THE POWER OF VISUAL STORYTELLING
How to use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand
EKATERNINA WALTER & JESSICA GIOGLIO
The book is dedicated to all marketers who are embracing the art of storytelling and who see every day as an opportunity for adventure and innovation. In the age of infobesity, there are several ways to stand out from the noise and draw attention to your content in an organic way and visual storytelling is one of them. The authors successfully explain how visual storytelling -when done correctly- has the potential to enhance loyalty, strengthen customer relationships, increase awareness and more. Visual storytelling isn’t just a shiny new phenomenon. It is here to stay and will continue to evolve as new social media platforms enter the mix. As this happens, leveraging photos, videos, infographics, presentations, and more will only increase in importance. The book delves into Art and science of the image showing how those aspects are enhanced through the advanced toolset the social media platforms provide. From there it starts to weave a powerful understanding of this new virtual framework drawing tips, strategies, roadmaps, and takeaways for actual use.
Great Marketing is now a conversation based around communities and passions-and it needs to be flexible, responsive, and creative as ever before. Visual storytelling is motivated by this idea. When properly implemented through the exceptional tools of social media platforms meaningful connections between ideas, brand, experiences and its’ audiences.
Visual Storytelling: Historical Context
The context of social media has evolved in the past five years. From late 1990s to mid 2000s, sites such as blogging platforms, Myspace, Delicious (formerly Del.icio.us), Flickr, and Facebook created early opportunities for engagements. Looking closely at these platforms, we realize that they were created in response to massive flow of content on the internet, much of which was visual. By then, blog entries with visuals performed better than those without. Myspace offered users multiple opportunities to personalize their user profiles from the background to the music and content shared. Flickr rose in popularity as an early photo sharing site, and today it still houses a passionate community of photo enthusiasts, plus professional and hobbyist photographers.
Perhaps one of the most important qualities these early social media platform leaders had was the ability to bring like-minded individuals together online. Despite the numerous platforms, those individuals always found their way into online communities that best reflect their interest. In parallel users were looking for ways to easily share and organize content, imagery, visuals, and videos. This led to the evolution of visual storytelling shifting from the heavy text content. As a result, this continued evolution of social media platforms came along with user and company behaviours. Social media platforms came as response to the massive content on the internet much of which was visual. An important quality of those platforms was the ability to bring likeminded individuals together online forming online communities that best reflect their interest.
The evolution of Facebook’s layout from 2004 to 2013 was one of the historical case studies that the authors focused on offering a unique look on how it played a major role in transforming the text heavy nature of the social platforms into a more visual and interactive one. Along the years, Facebook transformed from a text heavy content by developing new features such as FB timeline and the Newsfeed. When introduced, FB timeline shook-up Facebook experience positively with the ability to tell the story of one’s life with a new kind of profile images and videos. The interactive content transformed Facebook from a text heavy environment to a more interactive one where personal and other historical info could be organised, shared into a digital scrap like layout.
The book emphasises the major role that FB Newsfeed plays as it was transformed into an endless virtual magazine filled with information about people and companies that we care most about.
Other platforms started to rise such as twitter, Pinterest fueled by people’s desires for solutions that added value. Twitter became a hub for real-time information, as Pinterest started to offer interior design tips and meal planning. SlideShare is the go-to resource for business information and education.
Chapter 1 of the book starts by narrating the historical context within which the evolution of visual storytelling through social media platforms took place. It then focuses on the role of the visual and imagery and how it started to transform the nature of content to become more visual and less text heavy. Visual storytelling is defined as the use of images, videos, infographics, presentations, and other visuals on social media platforms to craft a graphical story around key brand value and offerings.
Chapter 2 sums all the types, tips, and tactics of Visual Marketing. Then it defines the elements of a successful visual storytelling.
Chapter 3 Delves deep to analyse the power of each platform of the social media. The authors provided extensive tips to consider when engaging on each platform. providing tips for usage and choice of the visual content within each platform. Having gone through the tips criteria seem to be based on:
- Identifying what brings people to that platform.
- • Understanding the value users derive from the platform.
- • Determine how the company could fit within the context of the platform.
- • Determine the best type of content that suits the platform example: YouTube for videos.
As tactics without a strategy is worse than doing nothing at all; the previous chapters paves the way to Chapter 4. In this Chapter, a detailed road maps Visual Storytelling Road Maps are developed acting as a guideline for a process that weaves well thought strategic direction that culminates with Implementation through a powerful and wise usage of the social media platforms.
In Chapter 5 the book discusses Real-Time Marketing (RTM), and its role in raising awareness, creating demand, and furthering the brand’s mission by connecting with customers in a meaningful way (in the right place, at the right time, and through relevant content). The success recipe involves changing our understanding of the basics of how we market, from the way we organize to the way we think. Different departments have to work together i.e. creative, analytics, paid media, legal, and strategic- so that we can work in a time-critical way. With those foundations in place; we can ensure that the marketing direction is directly aligned with stakeholders so that the RTM supports the direction of the brand now and into the future. With RTM, the Future Marketing is becoming more four dimensional. Having the time factor coming into play, thanks to the social media platforms, allows us to anticipate changes in customer wants & needs. It can help in telling the brands visual story if we are trained to tell that story as part of our everyday marketing strategy. That requires being clear on which events are relevant to our customers. Then visuals could be created that shows the brand’s perspective on those events in effect to use them as props for the story. This brings the brand’s story to life and gives it an everyday relevance.
Social Media Platforms: The virtual agora of the imagery
Social Media platforms transformed how we connect, search for info and build relationships online becoming a new virtual agora where ideas could be exchanged. Through this evolution, we can now use and even share images videos, infographics, presentations & other visuals on those platforms to craft a graphical story around key brand values and offerings. This places challenges and opportunities for marketers is to embrace the new rules of engagement and think creatively about how the use of visuals can support their goals. Sharing those pictures has long been a dream and the social platform provide the set of tools that made it come true.
The authors had also managed to depict how the verbal mind does not work without our visual mind and how thinking in pictures is an attribute of human nature. A special attention is paid to special to tactics that involve combining text with visuals and embedded case studies and compelling visuals to strengthen their key point and takeaways and share their personal experiences and insider tips gleaned from working celebrated industry-leading companies that embraced the art of visual storytelling.
Text is not supreme anymore, visuals move beyond………a hybrid approach between both is even more powerful in crafting a story.
They extensively refer to Scientific research setting the base for scientific reasoning of why people respond to visuals more strongly and quick than text alone. As the average adult attention span, has been shown to be somewhat between 2.8 and 8 seconds’ marketers need to get their message across quickly and effectively. This where various visual elements of storytelling come in handy. A picture is worth a thousand words, any moment could be turned into a photo opportunity. and a well-composed video can even say more and even impact the way we feel and perceive the world. It also to show a more relaxed side of a company’s brand.
Messages to the marketers
The book highlights the urgency for companies to strive for more interaction with customers (existing & Potential) by embracing the art of visual storytelling through the tools of the platforms. They should understand who are they as a brand, what you stand for, and what goals you are trying to achieve in tandem with what your customers are looking for from your company can be crafted into a powerful creative visual story. Another message the book is bringing to the awareness of the companies is that they should work hard to include consumers and make them part of the company’s visual storytelling process. The company’s audience don’t want to be part of a conversation to feel that their company is listening.
Not only a well crafted visual content will allow a company or brand to effectively communicate and interact with customers and build experiences and communities. As social networks and search engines are eager to control the quality of the content exhibited within their virtual space, algorithms and filtering tools are introduced to ensure content relevance to customers. A piece of content that is generated with affinity could help a big deal in getting through such obstacles.
Conclusion: Lessons Learned
• Visual storytelling isn’t just a shiny new phenomenon. It’s here to stay and will continue to evolve as new social media platforms enter the mix. As this happen leveraging photos, infographics, presentations, and more will only increase its importance.
• The evolution of the various social media platforms has transformed the old conventional perception and modes of storytelling. Due to this evolution, the platforms have made it easier than ever to work with visual.
• Marketing is about creating products and services that lead your tribe to tell stories that spread.
• Marketing is creating products and services that lead your tribe and tell stories that spread.
• This opens endless doors for visual creativity allowing content to transcend the boring heavy text nature to a more vivid visual state and even combine the best of both to reach a powerful hybrid state.
• The strength & toolset of each platform must be understood in depth. This understanding will take the quality of the visual content to higher levels and allows a better interaction with customers.
• Tactics without a strategy are worse than doing nothing at all.
• Reach to customers, involve them and make them part of the visual message. The platforms are there to facilitate sharing and reaching to wider communities.
• Content strategy can increase the brand’s social engagements. Using data optimized visuals can increase brand’s social engagement.
• Visual storytelling is the confluence of art and science balancing an intended message with purpose and mutual value while investing in the medium and the culture that defines it.
• Not only its meant to be consumed but also designed to be shared…. educating, informing, and entertaining along the way.
• Pay attention to the quality, type, and execution of the visuals to ensure effective communication and wider reaching of customers.
• Understanding who a company is essential to build strategies and send the right message to consumers. Having that in place will help the company to tell its story effectively to build a loyal consumer community, communicate and involve them. This affects the quality of the visual content both in direct and indirect ways as well as they way they appear on the platforms.
• The Future: RTM is transforming Marketing to become four dimensional. Having the time factor coming into play, thanks to the social media platforms, allows us to anticipate changes in customer wants & needs. Having the time factor coming into play, thanks to the social media platforms, allows us to anticipate changes in customer wants & needs. It can help in telling the brands visual story if we are trained to tell that story as part of our everyday marketing strategy. That requires being clear on which events are relevant to our customers.