tell unless you look into image recognition. One way to do this could be to check the visuals for the brand that sponsored this event the last time it took place and see if it was beneficial for them. You could use an image recognition API to see the effect it had on their brand by entering their logo into logo recognition and you’ll see if its appearance on social media increased after the event. If this all looked positive, then it’s clear that sponsoring this event provided a big boost to their brand strategy.
Therefore, doing something similar could bring these significant gains for your brand as well.
It’s Easy to Level Up With Image Recognition
Once you’ve added image recognition to your brand marketing strategy, you and your team might be hungry for more. But for now, why not start looking into getting started with some tools for image recognition.
Google Image Recognition
There’s a good chance that you have already used Google Image Recognition. It’s what people use to do a “reverse image search.” You simply upload a picture from your computer and it then gives you a list of websites that show the same or a very similar image.
You can now also search using Google Lens. Using a phone or device that has the app, simply take a picture with the app’s camera. Press search and then see anywhere where the thing you photographed appears online.
GumGum is on a self-proclaimed mission “to solve hard problems across a variety of industries by teaching machines to see and understand the world.” These guys have been working on their technology for ten years and use it to identify visual content appropriate for marketers in order to help further their ad campaigns. They don’t just help the marketing industry though, their image recognition has also been used in the sporting world.**
As their name suggests, LogoGrab is known for their excellent logo-detection service. They have a great reputation and they’ve been used by many big names, including eBay and Bloomberg. The brand is also known for their social media monitoring, sports sponsorship monitoring, and expertise on how to monetize visual data.
By now, you should be eager to get behind image recognition. From strengthening lead nurturing strategies to analyzing events, this kind of API can bring a multitude of benefits to any brand strategy. It’s also a brilliant way to support your influencer marketing as well.
With today’s industries and niches more saturated and competitive than ever before, brands need to get the edge any way they can. Adding image recognition to your brand marketing is one more weapon for your arsenal.