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Visual Storytelling: 5 Simple Rules

The idea of visual storytelling is not a new concept. Long ago royal scribes used imagery to tell the story of their monarchy, documenting their histories on cave walls and scrolls. Today, everyone has the power to be a storyteller with the tools at your fingertips.

Social media campaigns, a highly visual media, paired with traditional marketing has become an integral role of marketing in the digital era.  According to a 2008 study, the average person remembers about 10 percent of what they hear when tested 72 hours later. But when visuals are added into the mix, the figure increases to 65 percent.

With so many outlets vying for our attention, images are a useful tool to highlight a story and leave a lasting first impression. Whether it’s a PowerPoint presentation or a social media campaign, these are opportunities to showcase your brand and highlight your story that otherwise might be missed.

As a communications agency, Pivot believes in using visually storytelling to relay the unique messages of our clients. 

Using these 5 principles can help maximize your potential using visual storytelling. 

Show, don’t tell – As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. If you can show what you’re trying to say with an image or a graphic, chances are your audience will retain that information a lot more. Think about the last time you sat through a presentation that was essentially an excel spreadsheet full of data.

Keep it simple – You naturally know much more about your project than your audience. It is easy to share too much detail, get too technical or bombard your audience with too much information. Why overload them with a two page memo when a paragraph or sentence will do? Visuals, such as a simple icon, highlight information in a simple and easy-to-digest way. As the famous designer Mies van der Rohe said, “Less is more.”

Context is key – You never get a second chance to make a first impression. For your brand, context can be the simple things such as your colors and fonts that subtly tell your story and convey a lasting image of what your brand stands for. 

We the people – Don’t just tell the story of your business, share the story of the people behind your business, as they are equally important. Allow your audience to see the human side of your company and allow an avenue for them to connect on a personal level.

Stay focused – Another tried and true saying, “don’t get lost in the details,” is a reminder to keep your goals clearly defined. Too many details can distract your audience, and ultimately, lose them. Having a plan can keep you organized moving forward, but a strong foundation to rely on will keep your brand consistently on track.

As a bonus, if you can teach your audience something, especially in a visual or entertaining way, it gives another avenue for them to connect to your brand. Visual storytelling is not just to entertain but is an engaging way for your message to reach your audience. Remembering these five simple practices will put you on the road to captivating your audience.

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