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Visual storytelling: see it, don’t say it

Paul Cash, CEO at RoosterPunk, outlines four things marketers should consider when creating visual stories

While I love a written story, there’s no denying the power visuals have as the shortest form of storytelling.

In this age of digital excess, it’s also increasingly difficult for B2B marketers to gain any real cut through in their target markets, especially when you consider a phenomenal 27 million content pieces are being shared every day.

Make your storytelling visual
The facts clearly indicate that visual storytelling – whether it’s in the form of videos, photography, infographics or illustrations – is key to captivating the hearts and minds of customers. For instance, a staggering 90 per cent of information that’s transmitted to the brain is visual. It’s also interesting to note we only remember 20 per cent of what we read, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.

Not only are visuals better remembered, they are better absorbed and shared on social. Viewers spend 100 per cent more time on web pages with videos, sharing them 12,000 times more than links and text posts. Photos also have the upper hand, achieving 2000 more likes than text.

So what do these stats tell us? In short, any information you want to communicate is better done
with visuals. And if you craft it as a story, you’ll make it more memorable. Visual stories are the universal currency for evoking emotion to create deeper audience engagement and sharing your business values across borders, languages and cultures.

One brand that’s successfully mastering visual storytelling is Boeing Commercial Airlines (the business arm of Boeing). It showcases its story of innovation by taking website visitors on a ‘gallery experience’ where users take a video tour of interactive exhibits and displays to explore what the future of flight looks like. Check it out, it’s seriously engaging and informative.

The battle for customer attention is a never-ending one, but visuals can help you attain their attention in our always-on digital, social culture. So what can help you get it right?

Here are four things to consider when creating visual stories:

1. Keep it real
Customers want content that speaks to them as individuals, and powerful visuals that communicate something authentic and honest revolutionise how audiences engage with brands. Viewers need to believe what they’re seeing is real and candid, and a lack of authenticity is a lot easier for people to spot visually. If you can nail authenticity you’ll turn your audience into brand advocates.

2. Be on trend
The internet is flooded with visuals, but if you can pin down where your customers are, what they’re interested in or talking about, this makes it easier for you to visually excite them about the things they care about. Living in the moment and capitalising on content that’s trending in your target market will open the door to supreme engagement. Remember, your visuals should amplify what your customers are sharing the most.

3. Stimulate senses
A world of information overload has left us craving things that feel more real, so if you can create visuals that stimulate your customers’ senses you’ll enable them to make an emotional connection between the digital and physical world.

4. Adopt archetypes
Archetypes represent patterns of personality and relationships, and have long been used to shape stories so the reader/viewer can familiarise themselves with the story. They play a pivotal role in helping construct a visual image of an idea, and the more progressive you can be with your archetypes, the better – don’t be scared, people will catch up.

Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, and the brands that know how to tell good visual stories will stand out.