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With a power boost from AI, visual-first communication and content creation is becoming the most economical way for brands to hire, market and sell

by | Jun 20, 2024 | Public Relations

As communicators are well aware, visuals are critical for campaigns and promotions, especially video, and new research from visual communication platform Canva demonstrates how this picturesque approach is equally effective for internal comms. Its new study explores how business leaders are approaching the use of visual communications tools in the workplace, and the role AI is playing in their ability to increase productivity, elevate creativity, and streamline workflows.

The firm’s second annual Visual Economy Report, based on survey research from business intelligence firm Morning Consult, features insights from more than 3,700 global business leaders on the drivers and impact of visual communication.

visual communication

The top global findings include:

Unlocking business benefits

More than three-quarters (77 percent) say visual communication tools have increased business performance. From accelerating content creation and team collaboration to stronger audience engagement, visual-first communication is supercharging how organizations save time and money. As a result, 73 percent of leaders are investing more in visual communication tools than they did last year.

AI fast tracks productivity

Tighter budgets and increased content demands have led more than three-quarters (82 percent) of leaders to explore AI-powered tools as options to accelerate their content production needs. The vast majority (90 percent) agree the quality of visual content has improved because of AI, yet concerns about plagiarism (70 percent), bias (68 percent), and job loss (64 percent) linger.

visual communication

Design democratized

The ability to communicate visually is now table stakes in the workplace, regardless of role. The majority of leaders (92 percent) expect employees in non-design roles to possess some design acumen in order to be effective communicators in their organizations. Consequently, more than two-thirds (68 percent) are now providing training to those not in design roles to meet a certain threshold of design competency.

Accelerating scaling through collaboration

Nearly one-third (30 percent) believe the inability to collaborate across teams and complex workflows (28 percent) is a challenge when creating and scaling content. As a result, when investing in visual communication platforms, business leaders are emphasizing real-time collaboration (93 percent), more streamlined workflows (93 percent), and all-in-one functionality (92 percent).

visual communication

Creativity needs the right tools to flourish

Over three-quarters (69 percent) believe senior stakeholder resistance to new technology is hindering creativity in the workplace. Sixty-five percent attribute siloed teams and poor cross-functional collaboration as deterrents to imaginative thinking and fresh outputs.

From compelling presentations to engaging videos and interactive data visualizations, visuals have become the currency of communication, enabling organizations to cut through the noise.

The need to communicate visually, internally and externally, is fuelling organization-wide demand for easy-to-use and interoperable visual communication tools. The convergence of AI and visual communication has also opened up endless possibilities for all professionals to create high-impact content and to do so at scale.

“Communicating visually has always been humanity’s most powerful medium, and it’s even more important in the digital age—bridging workplaces and captivating audiences like never before. It’s emerging as the currency of true connection,” said Cameron Adams, co-founder and chief product officer at Canva, in a news release. “Harnessing the power of visuals and enhancing them with AI capabilities isn’t just beneficial to team communication, it is now a crucial advantage for leaders in their quest to hire, market and sell while aiming to get better results on their financial investments.”

visual communication

Download the full report here.

The report surveys 3,707 business leaders in marketing, sales, human resources, and operations who have knowledge of company revenue goals. This group also influences their organizations’ audience engagement strategy and how internal teams communicate with each other, other teams, and the company at large. Specifically, Canva surveyed 331 business leaders (Director+, VP+, C-suite+) in the US, 317 in Australia, 311 in the UK, 321 in Germany, 320 in Spain, 320 in France, 320 in Brazil, 320 in Mexico, 320 in Japan, 320 in Indonesia, 257 in India and 250 in South Korea.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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