Visual Storytelling is a sales technique that includes convincing stories. It also places the customer at the centre of your narrative. In addition, a personal visual journey is staged. It is spread throughout your customer’s journey. And it improves their lives while producing effective results.
For this, your story needs to break through all the noise of other stories and impact your customer. You can do this by first addressing their needs, thus making them the hero. If you’re trying to sell something you don’t actually sell the product. People are more interested in the experience your product provides for them. Visual storytelling is a great way to create the ideal lifestyle for your customers.
Besides that, these visuals come in many different sizes and shapes. You can see them in newspaper cartoons, Instagram posts, or Youtube videos. They are also in graphic novels or animated videos and drawings. These are only some examples. You can find visuals at different levels of our everyday life.
In this article, we will be discussing the benefits of visuals. We are also going to talk about the different ways you can better your storytelling.
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What is Visual Storytelling?
The use of pictures, graphics, videos, and images to create emotions in viewers is called Visual Storytelling. You can also convince viewers to perform an action. Visual storytelling also helps you reach viewers on a deeper and long-lasting level. These visuals are created by visual intellectuals and artists. They can also be produced through real-world examples.
Visual storytelling must have these 5 basic elements:
- Anticipation: It is important that your storytelling includes a bit of tension. Even the happiest and most wholesome stories include percentages of tension. It could be in the form of conflict, mystery or surprise. You could also have familial tension. Or it could be a romantic or platonic tension. You should convince people to keep listening to your story.
- Hooks: The first seven seconds of your storytelling must hook the audience. If your plot or idea is not compelling, people will lose interest immediately. You will have a few seconds before your audience moves on to something else.
- Small Interactions: Make sure you provide small interactions with your viewers. This helps them feel like they are in control of their experience. Thus keeping them committed to your story.
- Information: Your story should include information about your topic. The viewer will then feel like they are educated and can then form opinions about your topic.
- A CTA is a phrase or word designed to get an immediate response from the reader. As the name suggests, it's usually something that involves a precise action performed by...: Ensure that you explain exactly what you want the viewer to do. You can do this in a direct manner by asking a question. Or ask them to vote or fill out a form. You can also direct them to a different project of yours.
Benefits and Importance
Here are some important ways Visual storytelling can help you tell a story.
- It can make tough ideas more engaging. The success rate of movies in Hollywood and Bollywood is a great example of this. Learn how to educate your audience while also staying captivating. It is proven that visual metaphors help people understand better. Through visual storytelling, you can make a complex topic digestible by telling it right.
- It brings your stories through videos. Video consumption has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. A majority of people would rather watch a video about a certain topic than read a creative one. This allows you to bring your visual storytelling to the video realm.
- It makes your topic perfect for social media. Social media is where everyone is at. If you’re looking for the most reach, then this is the best place to be. Visual storytelling also makes your message more versatile. This allows you to reach many people. Research shows that image posts on Facebook get much more engagement than posts without. Besides that, articles with images after every 100 words get double the number of shares than those with fewer.
- It also adds accessibility and depth to your story. This helps you to share an impactful message and story with your audience. You may have a great story but if there is no depth to it people won’t be interested. Also, people find visual storytelling more accessible.
- It gives you everything you need to build a story. Visual storytelling opens up doors to many possibilities. It also gives you the ability to share your story with many people.
The Best Visual Storytelling Strategy
People don’t like to be told things, rather show them. Visual storytelling strategies help you do just that.
- Be real with your content. A good way for fans to trust your brand is to share things about yourself. It could be something like how you began as a fresh-faced graduate in a tiny office. Your audience wants to see the real you. The more honest you are the more people will relate to you.
- Share your company’s ‘behind the scenes‘. You can also share various fun stories from people in your company. You could show the workings of different projects and product launches. You can also get your employees to share their points of view.
- Give your audience a voice. Followers and fans get excited when they feel seen by companies. So, you can use any content they share to bring light to them. It could be them sharing a story or how they feel about your company. This helps your audience to feel valued and builds customer relations. Starbucks is a great example of this.
- Post reviews and testimonies. You can also show them off through images and videos. If they have benefitted from your products or services, share this information. People like to know what others feel about something before committing to it.
Pros and Cons
Here are some reasons why storytelling is impactful:
- Your brain handles visuals much faster than words.
- Content that includes relevant pictures receives 94% more views than posts that don’t.
- Almost 66% of social media updates are visual in nature.
- Visual messaging is more appealing and enjoyable to viewers than other content.
- It is also more interactive, which boosts credibility, and strengthens the brand.
- Visual content also increases the company’s profits. So, finding top-tier designers is the primary focus for all businesses.
Here are some things you shouldn’t do with your visuals:
- Don’t chase after viral and trending reels. Sure they give you great reach but constantly keeping up with them can tire your brand.
- Don’t go overboard with your images. You don’t want to end up confusing them by excessive content. If your story is image rich but lacks any substance, it will bring your brand down.
- Don’t be fake or unoriginal. People can spot fakeness from a mile away. Plus it won’t be easy for you to maintain that persona over a long period of time. Be true to your brand for the best impact.
Here are some visual storytelling tips you should keep in mind.
- Start sharp for effective engagement. Begin with powerful and attractive visuals. You should also have captivating captions. The first few moments of a video can decide audience engagement. You should try to show and not tell when presenting a story. Your story should be as authentic, concise and clear as possible. While telling a story make sure you are engaging your audience in an emotional aspect.
- Keep it respectful. Storytelling doesn’t give you the privilege to make fun of anyone. Try to keep your content respectful and culturally appropriate. You can also stay away from any pictures or images that may be embarrassing or unempowering.
- Educated Consent. Before you photograph or interview anyone, make sure to inform them of how you are using this information. You can do this through digital or paper-based consent forms. You may also get a verbal recording of their consent. This helps you touch all bases and stay away from any liabilities.
- Keep a balance. Visual storytelling must be inclusive and diverse. Try to stay away from portraying people in stereotypical roles. Or if you need to, make sure it is well balanced with other roles. You can ensure your story challenges social constructs on race, disability, and nationality.
- Create a safe space. Sometimes with tough topics like victims of abuse, and migrant workers, you have to be careful. Understand that these topics are sensitive. If revealing a location or an identity is risky, try finding a better way to tell their stories.
Here are some best practices for visual storytelling.
- Make sensory experiences. The internet is full of digital content. Since most of our time is spent online, we are soon becoming desensitised to this type of content. Because of this, viewers are starting to get drawn to experiences. But, they should be experiences that engage their senses. Sensory experiences are a great way to keep your viewers hooked to your content. One great example of this is ASMR youtube videos. They are satisfying to your ears, eyes and in cases of food your tastebuds too.
- Develop a character. One of the best ways to drive your story home is if audiences have a personal connection to your message. For this, you can think about developing a character or an archetype. You may know of some popular archetypes like the explorer, the rebel or the hero. For instance, Old Spice has great visual stories. They are able to use their visuals to appeal to rugged and masculine people. Besides that, using the Jester archetype they can also appeal to those with a sense of humour.
- Stay relevant. Timing is key to connecting with an audience. Many brands choose to tell stories whenever they like. But, if you observe the ones that are successful, you can see how they use different events and trends to tell their stories. For instance, you don’t want to jump too late on something that is trending on social media. On the other hand, you also don’t want to share a story that contrasts with the current environment.
Top Visual Storytelling Examples
Here are some visual storytelling examples.
- Offerman Woodshop: This is a great example of visual storytelling. This company is under the leadership of actor and comedian Nick Offerman. The reason why this company has a great visual appeal is due to the personality of Offerman himself. The company is no-nonsense and ruggedly charming. They have a membership card as well as access to an exclusive group of like-minded people.
Toca Boca: This next brand produces digital toys for kids. Their games and apps are educational but also cute. Their games range from cooking to hairdressing and medics. The idea behind this brand is to create a virtual playground for kids. This allows them to explore and experiment with new ideas. Toca gives kids an opportunity to just be kids unlike most games available to them.
Patagonia: Here is another strong and passionate brand. Patagonia has built a visual presence of being a good and caring brand. Their marketing tactics are rooted in integrity and quality. Their imaging shows actual people enjoying nature and the environment. This company is environmentally conscious and reinforces its values through different campaigns. For instance, the Worn Wear Wagon goes across the country to repair old things.
Visual storytelling is more than just matching a content piece with a picture. It’s about figuring out how to reflect the information so that it’s captivating and important to the right crowd.
Visual storytelling is all about increasing brand awareness, loyalty, and trust among customers. It is a sales tactic that includes persuasive stories. It also places the customer in the centre of your story.
Besides that, it is staged with a personal visual journey in mind. You can distribute visuals throughout your customer’s journey. Visuals also empower a buyer’s life while bringing effective results.
If you aren’t keeping up with visual storytelling, then you’re already lagging behind. Especially in today’s culture of saturated videos and images.
Did you find this article helpful? Which are your favourite tips? Tell us in the comments section below!