A brand logo itself is a visual story. It relates information quickly and memorably. A scarecrow on the vegetable patch amplifies a message to the birds. A sock on a doorknob delivers a universal ‘do not disturb’. Visual storytelling is giving a lot of information through a simple visual aid.
Businesses can choose from images, videos, memes or infographics to tell their story. When research from Sproutworth suggests that visual content performs 2-5 times better than text, it’s time to pay attention. In this post we will explain why visual storytelling is essential for small business brands. We’ll discuss why visuals are fantastic at promoting brand awareness and customer engagement. And finally we will offer a digital storytelling playbook to help communicate your brand message.
The Science of Visual Storytelling
Why are we predisposed to visual data? Let’s go back to our primal roots. We are visual creatures! We’ve been doing it for millennia. Think walking in the jungle with scary creatures lurking – you wouldn’t be looking for text based data.
- 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
- 50% of our brain is active in visual processing
- Our brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text-based content
- Our brain processes entire images as fast as 13 milliseconds
Having understood the evolutionary reasons for our heightened response to visual data, let’s further investigate the emotional triggers of visual input.
Why is visual storytelling so effective at driving customer engagement?
In a world of saturated content jostling for position, visuals grab people’s attention immediately. One image can elicit an emotional response that engage customers.
There is a story in a picture not a word. Unless it’s an extremely timely word!
Visual storytelling gets to the point quickly. The connected world is in information overload. Brief but purposeful communication is essential. Non-verbals, illustrations and images are our universal language. It’s highly intuitive, computed in milliseconds and subliminally powerful. Baby’s pick up on this stuff!
Visuals are 6 times more memorable than text. We think in images. Most of what we see is memory banked images buffeted in the present. Brands should aim to fill in the blanks with images worth remembering.
Visuals provoke more action from customers, because we prefer to share more images than text on the social web. Research shows that visual social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat can have as much as 10 times more customer engagement. Driving traffic is nice, but influencing customers to act is key to long term engagement.
Visual storytelling highlight the authenticity of your brand, particularly personal videos about the business. It’s about telling the story of who you are and not just your products. Customers will emotionally relate with the story of your brand as they will the brand itself. Give them behind the scenes access. We’re curious creatures. How do you run your business? Why are you motivated to deliver value for your customers? Show the love!
I can tell you from experience, the personal ‘in the moment’ unscripted broadcast lends itself to higher creativity and more spontaneous material. Customers appreciate the transparent nature of the message. They understand the motivation of delivering value for them. It’s the ultimate humanising gesture of a brand. Customers will be moved to respond, building loyalty and trust in you and your brand.
Recently, we enjoyed a day at The Ploughing Championships with our client Clonmel Covers. We took digital storytelling to new levels on Facebook Live with a great response from viewers during and post production. It wasn’t so much what they said but the way they said it; delivered with passion for their products and an unmistakable appreciation of their customers. It’s difficult to fake, we have visual cues to pick up on that too.
Digital storytelling playbook for small business
Less is more: brevity of message is important, don’t just add more visuals for the sake of it.
Include people in pictures: more people, more emotion, more connection.
Live broadcast: it promotes ‘in the moment’ creativity and sparks of genius.
Beautiful isn’t always best: images don’t have to be beautiful to be striking and memorable. Show warts and all.
Get personal: go behind the scenes of the business. Give the viewers a peek behind backstage and let them feel they are getting more value for their attention.
Be original: once the visual content reflects the essence of your brand and is authentic, people will buy it and you.
In summary, visual storytelling grabs peoples attention, it’s more engaging, quicker to the point, more memorable, provokes more action and is shared more often on the social web. And just so you know, given this blog post is mainly text, the irony is not lost on me!