Visual media, notably images and videos, has long assumed a prominent role of visual storytelling in digital customer experiences for good reason. However, effectively managing a parade of ever-growing media assets is complex, labor intensive, and full of pitfalls. This article describes the background economy and introduces an essential technology that empowers brands to tackle the art and science of visual storytelling.
In the late 1990s, the battleground for winning customers shifted away from being product-centric to experience-centric. Why? Because customers began to make purchasing decisions not only based on brand affinity or product features, but based on the quality of experiences when interacting with a brand. A high quality, unique experience would draw customers back again and again.
As brands began to master the creation and delivery of immersive experiences in physical spaces, digital transformation took off in the mid-2000s, which evolved the experience economy into one that’s digital-first. However, while developing experiences for online channels, brands faced complex challenges presented by the device-hopping behavior of consumers and the explosion of new channels. Compounding all that was the rapid rise in shopper expectations for high-quality, fast performing virtual experiences.
The amount of content required to satisfy those demands as well as the need to generate immersive, consistent, and personalized interactions across devices and channels was overwhelming. Technology, like content management systems (CMS), emerged to help brands manage and accelerate the creation of omnichannel, customized experiences for shoppers.
As competition for attracting customers with the most differentiated and engaging digital experiences heats up, brands are finding that only the most visually riveting experiences will win the day.
Visual content is the digital currency of today’s online experiences. From planning and booking a trip to catching up on the news and researching and purchasing products, imagery and video are no longer just important elements of the story. They are the story.
The experience economy is now a visual one in which dynamic, immersive, and engaging connections inspire and convert savvy consumers, who shy away from flat, static, and image-only displays. Failure to deliver the visual cues and relationships that today’s consumers expect results in less engagement, reduces the time spent on pages, lowers the conversion rate, and even hurts loyalty and the brand’s reputation.
However, winning and retaining customers in this visual economy requires an exponential volume of attractive and consistent content for all channels and devices. Manually tailoring all that content uniquely to each customer throughout the buying journey is humanly impossible.
As a leader in visual media for the last decade, Cloudinary foresaw the convergence of art and science within a purpose-built rich media technology solution as the only path forward for brands to efficiently manage the intricate challenges of the visual economy. Only a system built on a combination of intelligence and machine learning along with a deep understanding of the unique and evolving nature of visual media—from imagery to video to audio in various formats, weights, and sizes—can brands fully harness the power of visual storytelling.
Hence Cloudinary’s launch of the market’s first Media Experience Cloud, the essential layer of the digital experience tech stack that truly comprehends visual media and that can handle the ever-rising demands of visual experiences across all touchpoints.
Powered by a content-aware intelligent automation engine, the Media Experience Cloud is an API-first, SaaS, end-to-end platform for creating, transforming, optimizing, and delivering rich media. With that system, brands can create and deliver the most visually enticing experiences possible. How? A Media Experience Cloud will provide the following critical areas of functionality:
Visual Media Focus: Purpose-built for the entire rich media lifecycle with complete key media format support of imagery, video and audio – including light-weight, cutting-edge and emerging formats.
Scalability: SaaS-based scalability able to manage very large volumes of imagery, video and other rich media.
Team Agility: An API-first approach paired with pre-built turn-key applications to support developers, creatives and marketers.
Media-centric Digital Asset Management: Digital Asset Management with rich media specialization that is easily integrated into the digital experience tech stack (CMS, PIM, ecommerce platforms).
Intelligence: Content-aware intelligence and machine learning that is industry specific for delivery of the right media across touchpoints.
Automation: Intelligent automation at all stages of the media asset lifecycle for automated workflows, content creation and delivery.
Delivery: Intelligently optimized delivery for all browsers, devices and channels.
Simply put, a Media Experience Cloud is a must for brands to deliver visual-first experiences that connect with and convert consumers. As the visual economy accelerates, brands that fail to adopt a Media Experience Cloud that’s fueled by intelligent automation will lag behind canny competitors.
So, to bring order to the chaos of rich-media content scattered throughout applications in your technology stack and to accelerate creation and delivery of a compelling visual experience, be sure to adopt a Media Experience Cloud. It’s the only solution that can truly unlock the innovation required to win and keep customers—now and in the future. Learn more about the Cloudinary Media Experience Cloud.