How Visual Storytelling Changes the Game for Businesses

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( — March 14, 2020) —  Stories make the world go round. And when it comes to the business world, visual storytelling can mean the difference between success and failure. The question is, do you know how to tell the right stories to the right audience?

The Power of Visual Storytelling

As humans, we’re overwhelmingly visual creatures. Whereas most insects and mammals rely on smell, sound, or feel to navigate their environments, we tend to trust our sight more than any of the other four senses. And there’s a good scientific reason for this!

Research shows that the human brain processes images 60,000-times faster than text. Furthermore, 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. Thus, it should come as no surprise that visuals help enhance learning by an impressive 400 percent.

If you’re a marketer, advertiser, or brand strategist, you’re really in the business of telling stories. And in light of the statistics mentioned above, what better way to tell stories than by utilizing visuals?

Not only is visual content more engaging, but it’s also more memorable. When people hear information, they typically only remember approximately 10 percent of it three days later. But if the same information is paired with a relevant image, they can retain and recall as much as 65 percent of what was shared.

Tips to Become a Better Visual Storyteller

For businesses and brands that want to engage with customers in more meaningful and memorable ways, visual storytelling is the answer. Here’s how you can excel in this area of your marketing and branding:

1. Remain Consistent

Consistency is an important concept throughout all of branding, but it’s especially pertinent when it comes to visuals. A failure to remain consistent can compromise the fundamentals of the brand and send mixed messages to customers. Once you’ve identified a story, you have to stick with it.

“When you’ve figured out an engaging and real story to tell, push it and extend it, but stay true to it,” says Kath Tudball, design director for a large branding agency.

Consistency doesn’t mean settling for boring and predictable. It means maintaining the same flavor palate, while still exploring unique ways to present the underlying message.

Take Coca-Cola as an example. They’ve embraced half a dozen different advertising campaigns and marketing pushes over the past couple of decades. Each one has been different, yet each has stayed true to the core brand identity. That should be the goal for every brand – including yours.

2. Bring the Senses to Life

Good visuals do more than excite the eyes – they also stimulate the rest of the senses and evoke strong emotional responses. A powerful visual has the ability to make someone feel warm, happy, scared, nostalgic, anxious, or hopeful. The challenge lies in bringing visuals to life so that they can stir up these feelings.

This is something that’s very important in architecture and design. Architects are always looking for ways to bring stories and emotions to animations. The right combination of software and vision can make this happen. (The goal is to not just show a fireplace in a living room, but to reveal a warm and welcoming home.)

How can you bring these senses to life in your visuals? What emotions can you conjure up in your audience?

3. Avoid Generic Visuals

By now, most businesses understand the importance of visuals in branding. It’s something that’s been ingrained in them for many decades. Unfortunately, this need to utilize visuals often pressures small businesses and brands into relying on cheap, generic visuals as a way to make marketing more cost-effective in the digital age.

It’s important that you avoid generic visuals at all costs. This includes stock photography, clip art, and other copy/pasted graphics. There are plenty of low-cost tools online that allow you to make your own custom graphics that are relevant and on-brand. You’re much better off spending extra time creating visuals than you are using generic, royalty-free options.

Embrace the Future of Marketing

Visuals are persuasive, engaging, powerful, and influential. When properly leveraged within a well-developed marketing or branding strategy, the right visuals have the potential to tell more memorable stories. How can you use these insights to improve or amplify your brand’s messaging?