Anna Fox
March 14, 2018

How To Create Visual Content That Builds Empathy With Your Brand

Visual Content Builds Empathy

“Good politics starts with empathy, proceeds to analysis, then sets out values and establishes the vision, before getting to the nitty-gritty of policy solutions.”
~David Miliband via

It’s the same for business… It all starts with building empathy, or in other words, understanding and compassion. And that, in turn, starts with building common ties between your customers and your brand which will later become the foundation of your further relationship.

Empathy is feeling with people, Dr. Brené Brown says in her YouTube video on Empathy. Empathy fuels connection… Empathy is the first step to drawing people to your brand, getting them relate to its message, understanding it and wanting to get involved.

What makes something better is connection,
~Dr. Brené Brown

So, when trying to build empathy with your brand, you must put yourself in your audience’s shoes to feel and understand their struggles, in order to be able to come up with the best solutions.

Why Visuals?

Visual marketing is no longer a choice: There’s no building of online presence without it these days.

Visual content involves the use of colors and themes that match your brand message. And doing so to positively influence the way your audience see and interact with your brand.

It holds an exceptional appeal, as it draws your audience in and enables them to understand and feel your passion and commitment to the services you deliver. For instance, with visuals, you can showcase the professionals you work with and how your product or services help solve problems.

Creating visual content, rather than just text, can help build empathy with your audience and enhance your written content. It’s a powerful strategy for both B2C and B2B marketing that enables you to create a genuine emotional bond with your target audience with powerful, illustrative images, videos, and infographics.

Ideas & Examples of Emphatic Visual Content

Several businesses and organization use empathic visual content to build empathy and enhance their audience’s engagement with their brand. Let’s learn from the best examples!

Tell it Like it Is!

Liking Isn’t Helping is a campaign launched by Crisis Relief Singapore to address the fact that the numerous updates shared every day on social media are not taken with the intended seriousness or sensitivity.


Most people on social media just like the updates and move on, without really engaging or understanding the motive behind the contents. The Liking Isn’t Helping campaign utilized a series of shocking images designed with Photoshop, to illustrate how social media liking and sharing doesn’t influence or contribute to causes.

Humanize and Tell Stories!

The Shelter Project is an organization that finds suitable homes for stray animals. They showcase their animals as relatable characters to enable people to love and adopt them.


They utilize powerful storytelling techniques to narrate what the animals think. These stories include what Hamilton the pug has to say about his new owners and what Maru the cat thought when she first saw her new parent.

The shelter also has an active Youtube vlog filled with wonderful stories of successful pet adoptions. Furthermore, the brand utilizes the beautiful faces of the pets in their brochures and other communication.

Thinking of adopting a pet yourself?
That’s great, but first, check out this complete guide to pet adoption at
Make the best choices for your new pet, your life, and your family.

Take Advantage of User-Generated Content

Nothing speaks to the brand’s advantage better than its audience itself. If you listen to your customers and are willing to give them a voice, they will become your loyal promoters.

Cocoweb is a great example of putting user-generated content to good use. They encourage their customers to submit their designs and use the content on their social media accounts.

This effort results in real non-staged pictures featuring real people and real designs:


[Cocoweb puts their customers’ designs in the spotlight and gives them exposure to create empathic content and get customers’ support in spreading the word]

Use Humor

JetBlue created a series of funny flight etiquette videos. These spotlight some of the most pervasive problems people encounter when traveling, such as chatty seat-mates and overzealous flight boarding. The videos were also given sarcastic titles starting with “How NOT to,” to showcase the video’s humor and JetBlue’s brand.


Empathic Visual Marketing Tools!

OK. So we’ve discussed why empathic visual content is a good idea and given a few examples of how to do it right. Now let’s list a few tools to help you go ahead and start creating effective visuals!

Find Breath-Taking Images at Unsplash

Even if you cannot afford an in-house photographer, you can still create compelling visuals. Sometimes you’ll have to pay to use stock photography. In other cases, you’ll need to give credit to the photographer for creative commons images. When using online photos, always pay attention to the license details. They always clearly state how you can use the image. In most cases, you will be able to do one of the following:


  • Use the image for free, as it is, giving the credit to the photographer
  • Use the image for free and even edit it as you like (credit to the photographer is optional)
  • Pay for (non-)commercial use (Unless you intend to use the image to advertise your product, no need to pay extra for the commercial use).

Look for those details prior to using any picture from the sites below:


[It’s also a good habit to keep a record of all source files (together with license info) you are using on-site or throughout social media. In case of any misunderstanding with the (new) right-holder, you will always be able to justify your photo usage.]

Of all image sources out there (and I’ve seen and tried a lot!), I find Unsplash the most empathic. The photographers here are outstanding and simply checking the daily featured photos will get your creative juices flowing!

More sites to check out for original, creative and free photography:

Create with Canva

There can be no visual marketing article without Canva included, can there? The freemium platform offering a variety of templates for every channel you can think of. Create pinnable or tweetable images, thumbnails for your videos, visual updates for your Instagram account and so much more!


It’s free unless you want more: The PRO account has some nice collaboration features for your team to join the process and it also lets you create your brand identity and cross-manage it through all your visual marketing channels.

Apart from Canva, here are 6 more tools to create visual content for your brand.

Analyze with Cyfe

To carry out a successful marketing campaign, you must create visuals that are driven by empathy, and engaging and informative, which can help create a strong connection with your audience.

So how to match your visual content with your audience’s needs and struggles?

Use analytics! Cyfe allows you to monitor your own analytics from multiple channels at a time, including Instagram, Google Analytics, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. On top of that, you can monitor your competitors on social media to spy on them and develop their ideas.


In conclusion

When creating visual content for your brand, make sure that it represents your brand message accurately and is related to other content on your website. Your visual content should also be memorable and enhance the other type of content you have created.

Are you interested in building empathy with your brand? Then you should start focusing on creating engaging visual content, in the form of pictures, videos, and infographics. Or, are you using visual contents already? We would love to hear your strategy.


As an additional resource, Stock Photo Secrets has put together a very useful article: The 27+ Best Free Stock Photo Sites in 2018!


Featured image: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Anna Fox is the blogger behind Hire Bloggers, a website helping bloggers to find jobs and monetize their sites.