iStock: Three Tips to Help SMBs Future-Proof Marketing In A Time Of Recession
Oct 27, 2022
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London – 27 October 2022: iStock’s latest VisualGPS research reveals that financial wellness is the top priority for consumers in a post‑pandemic world, with half of all respondents signalling they experience financial anxiety. As a result, customers are now looking for ways to celebrate the small moments in life that make them happy. With that in mind, iStock, a leading e‑commerce platform providing premium content to SMBs, SMEs, creatives and students everywhere, provides tips for small businesses on how to better engage with their customers during the current economic uncertainty.

iStock's VisualGPS data, which captures the sentiment of over 7,000 customers of small businesses across the globe quarterly, also shows that 67% of people believe that the cost‑of‑living crisis will mean expenses will exceed their means. As three in five consumers are now making purchase decisions based on visual content, it is important for brands to take the right visual approach.

Dr. Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights at iStock, comments: “The cost‑of‑living crisis is not only affecting consumers’ pockets, but it is also having a profound impact on their mental health. With rising energy and food prices affecting people’s purchasing habits across the globe, our VisualGPS analysis shows that people across all generations are keen to improve their financial literacy and save money for the future.”

On VisualGPS Insights, iStock’s visual trends tool for SMBs, searches for ‘cost of living’ visuals spiked globally in the last three months, and the most used visuals primarily show people worrying about their growing household bills. This means that there is an opportunity for businesses (especially those in the financial sector) to visualise how they are there to help during the crisis.

Below, iStock reveals three key takeaways for small and medium‑sized businesses to consider:

Celebrate the small moments
The combination of the digital world and societal shifts due to Covid has prompted many big brands, such as John Lewis, to pivot their marketing strategies and focus on people’s appreciation for the everyday. iStock’s research also shows this pivot in consumer sentiment, as 87% of people are now looking to celebrate the emotional rewards of the little moments in life that make them happy, rather than just celebrating big milestones, such as buying a house. SMBs can think about ways to adopt this strategy to their marketing and advertising campaigns, as consumers are more likely to engage with images and videos that portray accessible experiences driven by the here and now.

Show empathy
Now that consumers are increasingly focusing on their financial wellbeing, there is an expectation for businesses to be wellness brands. VisualGPS research reveals that 3 in 5 people globally want more financial security in their lives. Placing empathy and wellness at the heart of visual messaging is key to building trust with consumers, so consider using images, videos and illustrations that visualise the proactive care of people who are currently experiencing financial anxiety and stress.

Demystify financial services
For over 60% of consumers, improving their financial literacy and saving for the future are much higher priorities now than ever before, according to VisualGPS. Businesses can educate and support their customers by highlighting the ways in which they can protect the financially vulnerable in their visual choices, for example, showing how people can easily access resources for better money management.

To find relevant imagery and videos, go to
Image credit: fizkes/iStock
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