Nowadays brands are doing everything to make the audience interaction experience better.
In fact, they are going out of their ways to make sure that the user experience is top class.
One of the best ways to interact with your audience is through visuals. That is because; the human brain catches visuals and interprets them better than textual knowledge.
Research has shown that the brain can receive and transmit and process knowledge more quickly when it is communicated to the brain through visuals.
So you can understand how important visual storytelling is.
In this article, we are going to talk all about the different techniques and ideas and rules of visual storytelling and how it has benefited brands in helping them build a good relationship with the customers.
But even before we start the discussion, it is important for us to know what actually visual storytelling is. So let’s get started.
What is Visual Storytelling?
If you have to define visual storytelling, it might seem pretty easy.
By definition, visual storytelling is the way through which you communicate a message or a series of messages with the help of visual multimedia. It is not something new as a concept.
In fact, we have all heard the phrase that a picture is worth a thousand words. But with the advent of the internet and the importance that digital marketing has today, visual storytelling has become much more important and relevant than ever before. Every brand is trying to fight to gain customer attention.
In that context, brands that use visual storytelling as a medium to communicate with customers are far ahead in the game.
Today brands are adopting the use of graphics, images, pictures, videos, etc. to interact with and engage with their customers and audience in an effort to awaken their emotions.
Marketers have always believed that the way to get more customers is to evoke emotions in them. But in the current scenario, they are going out of their ways to make sure that this happens.
This is why the demand for visualizers and graphic designers increased so much. What they have to do is to present data and messages that the brand has to communicate in attractive visual formats, which is a very important part of visual storytelling.
Designers are given a brief about every information that they need to know, and then they use that information and details to create something very usually attractive.
Infographics, videos, and these days GIFs and memes are the most common medium of visual storytelling.
But if you think that visual storytelling is just about creating an image with a few lines written on it, you are wrong.
It is all about how you choose the right way to present information to your customers while making sure that it is being presented in a visually compelling way. The visual has to be eye-catching enough, to catch the audience attention.
In order to break the clutter of information overload and decreased attention span in people, you as a brand have to make sure that the story that you are creating has the audience as the hero of the story.
For this, you have to first identify and address their needs and not yours.
You have to make them believe that your product or service will give them positive experiences and will solve the issues that they are currently facing.
Giving your audience a glimpse of a dream world where the issues can be fixed by your product is the perfect way to evoke emotions in them.
What are the Different Visual Storytelling Techniques?
For visual storytelling to be effective, you need to know the different techniques that the most famous marketers use to interact with their customers.
1. Be sure to make your audience immerse in your stories
It is a known fact that the stories that make your audience feel something deeply makes a larger impact on their minds and stays in their minds for a longer period of time. So you have to make sure that your way of visual storytelling should be able to draw in your viewers.
You have to be very careful about every word and image that you pick in your story to communicate sensitive details about your product to your viewers. They should not just see the story but should be able to hear, feel and smell different aspects of the story.
Every word and image that you are using should be compelling enough so that your viewers can create a mental picture of what you are trying to communicate.
2. Your story should speak so that you don’t have to
This is actually an extension of the previous point. Of course, you have to carefully select the different elements of your stories so that they do not look or sound repetitive.
The narrator or the storyteller should not have to say everything, your visual should imply what the narrator is trying to communicate without him having to say anything. That is the perfect idea of visual storytelling.
When you create your scene this way, it will directly take your audience’s mind to that scene and they will feel everything that you are trying to communicate without you having to describe it.
That is why you have to choose the various elements of your storytelling very carefully.
3. Tell them a personal story:
The most important reason why videos work so well for brands is that they choose to communicate to the audience with personal stories. When you are communicating with your audience as just a brand, they generally think of the brand as an emotionless corporate body that just wants to sell its product.
So, when you tell them a personal story related to your product, your audience can relate to it on an individual level and they can identify with the situations that your product claim to solve.
You have to make sure that your story should come across to them as a human being’s story. That is when you will know that you have struck the right chord.
4. Your visuals should reach to a STAR moment:
STAR stands for Something They’ll Always Remember. That is the main purpose of a visual or a video, right?
To give your viewers a key takeaway and to stay in their memories for long. That STAR moment in your video should stay in their minds for days, weeks and even months.
You can achieve your STAR factor by using either dramatic scenes or shocking statistical data or emotionally triggering videos and visuals.
Your STAR moment should be enlightening and genuine, that should be able to put light on and magnify your product and your idea, and not distract your mind off it. In other words, your STAR moment should be an extension of your product.
Visual Storytelling Ideas:
Since now you know the various techniques and also the importance of visual storytelling, let us not discuss the different ideas or the medium through which you can visually communicate with your audience.
Photo essays are compelling, engaging, interactive and informative. It is everything you need to communicate with your audience better.
One single photo might capture the viewer’s interest, but a photo series tells an entire story through photos.
You have to decide what story you want to tell and then make sure that every picture contributes to the story.
Decide a few factors like what the text should be, how much text you should use, what all pictures you want to show, how you are going to present it and you are good to go!
A digital poster is the perfect mash-up of everything you need to tell your viewers.
You can bring together text, screenshots, pictures, memes and mix them all together. So much you will put in and yet it won’t look overcrowded.
Create the poster in a way that it features all the information and yet looks visually compelling enough to catch the audience’s attention.
TVCs or short films:
Making a short film or TVCs is no longer rocket science.
While TVCs are huge investments with a team of experts working tirelessly towards, making a short film is pretty inexpensive and you do not have to be an expert to make one.
All you have to make sure about is that it should be visually attractive and should include all the information that you want your viewers to know.
Rules of Visual Storytelling:
When you are communicating with a set of viewers, you obviously will have to follow certain rules. Given below are all the rules of visual storytelling that you should adhere to if you want the maximum results out of it.
Context is the most important thing:
In visual storytelling since it is more about the visual than the text, you at all points have to make sure that you do not go out of context.
Whether you are designing a poster or making a short film or TVC or even a meme, you have to make sure that you do not slip out of context.
A lot of times what happens is that in order to make a deeper impact on the viewers, a lot of brands tend to move out of track and forget the context.
That confuses your viewers and they do not get the message clearly about your brand. So, rule number one is to stick to context.
First impressions are very important:
When it comes to visual storytelling, first impressions matter a lot. Your brain works in a way that it makes a quick impression as soon as it sees something.
That is how instincts work. In the digital world where there is an overflow of visuals, the first impression is generally quite quick.
So you have to make the most of the first few seconds that you have. If the viewers are bored in the first few seconds, they will skip your story and will not go ahead even if it is interesting.
So when you are building are creating something visual, make sure the first few seconds are super interesting.
The first impression of the audience should not only make them hooked to your product, but it should also be able to communicate the necessary details that they need to know. It is up to you to figure out what will trigger an emotion in your audience in the first impression.
Add movement to your story:
This necessarily does not mean that you have to just shoot videos. Just add some kind of movement even if you are using a still picture.
When nothing is moving, it is just a static picture for your viewers and that might not be as interesting to them as something that is animated.
For example, even if you are just showing a still of a building, take that from different angles, zoom in and zoom out when you feel it is required. Movements as basic as these are also enough.
Create some kind of conflict in the visual:
For your visual to be deemed as a story, there has to be some sort of conflict. Imagine a boy walking to his school and just reaching there. This is not a story, it is just a journey.
The conflict has to be something interesting that happens on the way to school, like a dog chasing the boy, or the roads are blocked or something like that.
This is what will make a story. In terms of marketing, this conflict is an issue in society that viewers are facing. Your product should claim to solve that conflict.
Visual storytelling is gradually gaining more and more popular among brands and marketers because of the enormous amount of leaves it generates.
It is as interesting as anything might get and both the marketers and the viewers will never get bored of creating and seeing something visually attractive.