You have probably heard of visual storytelling by now. Over the last couple of years, visual storytelling has skyrocketed to the forefront of the digital marketing landscape, and there is a good reason for that – it makes creating compelling content much easier.
What Is Visual Storytelling?
Visual storytelling is a technique that marketers can use in order to establish an emotional bond between them and their audiences. When visual storytelling is used to its full effectiveness, it can yield some truly impressive results. Visual storytelling is, as the name suggests, the use of images to create a narrative and tell a story. Storytelling is a familiar concept to many marketers, adding in a visual element enables you to turbocharge the efficiency of this
In fact, there is a good chance that you are already doing some visual storytelling, even if you aren’t fully aware of it. Whenever you work with visual media, whether a photograph, digital design or any other graphic, there is scope for visual storytelling. Understanding exactly why visual storytelling works and how to incorporate it effectively into your marketing is valuable knowledge for any modern marketing to have.
Why Does It Work?
Visual storytelling is a startlingly effective way of establishing a bond with your audience. Once such a bond has been established, you will have a much easier time getting your message to stick. Whenever we see a visual image, our brains do a lot of automatic processing. By taking advantage of these processes and nudging them in the right direction with a narrative, or even just the implication of narrative, marketers can speak to consumers on an innate level.
A huge amount of the information that we take in is processed subconsciously without us being aware of it. This is not news to any experienced marketer, but many under-appreciate just how powerful the subconscious is.
Images are a very efficient way of conveying information. For example, studies have shown that when people read or hear information, their recall of it is only around 10% after a few days. On the other hand, if the information is presented to them visually, there is a significant increase in recall, around 65% according to one study.
Furthermore, the Educational Technology Research and Development journal conducted a study that demonstrated that people who are following directions given with both text and an accompanying illustration can perform tasks much more reliably. According to this study, participants who had text and illustration performed 323% better than those who only have text to work with.
Clearly, anything that enables your marketing to hang around in the heads of your audience for longer is worth pursuing. Visual storytelling enables you to create truly memorable marketing that your audience will not soon forget.
Types Of Visual Storytelling You Can Use In Marketing Content And How To Utilize Them
Understanding how to best deploy each type of media is an important skill to develop as a marketer.
Text itself is obviously not visual, but it is a vital component of visual storytelling and is, therefore, worth mentioning. In many cases, you will only use a small amount of text, perhaps a line or two. If this is the case, you need to make sure that whatever text you do use is used efficiently and purposefully. However, you can also use text to paint a picture in your reader’s mind. This can be a very effective augmentation to your visual marketing.
With the right image, you can draw a reader in and encourage them to read a much lengthier piece of text than they otherwise would. With the right copy, this can be a very powerful tool for creating marketing content.
Photos are an incredibly versatile type of media. With advanced image manipulation capabilities now accessible to even small businesses, the scope for using photos in marketing has increased exponentially in previous decades.
Part of the beauty of photography is that a photo can really tell an entire story all on its own. In order to use visual storytelling effectively in your marketing, sometimes you only need to imply a narrative. Photographs are a very good medium for doing this, you can then use a small amount of text to either solidify the narrative or to expand upon it.
Memes are everywhere on the internet today and there is a good reason for this. While many of them are terrible, and a large swath of them are inside jokes that only make sense to those who are in on the joke, memes are also an effective shorthand. One thing that even the lowest effort memes do successfully is to convey a message succinctly using both visual media and accompanying text.
Marketers do need to tread carefully with using memes. While you can use them as a storytelling tool, it is all too easy to fall into the same trap as many businesses before you and to try a marketing meme that falls flat on its face.
Moving from a still image to animations gives you more scope for storytelling. However, in practice, you will find that establishing a proper narrative using videos is better suited to longer-form ads. Animated GIFs or short animations that loop are not ideal for establishing a narrative.
However, what they are is fantastic for is adding visual flair to an otherwise dull piece of content. Even the simplest of animation can bring an ad to life, and it can definitely enhance the visual side of your visual storytelling.
When visual storytelling is used effectively, it is an incredibly powerful tool for creating marketing content. There is a plethora of visual mediums out there for you to choose from, each of which can be used to tell a story. Some mediums are better suited than others. Photography provides you with the most versatile option. However, good visual storytelling is not easy. Not only do you need to establish or suggest a narrative as succinctly as possible, but you also need to attach the right copy to really make it connect.